Mistakes I Have Made as a Homeschool Mommy

Although I have only recently begun my journey as a homeschool parent, I have already made several mistakes.

 

Mistake # 1:  Buying way too many workbooks/textbooks 

When we first started homeschooling, I probably bought about twelve textbooks and workbooks combined.  For my kindergarten son!  After a few weeks, I realized that even though my son learns quite rapidly and is very advanced for his age, he doesn’t need all these workbooks.  And, he doesn’t like them either!

 

Mistake #2:  Trying to mimic a public school in my home 

Just about every new homeschool parent goes into “teacher” mode when she first starts educating her kindergartener.  But why are we homeschooling if we want to play school?  Kids need us to be parents – not teachers.

 

Mistake # 3:  Not taking my child’s natural learning preferences into account 

My son is a visual and hands-on learner.  Yet I was giving him worksheets all the time.  Worksheets are fine occasionally for him, but I was insistent in the beginning that he do worksheets every single day.  Thinking back, I now know that is why we both burned out on homeschool so quickly.

 

Mistake #4:  Planning separate studies for my children for every subject 

I used to do separate work with my three and five year old children.  Now we cover Science, Social Studies, Bible, Art, and some math as a family.

 

Mistake # 5:  Taking school so seriously

My children are three and five.  They learn best by playing at that age.  If Mommy is too uptight to play and wants them to work all day, it’s likely that the children won’t learn much at all.

 

Life is a learning process.  I am sure these won’t be my last mistakes.  But I will try my best not to repeat these things in the future.  We all want what is best for our children.  But we have to remember that they’re still children, so we need to let them be….

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Ins and Outs of Homeschooling

You have made the decision that homeschooling is right for your family. You are at peace with your decision, and yet you are starting to feel anxious and perhaps a little overwhelmed.

 

Firstly, you must investigate the homeschool laws in your state.  Each state in the USA has its own specifics when it comes to Home education.  You need to know what is required of you where you live.  A good place to start is http://www.hslda.org.

 

The next step is to withdraw your child from school if he or she is currently enrolled.  The withdrawal process is usually quite simple.  You will need to fill out a withdrawal form indicating your reason for withdrawal.

 

Then, you will need to meet with the attendance officer and file an intent to homeschool.  In some states, forms may be filled out online and you may not need to actually meet at the office.  But, you need to check the regulations where you live.

 

I highly suggest that you have copies made of each paper that is filed with your school district.  This will benefit you if there are ever any issues.

 

Now, you are legally set to homeschool.  Just make sure you follow up with any additional requirements in your state such as providing samples of your child’s work throughout the year, achievement exams, and so on.  Remember that each state is different, and homeschool laws are subject to change.  So, I recommend that you keep current with your state laws.

 

Finally, I want to encourage you to keep homeschool records regardless of whether your state requires.  Why?  This is to secure proof in case any problems should ever arise.

 

Although in my opinion parents should have freedom when it comes to educating their children, there are certain requirements that go along with home  education.  And, in order to exercise your right to homeschool, you must abide by the laws of the land.  Hopefully these tips give you more insight!

FAQ – My Homeschool Experience

I am often asked questions about my experience thus far in Homeschooling.   I am by no means an expert.  Still, I will share the Q & A.

1.  Are you not worried your kids will be introverts and unsociable?

No. I am not in the least worried that my children will turn out as introverts or be unsociable.  Sit down and talk to my kids. You will see they are neither introverted nor unsociable.  They love talking to people.  They are polite, respectful children who engage well with others.

 

2.  How often do you homeschool and for how long?

Home education is different than public education.  Students are always with their teacher.  In public school, there is a 7-8 hour window in which children are with their teacher.

 

3.  Are you a licensed or certified to teach?

The Lord God Almighty licensed me as my children’s mother and certified me to teach them when he commanded me by way of the Scripture to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬ ‭KJV‬‬. So, with the Holy Spirit as my guide, I have the knowledge I need to impart to my children.

 

4.  Do you ever get tired of staying home all the time?

I don’t stay home all the time.  In fact, I am only home all day about once a week.  And even then, we aren’t stuck inside all day.  We are usually shopping for books, playing at the park, discovering God’s green earth, at a library, visiting family, etc.

 

5.  Is it hard to teach your own children?

No.  It is actually a natural process that requires little skill but lots of love and patience.

 

6.  Are you worried your children will be behind?

My children are three and five.  My five year old has been reading for almost six months.  He works math problems on a first grade level, and he is very creative. He loves to put puzzles together.  Not the 5-piece baby puzzles.  The 48-100 piece puzzles.  48 piece puzzles usually take 15-20 minutes to assemble solo (I don’t help at all!) the first go-round.  After that, he can usually piece them together in less than 8 minutes.  I struggle with 24 piece puzzles, by the way!  My three year old daughter knows how to write her name and all the alphabet in upper case and lower case.  She recognizes numbers 0-18 and can write 0-9.  She has an interest in reading and is currently working on single consonant sounds.  She can also solve simple addition problems such as 3 + 2 = 5.  She participates in our Science and Social Studies lessons, both of which are taken from first grade textbooks.  Both my children have spoken in complete sentences by the time they were 18-21 months old.  They don’t seem behind to me at all.

 

7.  Which method of homeschooling do you prefer?

I prefer the method that best suits the child.  Children are individual and should be treated as such.  I currently use a relaxed method that includes many of the Charlotte Mason aspects.

 

8.  Will your children ever attend public school?

I cannot determine the future.  But I do know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing right now.

Enjoying My Freedom as a Homeschool Mommy

In the public school systems all across America, there are certain skills that must be taught in certain time frames.  If any of the students do not or cannot meet these benchmarks, then that student is considered behind his or her class.  Homeschooling is very different.  Homeschool lessons can be (and should be!) tailored to the individual child.

 

It would be great if every child in America was a self taught reader by the magical age of 5.  Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.  And, that’s okay.  Each child is special and unique.  Some children are artists.  Some cannot even draw stick figures.  Some children love music and sing like opera stars.  Others struggle to piece together “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”  Again, that’s okay.

 

We all learn in different ways.  We each have different interests.  If everyone in the world functioned exactly the same way, then our world would be a very boring place.

 

So, I encourage you to be yourself. Let your children be themselves too.  Nurture their interests.  Allow them to thrive on their natural desires.  I am in no means saying to let them run wild.  I am simply saying to set up a learning atmosphere that is appealing to your child and give them the freedom of utilizing their creativity in order to get the most out of their education.

 

The best way to nurture a child’s natural peaks of interest is to help him discover what those interests are.  Next, find out how your child learns best.  Find out how you teach best.  Then find that balance in your homeschool.

 

Get to know your child and let him get to know you, too.  That’s the first step of the homeschooling process.  Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed with guidelines to education.  Think outside the box.  Pray for guidance from the Lord.  He is the best teacher of all times, and He will never let you down.