After 12 years of homeschooling, I’ve identified my 3 biggest homeschooling mistakes. I want to share them with you so that you can avoid making them too!
I’ve been thinking about all of the things that have worked well for us, as well as the things that haven’t.
The curriculum that was a total flop versus the materials that ended up being an ideal fit.
We’ve had some of the most incredible field trips, amazing science experiments, and unique opportunities.
But we’ve also had plenty of ho-hum excursions, “failed” science projects, and boring lessons.
It’s been a giant mixed bag.
A lot like life!
And while I wouldn’t trade this past twelve years of homeschooling for anything, there are a few mistakes I made early on that I’d change if I had it to do all over again.
I’m going to share these mistakes with you with the hope that you’ll be spared making them yourself!
My 3 Biggest Homeschooling Mistakes
I didn’t ask for help
When I first started out, I felt like I needed to prove to myself, (and to every single person in my life!) that I had what it took to be an incredible homeschooling mom. For whatever reason, I thought this meant I needed to be able to do EVERYTHING on my own.
Everything!?! That’s a pretty tall order!
Fortunately, I realized towards the end of our first year that I was going to crash and burn HARD if I didn’t get some help.
So I ended up getting the help I needed by outsourcing a couple of subjects, prioritizing getting myself to the gym a few days a week, and splitting all of the cooking with my husband.
Once I asked for the help I needed, I was freer to enjoy my family and homeschooling.
I tried to stick to a set schedule
I know that the difference between a routine and a schedule can be confusing. But think of it like this:
A routine usually contains a framework where there’s a rhythm and flow. While there’s often a sequence occurring within this framework, there’s also plenty of flexibility and space.
A schedule, on the other hand, is usually more rigid and unforgiving. Events occur at specific times and are completed within certain blocks of time.
I found that whenever I attempted to follow a set schedule, things rarely went according to plan and my anxiety would increase.
I’d plan to do math at 9 am but once 9 am rolled around, I’d find my daughter curled up on the couch, completely immersed in a book, as happy as could be. Or I’d have lunch on the schedule for noon but nobody would be hungry.
As soon as I learned to embrace a flexible routine and abandon a set schedule, learning flowed more naturally and I became much more calm and patient.
I took myself too seriously
I’m not implying that taking responsibility for the education of our children isn’t a huge responsibility, because it obviously is. Of course, we need to take it seriously!
But in our quest to cover all of our bases and check all of the boxes, it can be easy to lose sight of the joy of learning. I spent too much time in the early years worrying that my daughter was never going to understand a certain math concept or that my son was never going to become a strong writer.
As the years went on, I saw firsthand how consistency, play, interest-led exploration, and trust resulted in countless “aha” moments. The more I allowed myself to lighten up, the more we enjoyed learning together, and the more we were able to accomplish.
So here’s my advice for you as we get ready for this upcoming school year:
Ask for help
No shame allowed! Reach out for the help you need.
You’ll be glad you did!
Find a flexible routine
Yes, consistency is important. Rhythm and routine is a beautiful thing and helps facilitate rich learning. But strict schedules that don’t allow for flexibility often cause stress and anxiety.
Embrace a flexible routine!
Laugh whenever possible, engage in activities your family enjoys and embrace silly, whacky, and unconventional forms of learning.
If you’d like more in-depth encouragement and suggestions, check out the following Homegrown Scholars blog posts:
- Outsource Your Homeschooling to Save Your Sanity
- How to Find a Homeschooling Routine That Works
- How to Add More Joy to Your Homeschool
I hope this post offers you some practical tips and encouragement. Wishing you a wonderful year of homeschooling!