Homeschooling mistakes to avoid

homeschooling mistakes to avoid

 

We all make mistakes and when we first start homeschooling we make a lot of them (I did anyway).  I wish I had known then what I do now, my life as a homeschooling mom would have been so much easier! Some of them seem so obvious to me now because of how long I’ve been homeschooling. If you’re just starting out these common mistakes may not even cross your mind until you make them. So here are the 12 mistakes I’ve seen commonly made in the homeschooling community.

 

Overscheduling: I think we have all done this at some point. there is excitement and you want to try it all. We have so many ideas and don’t want to get rid of any. Maybe it starts out fine and the kids and mom are happy and loving what they are doing. Slowly however they begin to burn out, it’s too much and the entire family is bogged down. Suddenly you realize there is too much and no one can keep up with it all. This can kill any homeschooling families love of schooling. You don’t want schedule anymore and your kids fight and argue. You may not even know it’s due from overscheduling at first, you might think you’re failing. The best thing to do before giving up is look at your schedule, see how much you’re doing a day and scale back. You may see it was way too much and after cutting back you all have your zest back!

Overscheduling

 

 

Forgetting to listen to your children: We all like to think we listen to our children and I’d say the majority of the time we do. However, in the day to day, we can get overwhelmed and stressed.  Children don’t always communicate the way adults do and we may see their behavior as being disobedient. We can focus on other things so much we may be missing their cues. Maybe your kid crying every time you say it’s time to start school isn’t because you’re failing or they are being difficult. Maybe they are trying to tell you they don’t like the curriculum or a particular subject is too hard. I know at times we as parents say we’re listening when our children speak but sometimes we’re just saying mmm hmm and yeah without processing. So the next step may be meltdown city.   I find the best way to avoid any miscommunication is to ask my son what he likes and doesn’t like about what we are using. Ask him what he would change if he could. This has helped us both become less stressed and more heard. Remember listening to your children is important.

Listening to our children

 

Not knowing your child(ren) ‘s learning style(s):  This is so very important! Whenever anyone asks me what they need to do to start homeschooling I say know your state laws and your children’s learning styles. So many times well-meaning mom choose a curriculum and love it but their children fail with it. Knowing your child’s learning style not only you an advantage to choosing something that will work for them but right out of the gate you will know how to speak to them or show them when teaching. Also, there are so many curricula out that it can be overwhelming but knowing what to look for. This way you now not to get a curriculum that focuses on reading if you have an auditory learner. This will make your and your children’s lives easier and hopefully help you avoid those dread fights about doing school.

 

Learning style

 

Isolation: I can hear a lot of homeschool moms groaning now! This is a myth! We get out all the time! Stop spreading these lies! However, I have spoken with a lot of newbies and they say they and their kids are lonely or never go anywhere. I think at this point in their homeschooling journey mom believes they need to focus on school or may be afraid to go out during school hours. Staying indoors and working all the time is so unhealthy and can lead to depression! For those of you who are afraid to go out during school hours don’t be! It’s legal to homeschool and there for you have nothing to worry about! Don’t isolate your kids! Get out to the park, the zoo, a museum, and frolic! Learning can and does happen anywhere if you’re worried about missing out on a learning opportunity. Never going anywhere and keeping your children from going outside a lot does a lot more harm than anyone asking why they’re not in school.  You will not fail your kids by taking one day away from home to go swing with them. Believe me, they need breaks!

Isolation

 

Not taking care of yourself: So we talked about getting your kids out and about but you need to take care of you as well. We as moms put ourselves last anyway but in my experience homeschool moms are worst about it. We have our kids 24/7 and we are also taking care of the house, cooking and running errands. I don’t care who you are, you are bound to crash and burn at some point. Self-care is so important and it is true you can’t pour from an empty cup. Whatever stress relief looks like for you, make sure to do it as often as you can. I’ve heard many moms say they sent their kids back to public school because they couldn’t handle everything. First, if your house isn’t spotless but you clean it’s okay. If you and your kids wear pajamas when your home it’s okay! Not everything will always be perfect and that’s okay. The reason moms homeschooling moms gave up is because they didn’t take time for themselves, they tried to do it all and gave too much of themselves! Don’t set yourself up for failure that way. Read a book, take a bath, sew, go shopping, to the spa, whatever just do it! You’ll find the stress is lessened. By doing this favor for yourself, you’ll ultimately be doing a favor for your family.

