When you’re homeschooling your children, it can be easy to make certain mistakes that put you at risk of compromising your kids’ education or otherwise keep them from being successful in the long term. When you’re aware of these common homeschooling mistakes, however, you can work to avoid them and help your kids reach their goals. Here are the top 10 mistakes parents make when homeschooling their children.
Worrying about what everyone else is doing: No matter how much you compare yourself to other homeschooling families, there is no right way to homeschool. Every family has different goals, interests, and learning styles, so it’s impossible to make one-size-fits-all rules. That said, it’s a good idea to study effective teaching methods and education topics before starting your own homeschool.
Not understanding that homeschooling is a lifestyle: Homeschooling parents are often reluctant to admit that it’s more than just homeschooling from 9 am-3 pm, five days a week. It’s about teaching your children to think and live differently. It’s about developing social skills and learning how to use time efficiently. It means you as a parent must take up some responsibilities that you may not be used to or be excited about.
Getting Rid of Workbooks Too Quickly: Workbooks are very important to a homeschooler’s education, but they’re often looked at as being dull and less valuable than other curricula. If you want your kids to learn as much as possible, however, be sure to keep workbooks on hand—even if it means buying new ones each year.
Expecting every child to learn at a similar pace: There’s a common misconception that learning should always come easily for kids. This is absolutely untrue! Just because your son mastered 2nd-grade math before summer break, doesn’t mean he can ace 3rd-grade math just as fast. Some children need more time and practice in order to master certain subjects or concepts; it’s important to remember not to push your child beyond his abilities.
Over-Parenting. As a homeschool parent, you’re also a teacher, coach, tutor, mentor, role model, and advocate. In some ways, your role as a homeschool parent can be more demanding than that of traditional school parents! This might lead to over-parenting—taking on too much responsibility for your child’s success or preventing them from learning lessons they need to learn in order to become independent adults.
Trying to Educate Your Kids All on Your Own: The fact is, it’s not easy for anyone (and especially a parent) to educate their kids by themselves. It takes a village, and if you’re homeschooling alone, it probably means you haven’t found one yet. Don’t be ashamed of reaching out to other parents and teachers who may have more expertise than you.
Setting Impossible Expectations for Yourself. It’s easy to beat yourself up for not making more money, or driving your kids harder, or doing better in math. This kind of mindset is harmful to everyone involved. Instead of being disappointed in yourself, celebrate all that you are accomplishing: learning every day with your kids and working hard to provide a great future for them. Be kind and gentle with yourself during such an incredible endeavor!
They Aren’t Prepared to Teach a Child with Special Needs Homeschooling can take more time and require more planning than other forms of education. However, homeschooling doesn’t have to be more difficult for children with special needs—if parents are willing to put in additional effort. One area where many homeschool parents’ struggle is accommodating learning disabilities in their children. So, how do you educate your homeschooled child with special needs?
Over-scheduling – This is a recipe for disaster! We live in such a fast-paced society that many parents have fallen into Over-scheduling as a way to feel like they are accomplishing something with their children. By limiting your school year to only 8 or 9 months, it will be easy to avoid Over-scheduling. You can accomplish more in less time if you simply set aside enough time for each subject and let your children work at their own pace. A little relaxation can go a long way!
Too many homeschool parents give up when things don’t go as planned. Setbacks are inevitable and you must overcome them. Be optimistic, work hard, stay organized and believe in yourself! You can do it!