By Jill Craft
Once upon a time there was this mommy who wanted to homeschool her children. She did extensive research and bought the top of the line curriculum before their first homeschool year started. She had confidence that the children would be overwhelmed with the gift of learning. Oh, you should have seen the adorable homeschool room and gadgets she thought would aid her in this magnificent homeschool adventure.
She was heartbroken and wanted to give up after the first month. It wasn’t as FUN as she imagined. There were daily tears from her children and herself that drenched the pretty school room that she worked so hard on the summer before.
Does this sound familiar?
Yes, that was me ten years ago!
It was only because my husband didn’t give up on me and cheered me on that I didn’t send my children on the yellow school bus the very next day. However, I only wished someone would have warned me against a few things that could have made a huge difference in our homeschool days. I was guilty of all these things.
The 7 Ways to Ruin Your Homeschool:
- Demand Your Child Stay on Grade Level. This was my biggest mistake in all my homeschool years. I felt that it was imperative that my children complete what the public school was teaching. It took me four years to get the grade level thing out of my silly mind. Once I made the decision to teach according to my son’s abilities, it was smooth sailing. He is now a senior and is right on track.So please don’t push your child when he isn’t ready. It will only result in tears and frustration.
- Believe all Children Learn the Same Way. Since I am a frugal mother, I insisted on saving all the FUN curriculum for the next child. It worked for the first two children, so apparently it will work for child 3, right? Wrong! Just like children have different personalities, they have different learning styles. Finding out what learning style accommodates your child’s needs can make all the difference in the world.
- Don’t Take Advantage of a Homeschool Support Group. I can’t stress this enough. The first year we homeschooled we were not involved in any sort of homeschool support group. We only knew one other family that chose the homeschool path. I needed someone holding my hand that first year because I had so many questions. You might have dear friends who support you, but if they haven’t been in your homeschool mother’s shoes….they truly won’t understand.
- Don’t Have a Homeschool Mission Statement. Since I didn’t have a homeschool mission statement, it was easily for me to forget why we were initially homeschooling. Once I created a homeschool mission statement, I was able to revisit our mission and was easily encouraged to keep on the homeschool journey when things got tough. Trust me, you will have BAD DAYS!
- Use Your Curriculum As a Bible. Yes, I am a rule follower. I thought we had to do the entire curriculum in its entirety and according to the author’s suggestions. Once I gave up on the fact that our curriculum wasn’t going to dictate our days, we all became less stressed. There is no perfect curriculum, so pick and choose what works for your family. I had to remind myself at times that the curriculum was just an outline or a tool.
- Don’t Believe Life skills is education. Life skills today are forgotten in education. When I decided to teach character and life skills as part of our homeschool, I felt a lightbulb went off. Just because we weren’t all sitting down doing workbooks, didn’t mean they weren’t learning what they need to succeed. Teaching life skills daily is preparing them for adulthood.
- Be Inflexible – Things happen. Children got sick. Cars broke down. I had a baby. Life happened and I needed to embrace the daily grind that got us off schedule. I had to realize that reading a historical fiction was ok, if we all were feeling under the weather. Use your homeschool planner loosely, and adjust when needed. Yes, you will survive!
After the dedicated mommy chose to change her vision of what a perfect homeschool day was supposed to look like, Mommy and children all became happy again. There were still those crazy, not-so-good days, but they were able to move forward and say, “Tomorrow is another blessed day!”
Jill Craft publishes a weekly newsletter on Blessed Beyond a Doubt (www.blessedbeyondadoubt.com), where you can find daily resources and tips on homeschooling.
Support and Information
- HomeSchool In Houston – homeschoolinhouston.org
- West Houston Home Educators – www.whhe.org
- Texas Home School Coalition – www.thsc.org
- Home School Communication Network – www.houstonhomeschool.org
- Home School Legal Defense Association – www.hslda.org
- National Home Education Research Institute – www.nheri.org
- Texas Home Educators – www.texashomeeducators.com
Houston Area Conferences and Bookfairs
- THSC Convention and Family Conference (July/August) – more info at www.thsc.org
Houston Area Home School Stores
- The Homeschool Store – www.thehomeschoolstore.com
- Home Education Partnership (HEP) Bookstore – www.hepbookstore.com
- Homeschool House – thehomeschoolhouse.org