What’s your reason for homeschooling? It was moving from Ontario, Canada, to Nova Scotia for us! We didn’t know what to expect as we had moved to a rural area where the culture was quite different from what we were used to. Luckily we’ve met some amazing friends who made us feel quite welcome. The good thing! They are also homeschoolers.
At first, the feeling of homeschooling scared me so much.
Will I ruin my kids’ education?
Do I even have what it takes to teach my kids?
What will everyone (family) think of us?
SOCIALIZATION! My kids won’t know how to be around other kids and talk to strangers when we go out. They will be shy and unfriendly. Have no confidence.
They will hate me for not sending them to public school!
Ha! Two years ago. I was naive to think like that, for sure. But as I sit here and reflect on my kid’s growth. My growth. That’s the furthest thing from the truth.
My kids are smart. We are thriving and doing well! They are fluent in reading, writing, and understanding math concepts (not to brag). But more so – my kids are social and can easily understand and share their emotions. They accept others and can easily make friends.
My kids are disciplined and not exposed to inappropriate age information.
All this is to remind you as a parent not to feel guilty or question your many motives for homeschooling your kiddos.
So without further ado, let’s dive into homeschooling do’s and don’ts.
Homeschooling Do’s and Don’ts
With this post, I aim to support you on your homeschooling journey and remind you that you are not doing a disservice to your kids, you are not running their education, and you are not robbing them of any great and glamorous experience. And more so – you are not making things unsocialized kids.
But instead, giving them an opportunity will allow them to grow and become everything they were meant to be.
Whether you are an experienced homeschooler or a brand-new homeschooler, I would love for you to take away at least a thing or two from this blog post.
5 Homeschooling Don’ts
1. Don’t allow the critics to bring you down.
The norm is for kids to go to public school. It’s what everyone expects from parents and kids. Those who understand the benefits and advantages of homeschooling will NEVER judge or criticize your decision.
On the other hand, those who are clueless about homeschooling and its many advantages will be the first to show their illiterate side. This group of people will bash you. They will ask your kids simple Math or English questions to see if they are as bright as those in the traditional public school system.
You will encounter the latter group of people at some point in your homeschooling journey. When you do. Please don’t allow them to break you or discourage you from homeschooling. Don’t allow them to take advantage of you or your kids. And most of all, my friend. DON’T try to prove anything to them! Because those who bash homeschooling will also do. (until they stumble upon their realization that homeschooling is packed with benefits. )
Your duty as a homeschooling parent is to enjoy what you do. Remember your why for homeschooling and enjoy your privilege to homeschool your kids. Not to convince someone (who cannot be convinced) that your choice to homeschool your kids is the best decision for you and your family.
2. Don’t let guilt or shame get the best of you.
As I mentioned in my intro. My first year of homeschooling was packed with guilt and shame. If you’re a new homeschooler, it is natural for you to feel guilt about homeschooling, mostly on days when your kids are not getting “sufficient” work done.
On days when you are experiencing guilt for homeschooling your kids. Go back to your why. Why did you begin homeschooling your kids? When you decided to homeschool your kids – what were your expectation?
Look at the end rather than the beginning. What results are you hoping for at the end of your homeschooling journey? Picture your kids at the end of their homeschooling journey. Who do you want them to be? What is your expectation from them?
Now reverse engineer this. Now that you know the result. What can you do today to get your kids to where you want them ten years from today?
Can the public school system give them this? If so – then the public school might be your best bet! (Just saying.)
If the public school system cannot offer your kids the reality, you would love for your kids. Then you should not feel guilty about homeschooling your kiddos.
3. Don’t copy anyone’s homeschooling style.
You will be tempted to.
You will! But DON’T copy another homeschooler style. Homeschooling should be unique to your child’s learning abilities and your teaching style.
While it’s okay to get inspiration from other homeschooling parents on curriculums, reading materials, etc., I highly recommend researching to ensure these materials or methods will work for you.
Don’t feel pressured to have your homeschool area setup look like another homeschooling setup. Find a setup that works for you and your kids.
If you want to homeschool on your dining table – that is A.O.K. Because that works for you in this season of life. If you wish to have a designated area, that’s also great. Homeschooling on the road, on the porch, or under a tree may not work for everyone. But you know what? It works for some.
Find a method that works for you in your season of life, and tweak it as many times as needed. But DON’T feel the need or pressure to replica another homeschooler style.
4. Don’t replicate the public schooling setting.
When I started homeschooling, I accidentally copied the public schooling setup, which drove me bunkers. In all honesty, I was burning both ends of the candle. My kids felt exhausted, and I felt drained at the end of every homeschool day.
I’m not proud to say this – but I will often threaten my kids that I will enroll them in public school. (Not a good thing to do either)
I replicated the public school period lengths, nutrition break time, in short, all things public school. Very early, I realized this was not working for us. So I switched things up.
I started observing my kid’s learning style. We started taking off during the week, running errands when we had to. This made us enjoy homeschooling way more.
We no longer replicate the public school 180 days of learning but rather homeschool all year round. Taking breaks when needed. Going on vacation in April or September rather than the traditional summer trips. In so doing, we are avoiding the crowds and getting better traveling and vacation deals.
