No mom (or dad) is perfect, and we all mess up. Especially when it comes to homeschooling! But there are a few key mistakes moms make when they first start out teaching their kids at home. From personal experience and talking to other parents, I’ve learned there are four common mistakes every parent makes when they first start homeschooling, regardless of the age of their pupils.
The 4 Mistakes Moms Make When They Start Homeschooling
1. Buying All the Things
When you first venture into the online world of homeschooling, it’s absolutely overwhelming. Everywhere you turn, there’s a great math curriculum someone swears by or a language arts program you’re sure your kid will love.
And there’s nothing wrong with window shopping for curriculum, or even spending hours researching it (*ahem*). The problem is when it comes time to order your materials for your first year homeschooling.
It’s a big deal, right?
But that doesn’t mean you should blow your entire schooling budget (whether it’s a charter program’s or your own cash) on curriculum.
Especially in your first year of homeschooling, no matter your child’s age, experiences count for so much more than bookwork.
Sure, you can buy materials, but adopt the mantra “less is more.” Besides, anything you can’t live without will eventually find its way onto your shelves (and probably never come down, but that’s another subject).
2. Duplicating School… At Home
I know it’s part of the term “homeschooling,” but that doesn’t mean you actually need to bring the public school mindset (or schedule or desks or curriculum or anything else) into your home.
In fact, you can effectively homeschool without anything that even remotely resembles a public school classroom. Plenty of families unschool (don’t use formal curriculum or instruction) or even worldschool (travel the globe while “schooling”) and their kids turn out fine (more than fine, even).
So while it’s tempting to expect your kiddo to sit at a desk and complete worksheets or stick to a schedule (especially if you’ve only attended public school yourself), it’s probably not realistic. And, it’s definitely not necessary.
The beauty of homeschooling is you can custom-tailor it to suit your child, no matter how many you have.
Instead of your child conforming to a classroom or a teacher’s expectations, you can partner up and learn together. You can create your own “school” vibe that doesn’t even remotely resemble a public education.
Of course, if it turns out that school at home works for your kid, then that’s excellent. For most of us, though, desk time turns out to be torturous. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way!
3. Worrying About Tests!
It’s true that standardized testing is a beast. And for most homeschooling parents I know, it’s a necessary evil. Public charters must have their students take standardized tests to ensure their funding.
In short, our kids have to perform to keep reaping the benefits of their enrollment in a charter program.
Fortunately, standardized tests don’t start until third grade, so most families have some time to warm up to the idea. But instead, they usually stress over it.
And parents absolutely shouldn’t worry about their homeschooled kids’ test results.
Not only do homeschooled kids perform better on those standards tests as a whole, but the trend continues into college-level testing.
Reason rounded up a handful of findings with stats highlighting homeschool kids’ higher SAT and ACT scores in comparison with public school kids, and the results were impressive.
4. The Last Mistake Moms Make: Thinking They Can Do It All
Yes, you are a superhuman for homeschooling (and just plain raising) your kids! But you really can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t have to!
I used to think I could handle every aspect of schooling my kids myself. In fact, the only thing I was concerned about with homeschooling was how my kids would make friends.
But as they got older, I realized that learning from other people was an excellent way for them to grow as people and learners. We started taking enrichment classes mostly to make friends, but you’d be surprised how much more motivated kids can be when they’re surrounded by like-minded peers.
Even if you don’t have a huge budget for enrichment activities, you can find ways to share learning with others. Invite some mom friends to have playdates together and do science experiments as a group. Ask a family friend to teach your child to play an instrument. Have friends or grandparents speak a second language to your kids.
It may not take an entire village to educate your kids, but having a little help means you get to take a break. And a rejuvenated educator is a better educator!
What do you think?
It’s true that homeschooling isn’t always easy. But the good news is, the mistakes moms make when starting out are easily fixed! Just relax, trust yourself, and trust your kiddo!
What were some mistakes you made when you were first starting out with homeschooling? Have some tips to share with newbies? Share in the comments!