Before you get stressed thinking about how you may be “messing up” as a homeschool parent, take a deep breath. This article isn’t about sending you into an anxiety spiral about teaching your children.
We know how hard it can be to homeschool, and the last thing you need is to feel like you're falling behind or "doing the wrong thing" for your children. Instead, this guide is meant to help you feel empowered to customize your child's learning experience in a way that benefits you and your child and helps you feel equipped to be the best homeschool teacher you can be.
We've rounded up the biggest mistakes people make when approaching homeschooling so you can gain inspiration and reevaluate your curriculum to make it even stronger. One thing to keep in mind is that while the focus of homeschooling is education, one of the primary goals should be adaptability and customization.
After all, both you and your child are approaching this learning journey together, and the ability to change and shift focus is one of the many things that makes homeschooling that much more incredible!
With this in mind, let's go over the 5 most common homeschooling teacher mistakes and how you can avoid these pitfalls during your education journey.
1. Imitating Public School
You've made the switch to homeschooling after months of planning. You sit down and schedule your child's day, making sure to include blocks of time for recess and homework. After only a couple of days, you're exhausted. If any of this sounds familiar, you may be falling into one of the biggest pitfalls of homeschooling: making homeschooling too much like a public school.
We're not here to knock the public school system, but there is something much more personal about your homeschooling experience, which is why your education plan should be unique. If a schedule for you and your child's unique learning style is necessary, that's entirely acceptable, but remember to work learning around your family's schedule and your child's unique needs.
Sure, it can be helpful to have a wakeup time and a schedule for the day but be willing to step outside of the block scheduling that public schools depend on and set your expectations. Afterall, flexibility and adaptability are just as important traits to learn as sticking to a schedule!
2. Not Connecting with Homeschooling Peers (for You and Your Children)
One of the things that can make homeschooling difficult is that you and your children have to actively seek out social groups. For many children, school is one of the main daily socialization activities, and many of their friends are only around during the school day.
In homeschooling, making sure your children have time to socialize with peers can be incredibly important to their development, as you already know.
However, being able to socialize with other homeschooling families can also be incredibly important for you. Hearing other teaching experiences and being able to connect with your peers can help immensely with the homeschooling journey and isolating yourself can stagnate your educational journey.
3. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
Many people approach homeschooling with the intent to give their children the best opportunity for educational success. And, while homeschooling does offer plenty of opportunities for excellence, one of the biggest teaching pitfalls is expecting too much of your child, or yourself. You don’t have to be a super teacher and a super parent at all times, it is okay to have a day where you achieve less than you expected. You'll even find learning opportunities throughout the day that weren't planned but just happen organically.
Similarly, the expectations you place on your child can directly impact their approach to learning, and while it is important to strive for understanding and education, all work and no play can damage your child's mental health, as well as foster resentment toward education as a whole. Make it a goal to find a balance between study time and free time. Excellence will follow if you trust the process.
4. Not Incorporating Your Child’s Interests into Learning
One of the biggest advantages of homeschooling is letting your child decide the focus of their education. In many cases, incorporating your child's interests can take a huge weight off your shoulders when it comes to planning out lessons or curriculum. Be creative with your lesson plans and incorporate your child's favorite interests, you're sure to find them excited to learn no matter the subject!
5. Not Planning Ahead
Every homeschool parent feels nervous when talking about planning for the future. While your child may be young now, eventually they are going to approach the wider world of learning. Being sure to instill a love of education and good study habits can help prepare your child to enter into higher education. Keeping track of your schooling, whether that comes in the form of transcripts or general summaries, can allow for your child to apply to colleges easier, should that be in the future.
We know homeschooling can be scary and overwhelming at times, but with GIGIL STEM Kits, you can take some of the hassles out of your lesson plans while keeping learning fun and educational. For more homeschooling advice, as well as cool crafts, learning activities, and more, check out our other blogs!
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