The public school system offers a “one size fits all.” We all know this ” one size fits all” style cannot and will not provide every child the special education and teaching they need.
That’s the beauty of homeschooling. It offers the unique teaching style that your kiddos need. So why replicate the public school system that cannot and will do meet your child’s needs?
5. Don’t compare your homeschooling journey to another
This point is similar to not coping another homeschooler’s learning or teaching style. But is worth mentioning as a stand-alone.
Theodore Roosevelt beautifully said – “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
When you constantly compare your homeschooling journey to another homeschooling parent, you won’t recognize your many achievements but only see your shortcoming. And the truth is that it doesn’t matter if we are a new or seasoned homeschooling family; we all have flaws.
As mentioned earlier, and I will continue to tell you as I support you on your homeschooling journey. Homeschooling is unique to every family. It’s not a one size fits all. What works for another family may not necessarily work for you or me.
Whenever you find yourself comparing, remind yourself that homeschooling is not a size-fit-all. Be happy for that homeschooling family and continue to follow your child’s cue and what is working for your family. Ditch what’s not working and modify your homeschooling plan to fit your season of life.
On the topic of comparison. Don’t compare your child’s level of education with another child. If your first grader is not reading fluently and other parents are boasting about their kid’s reading fluency. Celebrate that parent win and continue to work and support your child so he will progress with his reading or whatever areas he struggles with.
If extra work is needed, stay back and work with your child. Don’t force or feel you must complete the curriculum at a set time and date. You and your child will be so grateful ten years from today that you decide to work at your pace rather than follow the expectation of society.
5 Homeschooling Do’s
6. Do give yourself grace.
As homeschooling providers, we can be so hard on ourselves, yet we can give kind advice to another homeschooling parent who is going through exactly what we are.
While having high expectations for ourselves is great, we often must give ourselves grace when we make mistakes. Mistakes like investing in a curriculum that’s not worth it, not preparing ahead, etc.
Do what works best for you and your family.
Follow your child’s cue.
Allow yourself to make mistakes, and forgive yourself when you do make mistakes. Take breaks when you need to.
7. Do incorporate your partner in your homeschooling journey
Usually, one parent takes the lead when it comes to homeschooling. But even though you are the lead homeschooling provider, you shouldn’t bear all the burden. Ask your spouse for help when you need that extra help. Even if your spouse is busy with work, include them by discussing what’s happening. Difficulties you may be facing. The kid’s progress—the curriculum you are doing, extra activities you attended, etc.
If you are a single parent, your journey may often feel lonely and overwhelming. If that’s the case, please hang out with us on Facebook by joining proud-to-be homeschooling.
If the grandparents are involved in the kid’s life, ask for help. Many times they want to help but don’t know you need help. There’s no shame in asking for help. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re not a great parent. It means the opposite. It means you are willing to put your pride aside to show up and be the best version of yourself; you need support from others because you are human.
8. Do join homeschooling groups and conferences in your area
Chances are you are not the only one homeschooling in your area. There are many more homeschoolers in your area. Even if you live in a small town.
When I first moved to my new hometown, I swear I was the only homeschooling family. The school bus picks up and drops off directly in front of my home. I will see the kids getting in and off, making me feel even more horrible for homeschooling.
Within months of our move, I quickly learned that many more homeschooling families were in my area. At first, we didn’t attend many homeschooling activities because we didn’t feel like we fit in. Once I got that self-destructed thought out of my mind, we joined the homeschooling group. About a year later, to be exact.
It takes time to find your circle. So don’t feel obligated to join all the groups or attend every homeschooling meeting.
Join the groups and participate in the discussions or conferences that align with you.
9. Do try different curriculums to find the one that is right for you.
You will invest in curriculums, apps, and books to realize they did not meet your expectations. If this happens to you- you do not have to stick with it. Yes, you just invested money, but are you willing to work with resources that are not right for you?
Reach out to another homeschooling family and see if you can sell or donate the resources to them.
Continue researching for resources, and look at the reviews – pros and cons of the resources. See if you can download some free versions and test them. There are many free homeschooling resources that you can try.
To find the right curriculum and resources, you will need to do your own resource. Don’t rely on others to do this for you.
10. Set goals and have a homeschooling plan.
George Washington Carver once said – “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.
I asked you this question earlier, but it’s worth asking again.
Where do you see your kids 10 or 15 years from today?
What do you want your kids to say about their homeschooling journey when they grow up?
What is your homeschooling vision?
These are profound questions. Take a minute or two and journal on these questions.
Set yearly, quarterly, monthly, and weekly homeschooling goals. And work towards achieving them. At the same time, give yourself grace if you don’t meet every goal but never give up on them. Keep working and giving your best so you and your kids can meet the goals you’ve set for yourself.
No two days of your homeschooling journey will be the same. Some days will be dream board days; others will test your sanity. Days like these reflect on your why and affirm you choose to love, nurture and give your kids the best education ever.
You got this. Together we are raising emotionally, strong, resilient kids.
I hope I’ve inspired and provided you with insights you can implement in your homeschooling journey.
Leave me a comment, sharing some of your homeschooling do’s and don’ts.
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