When it comes to homeschooling rules, there aren’t many. Homeschooling offers freedom and flexibility to do what works best in your family. However, there are 10 Commandments of Homeschooling that you should keep in mind to find real homeschool happiness and success.
The 10 Commandments of Homeschooling
1.Thou shalt not compare your homeschool to anyone else’s homeschool.
Comparison is the thief of joy, my friend! Part of homeschooling is breaking out of the cookie cutter mold of conformity. It’s about finding out how your kids learn best and the way your family works best together. Maybe you’re more of a relaxed, eclectic, free spirit whereas your homeschooling friend prefers a structured, rigorous, classical education. What works for one may not for another. That’s okay. Do your own thing!
2. Thou shalt not kill the joy of learning.
If your children are asking questions and showing interest in things not on the lesson plan for the day, allow the natural learning to happen. This is how you encourage a lifelong love of learning! Embrace the flexibility to go off the lesson plan when the situation calls for it.
3. Thou shalt not be a slave to curriculum.
Curriculum is your tool, not your master. If you’ve chosen some curriculum that just isn’t a good fit for your child, set it aside for a time. Come back to it later (maybe days, weeks, or months if necessary) and try again if you want. But don’t get hung up on having to finish a curriculum that is torture for you and your child. There are more choices out there! It’s not a failure to find out what doesn’t work so you can eventually find what does.
4. Thou shalt not covet shiny objects.
There are many things that can distract us when we’re homeschooling. Whether it’s the latest trend or technology, sometimes time and budget won’t allow us to have it all. Keep your overall goals in mind, and you’ll be less likely to try to keep up with the Joneses. If you’ve found what’s working in your homeschool, there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken!
5. Thou shalt not sacrifice relationships for academics.
Reaching your child’s heart is just as important as teaching your child’s mind. As homeschool parents, we’re not in the business of breaking spirits in the name of standardized tests or arbitrary scope and sequence. We’re about guiding our children in their purposes and gifts and finding which resources they need. Keeping positive relationships and communication at the forefront lays a foundation for a healthy, happy, well-rounded life.
6. Thou shalt know the homeschool regulations in your state.
It’s important to know, understand, and comply with the homeschool laws where you live. This ensures success for not only you, but all the homeschool families who come after you. Not sure how to find the homeschool-related laws in your state? A local-to-you homeschool support group may be able to help you, or you can check the Home School Legal Defense Association’s website.
7. Thou shalt not let the criticisms of non-homeschoolers get you down.
People will talk. You might have friends, family, neighbors, or even strangers at the grocery store who feel obligated to give you their two cents. Let it go, as Elsa would say. If you’re the snarky type, feel free to come up with a stock reply for these occasions. I’ve learned that the blank stare of doom also shuts down conversations like that. Whatever works for you! You can read a humorous account of how to deal with the math-quizzing relatives this holiday season over on Hip Homeschool Moms. (But the information is actually relevant any time of year!)
8. Thou shalt surround yourself with good books.
There will be some who will disparage the size of your book collection. Don’t let that stop you! Just accept the fact that if you homeschool, you need books. The library can be your best friend, but don’t underestimate the power of your own home library. Just be prepared to buy (or build) lots of shelves. You have my permission to indulge your bibliophile tendencies. There are always ebooks and audiobooks, too.
9. Thou shalt seek wise counsel.
While you don’t want to take homeschooling advice from well-meaning family members or rude strangers in the grocery store, you do want to find your own sources of homeschool support and information. Whether you find a local homeschool group to participate in, a small group of homeschooling friends, or even online, get together and talk with other homeschooling families. You can learn from them and they can learn from you. It’s always good to have encouragement and a sympathetic ear!
10. Thou shalt give and receive grace.
There will be days when you feel like quitting. There will be days (or weeks or months) when you wonder why you thought homeschooling was a good idea. You will need grace. Your children will need grace. You’ll need the intestinal fortitude to adjust your attitude, change your expectations, and let go of the way you thought things would be and accept the way they really are.
There’s nothing wrong with having goals and high ideals — unless and until those things crush your soul or your child’s soul. That’s where grace comes in. Bad day? Tomorrow’s a new one. Bad week? Take a break if you need to. Get outside. Take a field trip. Take a nap. Read good books. Remember that the fate of the world doesn’t rest on a few bad days in your homeschool. Grace. Deep breaths and grace. This too shall pass. One day you’ll look back and be glad that you persevered. And you’ll be even more glad that you didn’t kill the joy by not offering grace.
You’ll notice a theme with these 10 Commandments of Homeschooling: do what works best for your family (within the law of course). Your homeschool journey is just that — your homeschool journey. Make the most of it and enjoy!
What would you put on your list of homeschool commandments? Let us know in the comments!
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