Oct. 17, 2016

If you’re like a lot of parents recently, you may be considering homeschooling your children to offer them the very best opportunity in education. Perhaps you’ve already made the big decision, but still have unanswered questions, or you want to make sure you do everything right.

Homeschooling can be a great way to tailor your child’s education to your own personal family needs and beliefs without the bureaucracy of public education. But as with almost any endeavor, there are ways to do it wrong. Keep reading to discover the most common mistakes made by homeschooling parents, and how to avoid them in the first place. 

Mistake #1: Not choosing a method or curriculum

After deciding to homeschool your children, one of the first decisions you have to make is how you’re going to do it. There are many methods and curriculums out there to choose from. But how do you know which one to choose? That answer depends on your personal educational philosophies and beliefs.

You may find the Traditional Method the best for you if you want to make your curriculum the most like the curriculum at a traditional grade school. You may prefer the Unschooling or Montessori methods if you feel that your children should learn at their own pace, exploring the topics most interesting to them. You may choose an Eclectic Method if you want to use bits and pieces of different curriculums and theories. Research all the different methods and their nuances, and you can choose the homeschooling curriculum that best meets your child’s needs. 

Mistake #2: Overthinking a method or curriculum - or not abandoning one that is ineffective

Even though it is necessary to pick a homeschooling method, it would also be a mistake to overthink it to the point that you can’t decide which method to use, or you put so much stock (and finances) into one particular method that isn’t proving effective for your child. Even in traditional schools, teachers often have to remain flexible and scrap even the most well-intentioned lesson because it just wasn’t working. Choose a method, and evaluate over time if the curriculum is working out. If not, choose another one. 

Mistake #3: Not setting a routine

After choosing a curriculum for your child, create a school routine, and stick to it. Be cognizant of overscheduling (or under-scheduling) your child when it comes to lessons, practice work, and peer or extracurricular activities. Create a plan of action by envisioning the goals and outcomes you would like your child to achieve, and plan your lessons and activities around your goals. Finally, set a daily or weekly routine that is predictable and livable for you and your child. 

Mistake #4: Thinking your kids are just like you

You might be a visual learner, while your child might be a more kinesthetic learner. Some kids learn best through watching a teacher model steps, while others prefer listening to verbal instructions to learn how to complete a formula in math. Assuming that your child is exactly like you is a mistake that many homeschool parents make. Get to know your child well to discover what ways they learn best. All kids are different, and they may learn best through a variety of learning styles. 

Mistake #5: Thinking that you can do it all 

Now that you’ve decided to homeschool, you might feel overwhelmed because you feel like a full-time teacher, a parent, and a housecleaner, all in one! Don’t fall into the familiar trap blaming yourself when your house isn’t cleaned to perfection, and you just don’t have time to get it all done. Rely on other household members to divvy up chores and cleaning, so you can give yourself a break once in a while.

Take a break now and then and do something that you enjoy apart from your child’s curriculum and housework. Take care of yourself; download learning games on iPad for toddlers to take a load off yourself and work in downtime in between lessons. Kids Academy offers several quality learning apps, like Singapore Math, that can offer self-directed learning during those times you need to catch a breath.

Homeschooling your children can be a wonderful experience for both you and your kids. When done right, you can build your child’s learning experiences around your family’s personal beliefs without having to deal with many of the problems they might encounter in public education. Avoid some of the common pitfalls above, and you will ensure that your kids will receive an education that lives up to your family’s ideals.  

Want to teach your kids matching and sorting skills? A handful of our educational videos will be a helping hand for you and the captivating pastime for your kid!