New Homeschooler

5 Things You’re Doing Wrong as a New Homeschooler

If you are the new homeschooler on the block you have probably figured out that not everyday is rainbows and unicorns. You may even be wondering what you got yourself into. Hopefully I can shed some light with these 5 things you’re doing wrong as a new Homeschooler, and then set you back on the right track to ensure that you have more good days than bad.

New Homeschooler

Stop playing school

Traditional school that is. If you or your spouse attended a traditional school, it may be really hard to let go of the idea that school should look a certain way. If you have spent the last month setting up a classroom complete with a school desk, a 1980’s chalkboard, a projector and a school bell that rings at 8:00am on the dot. – I won’t judge you. I might even applaud your motivation. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

School can happen at any time of the day and on any day of the week. I know several homeschoolers who school on the nights and weekends because of dad’s odd work schedule.  

And if you have teens in your house- good luck on getting them up and ready to school by 8:00. Or at least I should say {up happily, and ready to school}  Some things just aren’t worth the fight!

When I was a new homeschooler myself,  I had the cute desk and all the new school supplies ready to go for my willing and eager Kindergartner. It didn’t take long before we both realized that we would rather snuggle up on the couch reading or sit at the kitchen table to do math while I made lunch. My best homeschool memories come from our time together on our cozy couch. Now we do school everywhere. On the couch, at the table, on the trampoline, under a pretend tent. Whatever gets the job done.

Need some schoolroom inspiration? Check out how these homeschoolers do school.

As a New Homeschooler, Lower your expectations

We all envision a peaceful and relaxed homeschool environment where our kids love being taught by us, they love each other and school work gets done 100% of the time.  Ya, I’d love that Mary Poppins world too. But the reality is my kids whine, they annoy each other and they rarely joyfully get their school work done even 75% of the time. That’s life, and it’s the number one complaint from every homeschool friend of mine.

It’s best we let go of that vision and realize that we are all human and have bad days. Make your expectations clear, set boundaries and have clear consequences that you follow through on. Then offer grace for when you all loose your cool- because they will,  Oh- and you will too (probably more than they do.)

Stop Trying to Finish it All

You may never- NEVER get to the end of the book. For all the new homeschoolers and my OCD friends, that might have just given you a mini panic attack.  Take a deep breath… and remember how great it felt when you were a 3rd grader and got to the end of your math book? Ya, me either. It never happened. Our teachers just ended the year and let our 4th grade teachers deal with it. You on the other hand- can just end. And then when you start school again… you can either pick up right where you left off or start fresh with something new.

Side note: If we are talking about math… it’s really best to pick up where you left off. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. Your children never have to be left behind or left to figure out what they missed. 

Also since we’re talking curriculum. You also don’t have to give tests… {gasp} this will come as a shock to our former public school teachers (I can say this as a former teacher) But it’s perfectly okay to simply ask your children what they understand, to ascertain whether or not they “got” it.

Stop trying to do it all

There is no doubt that moms are super heroes. But there are times when we need to take off our cape and claim defeat. Or at least wave the white flag and ask for help. You can not do it all. You can not successfully homeschool your kids and keep an immaculate house. Your dishes will not always get done and dinner may not always be served on time- or at all. Laundry will pile up and little dust bunnies may move in and take over corners of your rooms. It’s okay. It’s all okay.

Decide on what level of squalor you are willing to live with and then figure out how to cope with the rest. Assign daily/weekly/monthly chores and keep a routine for getting things done. If a house keeper is in your budget- what are you waiting for!!?? If you can afford to eat out once a week then allow yourself that luxury.  Find ways to extend meals into other meals or have leftovers. If Algebra is killing you, hire a tutor or put your student in a class.  You do not, I repeat, you do not have to do it all. 

Need some ideas on how to homeschool and manage a house? Check out this Post. 

Stop Comparing:

While this isn’t a new homeschooler problem, it’s definitely a problem. Your homeschool, your family, your kids are all unique. You can’t compare how smart, motivated, kind, helpful, etc. your children are to your besties kids. Her kids have their own unique gifts and challenges and she has a different way of parenting and schooling than you do. It’s okay that your first grader still isn’t reading or your teen hasn’t begun Driver’s Ed. Eventually they will both get to where they are going. The Lord has a plan for your children that you can’t screw up. I promise. You just keep doing you, and your kids are going to turn out great and happier, knowing that you didn’t push them into being someone they weren’t meant to be. Celebrate them every chance you get, they are amazing!

Homeschooling is tough. But it’s the most rewarding thing you will ever do. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you realize that you were the one that taught them how to read, think, analyze, explore, care, love the Lord, love themselves, love each other….

You may be a new homeschooler but it won’t be long before you settle in and find what works for you and your family. And remember, when days get tough… just Stop.

Do you need some extra homeschool support? Check out the Help for the Homeschool Mom, Facebook page for Newbies just like you!




2 thoughts on “5 Things You’re Doing Wrong as a New Homeschooler”

  1. Michelle Blanchard

    This is just what I needed to read today, Angela. Thanks for the reminders and encouragement! I’ve been complaining about my messy house, but you’re right. We can’t do it all all the time!

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