April 23, 2018

5 Lessons I Have Learned to Make Homeschooling Less Stressful~Lesson 1: Keep Public School Out! {5 Days of...Homeschool Blog Hop}

5 Lessons Learned to Make Homeschooling Less Stressful: Day 1
Homeschooling is stressful. There isn't a single homeschool parent who would say otherwise. But over the course of my soon to be eight years of homeschooling, I have learned that a LOT of the stress is of our own doing. There are tips and tricks we can use to decrease the amount of stress we deal with--making homeschooling a much more profitable and enjoyable experience. Over the course of this week, I will be touching on five lessons that I myself have had to learn over the course of my homeschooling experience thus far. A few of these are things I wish I had done differently from the beginning, and some are things I recently learned and am enacting in our classroom from here on out. My hope is that you will be able to take even just ONE of these lessons and apply it to your own experience--thus saving you from having to make the same mistakes I have. So let's get started! The first and possibly the MOST IMPORTANT lesson I can share with you is this...


Don't Bring Public School Inside Your Home

One of the BIGGEST mistakes that beginning homeschoolers make, is trying to replicate the public school experience inside of their home school. Don't try to do public school at home! This isn't the purpose of homeschooling! You will limit yourself and put pressure on yourself. You will squelch the freedom you have as a homeschooler to really EXPLORE everything there is about the learning process if you are just going to bring all the public school ideas and principles and material into your home. 

Your day does NOT have to match the public school day. Your school year does not have to perfectly replicate the public school year. (I will however touch on something you DO need to do below). You do not have to teach the same things at the same time. You do not even need to actually teach the exact same things. Remember--state to state, and from district to district, even public school students are using different curriculum and going at different rates. 

The sooner you can banish the idea of public school having a say in your daily routine (which if you are trying to mimic it they are the ones designing your homeschool experience), the better off you will be--and you will eliminate the stress of trying to mimic the very thing you chose NOT to put your child in.

Don't Measure Your Children With Their Standards

You pulled your children out of the school system to probably allow your child to go at their own rate. To give them one-on-one time. To feed their interests. To allow them to explore and learn things the school system may not teach. Every single child is unique--THIS is what the public school system tends to forget as they group them together teaching them the same thing at the same age at the same time, without any regard to their learning styles or scientifically proven readiness variations. If there are problems measuring all public school children against the same standard--why then would you measure your HOMESCHOOLED children against the public school standards? 

Your children are NOT going to be studying the same things.
Your children are NOT going to be going the same speed.
Your children are NOT learning the same way. 

Please--don't compare them to their public school counterparts! This is going to stress you out! I promise that it will lead you to doubt your own abilities. It will cause you to possibly even change something that is working PERFECTLY FINE for your children, because you believe they are lacking in some way. Remember that homeschooling is supposed to be FREEING! You are going to hear from your public school parent friends about their children. About their child's abilities. About their child's test scores. And yes, there will be times they will make you feel bad about your own whatever it is they may make you feel bad about. 


You chose to free yourself of the confines relating to public schooling your children. So don't fall back into bondage! Measure your child's progress against THEMSELVES! 

Now, some of you may still have to have your child either take a state test or have a portfolio evaluated. So you may be pressured in some ways to make sure they DO have certain things "under their belt". Typically however, homeschool students EXCEL in those tests because they have had time to really explore the topics and make sure they grasp the concepts without cramming it in. So if you have to do testing--keep it in balance with the knowledge that your children will learn differently because they are just in a different environment.
Seriously. This is a lesson I have had to learn. Especially since I am friends with parents who post about their child's progress--children who would be classmates with my oldest son if he was in the public school system. As they share their test scores or assignments or projects, it's all too easy for me to study the shared item intently to determine whether or not my own son could do it. Or I start thinking about what the current standards are for his grade level. Or I start freaking out about whether or not he could test back into public school at his correct grade if some craziness happened to me and he was forced back in school or...I can easily keep the scenarios running through my head. And I have to stop. One of the reasons my children AREN'T in public school is because I want to be able to teach them on my terms! Learning the way I believe they learn best. Teaching without lots of graded assignments and tests to foster a love of learning. When I start comparing to the public school, I tend to forget these basic things. And if I can still do it almost eight years into our homeschool experience--think about how much more for someone just getting started!

DO Follow the State Rules

I would be remiss without giving a reminder to any homeschool parent to make sure you KNOW THE RULES for homeschooling in your state. In some states this means you DO have to log certain things with your local school district (notification of intent, location of your school, ages/names of your children, ect). And in many states you DO have to still do progress reports and report cards following your local districts' schedule. My state requires this. I have looked it up, and our local district does progress reports every 9 weeks--therefore, I calculate on my planner for the year where those 9 weeks fall and make sure I do a write up honoring that requirement. This is also true with subjects to teach. MOST laws state what subjects must be taught for your state. Some require a state history course. Others require fine arts. Some require a special grade project--like the 4th grade California Mission project. Please make sure you DO following these requirements--however in most situations it isn't a "this is what you need to teach every year" but rather--over the course of their schooling your children must have studied these things in depth. And you are STILL able to choose WHAT history. WHAT science. Don't try to find out how the public school system does it so you can do it exactly the same way. You don't HAVE to do it that way. So why choose to?

When it comes to homeschooling and helping decrease the level of stress, start by throwing out any ideas that your home needs to resemble the public school system in any way, shape, or form! Keep the public school system out of your homeschool and you will be able to really create the most ideal environment for fostering the love of learning with your children!

Coming Soon ... 2018 Annual Spring Blog Hop
This week I am joining in with 21 other homeschool bloggers to talk about various topics relating to the theme of homeschool! I hope you will use the linky below to visit some of the other ladies to see what THEY are going to covering this week! And check back in with me tomorrow as I share with you ANOTHER lesson that I have learned to help make homeschool less stressful--and its related to the pre-school/Kindergarten years!


Annette said...

Good lesson to remember. :)

Kristen H said...

Very true! As a former teacher, it is hard to not try and replicate public school.