What is your biggest homeschool mistake?
There are so many things that I wish I could go back and do differently with my oldest. When I first started out homeschooling, I very much had the idea of school-at-home in my mind, so he basically sat at his desk doing workbooks. It makes me feel sad to remember that little boy so full of energy and ideas being stifled in that chair.
I’d like to go back and tailor the teaching to his unique learning style and tailor the topics to his interests and strengths. I would do less book-work with him and spend more time enjoying him and getting to know who God created him to be.
That little boy is all grown up and he is a plumber now which he really enjoys, but I can’t help but wonder sometimes what would have happened if I had worried less about what he was learning and more about teaching him to love learning.
Back then, he gave me signs that what I was doing wasn’t working for him but I was so stuck in the mindset that school could only be done one way that I persevered and pushed him to do book reports and workbooks and repetitive math worksheets. This was back when he was just five and six years old.
I wish I had played board games with him for ‘math’, snuggled him on my lap and read to him more and let him run in the yard and climb trees for Phys. Ed. instead of the structured class I enrolled him in.
I am so thankful that I learned from my mistakes and over the years have added more hands-on learning, more fun and more joy into our homeschool days.
My younger kids have had the benefit of me being a mom with more experience. This has allowed them to be taught in the ways that each of them needed to be, including more sensory ‘work’, more playtime, more interest-led learning and less workbooks. We do more reading together and exploring together and discovering.
Once I allowed myself to think of homeschooling as something different than replicating a brick and mortar school, a new world opened itself up to us!
I’ve written about what I would tell a new homeschool mom. I hope that others can learn from some of my many early mistakes. I’m still learning, but I think that my younger kids are getting the benefit of how much homeschooling has stretched me as a person and caused me to grow.
You can read about what we’re going to be learning this year in our homeschool. I am especially looking forward to our unit studies and field trips.