Do You Make These 4 Homeschooling Mistakes?

4 Homeschooling Mistakes

Do you ever feel pressure as a homeschool mom? The kind of pressure that leaves you feeling less than worthy or ill-equipped to take on such an important task. Most often, it is a pressure that you put on yourself without even realizing it. And the result? You grow weary. Or even flat-out bored. If you have ever felt that way, maybe you need a little freedom and grace offered to you. And maybe, just maybe, you are making one of these four homeschooling mistakes.

Common Homeschooling Mistakes

Mistake#1

Comparison. You are at your co-op or monthly moms get together and you overhear Sally talking about this great Bible study she’s doing with her kids. And then Jane shares this great new science experiment kit that she just started with her kids. Later in the evening, Suzy shares all the fun math games she does at home. And Jill – well she re-creates every history lesson they study.

Before you know it, you suddenly doubt your teaching. Your mind races and you can’t wait to leave the meeting so that you can scour Pinterest to add to your curriculum. You feel your shoulders tense and worries overtake your mind. Embarrassment sinks into your heart and deep down you want to hide, fearing others will find out your incompetencies.

homeschooling mistake comparing

When we get caught up in comparison, we rob ourselves of contentment and the simple joys before us. We will always fall short when we compare the ins and outs of our homeschool with the best of someone else’s.

We often only hear what is going well in other’s homeschools. Not the struggles. Even if someone else does share a struggle, what do you tend to remember? Most likely only the ways you feel you are not matching up, right?

Remember no homeschool is alike. Each will have its own strengths and weaknesses. Discipleship is at the heart of it. Give yourself grace. If you feel your kids are growing in knowledge and character, rest assured. You don’t have to copy what everyone else is doing.

          Gain ideas from others, yes. Compare, no. The former is using wisdom, the latter is tearing oneself down.

So the next time you find yourself playing the comparison game, take those thoughts captive. Instead:

  • focus on the positives in your homeschool
  • humbly learn from others
  • thank God for the freedom and joy you share in homeschooling your kids

Mistake #2

Letting your curriculum dictate your week/year. Sometimes I call this the “check-the-box” syndrome. And let me tell you, this is a constant battle for me. I like to scratch things off my list. It brings a sense of accomplishment and completion. While using your curriculum as a tool and a guideline, and sometimes a strict guideline, is helpful, becoming a slave to it at all costs, is not.

check-the-box-homeschooling-mistakes

 

Again, allow yourself freedom and flexibility. Freedom to stray from your lesson plan at times. Maybe there is a certain topic your kids are really into. It’s okay to spend longer on it than you planned. Or, if the Spirit prompts you to stop what you are doing for a season, it’s okay to do that too. He might just have something different for you that you never anticipated.

Sometimes breaking from your routine can bring a much-needed spark to learning. Some examples might include:

  • take science outside once a week
  • spend some extra time on math facts playing games
  • take a whole day to study history because your kids are so wrapped up in it
  • pause your Bible memorization plan and do an in-depth study of what the Bible says about a character trait that needs attention

Holidays are also a great time to take a break from the norm and add in some fun twists. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Use a study of Christmas Around the World to enhance your geography in December
  • Pause to read some Pilgrim books in November even if you aren’t studying US History
  • Study the character trait of love in February
  • Or do a lesson on the Resurrection around Easter

No curriculum is perfect. It’s a good idea to take a moment throughout the year to see what needs adjusting, tweaking, changing, and scrapping altogether. Allow yourself the freedom to make those Spirit-led changes as needed.

More Curriculum Slavery

Another way your curriculum can dictate your year is by sticking with it, even if it is not working for you or your child, just because you bought it…or because you think you have to. There is so much freedom. If your math or spelling curriculum isn’t working, don’t feel like you have to finish it. Ask around for other ideas. Borrow from a friend. You might have to go “back” a level if the new curriculum has a different scope and sequence, but that’s okay. Your child will move through quickly and get back on pace. It’s their own pace anyway, right? That’s part of the beauty of homeschooling!

If your child picked a piece of literature and she really doesn’t like it, remember that there are so many quality books to choose from. As long as it’s not a habit, allow her to pick another book from the library (offer a few options you pre-approve).

You want your kids to enjoy learning. Allowing for flexibility can create a sense of wonder and foster a love of learning! So the next time you are tempted to just check-the-box, ask yourself if adding some flexibility would cut boredom and be beneficial.

Mistake #3

Over-commitment. You register for every class that sounds interesting. Every extracurricular activity, you jump at. Before you know it, you are running to a science co-op, piano lesson, art class, reader’s theatre, soccer, computer 101, and karate. Whew. You thought that homeschooling would be relaxing and yet you find yourself running ragged all over town.

homeschooling mistake over-commitment

Consider asking yourself what’s your motivation. Is it trying to keep up with the Joneses (see #1)? Are unrealistic fears overtaking your mind? Are you overly worried about socialization? Sometimes taking a step back to ponder your motivation and evaluate your schedule can be a great antidote to weariness.

