10 Homeschool Mistakes I made when I started homeschooling with tips to help you avoid them
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10 Homeschool Mistakes

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Homeschool mistakes are the first thing many people mention! When I first started homeschooling I asked a lot of questions and I spent a lot of time researching. I watched my friends and I set out with a huge game plan to rock the homeschooling world. I was going to teach my child better than anyone ever had. I was going to be awesome. Then I hit the first day of school and reality sunk in. All the plans weren’t working because I had a dyslexic child and she didn’t fit the mold I built for her. Today I am going to share the 10 homeschool mistakes I made when I started homeschooling in hopes that I can save you the stress I went through.

10 Homeschool Mistakes I made when I started homeschooling with tips to help you avoid them - #homeschool #homeschoolmistakes #homeschooling #homeschooled #education #edchat

10 Homeschool Mistakes

 10 Homeschool Mistakes I made when I started homeschooling - There were 10 homeschool mistakes I made when I first started homeschooling. Making a mistake homeschooling doesn't have to be the end with these tips.

I based our homeschool on other people’s children.

One of the quickest ways to fail in homeschooling is to base your child on someone else’s standard. This is one of the biggest homeschool mistakes I made. When I started I didn’t understand this and we spent our first few years frustrated and overwhelmed. I used Saxon Math because my friend did… (We totally didn’t mesh well with it because of dyslexia.)

If I could do it again…

I would look at how my children learn instead of how people say they should learn. I would focus their education completely on their learning styles and building up their strengths. I would spend more time on raising the kids I had instead of the kids someone else did. For Math, I recommend Teaching Textbooks as it worked well for us.

I skipped Sight Words

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I decided that phonics was it and I completely skipped sight words. Later in life, I realized just how important they are. It is very important to lay a foundation of phonics but it is equally important to use sight words that are not easy phonetically. You can get a great sight word printable pack I put together for free if you are interested.

If I could do it again…

I would approach reading with a more balanced approach. Instead of doing away with sight words completely, I would have worked to find fun ways to teach sight words. I would have also found more time for fun based phonics instead of strict book work.

I rushed to book work.

Instead of enjoying the little ones in my home I rushed to curriculum and book work. My children would have learned a lot more by being able to play more and learn through doing instead of book work.

If I could do it again

I would look at more of a Montessori approach and do a lot more hands-on learning with the kids. Both of my kids are very hands-on in their learning. My daughter will learn more about gravity from dropping something than she will by reading about it any day. I wish I would have been more focused on that when she was younger.

Homeschooling is never meant to be a lonely journey. Instead, it's life meant to be lived big with other people. - #homeschool #homeschooling #homeschooled #education #edchat #quote #quotes

I avoided homeschool groups.

I figured I had it. I had a good group of friends who homeschooled and I could handle it. By doing that I missed out on some amazing things. In homeschool groups, there are wise women who have walked your road and know how to help. There is encouragement and there is a breath of fresh air.

If I could do it again….

I would join a great homeschool group and get involved. Homeschooling is never meant to be a lonely journey. Instead, it’s life meant to be lived big with other people. You can learn so much from older homeschool moms who have already made the mistakes and learned from them.

I waited too long to get help.

I had a temper and I yelled at my kids often. It was over petty stuff too. I just had no patience. When I reached out for help I was able to set healthy boundaries and find healing. Sometimes we think we have to fight a battle we never need to fight. Our homeschool has a lot more peace now that I have a healthy view of how to handle my anger.

If I could do it again…

I would make it a priority to get into counseling and work through some of the residuals from my past. I would set clear boundaries about how I was to handle my anger. I would setup ways to cool down and come back to a situation. I would remind myself daily that these children will never be perfect. They will make mistakes and they will disappoint me and that is ok. I would have put my worth in something other than their success.

I set the standard way too high.

When I first started homeschooling I had a vision of what a homeschool mom should look like. It took me time to realize that it was very unrealistic. In that season I was overwhelmed and over-tired. By letting go of that crazy standard I was able to enjoy the time with my kids.

If I could do it again…

I would drop the standard and teach the kids I had in front of me. I would focus on their strengths instead of the weaknesses. I would invest in what mattered. Most importantly, I would stop defining myself based on what they did or didn’t accomplish.

I didn’t trust my instincts.

I knew in my heart of hearts that my daughter was dyslexic. However, everyone told me it was normal for her to have certain issues. Instead of trusting what I knew, I listened to them. Because of that R and I spent years frustrated with each other and overwhelmed. If I would have known, we could have started better curriculum such as Teaching Textbooks sooner.  The minute I went with my gut it changed everything.

