Top 10 Homeschool Tips to Remember
As we get closer to the beginning of a new homeschool year, it can be tempting to feel like we need to start with perfection. Or, for those of you that are on a year-round schedule, you may be getting a bit frustrated that things aren’t progressing perfectly. I hate to tell you … but listen up … no one is perfect. Our job is to simply do the best we can for our children. Here’s a Top 10 list of homeschool do’s and don’ts that will encourage you. These tips can be kept throughout the year as a reminder that we aren’t perfect … and that’s okay.
- Asking for help is okay. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help and support when you need it. Check out your local homeschool groups, other homeschool families, or just know that we are here to be a sounding board and to help you, too!
- Learn from failures. Here’s a little secret – even school teachers mess up, try things that are well intentioned but bomb, and find themselves with a project failure. It’s understandable that you take it more to heart–it’s your own child that you are teaching!
- Don’t be afraid of gaps. There’s no way that even brick-and-mortar schools can possibly teach every single thing that there is to learn. I learned this the hard way! I was so worried my first year of homeschooling that my child was going to miss something, and that it would be my fault, that I tried to cram way too much into my curriculum. It only stressed out my child and we had to take a break to get back to the basics.
- Don’t mimic public school. One of the reasons you are homeschooling is to go at your own pace, teach your children your values, and to enjoy your time with them. So, don’t feel that you have to follow a public-school schedule. For one thing, you can get in more teaching in less time. Also, interruptions happen and THAT’S OKAY! Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but you know what? Life goes on and your kids still learn what’s important. Consider it training for real life, because your kids will have to learn to adapt to setbacks and interruptions in their adult lives.
- Your kids are learning what they need to know. Public school curriculums are decided by people, just like you. They have to determine what is best for the masses. You have the advantage of teaching your children not only what the state standards specify, but also those things that are important to you, that your kids learn such as God, life lessons, manners, tolerance, and compassion. There’s no “magic formula” that fits all children, so be confident in your own learning styles instead of worrying about mimicking that “one-size-fits-all” approach. That’s the beauty of homeschooling!
- Spend time having fun with your kids. Like I said earlier, I made the mistake of trying to cram too much information in. I was also too structured, felt I needed to check off the boxes to make sure it was all done every day, and my kids suffered for it. I didn’t put enough fun, laughter, and love into our day. I thought school had to mimic a brick-and-mortar where there’s no room for “being goofy” or to laugh at your mistakes. Build that loving relationship with your kids every day and the learning will follow.
- Praise your children for a job well done. Take time to point out what your children do well and compliment them for a job well done. Everyone likes to know they are doing well and if you only point out mistakes, your kids may become frustrated and they may dread schoolwork instead of enjoying learning.
- Give yourself credit for those things you’re succeeding at and doing well. Perfection is saved for God. There’s no need to feel guilt or worry that somehow by homeschooling your kids, you are giving them a disadvantage or ruining their lives because you aren’t perfect. God gifted you your kids because you are the best parents for them. Trust in Him to lead you.
- Take some time off. When your kids need a break or have been working their patooties off, take a day just for fun. You can even surprise them with a field trip or a play day. They’ll appreciate it and know that you value their hard work, and it will become a cherished memory.
- If possible, make Dad a part of your homeschool routine. My husband works full-time and leaves all the homeschooling to me. However, he works in the basement so when he comes up for lunch or breaks, I try to have my kids ready to recite a poem, read a story that they wrote, present a project they’ve been working on, or show off their artwork. I also value his viewpoints on history so when possible, lunch is a perfect time to eat together and debate or discuss a historical aspect that we are learning. It will help him to see what’s going on in the day-to-day learning, and hopefully get him to be more supportive in what you do, too. And the best part … it gives your kids practice in front of an “audience” that isn’t too critical but will present them with questions and encourage them to show off their talents.
Most of All-Enjoy Each Other!
As we go down that homeschool path, I hope you remember that failures will happen–that’s how we learn. Laughter will occur, and that’s a good thing. Love and a solid relationship between you and your children will flourish if you keep an open mind and enjoy life during your homeschool journey.