If you are new to homeschooling, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here are common mistakes new homeschoolers make…so you can avoid them!
These are mistakes I have heard over and over from EXPERIENCED HOMESCHOOL MOMS. These are also mistakes I have made myself.
Underestimating the Power of Simply Reading To Your Kids
Reading is a bridge. For your non-reader, reading to them takes them to places they cannot go on their own. To your reading child, reading to them bumps them up to a level they might not be willing to try reading on their own.
Reading covers a multitude of sins. When you begin homeschooling, you will likely make mistakes. BUT if you are reading often to your kids, it will cover so many things. Think about it, other than math (which is a skill) and writing (which is the overflow of reading), almost every other subject is learned through reading.
Read to them. Read in small chunks throughout the day. Read while they are all gathered at the table for breakfast or lunch. When they have food in their mouth and they are less likely to interrupt you!
Worrying unnecessarily About Socialization
While it is important for you kids to have good friends, another common mistake new homeschoolers make is worrying unnecessarily about socialization. Most kids today are over scheduled, spending many hours with peers and very little with the members of their own home. More than ever before, kids need more time with family, not necessarily with friends.
As a homeschooler, you may have to forge your own way by searching out co-ops. You may have to make the effort to host activities at your home or plan groups with friends. But as long as your kids have a few really good friendships, you should not be concerned about them not being with a group of peers all day, every day.
Church groups, homeschool co-ops, Scout packs, neighborhood friends, club sports, and extracurricular classes are all great places to make long-lasting friendships and become part of a group.
Minimizing or Ignoring Problem Areas in Effort to “Get school work Done”
What do you feel is the challenge in your homeschool? The housework? The distractions of a baby or toddler? Behavior issues or attitude? Are you taking two steps forward only to move one step back? Problem solve the areas that are an obstacle to your school day.
Remember that you are in a home, not a school so the challenges will be different. If the challenges you are facing in your homeschool day are causing you to consider throwing in the towel, stop the school work and focus on fixing the problem.
The school work will always be there, but your day will run more efficiently if you set the school work work aside temporarily and give attention to the needs that are pressing. Then you can move forward.
Worrying About their Kids Keeping Up with Kids in School
Here is why you should not worry about your child keeping up with his or her grade level or what other kids are doing in school.
Your child is an individual.
The reason why HOMESCHOOLING CONTINUES TO BE SO SUCCESSFUL is the very reason why you should not try to fit your child into that mold! The individualized, interest-led, one-on-one style of learning works very well! Kids thrive on it! Don’t squash their curiosity by trying to teach them everything that their school friends are learning.
I made this mistake with my first child. Having a background in education and teaching experience, I printed off all the state standards for his Kindergarten year. My child was going to keep up!
What I quickly found, however, was that the state objectives really were not a competent measurement for us. He was progressing so quickly in some areas and in others, he was behind and needed to linger and grasp the concept. Also, he wanted to learn about things that were not in the “rules” for what he was supposed to be learning for that year.
Individualized learning just can’t compare with group learning.
Trying to Do Too Much
Are you trying to do too much? This is another common mistake new homeschoolers make. You do not have to do every subject every day. Make sure they are reading, writing, and doing math daily. Read to them every day as well. As for other subjects like art, music, civics, geography, health…you can loop these as it serves you best.
Combine grade levels for subjects like science and history, and other content areas. Although this is not the practice in traditional school, many homeschoolers combine content subjects because this works well in a family.
Don’t think you have to do everything. Encourage your kids to be self-learners. Kids learn better when they are motivated themselves. As soon as they are reading and writing independently, push them toward more and more independence in their work. Use your one-on-one time to review and correct.
Giving Up Too Easily
“My child and I are always butting heads.”
“I would homeschool, but my child is distracted constantly.”
“I can’t keep up with both the housework and school. Maybe this isn’t working.”
Let’s face it. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. Being with kids all day is exhausting! I have heard all the above comments and I have said them myself at certain times.
BUT the rewards of homeschooling…. developing deep relationships with your kids, learning and growing together…these things are SO worth the work!
When you begin to see your son rattle on with excitement about a story he just read or your daughter’s eyes light up because she finally “gets it”. When they want to finish school work early so they can bake everyone cookies or play card games together or create projects … these are what make homeschooling worth the hard work!
Prioritizing Academics Ahead of Relationships
Remember why you decided to homeschool? It was because you thought it was the best option for your child. Don’t forget that you are teaching a person not a subject.
The older your child gets the more your relationship with him or her will matter to you more than anything else.
Spend time doing things you both enjoy. Play games with each other, learn a new skill together, go places that you both enjoy. These will be the things that make you and your child LOVE homeschooling!
How can you avoid the common mistakes new homeschoolers make?
- Spend a lot of time reading to your kids.
- Take initiative to make good friends, but don’t worry about socialization.
- If needed, set school work aside temporarily to solve problem areas, and then move forward with the school work.
- Make some progress in school work every day, but don’t worry about your child keeping up with kids in school.
- Combine children for some subjects. Do less teaching and encourage your kids to be self-learners.
- Remember that homeschooling is a long-term investment and don’t give up so easily.
- Prioritize your relationship with your child above their school work.