Ask any homeschooling parent on sure fire ways by which you can educate your child and he or she is likely to tell you that you yourself will need to find the best teaching method that works for your child. However, homeschooling parents are prone to make certain mistakes during the first few months of teaching the child at home. If you are new to homeschooling, here are the 10 common mistakes that you should take care of avoiding.
1. Overscheduling. As most homeschooling parents ultimately discover, you too will soon find out that it usually takes 3 to 4 hours to complete the lessons for the day. Because of this, a lot of parents have made the mistake of cramming in too many activities in one day. These would include piano lessons, art class, physical education, etc. In the process, both the parent and the child end up getting burned out. Make sure that you limit activities to 1 to 2 a day. Because of the need to keep fit and healthy, you can schedule PE in the morning or right after you finish lessons. Other classes like piano, art, and others need not be scheduled daily. They should be fitted in to your child’s schedule at least once a week.
2. Underscheduling. If some homeschooling parents make the mistake of overscheduling, there are others who make the error of underscheduling. In this case, although they finish their lessons for the day, they don’t add other educational activities. Take note of your child’s interests. If your child loves to draw, let him/her take art classes. For sports-minded kids, let them join community sports teams or events. Christian parents are sure to want to bring their child to Bible classes in their local church or parish.
3. Fixed homeschool curriculum. Many newbie homeschool parents tend to stick to the curriculum because they are, as yet, inexperienced when it comes to planning lessons and subjects to be taught to a child per day. They may even consider used homeschool curriculum. However, following a fixed curriculum will not allow you to adjust to your child’s learning skills and pace. You should be prepared to adjust. Slow learners would require your being more patient and giving the child more time to be able to understand the lessons. In contrast, you should be prepared to move up to more advanced level topics especially if your child is a fast learner.
4. Setting unrealistic expectations. Some homeschooling parents fall into the trap of setting unrealistic expectations of their children. Moms would complain that their 3-year old kids are not able to read yet or daughter in the fifth grade is having difficulty with Algebra I. Do not force your child to learn certain topics or subjects that are not within their level of learning. Do it a step at a time. Adjust your curriculum and your teaching pace if your child is having trouble catching up. Just be patient and you will soon see your child learning the stuff that you want them to learn.
5. Messy homeschool room. There is a reason why schools keep their classrooms neat and tidy – so that it will be easy for both the child and the teacher to find stuff that they need. The same should also apply to the room or space that you allot for homeschooling. Before you start homeschooling, you and your child should go about organizing the homeschool room. Put textbooks and other reference books on the proper shelves. You may even label the shelves with the subject names. Put school supplies in designated drawers for easy locating. You should also purchase a file cabinet in which to store your teacher’s guides, progress records, tests and quizzes, and important forms that you will need to submit to the state education board.
6. Not scheduling breaks. As mentioned earlier, most homeschooling parents can finish lessons between 3 and 4 hours per day. However, not all young children can sit still for this long period straight without feeling bored, sleepy or restless. In the case of older aged kids, they force themselves to finish the lessons fast so that they will have free time off in the afternoons. Rather than do a straight homeschooling session, it is better to schedule short breaks in between lessons to enable your child to relax and recharge.
7. Not finding support. Many homeschooling parents – Mom’s especially – force themselves to educate their children on their own. But, homeschooling is not as easy as it looks, even if you have a curriculum on hand to guide you. Without a doubt, you will soon find yourself feeling trapped by homeschooling itself. You can no longer do the activities you enjoy. You may also encounter difficulties in the actual teaching of your child, and you don’t know what to do. For these reasons, it is vital to find support through other homeschooling parents in your community or in online forums. Take advantage of homeschool seminars or conferences that are being conducted in your neighborhood. Also, don’t let homeschooling cramp your socializing. Make good friends of other homeschooling parents and make sure that you put in an hour or two of rest, relaxation and fun activities for yourself every week.
8. Don’t be a Super Mom. Let’s face it. All Moms would want to see their homes looking spic and span, so that any guests who visit will praise the perfectly arranged décor, sparkling floors, and clean tabletops. However, when you start homeschooling, you will have difficulty finding the time to do household chores. Homeschooling itself even creates its own clutter. Determine which specific chores or tasks that you need to do daily and set aside a day or two in your week to do the others. Some homeschooling Moms forego cleaning the house to weekends, with their spouses and children helping them out.
9. Preventing Internet usage. A lot of homeschooling parents have valid concerns about the Internet. They don’t want their children to be exposed to questionable sites (specifically porn) and violent video games. Some parents don’t want their kids to get on social networking sites where they might fall prey to cyberbullies and predators. Unfortunately, totally preventing a child from using the Internet is detrimental as well since the World Wide Web is a rich source of information and references for homeschooling. If you want your child to use the Internet, program blocks in your computer or, better yet, supervise and monitor them when they are online.
10. Ignoring opinions of the child. Just because you are homeschooling your child, it does not mean that you are the boss or the leader. You also should not fail to ask the opinions of your child. Let them be honest enough with you if they feel that you are not teaching them properly. Get suggestions from them on how you can make lessons more fun and interesting.
Learn more about the common mistakes that parents make while homeschooling their kids today!