I’ll be honest, we took an unexpected week off, while I tried to figure out my new work/homeschool balance. We’re still re-adjusting but we’re starting to get back into the swing of things. One thing that helped me was simplifying our homeschool. I’ve made more than one homeschool mistake along the way.
My Homeschool Mistake #1: Doing “School at Home”
We started homeschooling a few months earlier than I expected. B was super excited to get started. I was not prepared. I had a plan in place but I made the mistake of trying to replicate what I knew school to be. Slowly we started introducing unit studies and life got easier. Then I discovered this idea of “morning time”.
At first, I thought morning time would be difficult to implement. I thought it would be an additional thing on our list of “to-do’s”. But curiosity got the better of me and I started listening to the podcast Your Morning Basket by Pam Barnhill and realised that I was having morning time in our own way.
Our morning time is watching a video together. Often this includes snuggles. We eat our breakfast on the couch. Enjoy our video. Have a discussion about what we learned. Then we dive into our read-aloud time and work on our other lessons.
My Homeschool Mistake #2: Over Complicating Matters
Often times I try to take on too much. I fill our days with work and lessons. I focus on checking off what we’ve done and lost sight of whether or not we’re enjoying life. My end goal is to provide a rich enough education that B will be prepared for university if he chooses to go. Presently he’s more interested in trades so we work on that too.
Somewhere along the way, homeschooling became burdensome. Neither of us was enjoying it. I needed to fix my homeschool mistake. And then I stumbled across a blog post Coffee and Books. It was as if God was telling me to make it easier on myself. So rather than doing a separate reading comprehension assignment from our social studies book I stopped to take a look at what B was enjoying most. He’s really into Story of the World. So I added reading comprehension questions to that and turned it into our own little unit study. We’ve had some great conversations about ancient Greece and Rome. B now wants to go visit those countries.
My Homeschool Mistake #3: Forgetting to Focus on the Relationship
I have always been interested in child-led learning. Unschoolers amaze me. It doesn’t really fit our family but they have the right idea. B claims to hate school but he begs to read Story of the World. By listening to him and obliging, we have bonded in ways that I never thought imaginable. He honestly astounds me with some of his ideas. He’s making connections that I could never have made at his age. But more importantly, we’re bonding.
We had a strong relationship to start with, but now it’s even stronger. In my opinion, the best part of homeschooling is the time I get to spend with my son. Watching him grow and learn is amazing.
My Homeschool Mistake #4: Being a Control Freak
Being a control freak runs deep within my being. It’s part of why I need my schedules and routines so much. So giving up a bit of control of our homeschool was hard. Something as simple as allowing my son to wash the dishes was a huge issue for me. Sounds strange, but I do have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As I slowly started giving up control B started adding things into our homeschool. He became more vocal about what he wanted to learn about. I got excited about teaching him and sharing my knowledge. I also got excited about learning myself.
The Facebook groups I belong to have helped me learn and grow as a homeschool mom, parent, homemaker and woman. I don’t know many local homeschool families. But the most rewarding and encouraging relationships have been through my local homeschool group. We have a pretty sweet set up through Yahoo! Groups. If I have an idea for a group activity I simply post a message about it and anyone interested emails me back.
Today was one of those days. I organized a tour of our Legislature building and meeting with the leader of the BC Green Party. This year our province is having an election. B’s interest in politics encouraged me to sign up to run a Student Vote group. Watching the kids asking questions and engaging with Andrew Weaver and the tour guide was awesome. But my favourite part was meeting other parents.
Play to your strengths.
I’m good at organizing things. It’s a gift. I enjoy it. So running workshops and tours and Student Vote are easy for me. We all have our strengths. I encourage you to find what you’re really good at and use that to build relationships with other homeschool parents.
If you’re struggling or feel alone in your homeschool journey, please reach out to me. Join my Facebook group VIHippieChick Online Unit Studies. Connect with me on social media. I want to build a community of people who help each other so that we can help each other avoid a homeschool mistake or recover from one.