 

Taking time for yourself

 

Avoid comparisons: It is never good to compare anything but when we do it to our children it can be mentally devastating. I hear something like this so often, “Pam’s kids are so well rounded and get straight A’s. There teachers and peers love them! They are thriving! Meanwhile, my little Timmy struggles with math and hates reading! Maybe I should put him on the same public school they are in!” This can create hurt, feeling of failure and resentment between a mother and child. I notice people compare their own children to each other as well. My only answer is don’t! Just don’t do it! Instead, help them, work with them and encourage them.  Since we’re speaking about not comparing don’t talk about how much better your kids are compared to your best friend Becky’s public schooled children. It will have the same effect as when you think other kids are better than yours. Comparing at all is just not necessary and should be avoided at all cost!

Avoid Comparisions

 

Using a curriculum even if it doesn’ t work for your family:  You researched and researched. Asked everyone who homeschools you could about a curriculum. Finally, you decide on one, look through it make your plans. You began using it to teach your children and you notice it doesn’t seem to be clicking with any of you. You give it longer to see if it changes (understandable).  After a couple months it still not working but you keep going with it. You spend money on this, you took weeks to come up with lesson plans, no way are you going to spend more money! You stubbornly keep going and you and your kids are in tears most days. Does that make sense? No? Because it shouldn’t yet this happens all the time! Homeschooling moms frustrate themselves and their kids by trying to keep using something that just doesn’t work. It’s either because they don’t want to spend more money, they blame themselves or the kids, or they don’t want to have to admit failure.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend more money or print more pages then to cause your family undue stress? Sometimes things don’t work out liked we hoped and that is okay. If you have to switch curriculums in the middle of the year it’s not failure, it’s you saying you know what this doesn’t work for us and I’m getting something else that does.  Do yourself a favor and scrap anything that doesn’t work ASAP!

Using a curriculum that doesn't work for your family

 

Too high expectations: We all have expectations, we know what we want but when we expect our kids to be perfect we’re just asking for disappointment. We all, of course, want our kids to do their best but sometimes we want too much.  I don’t understand why Christopher can’t do all these questions he’s smart enough. Claire should be able to do 15 subjects in one day she was such a great student in public school. We as parents can put what we want in life on our kids and it can cause chaos. The best thing you can do for your kids is to see where they are at and meet them there. Don’t expect them to do everything you want them to perfectly all the time and if they are showing signs of distress back off. Of course, it’s not always the parent that has too high expectations but the child that expects too much of themselves. How do you deal with that? I try to point out the good that my child has done, let them know that it is perfect the way it is and that it’s okay to make mistakes. This doesn’t always have an immediate impact but I can often see my son rethinking his work and being happier with it. The whole point is don’t set yourself up for failure!

Too high expectations

 

Procrastination: This is my biggest failure! I tend to put things off even when I don’t mean to. This can hurt your homeschooling because you may not have anything for your kids to do, your state may require that you turn certain things in and your late. Being late for state-ordered paperwork can bring law enforcement to your door and no one wants that. Procrastination is the bane of many homeschool moms and many have quit due to it. If you are natural procrastinator making a schedule may not always be the answer but I know for me planning ahead does. If I set a plan in my mind and write it down, if I know what is coming I am better about getting things done. If you know you have to plan your child’s curriculum then do it early, make a plan and stick to it. If you do it every Friday that still gives you two days to have fun with your family and you’re prepared for the week ahead.  I have learned procrastination is a mindset and if you work to change it you can. Stick to your plan and not allowing yourself to get distracted can seem hard but remind yourself this is for your child’s education. I use a scheduler on my phone and it beeps at me, it is hard to ignore and makes me feel urgent to get my task done. Find something that put your plan at the forefront of your mind and see if it helps.

Procrastination

 

Defending your choice to homeschool to others: You may have heard the questions. What about socialization? Are you qualified to teach your kids? What happens if they struggle? They need interaction with kids their age, don’t they? The looks you get when in public during school hours. The shaking heads or sideways glances when you say your homeschooling. I know for many of us our first reaction is to defend ourselves and our choice. Please don’t so this! For one, you owe no one (even family an explanation). For two people who ask these questions often times don’t care what your reasons are, they have their opinion and you won’t change their minds.  Thirdly, they are your kids and you’re doing what you think is best, end of story! New homeschooling families feel they need to defend themselves often and they really don’t. That stranger in the store knows nothing about you and just made a snap judgment based off one thing about you. Let them! Your mom thinks you may not be smart enough to teach your kids all they need to know. Doesn’t that mean she is sort of doubting the way she raised you? The only explanation most homeschool moms will tell you, you need is they are my kids and I’m doing what’s best. After that don’t discuss it. It’s not being mean, it’s not being secretive, it’s saving yourself an argument and headache. Not everyone will understand or support your decision but it’s alright. Let them have those opinions and you do what you need to do for your kids! Shut it out! I will repeat you may never change their minds and you don’t have too!

