As we begin a new homeschool year (or continue the year for those who homeschool year-round), it can be tempting to feel like we need to be perfect. The truth is, though, that none of us is perfect! Our job as homeschool parents is to simply do the best we can with and for our children. That’s why I’m sharing this top 10 list of homeschool do’s and don’ts!
My hope is that this list will encourage you to do your best and not get bogged down worrying about being perfect. Whether you’re a brand new homeschooler or whether you’ve been homeschooling for years, I hope this list helps you have a fantastic homeschool year!
Top 10 Homeschool Do’s and Don’ts
If you’d rather watch the YouTube video version than read this article, you have that option! Rather read it for yourself? You can do that too!
1. Don’t feel like a failure if you have to ask for help!
It’s ok to ask for help and support when you need it. If you don’t have a local homeschool support group or local homeschooling friends, we’re here for you! You can find the Hip Homeschool Moms Facebook Community by clicking this link.
Or you may be able to find ways to include grandparents in your homeschool. This article shares ways grandparents can help homeschool, but there are lots more ways to find support for your homeschool.
2. Don’t worry about messing up!
We all mess up. I used to be a school teacher, and you know what? School teachers mess up too!
Don’t feel like you can’t do as good a job as a school teacher because you can! Even the very best school teacher doesn’t have one advantage that you have. You are teaching your own children, so you are much more concerned with the outcome than even the best school teacher could be.
3. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a public or private school education doesn’t have “gaps.”
There is no way any school in the world–no matter how good a school it is–can possibly teach your children every single thing there is to learn! That’s why it’s important to teach your children how to learn rather than trying to teach them everything there is to learn. It’s just not possible.
4. Don’t worry that you aren’t teaching your children what they need to know.
The people who decide what public and private school students should learn are human beings just like you! They, just like you, simply must use their own best judgment about what school children should be taught. There is no “perfect magic formula” that fits all children.
Teaching your children according to their own learning styles and interests is much better than the school system’s “one-size-fits-all” approach. They cannot have the flexibility and freedom that you have because they have so very many children to teach, and it would be impossible to fit a public or private school education to every single child in the school. You, however, can do exactly that! So go with it!
5. Don’t feel like you must do school the way they do at public or private schools.
Sure we have interruptions when we homeschool. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes we don’t get every subject finished every single day. But ya know what? When our children grow up, get married, and have their own jobs and their own children, they will face interruptions and setbacks just like we do now.
It’s ok. They’ll know how to deal with it as adults because we’ve shown them how to do it as children. So don’t worry about interruptions! Consider it to be training for real life–because it is!
6. Do give yourself credit for what you’re doing well and for what you’re doing right!
There’s no need to feel guilty or worry that you’re ruining your children by homeschooling and not being perfect at it. God gave your children to you because you are the best mom (or dad!) for those kids! That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect (because nobody is perfect). It just means you should do the best you can.
Sometimes doing the best you can might mean taking a break and watching some documentaries or reading some educational books. Other times it might mean taking a day off to enjoy some nice weather and get some exercise. And of course, there are days when it means hitting the books and getting school work done.
No matter what you do or don’t get done each day, give yourself credit for the successes–no matter how small big or small.
7. Do spend time having fun with your children.
Don’t make the mistake that I made when I first began homeschooling over 20 years ago. I was too strict and too structured. Our days weren’t fun, and I didn’t include enough love and relationship in my days with my children. School was very “formal” and public-school-ish with no time for just having a good time together and building family relationships.
I now know that it’s ok to take time for relationship-building and for loving our children. In fact, I think homeschooling is just as important because of the opportunities it gives us to build loving relationships with our children as it is for providing our children with a good education.
8. Do tell your children what they do well!
If you only point out mistakes your children make without ever stopping to compliment them on what they’re doing well, your children may not enjoy school and may dread it! While it’s wise not to praise so much that your children think they’re perfect, it’s a very good idea to point out what they’re doing well and to make sure they feel successful when they’ve done a good job on something.
9. Do take a day off now and then just for fun, for a field trip, or for a play day.
We often do school 4 days a week instead of 5 because my sister and her children come over one day each week just to get together and visit and have fun. That means we must do a little bit more work on the other 4 days, but it’s totally worth it to have a day of fun each week!
10. Do make your husband/wife/relatives/friends a part of your homeschool if possible.
If you can have your children recite poetry, read a story that they wrote, or show off an art project to Dad/Mom/or a friend or relative, then be sure to encourage that! It will help the other parent, relative, or friend know what’s going on in your homeschool, and it may cause that person to be more encouraging and supportive of what you do too.
It also gives your children an opportunity to practice giving a speech, presenting a project, or even reading in front of an “audience” that won’t be too critical!
Just starting homeschooling? Check out these 10 tips for talking to your husband about homeschooling.
Links for the information Wendy mentions in the video can be found here:
You can find more “where to start” information by clicking this link.
Looking for additional resources? Check out these books!
Looking for other articles about homeschooling? Try these!
So what “do’s or don’ts” would you add to this list? Do you have tips or ideas to share? Please tell us in the comments!