I’ve been homeschooling for more than 10 years now, and I have certainly had my highs and lows! As I look back I can definitely see a pattern during the times that I seemed to do really well and during the times that I seemed to do really bad. As we enter the last leg of our homeschooling school year, this is usually the time that most of us look back and evaluate how we’ve done.
If you feel that you’ve had a bad year, there is still time to recover! End on a good note! In the spirit of Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child
I have put together the top 10 ways that you can ensure to fail at homeschooling.
1. Listen to what everyone else is doing
Fallacy: Everyone has opinions and we usually love to share them. Who’s to say that “mom knows best?” Really you should just listen to what everyone else is doing and copy them…and if someone else has a different idea, then change again. After all those other moms probably know more than you do anyway..and if it worked for them, it should work for your kids too.
Truth: If you don’t want to fail, then you’re welcome to listen but only listen. Take advice carefully and only after you’ve weighed everything. You should consider your own family, your children’s differences, and your instincts. Do your own research and don’t just trust everyone else. Many things that work for one person will not work for another. I know that doesn’t make it easy to figure things out, but just don’t be so quick to jump on the bandwagon with everyone else. Stay calm and cautious before making changes that could cost you money and time!
2. Spend time comparing your child to others
Fallacy: The best way to know how you’re doing is to compare your kids to other kids. After all how else can you know if you’re on track? If your kids are ahead of others you should feel great and make sure to brag about them. If your kids are behind, you should feel horrible and hang your head in shame.
Truth: You can’t compare. Comparing any 2 children is like apples to oranges. No two children are ever alike. I have 2 children and believe me they are totally different in every way. What seemed to work well with my first child didn’t work with my second. Don’t compare your children against their siblings and never compare against other people’s children either! This will only result in frustration and the feeling of failure. Besides, who knows if what you hear about another family and their children is the whole truth. We all put our best face forward online and even when talking to others. Very few people are totally transparent! Just because it appears that someone has it all together doesn’t mean they actually do. Just be proud of what you are doing with your family!
3. Don’t waste time on planning
Fallacy: Most people aren’t planners anyway and they are doing fine so why waste time planning? There is barely enough time in the day to get anything done. How would you have time to plan? Just keep it all in your head and figure it out as you go along. Besides, having a list or a plan just stresses you out!
Truth: Without a plan you will crumble. Plans not only give us an idea of how to split up our time, but they also help us set goals. Without goals you’ll never be able to measure how you are doing! Your plans certainly don’t have to be detailed or burdensome, but a simple idea of your weekly goals divided up into simple daily tasks will make a world of difference. Homeschoolers could also use accountability. I know that’s an ugly word, but we all need it. Teach your children now how to set goals and hold themselves accountable!
4. Switch curriculum often
Fallacy: If you get bored with a certain curriculum, then switch. If someone suggests a new one that they like, then switch. If something new comes on the market, then switch.
Truth: Jumping around from one curriculum to another creates gaps in your child’s learning. This is especially true of math. Even if you get burnt out, just stick with it! The only time I suggest changing is if you really don’t see any progress. Otherwise stick with what works! Just because something isn’t exciting doesn’t mean it’s bad. These days our kids expect to be entertained even in their school work. Sometimes learning to stick with something and work hard at it is the best training.
5. Have unreasonably high expectations…expect genius
Fallacy: Your child should be a genius. I mean you are giving him/her all your attention and let’s face it… you know your kid is smarter! Push Push Push… the more you push the better they will get. Tears are worth it.
Truth: While it’s true that most homeschoolers out perform their public school peers, most kids will be average learners in most areas. We all have our specialties and our weaknesses. Find the area that your child excels at and push them to succeed. Find the area that your child struggles with and learn together how to best make this a success. Pushing too hard will only frustrate your child and leave you feeling miserable. See also #2. Comparing to others usually leads to this need to push our kids…so we can prove that we are just as good or better.
6. Over socialize your kids
Fallacy: You need to make sure that you don’t have unsocialized kids so you should fill your days and weeks with outings and events. Sign them up for sports, art, PE, co-ops, etc…. the more the merrier. No one can accuse you of not socializing your kids now. By doing this you’ll have come backs for all those nasty remarks at family gatherings.
Truth: Don’t be too busy. Pick and choose your outside activities carefully and only put priority on the best choices. Not only does this save money, but it gives you and your kids a more peaceful and consistent school week. Rushing kids around everywhere.
7. Don’t have a schedule – just wing it
Fallacy: Who has time to create a schedule? Just tell the kids what you want when you want it. Besides, who wants a nasty schedule hanging over your head all the time? Be flexible so you can go to spur of the moment field trips or outings.
Truth: This is similar to #3. But by schedule here I mean more of a general household schedule of chores, errands, weekly outings like sports or music practice. You and your children need to know what you’re doing each day. If you keep it in your head you’ll end up missing appointments, running late, being unprepared, and more. It leads to a stressful life. A simple calendar on the refrigerator will help. You might realize you have too much going on! See # 6
8. Don’t take time for yourself – focus on everyone else
Fallacy: Your life needs to center around your children right now! This is their time. Even if you wanted to take some time to yourself, there just isn’t time…and people will think you’re being selfish!
Truth: If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll never be able to take care of anyone else. I have a wonderful friend that has a funny story about this. (thanks Lauren) One time she was flying and they did the safety announcements. Well, you know how they say if you’re flying with a child to first secure the oxygen mask to yourself before you help your child? It seems so backwards right? But actually, if you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll never be able to help your children (or husband). Take time to re-energize. Your family needs you happy and calm!
9. Compare yourself to other moms
Fallacy: The best measure is to look around at what other moms are accomplishing. If they an do it, you should be able to do it. Check out their facebook page…it’s probably an honest representation of their day. If you can’t keep up with the other moms, you’re probably just never going to make it.
Truth: Everyone struggles keeping the house clean, dinner made, kids educated, and husband happy. See #2. Just like we shouldn’t compare our kids, we shouldn’t compare ourselves. Other moms may appear to have things all together and organized, but you never know what it’s really like behind closed doors. They could be just as frazzled at times as you! Set your own goals, take care of yourself, and you’ll do just fine.
10. Give credence to the critics
Fallacy: If “they” say that something is best or worst, you should believe what “they” say. Your family and friends that criticize you and your choices should be allowed the greatest influence in your life.
Truth: No matter what you do, as a parent you will always have critics. Never allow other people’s opinions to rule your decisions. Yes, it is hard to face opposition from those who you care about, but ultimately you are the one in charge of what’s best for your family! Never give credence to the critics!
Of course all of this was written to encourage you to continue on your homeschooling journey! There are always so many obstacles in life and that is particularly true of homeschooling, but there are also so many blessings! I hope that you find this sarcastic post both encouraging and humorous.