Homeschool can be a rewarding and enjoyable journey. However, it can also be challenging and frustrating. There are quite a few common mistakes that people make when beginning the homeschool journey. Hopefully knowing about these mistake will help you to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Doing Too Much
Trust me, I know how enticing it can be to try to do everything under the sun. After all, the beauty of homeschooling is that it opens up your schedule to so many things. You have complete control over your child’s curriculum and their extracurricular activities. You rejoice at the fact that you can “do all the things!” You want to teach them the world. You want them to be able to take part in all of the fun and educational activities that your area has to offer. So you have a schedule that is completely filled in with studying, classes, and events. Although I think it is great to strive for a well-rounded homeschool experience, what this will likely lead to is a sense of overwhelm and eventual burnout. Rather than trying to schedule in everything, focus on a few things at a time. First, decide on the subjects you will cover over the course of a year. Then decide on a couple of extracurricular activities. Remember, it is not the number of things you do that matters most, but the quality of life and education that you provide. It may take some experimenting, but you can find a good balance.
Mistake #2: Neglecting Learning Styles
One thing that can be really helpful is realizing that everyone has a learning style that is most natural for them. For example, your child might be a visual learner. This means that they do well when learning with things that can see (such as videos, diagrams, flashcards, etc.). However, if you are more of a lecturer that depends on just reading things aloud, without any props, your child may not thrive academically. It doesn’t mean that they are incapable of learning – it simply means that they learn in a particular way. When you take the time to understand how they learn (which can be achieved by trying several different methods and seeing which ones are most effective), you are better able to determine not only which materials to use when working with them, but how to use them.
Mistake #3: Comparing Your Family to Others
You know the saying -comparison is the thief of joy. We know this, yet it doesn’t stop us from looking at what other people are doing and using that to measure our own success. We might see a local homeschool family whose children all speak two languages. Or another homeschool family that does things a certain way. We see what other people are doing and make ourselves believe that we should be doing the same thing. The thing is, just because something works for one family doesn’t mean it will work for yours. You need to find out what works for your family. It may look completely different from everyone else you know and that is okay. The beautiful thing about homeschool (and life) is that it can be different for everyone yet still work. Don’t try to force yourself (or your family) into a mold. Instead, mold your experience around your family.
Mistake #4: Not Being Flexible
It is okay to have plans and expectations about what you want to do. It’s natural and smart to think ahead and know what you want when undertaking things that are important to you. However, I would recommend that you also maintain some flexibility. Being flexible and open to doing things a bit differently than planned can make it a lot less stressful if things don’t go exactly the way you imagined. Perhaps you will find that the schedule you’d planned to implement just doesn’t work for you. Or maybe you will realize that the curriculum you purchased isn’t really the best fit for you. By being flexible, you will be better able to switch things up, experiment, and figure out what DOES work for you and your family.