Homeschooling choice 2

I hope this list helps you realize why these are mistakes and why you should avoid them. Homeschooling isn’t always easy and there is no reason to add to your stress and worry. Enjoy your kids, have fun and learn with them! This is the best thing you can do for everyone!

Ten Stereotypes About Homeschooling That Aren’t Really True

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1. Homeschoolers lack socialization: This is by far one of the most annoying stereotypes about homeschoolers. It is also one of the least true. Homeschoolers go to co-ops, church, playdates, classes, play sports, go to the grocery store, visit nursing homes, volunteer at shelters and other locations.  The list goes on and on but most people don’t seem to think that counts. “What about going to school to be with kids their own age?” Well, the thing is socialization is so much more than playing with kids the same age as you. It’s about speaking to and getting along with people in general. Homeschoolers can do that in spades! Studies have consistently shown that homeschoolers are well-rounded and very social.  There really is no need to worry about homeschooled kids and socialization, they are doing just fine.

2. Not everyone homeschools for religious reasons

Homeschooling reasons

 

Some homeschoolers do homeschool for religious reasons but not all. In fact, there are more who homeschool for reasons other than religious then there are that do. SOme homeschool due to bullying, because they don’t like the curriculum, they like having their kids home, they feel they can get a more rounded education at home. Their reasons vary and are different for each family. It is insulting to some homeschoolers to assume they are super religious and only homeschooling to teach the Bible. It would be much better ask why someone homeschools if you’d really like to know.

3. We do actually teach our kids 

We do teach

Despite what seems to be a popular belief we do teach our kids. We read books, watch videos, have discussions, write reports, do spelling tests, draw, do science experiments, learn state capitals. Everything kids are taught in public school, we teach it. It may look different for each family but our kids do learn. In fact, more often than not our kids are learning no matter where we are. An ant or a blade of grass can start a whole conversation about nature. Don’t worry about our kids they are doing just fine.

4. That homeschooled kids don’t have friends 

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This one goes hand in hand with socialization. Yes, homeschoolers have friends! Many are actually popular and go to parties and dances. They play sports and star in plays, finding friends. They have jobs and meet people that way. Homeschoolers have sleepovers and big birthday parties with their friends. I will never understand why this particular stereotype persist! It makes no sense to me unless of course we stay locked up all day! I wish this question wouldn’t be asked anymore but alas it is a very popular one.  I will say it one more time yes our kids have friends!

5. Homeschool kids are too smart for “normal” school

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Not every homeschooled kid is a genius. Some of them are normal average students. That’s not to put them down, because it’s okay to just be what some call “normal”. However, there is a huge stereotype that all homeschool kids must be above average and aren’t being challenged enough. I’ve heard “He must be really smart for you to homeschool him, otherwise, why would you do it?” Um, because I want to! There are many homeschooled kids who are above average but just like public school each student has their own strengths and weaknesses. They are all on different levels.

 

 

6. Homeschooled kids are below average  

Below

I could have easily put this with the above average one but I wanted to address this separately. Just like with the above average stereotype this one is far from true. As I stated above homeschooled kids vary just as much as public schooled kids. There are some kids who are below average and this may or may not have a bearing on their parents choose to homeschool. I want to mention how rude it is to assume all homeschooled kids must be dumber than their peers so that is why they are homeschooled. Also having below average grades doesn’t mean one is dumb either. It may mean they aren’t being challenged enough or too much. The truth is this is an ugly stereotype that needs to go away now! People should just stop assuming and love their lives. I’m pretty sure these same people wouldn’t like it if we all went around assuming the same thing about their kids.

 

7. Homeschooled kids are sheltered 

 

Sheltered

This stereotype assumes that all homeschooled kids are sheltered. While some homeschooling parent admits to sheltering their kids and that is perfectly fine. We all don’t! This mindset assumes homeschool kids either don’t watch TV or only watch certain things, doesn’t listen to music or only listens to certain kinds. That homeschooled kids don’t know about the modern pop culture, doesn’t celebrate some or any holidays. That they only read certain books, I’ve even heard people say homeschooled kids aren’t allowed to have an imagination. That is so laughable! Yes, there are strict homeschool parents but there are strict parents across all walks of life. Why are homeschoolers being targeted with this stereotype?