While we all face certain seasons of busyness from time to time, there is a real beauty of allowing unrushed time at home together rather than racing around town. If you feel you have over-extended yourselves, pray about your commitments and see which ones God might have you surrender. Kids tend to learn much better in an unrushed environment. While some commitments are good and can help maximize our children’s education, having too many can become a detriment.

There are a lot of great opportunities out there. But just because they are good, doesn’t mean you have to do them all!

Mistake #4

Carrying the weight of too much responsibility. Do you ever fall into the belief that the outcome of your kids’ education, job, future, or even salvation depends on you? Do you bear the weight of all their decisions? Maybe not consciously, but subconsciously? What incredible stress that is! While you are to faithfully love, serve, guide, lead, pray for, educate, and train your kids, you are not responsible for their ultimate decisions and paths in life.

Only God is in control of their futures, not us. If we are faithful to our calling, His grace will faithfully cover all the gaps and faults that we leave. And it is only by grace through faith, that our kids are saved. Not by our own doing (Ephesians 2:8-9). Make a commitment to stop carrying the weight of responsibility that was only intended for God to carry.

homeschooling mistakes bearing too much responsibility

 

So, remember your part and do it faithfully. And let God do His part. Trust Him with the hearts, lives, and souls of your kids – He loves them more than you can imagine!

From Weary to Hopeful

If you have recognized you make some of these homeschooling mistakes, take heart. Most of us have done some if not all of these before. Consider what you can change so that they don’t lead to weariness. Rest in God’s sovereignty and love.

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Take heart,
Katie

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18 Comments

  • Reply Jess at

    My kiddo is too young for homeschooling, but I feel like this relates to my life right now. I should always teach my son using grace, and to never over-commit or doubt my abilities through Jesus Christ. And if I do decide to homeschool when the time comes, I will keep your words of wisdom in mind. Thank you!

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Jess, I agree, these tips are helpful for all our lives! Glad you found them applicable to you too. Blessings, Katie

  • Reply Vicky at

    Trying to do your best for your kids can sometimes take over your life and yet you still feel you are not doing good enough. Great tips here to bring us back to reality. We can only do our best and leave the rest to God.

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Vicky, you are so right! Doing our best, trusting the Lord, and not allowing ourselves to get caught up in thinking we have to do it all keeps us at rest. I’m glad you found these tips helpful! Blessings, Katie

  • Reply Katie Braswell at

    I could definitely see how I would fall into these thoughts and mindsets if we were homeschooling (this could be our future). I see how beneficial flexibility is in homeschooling. Even in life, we all could use some flexibility and grace for ourselves. Overworking leads to burn out…going with the flow and being able to responsibly say “no” are great examples for our children to see. <3 Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Katie, I’m so glad you found this helpful! I think it is wise of you to be planning ahead even before you start homeschooling – you will be so well prepared when the time comes. Blessings, Katie

  • Reply Julie at

    When I was homeschooling, I think I made all of these mistakes. I ended up stressed and overwhelmed! This post would have been helpful to read!

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Julie, I’m glad that you see it is helpful for homeschooling moms! I love to pass on help so others can avoid the mistakes I have made to hopefully make their experience that much smoother. Blessings, Katie

  • Reply Heather Hart at

    We don’t homeschool anymore, but I can definitely remembef how easy it was to fall into those mistakes.

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Heather, I think most of us have made these mistakes, ha! I hope this post helps other moms avoid the pitfalls so many of us have made. Blessings, Katie

  • Reply Tressie Burdette at

    I enjoyed reading this.. I don’t have any school age children to home school but I have friends who do homeschool and will share this with them.

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Tressie, I’m glad you enjoyed it and thanks for passing it along to your homeschooling friends! Katie

  • Reply Maryann at

    Yes to all of them and I have learned from each one. After ten years of homeschooling I finally realized that I am not a slave to curriculum or time, and we need not over-schedule. Thank you for this post. I really enjoyed it.

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Maryann, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. It does take time to realize our mistakes and make necessary changes. By God’s grace, He covers our mistakes and gently leads us along our path. Many blessings to you! Katie

  • Reply Melissa at

    Last year was my husband’s first year of homeschooling our children and he acknowledged he let the curriculum dictate the week/year. This year he has allowed greater flexibility and focused on making sure learning is fun.

    • Reply Katie at

      Melissa, I’m so glad your husband made that realization, especially only after his first year! I think it’s an on-going struggle that we always need to be in prayer over. Blessings, Katie

  • Reply Susan Evans at

    Over-commitment is a huge problem for homeschoolers. In their desire to do the very best, they don’t want to have to choose between good options, but to do it all. It only leads to burnout.

    • Reply Katie at

      Susan, you are so right! The temptation is there, so we have to guard against it. Blessings, Katie

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