Every homeschool has it's share of homeschool problems or mistakes. It seems like the first child in the family to be homeschooled has to be the “guinea pig” and go through it with the parent. Hopefully, we learn from it together and can do better the next day and the next and the next.
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I have eight children and started with my first child right away in grade K and my oldest three are now graduated. I presently have one child in public high school and am presently homeschooling 3 children, Pre-School, Grade 2 and Grade 4, with a toddler in tow. During my homeschooling years, I have made my share of mistakes and learned from them. There is still much to learn and overcome, but these are the ones I have overcome, with help from Jesus Christ.
Trying To Do A Public School Schedule
I was public schooled. When I became a believer in Christ at age 30, and felt like I wanted to teach my children creation from God's point of view and homeschool them myself, it was a whole new world to me. I tried to follow a public school day with sitting at the table for long periods, timed outdoor time, so many minutes per subject, etc. My child was fidgety and miserable. Eventually, I found some other homeschooling moms and realized I could be much more relaxed and sit in the rocking chair to read, at night, not even during school hours for some of the books I would read to them. We could spend more time outside if we wanted and I could read to them while they were playing in the sandbox if I wanted to. Life got better and more relaxed then.
Assuming The Child Is In That Grade For All Subjects
My poor dear first child had to go through mom assuming she was in a grade for all subjects. She had to be “at that level” whether she was ready or not! The truth is, she had a hard time reading and no matter how many hours a day I would spend trying to teach her or how many different reading curriculums I spent money on thinking the previous one failed, she did not bloom in that area until later. Then, one day, things started to click, she got it and now she loves to read and reads more than anyone else in the household! In fact, she became an author and is now enrolled in college and reading those complicated books.
I now know that children learn things in their own pace and timing. Some learn much faster than others and should not be held back due to their age and some need more time for them to fully understand it.
Doing Much More Than Is Needed
I used to feel like I needed to teach them everything! I felt that they must be “the best” at typing, computer skills, art, playing a musical recorder, etc. even though none of those courses are required by our state! It was a lot and really wore me out! Now, I ask the child what he or she is interested in and try to add some of that to the year. In High School, their elective credits are all about their interests of their choosing.
Expecting Too Much Because Of The Child's Age
It was so hard for me, when I thought a child should be able to “write legibly by this age because her sister did,” or “spell these words without mistakes by this age because his brother did,” or “understand Algebra right away because our neighbor did.” I learned that each child is different and learns at their own pace. This was hard for me to get because I was public schooled and was expected to do what everyone else was doing each day. I had to break out of this paradigm and see that it is better to learn at your own pace.
Too Much At One Time
In the beginning, my homeschoolers had to “do reading” or whatever subject it was for a full 50 minutes because that is what the public school in our area was doing. This lead to burnout and it was really hard to repair! Now, when a child says, “I need to stop doing Algebra”. I know she needs to do something else, maybe writing or her elective and will come back to Algebra later.
I do have a lesson planner with things that should be done by each day of the school year to finish within the year, but if they don't, we just do it in the summer or it goes on the next school year's planner. It's just a guide. Plus, the kids that want to “be done early”, know they can get everything on the list done for the day early, finish chores and then play the rest of the day! The ones that have a hard time in certain subjects, I will adjust their planner accordingly and say how much total time I would like them to spend on the subject today instead of how many pages, etc. I always write my planner in pencil so it is adjustable.
Expecting My House To Be Clean And All Laundry Done
Even when I was homeschooling one child, I did not have enough time in the day to “get it all done” like I wanted. One day, after I was in the hospital several weeks, I realized that I was not superwoman and that my children, not a clean house – are my priority. I now care more about what my children think than a stranger that might step in the door does. My husband does come before the children, so I asked him what he likes to have clean, etc. and he is just thankful I am alive and doesn't expect anything, which is nice! But, I do recommend that if your husband says, “have the living room floor picked up so I can walk to the easy chair,” then make it your goal to have that little thing done.
Homeschool is not fun unless mom is having fun too. Smile and laugh a lot and tell them how proud of them you are. Say, “wow, that's amazing, good job!” Talk to yourself on purpose, then say, “Hey, I got a joke for you, what is it called when a homeschooling mom talks to herself?,” then answer, “A Parent-Teacher conference!”
Showing A Lack Of Patience
Inside, I know that I sometimes do not have patience. However, I am getting better and better at keeping it inside. How do I know this? By other people's questions and statements. “How do you have so much patience?” “You are so patient, how do you do that?” “I admire your patience, do you have any tips?” “Mom, thank you for being patient with me.” (from a teen, the younger ones NEVER say this!) “You sure are patient, but I guess you have to be with eight kids!” I tell them that it is Jesus that helps me with this. I do pray for patience, especially in my mind when I am feeling impatient! And I probably don't pray it in the best way, I might say something like, “God, give me patience, right now!”
Lighten up, have fun, and don't expect too much. If you are worried about meeting standards, check out your state requirements for homeschooling, they might not expect as much as you think!
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