8. That we all hate public schools

public schools

We don’t all hate public schools and those that do have a problem with public schools usually have a pretty good reason. Often times their kids were bullied and the school did nothing, their kid was singled out, they weren’t thriving and the school didn’t help. I would say a great number of homeschoolers don’t have a personal problem with public schools they just want to homeschool. They have no other reason then they want their kid home so they teach them themselves. We aren’t hate-filled people going on long tirades about the evils of public school. We just want what’s best for our kids like every other parent.

 

9. Homeschool parents think they are better than parents who send their kids to public school

better

I’m not going to sit here and say that there isn’t a homeschool parent out there that thinks they are better than public school parents. There very well maybe! However, I can say the majority of us don’t. We want to just be able to make our choices without being judged and ridiculed. Believe me, there are some public schoolers who think they are better than homeschoolers, I’ve seen it. This could be a two-way street really. Really though most people just want to live their lives without judgment. No, I’m not better than you and I don’t think I am. What I do think is that we as parents are making the best decisions for our families. Public school or homeschool it’s okay to do either or!

10. All homeschool moms wear denim jumpers 

I could not make a stereotype list without adding this. I have no idea how this got started and why so many people believe it but it tickles my funny bone. I have never nor will I ever own a denim jumper. I can speak on behalf of a vast amount of homeschool moms who can say the same thing. Why do people think this? I am genuinely curious! I have been asked if I wear denim jumpers and keep my hair up. What? No! Am I wearing one now? Is my hair pinned up? There are some homeschoolers who do wear there and there are plenty of people who do that don’t homeschool. I really think this is another stereotype that needs to be put to pasture. You meet homeschoolers every day, even if you don’t know it and they aren’t wearing jumpers haha. Many people personally know homeschoolers and still believe many homeschool moms wear jumpers. Can we just let this one go now, please? I want to end with if you do wear denim jumpers I’m not judging it’s just the rest of us don’t and we wished people would stop believing we do.

 

Schooling With a Toddler: How I Got my Sanity Back

Homeschooling has challenges, to begin with, but schooling with a toddler is hard! Yup, I said it, it is freaking hard! Meet my homeschooler Gauge. He is intelligent, funny, loving and giving. He also has SPD and is stubborn! We have challenges with him all on his own. Let me say I love him and I wouldn’t change him for anything but…some days are really difficult. We have to keep to a schedule or we fall apart.

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When you add my beautiful whirlwind two year old to the mix, well it gets really fun. Meet my daughter, the light of all of our lives. She’s also the one who can make teaching/learning crazy and harder. As with my son, I wouldn’t change her for the world but let’s face it toddlers are difficult, they want what they want when they want it.

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She loves learning and her favorite game is to climb on her brothers work so she can “help”. While it can be cute and I have some awesome pictures, it is also frustrating for him. I always hear “Mom I just want to do this.” I am of the mind that children don’t need formal work until they reach a certain age so for a while, I tried getting her to color but my little smarty boots soon got bored and went back to her game.

As I was gathering our work one day, she said: “Mommy I want learn too.” In that sweet little voice. I asked her what she wanted to learn and she said from books with a huge smile. I’m not going to lie I was torn, I listen to my children and take their wants into consideration but I also didn’t want her to have book work this young. She made the decision for me while at Dollar Tree one day. My little girl ran to the workbooks and said, “Work mama work!” I thought why not let her get one? I will add pictures of what we got.

I ended up getting her 3 preschool books. I had my doubts, after all, she was two. She was just going to get bored in a second and tear these up. Boy was I wrong! With my help, my daughter finished the books and was counting and reciting her ABC’s. She was happy and her brother got his work done. I know this method won’t work with everyone but I got my sanity back! Plus I get to see my youngest eyes light up just like her brothers when she learns something new! My son is also happier and more relaxed! If you have a toddler and trying to keep them busy and keep your mind from exploding, try asking them what they’d like to do. I’m serious, they might actually know and you may learn something about the littlest person in your life!

I’m still learning how to keep my sanity as a whole but I’m glad I tucked this little area away. Now, if I can only learn how to clean perfectly, get all my work done, keep my kids happy and keep my sanity all at the same time. Is that even possible? I’m guessing not haha!