This year I was insuring myself against any homeschool curriculum mistakes. I had a carefully chosen curriculum, made well thought out timetables and bought some inspiring stationary. However it became clear that things were not working as I had intended. What was wrong – was it lazy kids or had I made some homeschool curriculum mistakes?
Trying Not To Make Homeschool Curriculum Mistakes is Optimistic
Planning your homeschool curriculum is usually a big part of getting ready to go back to school. However I find when I actually start my homeschool lessons they never look the way I hoped or thought they should?
Even after all these years of homeschooling I still make mistakes planning my year. This year I’ve already deferred two curriculums and done a few last minute orders and completely re-jigged my son’s history schedule.
Accepting Homeschool Curriculum Mistakes & Moving On
I used to find that this bursting of my homeschool bubble in my first few months back at homeschooling for the year made me feel like an utter failure. I would think if I can’t even succeed in the first month how will I make it to the end of the year. Now I expect it! And I try to use it constructively to help me filter out some unrealistic expectations and focus on what is really going to work.
Does that mean I have to lower my standards, chuck out my ideals and settle for less? “It depends!”, is the answer.
I think as homeschoolers we all have strong convictions of how things should be done and that is what probably led us to homeschooling in the first place. On the other hand pride can get mixed in with our ideals and sometimes it’s hard to discern between the two.
When I am faced with the obvious reality that what I want to happen isn’t going to happen, I start to look at what I can change. Here are questions I ask myself that help me get back on track.
- The first thing that I look at is MY TIME. What am I expecting to accomplish with the time I have available? Do I need to drop some activities in order to achieve what I want my kids to do?
- I also look at the kids time. Are things taking much longer than expected? Do they understand what they are supposed to do?
- Am I expecting too much of my children? If I was expecting them to work independently with this resource – can they?
- If a curriculum is not gelling I look at it closely and make a decision. Do I stick with it, or do I pass it on. It is very difficult to always get it right when you buy curriculums without having actually seen it or used it. Some work beautifully, others not so well.
- Defer a planned resource. With so many great books and resources available I occasionally overburden their schedule or find that I get a curriculum that is pitched to high for my child. At these times I put away the resource and wait to use it another year.
Adding Routine To Planning Your Homeschool
When we homeschool we want our children to learn how to do their work independently. However it is a common mistake to expect too much too soon when requiring independent work. This is especially true if your children have recently come out of a formal schooling environment where the teacher has directed all of their learning. If this is a struggle for you I suggest you look at setting up a structure to your homeschool schedule. For some children a timetable for them to follow will be enough but for others you will need more help getting organised to homeschool. I personally found workboxes worked very well for training independent learning.
I’ve Wasted Money On Curriculum
Curriculum shopping is fun, and it’s easy to go overboard. I know that I still have resources in my cupboard and ebooks on my computer that I have never used. It’s okay I tell myself – and my husband – my motto in times of buyer remorse is that homeschooling is cheaper than private school and if I waste a little money finding out what works, I’ve still saved money by not sending them to school.
My Kids Hate Homeschool
New homeschooling parents often find the reality of homeschooling a shock because their kids don’t respond to all of the great resources that their parents have bought for them. Some parent’s have the expectation that all school should be fun, and that their kids are going to love all their lessons. Whilst this is the case sometimes – to expect this all the time is certainly a homeschool myth. However if your child is in tears with a resource you won’t make progress so work out a strategy.
One common reason for kids hating school is if school consists mostly of workbooks and fill in the blanks type lessons. Changing your approach from a school at home scenario to methods more suited to homeschooling, like the Charlotte Mason Method can often lead to greater home education satisfaction.
I have come to accept over the years that the first month of homeschooling usually has lots of tweaks and changes. I know this does not mean I have failed. It means that I am learning how to be a better teacher.