It is easy these days to get overwhelmed with all the things we’re supposed to do as homeschool moms, isn’t it? So many subjects, methods, checklists, standards… so many articles about all the things our homeschool needs to be successful. All the guilt-inducing photos on Pinterest and Instagram.
Sometimes these things can be helpful. But sometimes they only lead to exhaustion and discouragement. Well, friend, I’m here to ease your burden! Here are 10 things you DON’T have to do in your homeschool.
10 Things You DON’T Have to Do in Your Homeschool
1) What the Public Schools are Doing
Not only do you not have to do what the public schools are doing, but it isn’t even recommended. Now, you probably will do that a little bit if you went to public school. After all, it’s what you’re used to, and that’s ok. But you’ll soon find that the public school baggage is not necessary at all and can even get in the way of the many benefits of homeschooling.
Instead, start to think about homeschooling as a private home tutoring model. Focus on your child’s needs and your goals for their education. It’s a paradigm shift you’ll end up loving! It’s more effective than trying to replicate a model designed for government education.
2) What Other Homeschoolers are Doing
It’s always helpful and fun to glean ideas from web sites, blogs, and our homeschooling friends. I enjoy it, too! Just keep reminding yourself of this important truth: your homeschool is unique and doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s!
In fact, your homeschool experience will be more successful and enjoyable if you avoid falling into the comparison trap. Consider all those ideas a buffet to choose from and craft your own awesome homeschool!
3) Early Academics
Kids don’t NEED early academics beyond read alouds and joining the family in regular life experiences. Really. There’s rarely a need for early reading programs, flashcards, preschool or kindergarten curriculum, etc. So don’t hesitate to set aside the lesson plans until 1st or 2nd grade (keeping your state laws in mind, of course).
However, dear mama, if you WANT to do some early academics, don’t feel guilty about that either! As long as your child is enjoying it, you’re fine. Just be careful not to start pushing for performance, because kids in these early years have a wide range in terms of developmental readiness and it’s best to do learning in a natural and gentle way.
4) Be an Expert on Anything
You can homeschool your child in all the subjects without being an expert in any of them. You will be learning along with your child, and it’s actually one of the awesome things about homeschooling! Remember that many parents have homeschooled their kids from birth through high school and have graduated them successfully. You can, too!
Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are not trained or knowledgeable enough to teach your own kids. It’s just false. Especially nowadays with all the resources available to us, all you really need to be an expert on is your own child.
5) Find the Perfect Curriculum
I’ll be the first to admit that I love curriculum research and shopping. But don’t let that turn into analysis paralysis! You aren’t likely to find THE ONE curriculum that does everything you want and works for every child and every circumstance. So go ahead and stop stressing over that.
The best curriculum is the one you actually use. Further, many curriculum options can be adapted to fit your needs. So do your research to find the curriculum that meets your goals and dive in. Just don’t be surprised by hiccups! Tweak those materials as needed to make them work for you and go right on homeschooling.
6) Craft the Perfect Schedule
In our first years of homeschooling I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels trying to put together the perfect schedule. It was exhausting! After 10 years of homeschooling, here’s what I can tell you: the very nature of families who are always growing and learning makes “the perfect” homeschool schedule impossible.
Now, having some structure for our days is a good thing. It’s a huge blessing to my family to have flexible rhythms and routines that help us thrive. But sketch those routines in pencil! Remember that they will change along with your family’s seasons and milestones.
7) Do Lesson Planning
It may seem like having detailed lesson plans for the week or month is a good idea. But if you’re anything like me, those shiny plans never actually happen and you end up feeling defeated. If you LOVE to run your homeschool with lesson plans, then definitely do that! But if you struggle with it, consider ditching the detailed lesson plans.
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I like to use my planner to make general goals for the year, sketch out things like projects and field trips for the upcoming quarter, and then after that… I just write down each month what we actually DO! It is so freeing. It can also help you realize how much you do each week that is learning outside of the lesson plans.
8) Stick to Your Plans
Whether your plans are loose or detailed, don’t sweat it if you veer off plan. Flexibility and freedom – that’s what homeschooling is all about! If the day is gorgeous, go on a nature walk and don’t fret about the desk work. If there is illness or major life change happening, make your homeschool fit your life and not the other way around.
While a certain level of perseverance and consistency over the course of your homeschool years is helpful, remember that a detour doesn’t have to sink you, whether it’s for a day, a week, a month, or even sometimes the whole year. Adjust as needed and move on!
9) Make Everything Fun or Beautiful
Of course, we want our kids to remember our homeschool years fondly. We want to incorporate things that are interesting, fun, engaging, and beautiful. But as great as those can be, don’t think that you’re failing if things aren’t always fun or beautiful.
Sometimes our goals are to manage to take a shower, get the baby to nap, or check math off for the day, and that’s totally ok! For days when you CAN do some fun and beautiful, don’t discount the simple things like playing board games or going for a walk around the neighborhood to look at nature.
10) Worry Whether You’re Doing Enough
Every homeschool mom worries about this. Group hug! But here’s the thing: If you’re worrying about whether or not you’re doing enough, you probably don’t need to worry about it at all. Intentional parents who do their best to help their children know and love God and to educate them well… those parents are doing exactly what they are called to do and the Lord will equip them for the task.
Will it be perfect? No. Will there be gaps in their education? Yes, because every education has gaps. The key is to keep your eyes on Christ and your priorities in focus. The rest will fall into place!
You’ve got this, friend! When you start to feel overwhelmed, come back to this list of what you don’t have to do in your homeschool and take a deep breath.
As parents, you are ultimately responsible for your children’s education. Design your homeschool as you see fit. Then enjoy your kids and the homeschool journey!
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30 Days of the Best Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms Series Contributor:
Tauna Meyer is a homeschooling mom of 6 who speaks to women with encouragement that is relatable and tools that work in real life. She has a passion for helping moms overcome the hurdles that keep them from homeschooling successfully, all while pointing themselves and their children to Christ. Visit Tauna at Proverbial Homemaker today!