Monday, November 5, 2012
My Homeschool Mistakes
I loved, loved, loved, homeschooling! In fact, I homeschooled my two children for eight years. I loved everything about it. From the time I got to spend with my children, to setting my own schedule, to laying a foundation for the love of learning, to the personal choice of curriculum... I cannot say enough good about homeschooling! But in THIS blog I am not going to tell you about the cool parts of homeschooling, because you likely already know about those parts. I am going to tell you some mistakes I made that I hope you can avoid. (Be on the lookout for my "What I Love About Homeschooling.")
I have a VERY laid back, chill, personality. I do NOT like molds (as in "Jello" or "ice" or "cookie cutters.") Whereas I value rules, I also look at rules as "pick your battles wisely." And I don't think strict rules about a dress code is a battle I want to fight. I think we SHOULD get presentable for the public, like if we are going shopping or to church. But I do not see a need to prioritize how we dress at home. We were happy in our PJ's all day, thank you very much! And if we did put on clothes, we did not care what they looked like.
This proved to be dumb. Just because you can, does not mean you should. This approach seemed to make the school day "heavier" because our clothes made us feel like we were on some type of vacation, and so the school work went slow.
Getting dressed in "public ready" attire makes everybody take their job more seriously. Not to mention, it also keeps mom more aware of her body image; a needed focus in the romance arena with dad. It does not matter how bald, or fat, or old he is. His eyes still trigger his sweetness.
It truly does NOT take six hours a day to teach or learn. We would be finished with school work in less than four hours. When the work was done, I was done. That left M&M bored. Boredom resulted in too much sitting, too much movies, too much snacking, and too much bickering.
I should have planned more experiences. So many ideas that pop in my head on the spur of the moment cost money, which we did not have too much of to just throw out on a whim. If I would have planned better, we could have accessed many freebies, which would have kept us from being bored, had us moving our bodies, and kept us away from continual snacking.
My kids have never met a stranger. Also, because of our role in church leadership, our family was among the first to arrive and the last to leave. This meant they played with lots of kids. They have never been anti-social or shy. But having rarely experienced peer pressure or competition, they were a little off kilter when they started going back to school.
It's not that I think a child should give in to peer pressure, but I think they need to experience it so they can learn to resist it. And while I do not have a competitive bone in my body, both of my kids are very competitive. They dealt with some rude awakenings when both teachers and students were affronted by my kids' inability to chill over things that were no big deal to kids who had been in school all their lives.
It is possible that if I would have been part of a weekly home school group my children would have learned this naturally along with their peers.
Homeschooling is great if you recognize it is a live, morphing organism. What worked last semester may not work in this one. What did not work last year might be perfect now. So, my advice is that you not give up, that you not be afraid to try, and that you not be afraid to change some things.
Don't forget to check back soon for some of the “out of the box” things we did, and other valuable experiences we had while homeschooling.