Here’s a question: what’s the easiest way to get frustrated as a homeschooler? Answer: trying to fit into a mold that is clearly not made for you. Or your kids.
There are a few ways this can happen. Here I will talk about three of the most common.
These mistakes happen most often around the first or second year of homeschooling. Usually, parents who persist beyond the third year figure things out and settle into some basic patterns comfortable to them.
Believing an Education Philosophy That Doesn’t Fit Your Personality
I write about this often enough that if you’re a reader of this blog, you’ve come across a few posts about this. I am still constantly surprised, though, at the number of people who tell me that they can’t homeschool because they’re not organized. The truth is if they’ve got an idea of how homeschooling is supposed to look and that is the reason you’re afraid of it, that idea is probably the wrong one.
Education does not happen because the children are ready at 9 am, hair and teeth brushed, pencils sharpened. It does not happen because you they can obey you or listen for your voice in a crowded room. They are not educated because they have manners. While these contribute to refinement and ease things in terms of interpersonal relationships, education can happen outside of these trappings.
Figure out your family’s characteristics, your own personality, your child’s personality and work with it. Don’t force homeschooling in a top down manner. You will fail.
Throwing Good Money After Bad Curricula
So let’s say you bought a bad curriculum. I’ve been there. There is a certain math curriculum out there that I’d really enjoy burning. So now what? Do you stick with it day in and day out even though you hate it? Or should you get another and make it work? Or should you dump the whole thing and start over? Do you even need curricula?
Here’s the point I’m trying to make: at any point in your homeschooling, you can choose to quit a certain way of doing things. If you are not seeing the results you want, if this is not the way you or your family does things, if the curriculum isn’t doing what you’d like it do for you, feel free to dump it. There is no reason to wait until the end of the year.
Listening to Too Many Education Experts
While most homeschoolers will agree with the above, I think this is one that trips up many. Choose an affiliation wisely is the best advice I can give you. At any point, if what the person/friend/blogger/expert/teacher says (and yes, I include myself here) you are free to disagree to him or her and do things your way. Yes, this counts even if the person is dead. (I’m looking at you, Mason and Montessori.)
Who cares if that’s not the way to establish a good habit? Who cares if that’s how children were taught in Ancient and Medieval times? If it doesn’t work for your family, do it the way it works. Period.
You’re in this for your children. You’re not in this for anyone else. Choose an education for them, not an affiliation for you.