Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ten Homeschooling Don'ts

"I don't know the key to success, 
                          but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."   
                                                                                                         ~ Bill Cosby

Ten Homeschooling Don'ts 

1. Don't start your child too early.  There is no reason for it, and it may do more harm than good.  I know you are eager!  Instead do lots of reading up on your chosen philosophy of education.  Research home education to your heart's content.  Read the school books recommended by your curriculum (especially ones that your child may read on his own when he's older).  But don't do sit-down work with your child until he is ready (for various reasons, we wait and start a half-hour-a-day or less preschool when our kids turn 5).  You can even put out books and manipulatives and handicraft items for him to explore as long as you don't tease him into interest.  Let him discover for the first 5 or 6 years of his life.

2. Don't assume homeschooling is the only option for your family.  It is not for everyone.  It is not the only godly method of education.  It may not be for every stage of your life.  Believing that you have to homeschool can put pressure on the family that snuffs out the joy if it's not actually right for you.

3. Don't overwhelm yourself with choices.  I love the fact that I can choose where my kids go to school and choose to teach what I think is important.  Freedom is awesome.  But I must narrow down those choices as best and quickly as I can, or I will be forever choosing and never using.

4. Don't constantly switch up curriculum.  Research and peruse and take your time and seek
guidance.  Then purchase and use without looking back with a "what if."  It can take a few tries to find what works for you.  Just realize the grass is not always greener on the other side.

5. Don't go it alone.  Share the journey with your spouse, friends, and God.  You need them.

6. Don't minimize your role as educator.  The older your kids get and the more kids you add into the mix, the more time it will take each day to do school.  I finally realized a year or two ago that I couldn't go to a weekday morning activity anymore because that was prime school time.  A private or public school teacher couldn't leave her job to attend a regular Tuesday morning event; why did I take my role less seriously?  Homeschooling is your full time job.  You are your child's teacher, and that is a rare and precious responsibility.  

7.  Don't work so hard to complete if you are in need of a break.  A break can realign your thoughts, bring rest and joy, and make you eager to start back in with renewed vigor.  Even a day or week's break from school can be refreshing.

8.  Don't be so consumed with school that other aspects of life are left behind.  You are likely also a spouse, sibling, daughter/son, friend.  You may have pregnancies and relocations and crazy life interruptions.  You also need rest and health and other outlets of interest that bring joy.

9.  Don't compare your children to each other or to public/private school children.  This includes test scores.  Oh, how we love to feel good about ourselves when our children excel!  And oh, how we love to despise ourselves when they are less than!  Improve your child's strengths.  Help them with their weaknesses.  Recognize their growth and value and individuality.

10.  Don't think you must "arrive" or have already "arrived."  Just like we as persons do in life, our homeschool will change and grow.  You don't need to have it all figured out up front, and I'm not sure having it all figured out should even be a goal.  It is an exciting journey.  Enjoy the hills and rivers and plains: all forms that are different from each other, but all unique and enjoyable in their own way.

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Ten Homeschooling Don'ts
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  1. Lanaya,
    I love this list! One that has recently been my "issue" is #3! I got started this year in August, and then "found" some other curriculum ideas that I preferred...problem...overwhelming! So, with my husband's aid - a former homeschooled child himself - I was able to decide on what we would do this year. I am still researching the curriculum/aids that I think might better suit our family from here on out...but I agree with you...the amount of resources out there are a blessing...but can be a curse if we're not careful!

    1. You are so right, Anastasia! You feel like you have to be an expert to choose a curriculum! But you do figure out a good fit soon enough after a little testing. And you can switch a small family a lot easier than you can switch a whole school, be it public or private.