Though it was 20 years ago, I remember well my excitement as I planned for our very first day of homeschooling. I didn’t have a lot of available space in our single-wide trailer, but I was determined to have a designated school room. Moving our two-year-old from his slightly-larger-than-a-closet bedroom into his big brother’s bedroom (which was really an add-on) allowed my dream of a specific space for school to become a reality.
With the logistics taken care of, I was ready…Kindergarten lesson plans, a mini American flag on my desk, sharpened pencils, crayons, workbooks, colorful ABC and number charts on the wall – the whole nine yards! Our first day was a smashing success!
And…it went downhill from there. Not immediately, but definitely downhill. Through much prayer and not a few tears, I began to realize that I was the problem. Without meaning to, I was actually sabotaging our homeschool efforts.
Over the years, I’ve tried to be more sensitive to attitudes and actions that are detrimental. AND to be quick to make the needed changes. It’s been my observation in homeschool circles that I’m not the only one who has dealt with these issues.
Read on to see if you can relate to any of the sabotages that I, and others I know, have struggled with. If you do, start making some changes today!
Inflexibility dictates that you “stick to the schedule.” Sometimes the unexpected happens—dad gets a day off, relatives come to visit, a friend organizes an impromptu field trip. Being able to go with the flow and enjoy the moment on occasion will go far to keep you and the kiddos from getting stuck in a rut.
Have no schedule at all.
On the flip side of being inflexible is having no schedule at all. The kids don’t know what to do when. Chaos can quickly ensue if you don’t at least have some type of base schedule.
Try to emulate another family’s homeschool style.
Trying to be someone we’re not is always a recipe for disaster. I definitely struggled with this one for years. Many of the homeschool moms that I admired took a “delight-driven” approach to their homeschool. It worked for them and I wanted it to work for me. But, alas, my kids delighted in sleeping late and playing all day. Left to their own devices, they would have learned nothing except that the world revolved around their desires. In order for our homeschool to have the outcome that I wanted I had to take a different approach.
Compare yourself to other homeschool moms.
Oh, what a trap this is! Don’t do it.
Try to recreate a public school experience in your homeschool.
Remember: you’re homeschooling; you don’t have to do things the way they’re done in a traditional school setting. This concept was a game-changer for me, giving me so much freedom to allow my kids to learn in a way that best suited their learning styles. The book that I found most helpful in this area was Diana Warings’ Beyond Survival: A Guide to Abundant-Life Homeschooling. Which leads me to my next point…
Don’t allow for individual learning styles.
Just as each of children have different gifts, talents, likes, and dislikes, they have different learning styles as well. It’s important that we work with, and not against, those styles. If you don’t know your child’s learning style is, stop right now and check out this helpful article: How to Recognize Learning Styles so You Can Make the Best Curriculum Choices
Allow the textbook to become your master.
While textbooks definitely have a place in learning, they shouldn’t necessarily dictate when our children learn what. If your child is breezin’ right along and masters Lesson 3 quickly, there’s no need to do every single problem in that lesson. Mix things up and allow them to only the odd (or even) problems. On the other hand, if your student is having difficulty mastering a topic, feel free to spend some extra time on it before moving on.
Underestimate your value
Not sure how to engage dad in the process? Sometimes it IS a challenge to do that, since typically moms spend all day with the kids and dad’s away at work. A while back we had a series of guest posts writen by a homeschool dad on unique contributions dad can make to the homeschool. It’s a worthwhile read!
Get complacent – stop modeling your own learning/growing/reading
Are there ways in which you’ve found yourself sabotaging your homeschool? If so, share them in the comments and tell us how you’ve overcome them. You never know who might need your input!