If I could do it again…

I would go back and get R tested immediately. I would treat her as though she had dyslexia until I had an official diagnosis. I wouldn’t have assumed the doctor was right just because she was a doctor.

I didn’t encourage interest-led learning.

I thought that I did but I really came to homeschooling with an agenda and my kids were going to join up whether they liked it or not. I was set on doing things exactly the way the curriculum said to do them even if it wasn’t how my children learned at all.

If I could do it again…

I would look at more of what my kids loved and teach around those interests. When we did that it changed everything and I wish I would have done it sooner. When I let go of the reigns and decided to teach them the things they needed to learn while letting them enjoy the things they loved they blossomed. This meant dissecting owl pellets, watching animal births, and asking 20,000,000 questions to a search engine.

HOMESCHOOLING IS A HUGE ENDEAVOR. IT REQUIRES YOUR TIME, ENERGY, AND HEART.

I did WAY TOO MUCH.

Homeschooling is a huge endeavor. It requires your time, energy, and heart. When I first started homeschooling my plate was so full. I tried to be everything and do everything. My children suffered from my need to do everything under the sun. This had a lot to do with the high standards I mentioned above but it really stole my joy.

If I could do it again…

I would take a lot off my plate and focus on my kids more. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, I would focus on being a mom first and then taking care of others next. I would have said NO so much more. I would have valued my time enough to say no when I had to.

I didn’t set boundaries.

If someone wanted to call, they called. If someone wanted to visit, they visited. I was always available for everything that came my way. This meant that my children took the back burner during school work many times. I have since set very specific school hours. During those times I do my best not to even pick up my phone. Life happens at times but making that time a priority changed our whole focus.

If I could do it again…

I would set school hours and let everyone know that time was ours. After all, that’s what voicemail is for right? If I would have made this simple decision it would have changed everything. Now we have school hours and people know to leave a voicemail or send a text.

What did you do when you started homeschooling that you wish you wouldn’t have? Did you make any homeschool mistakes? I would love to hear about some of the items on your list.


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27 Comments

  1. The more I read your homeschool posts, the more I realize how similar we are. I can say I made almost all of those mistakes. As always, thank you for sharing. I am posting this to some homeschool groups that need to hear this.

  2. Threatened to send them back to public school every time we butted heads (so just about every day in the first year)… it became automatic and it wasn’t even something I really meant.

    1. I have done the same thing. My daughter and I butt heads daily. I have threatened to send her to public school countless times. I don’t want to do that!

  3. Hi Meagan, I loved the article, thank you for sharing your hard won insight. I actually would love to ask a couple of questions about a couple of points if you have the time or inclination?

  4. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us out here in internet land. I am so thankful that we have this platform to make connections with other people that might not have happened otherwise. I am just starting my first year homeschooling with my oldest (Kindergarten) and I have always had a big temper . Every time I yell over dumb things I hate myself for it. I am always worrying in the back of my mind if I will have the calmness I know I am lacking for this endeavour. I’ve been struggling with this for a long time. What exactly did you do when you say you reached out for help? The thought of anger management has come to me before, but I have such a vague idea of what it actualy means I’ve never taken any kind of step towards it.

    1. For me, it meant sitting down with my husband and setting clear boundaries for myself. I had to define how I would handle situations and be open to accountability. I also spent some time in counseling and had to be open to apologizing to my children for mistakes I made.

  5. I’m getting ready to begin homeschooling my son this year (Kindergarten). I’ve done so much research and everything I read I feel these women were just built to homeschool their children– saints. I’ve questioned whether I will have the patience to do this…Reading your post — seemed more real to me than anything I’ve seen on Pinterest. Thank you for sharing your experience- I feel much better about my capability of homeschooling my child now. I will do my best to avoid the mistakes mentioned here… But if I do make them I know that I can recover! Several things mentioned I had actually decided to take the same path as you.. Now I will be rethinking my approach. Thank you!

  6. I’m starting my first year of homeschooling with my 7th grade daughter this year. I appreciate your advice. Will try hard to avoid these mistakes.

    1. What is the root of your temper? Sometimes we lose our tempers easiest because of an issue we haven’t dealt with something in our past. Sometimes that’s an insecurity, a fear, or something that just doesn’t rub us the right way. Other times our temper comes from a place of overwhelm. Are you doing too much with minimal breaks? Is life stressing you out and triggering your short fuse. Anger is a secondary emotion. If you deal with what is causing you to get angry at the core, you will find your temper is easier to keep in check.

