Some parents look at homeschooling with fear, others with enthusiasm and excitement. Some believe that homeschooling is a way to invest in their children, while others feel backed into a corner with no other option. No matter what the perspective might be, everyone wants to do it right and to offer their kids a successful school year filled with fun, enjoyable and rewarding learning experiences.
But there are some common mistakes that parents can easily make when it comes to homeschooling. Here is what you should pay attention to and how to avoid them.
- Over Scheduling
You want to teach your kid as much as possible and also have time for extracurricular activities, but cramming in gymnastics, art classes, science center classes, classes at the zoo, piano lessons, chorus, community sports, physical education, writing classes and field trips it’s a little too much, don’t you think? You and your kids will burn out quickly. You should limit to only one or two fun activities per day and make schooling a priority.
- Under Scheduling
Over scheduling is exhausting, but under scheduling is also bad. Children need variety not to get bored and also opportunities to be with other kids. You can meet with other homeschooling families and plan activities together. This network will provide accountability and support.
- Unrealistic Expectations
Many mothers get upset when their three-year-old kid does not read yet or when their child in the 6th grade is not an ace at Algebra. It’s very easy to have unrealistic expectations. Although homeschooling helps children master concepts much quicker than they would in a classroom full of distractions, you can easily coast through an entire year without accomplishing anything. What you should do is have a solid plan to follow. You know your child, so create a curriculum plan that fits his/her struggles, abilities, passions and weaknesses, and stick to it.
- Disorganized School Room
Having a disorganized room not only prevents you from finding what you need quickly, but it’s also frustrating. Before the school year begins, organize your child’s homeschool room, engaging your kid in the task. The more time you will spend organizing your files and other things you need, the less time you will waste during the lessons trying to find stuff.
- Skipping Breaks to Make the Day Shorter
Telling your kid to do all the stuff in the morning so that he/she can have the afternoon free for other tasks is not a good idea. Breaks are important for you and your child even if you do not realize it. A free afternoon after an exhausting morning is of no value for children. Schedule regular breaks and stick to them no matter if you think you don’t need them. A longer but relaxed day, is better than a shorter but frantic one.
- Becoming a Slave to Your Home School Curriculum
Although you need to have a curriculum plan, you should not allow it to drive you. If your child needs more time to understand a concept, don’t push him/her just because you need to follow the curriculum. Sometimes you might just need to abandon a class or an entire course and try a different approach. But first, decide if it’s the curriculum that is causing the struggle or your misuse of it. Learn from your kid and adapt if necessary.
- Doing it Alone
Homeschooling does not mean you have to do it alone. It will only make you feel alone and frustrated. You need to socialize, you need to exchange ideas and opinions with other moms, and you need friends. Find seminars, support groups, memberships, homeschool conferences or classes to meet other homeschooling families and make new friends.
- The Super Mom Syndrome
Homeschooling means that your kids are at home all day, so you will not have time to run errands all the time, to make your house sparkling clean, to cook a healthy meal every day, to pay your bills always on time and this is ok. Be realistic that your home is also a school for your children. You can also assign your kids some chores that they can do every day before school and find the one thing that you cannot live with and handle it every day.
- Ignoring the Input of your Children
It’s very easy to get wrapped in your ideas and plans and forget to check your kids. Remember that homeschooling is a two-way street. Be flexible once in a while and set boundaries that give your kids some freedom within them. Consider their input and be ready to learn from them as they do from you.
- Fear of the Internet
Although the Internet is dangerous for children, there are some benefits to it too. It offers so much information that you can use, from interactive and educational games to videos of wildlife and experiments or live pictures of the solar system and much more. Supervise your child while he/she is using the internet for the online activities and also discuss the rules of their behavior on the Internet.
- Forgetting You Are Their Mom First
You can become so consumed with being a great teacher that you can forget that some days your kids just need their mom. Yes, academics are important, but your relationship with your kids is more important.
- Forgetting About Yourself
Homeschooling does not mean forgetting who you are. Do not neglect your health, your hobbies your ‘me-time.’ Always make time for you too. Take a few hours each week to do what you like.
- Comparing Yourself to Other Homeschool Moms
Stop trying to be someone else. You see other moms being better at homeschooling? So what? Stop playing the comparison game and focus on your children and what you can offer them.
Homeschooling should be an exciting journey, not a chore. Pay attention to these mistakes, and you and your child will have an amazing experience.
Bio: Kerrie Haynes is a final year student at the University of Oxford. She is a young journalist and likes to write about kids and education as it is one of the important things in life. You can find her at https://myessaywriting.co.uk/