Homeschooling much like life doesn’t come with a user manual. Many times we are learning what works by trial and error or even worse we compare ourselves to other homeschool families. This can lead to feeling inadequate or defeated. To help avoid these feelings, here are five solutions to common homeschooling pitfalls.
1.) Don’t expect your homeschool to be just like public school.
You chose to homeschool for many different reasons, but doing school at home cannot be the same as public school, and it shouldn’t be. You don’t need to grade everything your child does with a red pen and put a letter grade at the top. As homeschoolers, we should be looking for progress. If they are doing better than they were a month ago, then that is great. It’s also easy to compare our children to public school children or other homeschooled children. All children learn at differently and comparing doesn’t do anything but add stress to your life.
2.) Don’t have too many subjects and assignments for your children to complete.
As homeschoolers sometimes we feel the need to prove that our kids are learning just as much as other kids. So, sometimes we have way too many worksheets or assignments to complete in one day. This is going to stress your child out and they will most likely shut down. At the beginning of last school year, I had a language arts curriculum as well as a reading curriculum for my daughter. After doing her phonics and reading work, she was in no mood to do another worksheet on language arts. She would shut down as soon as she saw the book. So, I threw it out and we didn’t do it. Guess what? She still learned, but we both had a better day without another worksheet.
3.) Don’t have too many worksheets
I know there have to be some worksheets, but make sure to have some games, arts, and play. Kids, especially in the elementary grades are not designed to sit for an extended period of time. After a subject that your child had to sit still at their desk and write, do something that they can get up and move around. Maybe they can reenact what you’re learning in history or do a science experiment. If nothing else, have them do a little exercise and loosen up and get them out of their chairs.
Get the art supplies out! Let your kids paint and express themselves. Some moms might be having a panic attack thinking about the mess! Yes, it will be messy, but they will have fun! That is what it is all about!
4.) Don’t have a strict schedule
This is so important as homeschoolers. Since we are home and have other children and responsibilities you need to give yourself some grace. Don’t get me wrong, have a schedule, but keep it flexible and loose. Please have goals, but use the cues from your kids and if they are really interested in a subject or unit, camp out there for a bit longer ( maybe even the whole school day).
Children can become frustrated when they don’t feel like they have any say so in their school day. For example, I have been reading The Secret Garden to my kids and they have really been enjoying it. They started working on a lap book and were having so much fun with it I let them make the lap book for the entire school day. I didn’t worry about math, and handwriting and the other subjects for that day. When your kids are really into a subject or activity, let them keep exploring.
5.) Don’t assume all the responsibility for your children’s school work
If you have more than one child, it will be exhausting to sit next to each child and watch them do every assignment. Let them have some freedom and trust them enough to do a subject or assignment and have them ask you if they need help. Some parents want to micromanage their homeschool and have control over everything. I allow my children some freedom in choosing the order in which subjects to complete. This allows them to feel like they have some control over their school day and I value their opinion.
Homeschooling is hard work, trust me, I know. I am always learning more and more every day about my children and the way I should teach them. I hope this list will help you if you are struggling with certain areas in your homeschool journey. We are all in this together to help and build each other up.