It sounded like a good plan in the beginning of the year, but your homeschool can quickly get off track.
Look at 5 homeschool rookie mistakes you can fix today.
Mistake: Doing all of your curriculum every day.
It is overwhelming, especially when you have multiple children to learn how best to use each new piece of curriculum.
Fix: Start today by putting aside a few subjects for one week and focus on one or two subjects like math and writing. The next week gradually fold in a few more pieces of your new curriculum.
You won’t get behind, but quite the opposite.
By taking time to learn how each piece of your new curriculum is laid out, you can decide when to skip ahead or move slower on a lesson.
Mistake: Scheduling by the hour instead of zones.
Scheduling by the hour has benefits, but save that for later on when you have the first year or two behind you.
Fix: Instead of fixating on the hour, schedule homeschooling in zones or chunks of time. Plan the morning for school, a couple of hours in the afternoon for some fun hands-on time or read aloud and after about 2:00 p.m., plan time for chores.
The advantage of this fix too is that you can focus on understanding what the needs of your children are this year without having to feel like you’re already behind.
Focus on your family, not the schedule.
Mistake: Attending too many outside scheduled activities.
Though you may want to fix what may have been wrong in the public school, you can’t if you’re exhausted.
Fix: Instead of attending so many outside scheduled activities, focus on activities that you and your kids can do together at your leisure.
You will need a break even a short time into the year from your schedule. However, the break needs to be when you need it. Do not start your year by trying to attend every function held by a home school group that you recently joined. Your children need you in the beginning so that you can foster your relationship with them.
Plan your activities to meet the new demands of your time instead of panting to keep up with another schedule. Don’t be so hard on yourself because you will find yourself mentally and physically exhausted. If your kids are young, plan for a park day with other families where you can rejuvenate too. If your kids are middle and high school, grab a group of other teens and meet up for a movie during the day or for some outdoor sport.
As you grow more accustom to a homeschooling routine, it will be easier to plan more scheduled activities.
Mistake: Starting to homeschool without time to deschool.
Deschooling is an unfamiliar term for new homeschoolers. And though it entails so much, in the beginning it means to get off the public school treadmill.
Don’t try to mimic the schedule and mindset of public school. If something in public school works for your family, then embrace it. However, if something does not work for your family, then you are the teacher now and you need to let it go. Take time to relax and analyze what your goals are in homeschooling.
Trust that a child has a love to learn naturally if you will create a relaxed atmosphere.
Relaxed and lazy are very different concepts. Relaxed means that you embrace a slower meaningful pace where your children can get use to a new schedule. Lazy means just that. Very little if any school is done. Most new homeschoolers do not fit into this category and so there is no need to think that slowing down means lazy.
Also, it is much easier to teach 3 or 4 kids than to teach a classroom of 30 students. So don’t follow the same approach and method of public school.
Fix: Instead of jumping right into a rigorous schedule, give you and your kids time to unwind or deschool. Deschooling doesn’t have to mean no school at all, but it can mean switching a homeschool approach, doing a hands-on project, attending a library read aloud program, taking teens to a museum science class, or my favorite, attending a history reenactment. Also, you can focus on doing a unit study to learn something that your kids want to learn about.
Feel homeschool freedom by abandoning the mindset that learning can’t be fun and still rigorous.
Mistake: Hyper focusing on the needs of your children and not receive any teacher help.
It is easy to do. Round up top notch curriculum and drop loads of dollars on curriculum for the kids and not receive any teacher help.
Fix: Don’t shortchange yourself with support and help. Just like a public school teacher gets continuing education, you need it too.
When I started homeschooling, I made sure I purchased helpful teacher’s manuals and not just something that gave me the answers to my sons’ workbooks. I invested in books that helped me how to teach different subjects, followed blogs that used my same homeschool approach, signed up for newsletters with helpful homeschool tips, received catalogs from companies like Rainbow Resource, met with other homeschool moms and never missed attending homeschool conventions each year.
Give yourself some breathing room this year by avoiding common new homeschooler mistakes. Before you know it, you will be a pro, but this year take some time for yourself. Are you already making some of these rookie mistakes? You have the power to fix it today.