No one starts their homeschooling journey with the intent to fail! So, as you can see, our title today is completely in jest, but really, there’s some actual truth to it. Many homeschooling families make little mistakes here and there that can often lead to catastrophic failure for homeschooling in general. In looking at these from a jovial standpoint, I hope that I can help you steer clear of some of those little mistakes for an awesome homeschool year ahead.
Remember: this is “tongue-in-cheek”, so don’t bite down too hard.
Don’t Try to Figure Out Your Child’s Learning Style When Homeschooling
You’ve probably heard at least a little about how every child has a “personal learning style” but you might not be sure what that means. Instead of trying to figure that out, you should move forward with the most popular prepackaged homeschool curriculum and then stick to it no matter what. It has to be true that it’s popular for a reason, with so many children doing so well with it, so it should work for your child too.
After all, catering to their learning style is really just a means of spoiling them, isn’t it? It’s really just a structured way to let them get away with more than they should and as a strict homeschooling parent, you can’t let that hold up your goals or theirs. Taking the time to learn about learning and teaching styles is just more than you should have to plan out.
Plan Far More Than You Can Accomplish While Homeschooling
If you’d like to assure your failure overall, make sure you plan, plan, and over plan some more. Aim for a six to eight-hour day and cram it full of homeschooling curriculum pieces, assignments, quizzes, tests, labs, field trips, volunteer service, music lessons, sports, gymnastics, drama, debate team, and plenty of chores at home that you’ll file away under “Hom Ec” class. Of course, each of these in itself is a great option for the homeschool day, so why not do them all, every day, and you’ll get done twice as fast, right? Oh! And, let's not forget about attending homeschool co-ops or your local homeschool support group! Plan, plan, plan!
Make sure you make sub-notes on specific numbers of pages to do in each book or workbook. In fact, if you’re supposed to finish a course in 30-40 weeks, if you double up on lessons each day, you can do that in half the time! If anything happens to interrupt your school year, such as illness, a doctor’s appointment, or any minor emergency, be sure to spend makeup hours working late into the night and weekends. So long as it gets done, it doesn’t really matter if your kid misses friend-time or church. Getting that curriculum finished is all that matters!
Understand That Failing is NOT an Option in Homeschooling!
No matter what, you need to make sure you drive home the fact that your homeschooled child simply cannot fail. Working late, skipping friend-time or fun activities is just part of the sacrifice for a good education! And if you have to go two or three days with absolutely no outside time, so be it. Marching through the curriculum is something that can’t be done outside, so we cut corners where we must. Forget the bell curve and makeup assignments, you have to record everything just as it is, in order to meet those educational objectives as an educator.
Never EVER Let Your Child Self-Evaluate While Homeschooling
A child’s place is at their desk. Learning. Period. If we give them free rein, they’ll just try to skimp by or make everything “fun”. They don’t have a clue how important their education is right now, but if we push them hard enough, with coldly calculated lines about what they can and cannot do, they’ll experience so much more success.
Never ask your child what they think, how they like what they’re doing, or if there’s anything they would change. Although they can be trusted with some things, when it comes to their schoolwork and home education, they cannot. So, make sure they never get any opportunity to voice their opinions, beliefs, ideals, and certainly not their fears or misgivings about what or how they’re learning.
Create NO Goals While Homeschooling Your Child
If you’re not worried about having to “keep up”, it’s bound to work out better. After all, planning on reaching goals is really just a little too presumptuous, isn’t it? How can we know that our child will even make it to that first benchmark, anyway? There might be ways of keeping track when you homeschool your child, but with all the work we have to do on any given day, who has time for that anyway?
The same goes for lesson plans. If you’re just going to double up on the work, why not just ignore them? That way if you get done with something early and want to forge on to yet another lesson during the day, it’s a whole lot easier.
If your child is in middle school, don’t overthink heading into high school. It’s all classes, and they’re all the same, so just take your time. You can do credit planning and all that once you’re actually there instead of wasting precious time on it now. After all, your child's education is more about the here and now!
Compare, Compare, Compare!
If you follow enough social media accounts and read enough blogs, you should have a great game plan for your own homeschool! After all, if it works for them, it’s bound to work for you, and the more things you try, the greater chance there is that you’ll find the winning combination. Be sure to copy as much as you can, especially from those who have the most followers, and you’ll rack up extra points for creativity.
A good rule of thumb for measuring your success is to compare your children to the children of those wildly popular homeschooling families across your social media platforms. If you aren’t measuring up, learning, and having loads of fun, then you’re obviously doing something wrong. If that happens, go back and see what you’ve missed. Add some craft time, field trips, and take lots of pictures of their happy smiling faces to show how well you’ve achieved your goal.
While you’re at it, be sure to take detailed mental notes on every bit of critique you receive, even from strangers. Appearances mean something and if you’re giving off the kind of appearance that strangers notice, that means there’s definitely something you need to be working on! I'm sure you probably aren't getting enough homeschool socialization, so be sure to work on that! You might even consider asking them to double down on their criticism, so you don’t miss anything.
Please be sure you don't forget to compare your homeschooled child to those of the same age in public schools and private schools near you. You would want to be sure you follow a school day just like they do so your child won't be left out or left behind in their education.
Don’t Worry About YOURSELF
Lots of homeschooling parents actually take time to pamper themselves, but if you’re going to get the results you want, you’re not going to be able to do that. Once you sign on for the homeschooling life, that’s at least 12 years of constant, around-the-clock work towards that one goal. Spoiling yourself is as bad as spoiling your children, so don’t play into that mindset.
Constantly keep your homeschooling goals in front of your face and keep in mind that you are a full-time homeschooling family. Keep calendars in plain sight, tailor specific areas in your home only for schoolwork, download tracking apps, and set alarms so you don’t accidentally wander off the path. Even the least amount of deviation may sidetrack you enough so that you’ll miss all your goals. You can always worry about yourself after the children graduate. Unless of course, they need assistance during their enrollment in college. You can plan a spa day after that.
Expect Only the Best Results
Once you’ve put all these homeschool programs and plans into action, accept nothing less than the best for your homeschooled kids. After all the effort you’ve put into following this plan, they’re sure to be geniuses and it should show in every single piece of daily work, every quiz, and certainly every test. They’ll be brilliant conversationalists, putting naysayer minds at rest who might otherwise have called them “anti-social”, and they’ll go on to apply to and be accepted by Ivy League colleges around the country, or perhaps, out of the country. Going at your pace, rather than your child's own pace, will definitely pay off in the end.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, all of these pieces of “advice” are simply in jest. It’s amazing, but some parents actually try to follow advice like this and wind up thinking that homeschooling isn’t right for them and their families.
To turn things around, just look back through these topics and do the opposite as a homeschooler! Do check into learning and teaching styles, do not plan too far ahead, and please know that even failing is just a stepping stone towards understanding and mastery of any given subject. Pull your child into the planning and evaluation stages, if they’re old enough, set a few maintainable goals, and never attempt to compare yourself to any other homeschooling family, even if they are social media gurus.
Homeschooling is an endeavor that is easy to personalize, and it’s not that hard to do. Does it take time and effort? Yes. But it’s far easier to customize your child’s homeschooling plan to their and your specific needs than it is to follow the advice you find above. Take it from a homeschooling mom who’s been there!
Now, you can exhale.
For even more information, be sure to consider attending a Great Homeschool Convention near you. With seven regional conventions across the country, they offer amazing speakers, hundreds of workshops, and extensive curriculum and resource vendors. Hotel package discounts are also available for convention attendees, and all of these are further detailed on the Great Homeschool Conventions website. Be sure to check it out and hold your spot right away.