5 Important Lessons I’ve Learned While Homeschooling

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Written by Sara Dennis of Classically Homeschooling.

My homeschool was a disaster. In my zeal to have the perfect homeschool, I’d added too much to our school day and pushed the kids too hard in an effort to catch up. The kids were crying, and I was miserable. I’d made mistakes while homeschooling and learned these 5 lessons.


5 Important Lessons I Learned While Homeschooling

1. Don’t Rush

It happens every time. Your child is progressing smoothly. They’re working at the right level and enjoying their studies. Then you chat with a friend, read a homeschool forum, or receive a lecture from your mother-in-law. The next thing you know you’re panicking. Your kids are behind. You’re a failure!

So you pick up the pace or decide to skip the end of the textbook. Your gentle homeschool has now turned into a war zone. The kids are crying because they don’t understand the material anymore. You rushed ahead, and they couldn’t keep up. You’re crying because homeschooling has become a mess. Everyone is miserable.

Trying to rush kids through their education is a disaster. Children need time to absorb concepts, to master math facts, and enjoy learning.Mastery is more important than speed in education.

So slow down, enjoy your homeschool, and be a tortoise. Slow and steady wins the race!

2. Don’t Compare

Have you ever compared your homeschool to someone else’s? I know I have.

Comparing is always a mistake.

When you compare, you compare your weaknesses against your friends’ strengths. You see that your friends’ child is doing algebra while your child is finishing 6th-grade math. You see the amazing artwork, the astounding music, and the elaborate science projects. You don’t see them hiding their kids ‘horrendous handwriting or the days spent trying to get their child to write just one sentence.

Everyone shares their successes, but how many of us parade our failures and struggles in front of family and friends?

Nothing will shake your confidence as a homeschooler as quickly as comparing your struggles against a friend’s successes.

3. Be Diligent

It’s easy to get caught up on the computer studying homeschooling. There are so many wonderful sites, forums, and blogs. There’s so much to learn!

But when you’re sitting at the computer studying how to homeschool, you’re not homeschooling. You’re not sitting down with your kids and reading great books together. You’re not enjoying long discussions or pulling out the art supplies.

It’s too easy to forget that diligence is an important factor of homeschooling. Simply sitting down every day for a few minutes to teach phonics, to study math, or read a great book gradually adds up.

Homeschooling requires we sit down and teach our children.


4. Stick with a Good Curriculum

It’s tempting when you hit a snag in homeschooling to blame the curriculum and to just try something new. You’re promised the kids will never struggle with math or science again. They’ll suddenly adore writing. It’ll bring about world peace.

After all the grass is greener on the other side.

However education doesn’t work like that. Kids will learn beautifully for a time before coming to a halt. It’s not that the curriculum isn’t working, it’s simply they need time to absorb the material. Your kids need to practice the concepts, internalize them, before mastery sets in.

Often simply backing up and doing review work for a couple weeks is enough to solidify kids’ understanding and move ahead.

Jumping curriculum when the kids simply need a few weeks of review slows you down. You lose ground waiting for the new program to arrive, learning how to use it, and reviewing to catch back up to where you were.

Don’t change curriculum for every little snag.

5. Do Less

Have you noticed how many awesome activities and excellent curricula there are these days? It’s too easy to keep adding more and more to your school day until you don’t even have time to breathe.

Doing too much is a mistake. Kids wear out and become grumpy. You are exhausted from trying to keep all the balls in the air. The solution is simple but difficult.

Cut back on the number of activities so you’re not rushing here and there. Reduce the number of homeschool programs you’re using.

Children need time to explore, to think, to play. You need time to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and chat with your friends.

Leave time in your day to relax and enjoy homeschooling.

With these 5 lessons learned and implemented, my disaster of a homeschool turned peaceful. The children are now happy and making progress. I’m relaxed. We have time to enjoy learning, play, and being a family.

What have you learned from the mistakes you’ve made while homeschooling?

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  1. Oh, #3 was me for the longest time- and still is sometimes. It’s so easy to get caught up in reading about the wonderful things that people are doing in their homeschools while forgetting that you have your own homeschool to attend to!

  2. So true! Now on my second year homeschooling my 6th grader. The first year was waayy to much … (co-op, scouts, curriculum changes, etc..) I was super guilt ridden, and completely overwhelmed. The last month of last year, we were barely hanging on. We were both worn out!

    This year has been so much better. No co-op, now doing online courses, a few “field trips”, more crafts, and only one sports class.

    Can’t stress enough to pray and RELAX! Even if you have a “stubborn” child, they will eventually “get it” and move along with you. If they sense you are stressed out, they get stressed out too.

    Definitely was over doing it with the online homeschool research, but after dropping that for a while, and focusing on the learning, things seemed to balance themselves out.

    Moms…take time out for yourself (with balance, of course) Take each day at a time…and banish the guilt! You CAN do this! 😉

    Thanks for your informative and encouraging post.

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