Homeschooling is a learning curve – and not just for your kids. Many of us make mistakes when first juggling the roles of teacher and parent. Here are just a few common mistakes to avoid so that you can make homeschooling easier and more productive for you and your child.
Being too flexible/not flexible enough with your schedule
Having a schedule is important in order to keep your child on target with their education. If you’re too carefree, you and your child may find it too easy to make excuses for not learning. At the same time, however, you need to have some flexibility. If your child is struggling in a certain area or an emergency comes up, being able to adjust your schedule could be important.
Skipping breaks to shorten the day
Why bother with breaks when you can cram it all into one intense study session and finish earlier? Many of us are guilty of doing this and it can seem practical – but it can actually affect both you and your child’s ability to focus. By having regular breaks, you and your child can stay motivated and maintain concentration throughout the day.
Trying to replicate a school classroom at home
Some parents can go to great lengths to make the home feel like a classroom, but often it’s not necessary. You don’t need a whiteboard or educational displays. In fact, you don’t even need a desk and chair. Study in an environment that is easiest and most productive for you and your child – if you and your child would prefer to dress up a study like a classroom that’s fine, but if you want to study on the sofa or dining table that’s fine.
Not taking advantage of free resources
Some homeschoolers can pay huge amounts for textbooks and worksheets without realizing that amount of free resources available online. There are sites where you can download free math worksheets and interactive free sites that are just as good at textbooks (and arguably a lot more fun and engaging).
Not joining a support network
Support groups are great for meeting other parents homeschooling their children and for helping your kids socialize. If you don’t have a support group in your area, there could always be the option of starting your own. You may even be able to do group lessons and activities as well as trading the role of teacher to help add variation to your learning. This needs only be once per week.
Forgetting to have fun
One of the biggest advantages of home-schooling is that you get to choose the learning approach you want. You don’t have to sit down and complete questions in a textbook – instead, you can play fun educational games, watch videos together and take trips to places that you think will be educational to help with their studies. If a task is getting boring, ask yourself why and then try and find a way to spice it up.