Beginning homeschooling can feel like a leap in the dark. Now I am at the end of my homeschooling journey, with a son going to Oxford University and a daughter following an unschooling route as an artist, I can look back and see I made quite a few … BLOOPERS!
All homeschoolers are bound to feel vulnerable – after all, it's your child's future that's at stake. And the feeling that everyone is watching you is likely to cause MISTAKES.
So I want to help you stay strong and avoid the top three pitfalls.
When you are beginning homeschooling, there is a strong temptation to stick to the plan.
After all, other children get up every morning and spend the school day 'learning' so that's exactly what you should be doing.
You can easily panic that you won't have something to prove that you're doing a good job unless your kids do some standard 'work' in the day.
So you may well fill your day with a timetable which has time blocks with things which everyone would recognize as 'learning' - like Math and English.
This is SUCH a tough one, especially when you start homeschool.
It takes time to realize that education isn't always a tick box exercise – children learn in all sorts of ways, often when you aren't looking!
Homeschooling offers far more than workbooks and there are plenty of ways to sneak in Math and English all through the day (and night!) in ways which are far more appealing.
You need to take a deep breath and relax. There is plenty of time.
Give you and your children a break; take a day off!
Lisa from my Courageous Homeschooling Facebook Support Group has come up with a wonderful suggestion to help you stay flexible:
"Love it, pass the raspberries please." ~ Stacey
"We do this a lot for lunches." ~ Amanda
"Thank you! Great idea! Pretty cabinet too" ~ Ann
"Yes, it is great! We do that every day:)" ~ Monica
"We used to do this lots, it's a great idea." ~ Ruth
It's a great temptation isn't it? When you are beginning homeschooling surely all you have to do is find the right curriculum – and if it's expensive – well, it's worth paying the extra because it must be even better.
Sadly, although you might feel that it will take all the responsibility off your shoulders to have something planned for you, this is definitely time to practice buyer beware.
You need time to get to know what suits your child best – and what suits you.
Even if you feel following a curriculum is the right path, it's really worthwhile using a FREE one for a time to get more idea about how you and your child like working.
It's very hard not to adopt the school model when you are beginning homeschooling. After all, it's the one most of us know best!
But the problem is you may be setting yourself up to fail.
If you're expecting to run a perfect home (which of us has one of those?) and have all your little darlings sitting quietly and expectantly at the table while you get the books out, think again.
Homeschooling is a two-way street. You are a parent as well as a teacher and you're going to be drawn into endless battles with your kids unless you can get them on side.
In school, it might work to stand in front and spout forth. There's no way you'll get away with that at home.
And once you start having battles with the kids it's game over as far as homeschooling is concerned.
Keeping up your kids enthusiasm for learning is the key to success.
That's why I used my experience as one of the few 2nd generation homeschoolers and asked my 10,000+ Facebook fans to help with practical suggestions to make sure you get it right.
Whether you decide to follow a strict schedule or choose unschooling, you will see vital tips on what makes a great homeschool teacher and how to help your kids through exams.
Beginning homeschooling is the start of an amazing journey. Knowing the top three mistakes can really help take the pressure off and prove to yourself that you CAN do this.