Five Mistakes New Homeschool Moms Make

As a new school year begins, some moms are beginning homeschooling for the first time. If that's you, welcome to the club! Homeschooling is an exciting journey. But when you first begin it, homeschooling can seem like a daunting prospect.


If you're new to homeschooling, be encouraged. It's an amazing opportunity. But if you're a little worried about whether or not you can pull it off, take a deep breath. And then avoid these five mistakes that new homeschooling mamas tend to make.

Mistakes new homeschooling moms make



Trying to Do Too Much Too Soon


I know. I know. You're super excited about this whole homeschooling thing. You're all fired up and motivated. And you're ready to jump into twenty different subjects on your first day of homeschooling. Two words: Slow Down!

If you're new to homeschooling and your children are just beginning school, they may be too young to do any kind of formal schooling for long. All of those tot school ideas you've been gathering from Pinterest are great. But pace yourself. Only do a little at a time. Make sure that you're giving the kids plenty of active time and not stressing them with too much formal, structured teaching at one time.

If you're new to homeschooling and your children have been in traditional school for some time already, you need to start slowly as well. You might be super excited about all of the new curricula that came in the mail. And you may have so many good ideas from your homeschooling friends, as well as from all the great homeschooling blogs you've been reading. But your children are going to need some time to get used to homeschooling, and you and your children alike need some time to fall into a rhythm and develop new routines.

Don't throw all the academic classes at them at once. Start with a class or two and allow them- and yourself- some time to ease into homeschooling, to transition from one schooling style to another. Many times this transition is called "deschooling." I've homeschooled from the beginning and can't testify personally to the need for deschooling, but this post has some good information to consider when you're moving your kids from a traditional school setting to homeschooling.

Expecting Sunshine and Roses Every Day


Have you been looking at the Instagram accounts of other homeschoolers? Or their Facebook posts? Or their tweets? Admit it. If you have, you may have gotten the mistaken idea that this homeschooling ride is always fun. It's field trips and cuddling up on the couch to read history and kids who can sit in the floor and build with Legos while they listen to science and doing school in your pjs and...

But I have a confession, friend. We homeschoolers don't usually share the bad times on social media. I've never once posted a picture of a child pitching an all out fit because he doesn't like the amount of literature he has to read. I've never tweeted about a child in tears because she just can't seem to "get" the current math lesson. I've never written a Facebook post about frustrated I feel because the curriculum I just paid a fortune for is frustrating and overwhelming for my kids.

Homeschooling is awesome. It truly is. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. But...it isn't always easy. It isn't always fun. Sometimes new homeschool mamas get the idea that is easy and it is fun...for everyone else. And they feel as if they must be doing it wrong because it isn't easy and fun for them. Don't get discouraged. Understand that homeschooling will be challenging sometimes. At the beginning, homeschooling may be challenging most of the time. Take a deep breath and know that some days you will have sunshine and roses. And that those days make it all worthwhile.

Attempting to Balance It All


I'll never forget the words of my wonderfully comforting and inspiring husband (note some sarcasm here?) after our fourth child was born. At the time I was homeschooling the older two who were five and six. I also had a toddler running around. One particular day my husband came home from work, and there I was. I had an infant in a sling and was trying to nurse her as I cooked supper, looked over schoolwork that still needed to be finished, and kept the energetic toddler from killing herself. In tears I told my husband that I wished I could just get caught up for once. If I could ever get caught up, life would get easier.

His words of comfort: "You might as well accept the fact that you're never going to get caught up." You know what? He was right.

Anyone who ever claims that you'll learn how to balance it all- being a wife, being a mom, being a homemaker, and being a homeschool teacher- probably isn't being truthful. Yes, you will develop routines that help things to go more smoothly. Some things will become easier over time. But I don't think there's a mom yet who has figured out how to have a perfectly clean house, a delicious, wholesome meal on the table, children who are obedient and happy, a homeschool that is perfectly structured and successful, and an always happy and complete relationship with her husband all at one time.

Instead of struggling to achieve some sort of elusive balance, pray, and then have some conversations with your husband about priorities. If you can't get it all done- and you probably can't- what are the things you need to focus on? (This post is all about balance and the homeschool mom if you need some more inspiration.)

Comparing Yourself to Other Homeschool Mamas


The first time that you go to a homeschool co-op or go on a field trip with other homeschool families, you're going to be tempted to make this mistake. You're going to be listening to some other homeschool mom talk about all of the things her kids are learning or how well they're doing in art or violin practice or that really difficult Latin curriculum she's just started using and you're going to start comparing.

Maybe I should sign my kids up for music lessons. Why don't my kids love art? Latin?! Nobody ever told me I had to teach Latin!

The comparison trap is easy to fall into. And it will cause you to feel overwhelmed and discouraged if you continue on in it. Listen, friend, your homeschool is your homeschool. It's not meant to be the same as any else's homeschool. God has a purpose and plan for your family, for you, for your kids and it's not the same as His plan for your friend's family. Instead of comparing what you're doing to what everyone else is doing, take time to pray and make sure that you're doing what God has led you to do. That's what matters...no matter what other homeschoolers are doing.


Failing to Enjoy the Blessings of Homeschooling


I have to confess that this is a mistake I sometimes make even as a veteran homeschooling mom. It's so easy to get caught up in the nitty gritty details of homeschooling and miss out on simply enjoying. It's easy to get wrapped up in lesson planning and miss simple joys, like going outside for schoolwork on a beautiful spring day. It's easy to feel overwhelmed with the details- Is this curriculum going to work? Do we have enough school days to meet our state's legal requirement? Are my kids going to have enough credits to graduate high school?- and miss the everyday joys and blessings of homeschooling.

Because we homeschool, I get to hug my kids all day long. Because we homeschool, I can read out loud even to my teenagers. Because we homeschool, we can go on a picnic any day we want. Because we homeschool, we can get up slow in the morning and stay in pjs until noon. Because we homeschool, we can cuddle with the dog on the couch in the middle of the day. Because we homeschool, we can laugh together as a family over something funny one kid said at lunchtime.

Don't ever get so caught up in the details and requirements and worries of homeschooling that you miss those beautiful blessings.

Mistakes new homeschooling moms make


Homeschooling can be an awesome experience. It's an amazing opportunity for the whole family. If you're just starting off, make sure that you take time to enjoy the journey. And watch for and avoid these common mistakes.


If you're a new homeschooling mama who is looking for information and encouragement, make sure you pop over to Amazon and pick up my free ebook- So You Want to Be a Homeschooler? And if you'd like some one-on-one help getting started or moving through a rough patch in your homeschooling, I offer homeschool coaching. You can find out more here.





CONVERSATION

6 comments:

  1. I was definitely guilty of doing too much in the beginning. I had fewer kids, more time, more energy and unrestrained enthusiasm. When you are homeschooling it's so tempting to go all out. Let's study every subjects in the world and throw five foreign languages in too. Type A mom here.
    What helped me to slow down is to have more kids. This strategy might not work for everyone :)

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  3. LOL! I think even as an "old" homeschooling mom I still make many of these mistakes from time to time. Great post!

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    1. I agree! I still make some of them. 😊

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  4. Leah, you have put together a wonderfully encouraging post, and it was the most popular link on Encouraging Hearts & Home last week and will be featured this week! I hope you can stop by again.

    Marissa
    Reading List

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    1. Thank you so much! I'll link up again. :-)

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