3 Mistakes I Made as a New Homeschool MomLaToya Edwards
When I first started homeschooling, I was excited, but I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know anyone who had homeschooled her children all the way through high school. No one in my family homeschooled. In fact, most of them thought I was nuts for even entertaining the idea. But I was determined and passionate, so I jumped off the ledge headfirst.
Those first three years were a lot of trial and error. Actually a lot of error. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I am happy to say that I learned a lot along that bumpy road.
Mistake #1: Buying Curriculum That I Really Didn’t Need
As a new homeschooler, it can be easy to be distracted by the shiny. There are so many options out there for teaching your children that it can be overwhelming to decide where to start and what to use.
In my first few years, I spent a lot of money on materials that I simply didn’t need. I paid a hundred dollars for a preschool curriculum that I never opened. I spent hundreds on a boxed curriculum that wasn’t a good fit for my oldest son because he was more advanced. And then two years later, I bought the same curriculum again for his brother. Remember I already admitted to lots of error.
I’m not saying that all boxed curriculum is bad, but the one that I kept buying and not using just wasn’t a good fit for my boys. I have since ditched the box; now I pull together my own resources. Life is much saner, and my wallet is a lot happier.
Mistake #2: Not Taking a Break When it was Clear We all Needed One
For some reason, I decided that we could not take a break until we had completed all of the work in that curriculum that wasn’t working for us. I somehow convinced myself that something terrible would happen if we didn’t finish the material. Yes I know how irrational that sounds now, but back then I was a newbie and didn’t know any better.
A big reason that homeschoolers often deal with burnout is because we forget to stop and rest when we need to. Even the public school closes for breaks and holidays during the year. As homeschoolers, we have more flexibility to close the books for a day to enjoy the park or to catch up on laundry.
Mistake #3: Measuring the Success of My Homeschool by Someone Else’s Standards
The comparison trap. It gets the best of us at least once during our homeschool journey. Because I was really new and lost when it came to homeschooling, I found myself constantly comparing what we were doing with what other families were doing.
When a friend’s son was mastering math facts in two seconds and my son was struggling, I felt like a failure. When I saw the beautiful hands-on experiments and projects people shared on Facebook, I would feel bad because I never found the time to do those activities with my boys.
It took me a while to figure out that I needed to define what success for my homeschool looked like and basically ignore anything else. Each family is unique. I was going to drive myself and my poor children crazy if I used someone else’s standards for us.
Any other veteran homeschoolers want to own up to some mistakes? If you are like me, you’ve made your share. But you have probably learned some valuable lessons through those mistakes.