The Do’s & Don’ts of Homeschooling

It matters how you see yourself!! Believing that you can be a successful homeschool mom will make all the difference in the world.  E.E. Cummings said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” It’s so true, homeschooling takes so much courage!! Courage, believing you made the right decision for you and your child. You’re not letting a school decide what and how to teach your kids. There is great ownership in homeschooling kids and sometimes that can be scary.

I look back over the years of homeschooling and I can see how much I have changed and grown.  In order to see what God sees, He sometimes has to change the person and boy has he changed me. You and I were made to be more than what we think of ourselves.  We were meant to go further, be better, and stronger. You were created to be an overcomer and not to be overcome.

So with that all being said, I’ve learned some valuable do’s and don’ts of homeschooling.

Don’t compare yourself to other moms and their kids.  This is sometimes hard, believe it or not. It’s so easy to look at another mom and think I should be like that or my kid needs to be reading and doing his/her work like that family.  This kind of thinking will only set you up for frustration for both you and your child.

Do compare yourself and your child to your previous selves.  I may be having a bad day thinking my child isn’t learning anything and I look back to where we were last year and discover that we have learned and moved forward.  It may not look exactly like Susie or Jimmy but it’s definitely an improvement. I can look back at my own self and see I’ve learned to be more patient, or I’ve learned how to teach grammar better this year than last year.  Comparing yourself to yourself you’ll be more successful.

Don’t try and do it all!! Maybe this is your first year homeschooling and you want to do everything that the public school did – don’t. You’re not the public, private, or Christian school.  You’ll set yourself up for a stressful school year trying to complete and accomplish everything. Even schools don’t finish everything it’s just that you’re not physically seeing the stuff that isn’t done.  Social media can also be a trap.  That Pinterest school room might be way out of your budget. You don’t need to have it all and do it all to have a successful school year.

Do try new things.  So just because I said don’t do it all doesn’t mean you should never try something new. Hey, you’re doing it right now!! Homeschooling. Trying new things is also a great lesson to let your kids know that it’s ok to feel scared about doing something new, it’s ok to wonder how it’s going to turn out but don’t let fear stop you from accomplishing one of the greatest goals you can ever achieve.  I remember trying a new reading curriculum with my youngest kid.  I never used it with my other kids and I was wondering if it would be more work trying to figure something new on top of trying to teach a kid to read.  Let me tell you, I didn’t regret it and It’s one of my favorite things to experience as a mom and homeschooler.  There is nothing like hearing your kid read and know you were the one to help make that happen.  Try new things, get a little messy – you won’t regret it.  And just remember everything you do, do in moderation and you won’t go wrong.

Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t work.  Man, this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn as a mom. I’ve spent a lot of money on a certain curriculum to discover it was not working for me or my kid. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I’ve bought this curriculum even after having that little voice in my head tell me to not buy it. I was so mad at myself for wasting all that money. I had a hard time moving on mentally in my head.  Feeling guilty, you know being a one-income family spending money needs to be done wisely.  I’ve learned though that this kind of mindset has never helped me or my kids. Many times though what we perceive as an error or failure is actually a gift. And eventually, we find that “lessons learned from that discouraging experience prove to be of great worth,” a quote from Richelle E. Goodrich. Remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. Learning from our mistakes can be so hard, yet so valuable.   I have a child that has struggled with reading.  I’ve done a lot of things to help improve his reading.  Now I can sit there and say it’s my fault he is having this struggle, I should have picked a different reading program, I should have done this differently, I should have read to him more.  The list can go on and on. I’ve learned that beating myself up about it doesn’t change anything and in fact, it does change how I think of myself.  Remember, it makes a difference in how you see yourself!! Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.

Do seek out wise counsel. You can’t predict the future but you can ask others who have gone before you for guidance and perspective.  How many times have I worried over things or done things that if I had asked for help or guidance from my older peers I would have avoided many errors? James 1:5 says, “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given.”  Always go before the Lord first for guidance.  Ask that He puts the right people in your path.  I am a big advocate of asking and finding out what worked for the previous generation.  What mistakes did they make, what things did they learn, what wisdom can they pass on?

Be confident in your decisions. Remember that God is molding us into His image and sometimes in order to see what God sees, He sometimes has to change us. We were made to be more than what we think of ourselves.  We were meant to go further, be better, and be stronger.  We were made to be overcomers. You got this sweet mom!


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