  7. I’m in year 18 of the homeschooling journey, with 3 years left. While I am very pleased that my 5 kids have all been homeschooled, I wish I would have done some things differently. In the early years, my relatives were so opposed to homeschooling that I felt the need to put on a “successful front” when I saw them. I was afraid they would use my failures against me, and talk me out of homeschooling. My fears unfortunately put an unnecessary strain on my kids’ relationship with their relatives, and became a regular source of tension in our home during the early years of homeschooling. After seeing how well my kids have turned out, I am now totally convinced of the benefits of homeschooling! I just wish I had made more of an effort to lay down my fears.

  8. Thank you for this! I am a stay at home mother of 3 boys. They are 4, 2, and 1 years old right now. I have been thinking about homeschooling for years now and I am scared but excited about it.

  9. I love this post! This is my third year Homeschooling my children and it has been an amazing ride with great highs and lows! I feel I understand most of the “mistakes” you talk about. One I feel really stuck out to me and I want to be better at but I’m not sure how to. “Encourage interest led learning”. I wonder if you might elaborate on this more. I know when something is interesting then more information is retained and a love of learning is formed. I want that for my children! Also, I love what you said right there about teaching to their strengths, not weeknesses. I want to know more what that looks like.
    I have 4 beautiful children, 9,6,5, and 9 months. I want to really be able to help them to love learning! Any help you can give in that area would be wonderful!! I have enjoyed several of your posts! Thank you for sharing!

    1. I think in order to encourage interest led learning we need to create an environment where kids can research things they are interested in. This means letting go of our scheduled lesson to head down a rabbit trail. I think it also means that we have to be willing to let writing assignments be about what they are already interested in so that it continues to engage them.
      Teaching to their strengths means looking at where they learn best and working with that. Do you have a child that is a strong reader? Maybe instead of lecturing have them read it on their own. If your child struggles with timed work, it may be better to work without the timer.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing. This is our first year of homeschooling…the big Kg lol. It has definitely been difficult and completely overwhelming at times. I too, loose my temper and find it hard to have patience. My 6 year old, bless her little heart, is just like her mama and loves to argue. It can make it hard to get through her lessons when she “already knows how to do it”, but in reality she has never seen the material before. Having said that, I absolutely love being able to teach my children and wouldn’t change it for anything. Even when family and friends are concerned that my children will be “socially awkward”….I hate that term. But my husband and I had to decide what is best for OUR children and OUR family. So far, so good. Not great yet, but we’ll get there.

  11. I’m in my 3rd. year of homeschooling and I ve been very frustrated this year. I feel the kids aren’t learning, my 9 year old son says he’s bored out of his mind with school, my 14 yr. Old daughter does the work, but half heartedly. I also am a substitute rural mail carrier and it gets tough alot of days with school, work and everything else. I’m at the point of quitting and giving up. After reading your article, I see me, I’ve made everyone of those mistakes. I guess I have alot to work on and fix. Thanks so much for this article!

  12. This was do helpful! My first year of homeschooling will be this september. I aporeciate your honesty so much! You are such a beautiful person for showing truth to help benefit others taking on this nee road!
    Ashley

    1. I’m so glad it helped you out Ashley. I wouldn’t have survived those first years without good homeschooling friends who were completely honest with me.

  13. Thank you so much for this article. It is so reassuring to hear that other people struggle at times to make homeschooling work for their family too. I am a single mum of a beautiful, bright, intelligent 6 year old boy, who I suspect has dyslexia, and I am going through many of the issues u mentioned here. I work part time, have a tendency to say yes to everyone to our detriment, spend hours of frustration trying to get him to understand a concept that “all the other 6 year olds have mastered” and constantly feel pressured to live up to other peoples standards. It seems that if a child has a learning difficulty at school, thats acceptable, but if he is homeschooled I must be failing him.I am part of a wonderful homeschool group, but my closest friends and family are all well meaning mainstream school families, with questions like “what about socialization “, and “are you qualified, what about uni?” and I find that homeschooling can be a very lonely journey. You have given me much needed pat on the back and the reassurance that we all deal with this stuff, and we don’t have to be perfect, our kids don’t have to be perfect and we don’t have to be super mums! Thank you x I look forward to reading more of your site.

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