As we begin a new homeschool year (or continue our 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 is to simply do the best we can with and for our children. I put together a list of 10 homeschool do’s and don’ts that many of us who homeschool might do well to keep in mind throughout the year. I hope it encourages you!
Top 10 Homeschool Do’s and Don’ts
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!
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 child, 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 child every single thing there is to learn!
4. Don’t worry that you aren’t teaching your child what he or she needs 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, 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! If you obey Him, He’ll take care of the outcome!
7. Do spend time having fun with your children. Don’t make the mistake that I made when I first began homeschooling over 16 years ago. I was too strict and too structured. I didn’t put enough fun into our school day, and I didn’t include enough love and relationship in my days with my children. I thought school had to be “formal” and that there was no time for “goofing around.” 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 a part of your homeschool if possible. If you can have your children recite poetry, read a story that he or she wrote, or show off an art project to Dad when he gets home from work, then be sure to encourage that! It will help him know what’s going on in your homeschool, and it may cause him to be more encouraging and supportive of what you do too. And it 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.
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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!