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Life has been crazy for our family for a while now. It has always been full of busyness. But since the start of our going back and forth between Alaskan and Colorado, it has been insane. That means I haven’t always had time to share more posts from my heart. Joining with other homeschool moms on the topic of “Mistakes Made as a Homeschool Mom” this week is something I felt called to do.
3 Mistakes Made as a Homeschool Mom
It isn’t always easy to admit it, but we are all prone to making mistakes. This is true in parenting our kids as well as the journey of home education.
The good news is that many of them ARE fixable. Here are a few which I recognize as mistakes made over the years as well as my thoughts on how I have either overcome them OR plan to change.
Being Too Hard on Yourself
This is a big one that I suspect hits ALL homeschool moms at some point in time.
In this age of social media filled with pictures of the ‘perfect’ life, it is easy to think you are seriously failing your family. Our head might know that many of those images are staged and represent a small snippet from life. However, we may find guilt washing over us anyways.
As much as I want to have a beautiful home that looks ready for a magazine with kids that are fully engaged in hands-on activities, I know that isn’t reality.
Instead, I find chaos everywhere. Below is from our Alaska house a few years ago.
I had really hoped to have our space in Colorado set up and organized so well that messes would not reappear. But, the reality is that messes are here. And, I have not had enough time since we found rental space to unpack everything and set it up.
Of course, part of that reality is that we may still have too much stuff. (Although we disagree upon what is too much. Can you have too many books?? And, didn’t they see the hundreds of books that I sold or gave away in Alaska??)
How I Stop Berating Myself
When I recognize the pattern of beating myself up, I make time to turn everything over to God. Sometimes the ‘heart’ of this issue is also my not submitting to God’s will completely.
I also need to remember that I am more than a homeschool mom.
This means taking time for self-care so I can fulfill my calling as a mother and wife. My top choice for unwinding is to read. I also do my best to nourish my body and get physical activity.
Recently, I took a look at a post from 2014 where I shared a bucket list. Even though it is 4 years later, I feel that I could have written it today. I still have some of the same goals when it comes to being a homeschool mom.
Being Too Loose in Expectations
It pains me to write about loose expectations. But, I know that when life gets busy my default is to say the boys are doing ‘enough’ as I set aside some of our work. I expect that we’ll make up the difference later. Adjusting learning plans is a good thing, but only if you can plan for making up work they need to do.
When the boys were all young, this was okay. However, when they reach high school and transcripts become involved it is a different story. They have to do a set amount of work to earn those credits.
This year is one where things have been dropped. With 2 in high school (1 is graduating!), this is NOT the year to go loosey-goosey on schoolwork. So we are in crisis mode to get the work done in time for graduation. And, my high school senior does NOT move fast for anything.
The other issue where this is rearing its ugly head is my youngest now falling behind. We were doing a very hands-on math program up in Alaska. Less time for me to work with him means less work done. And now he is upset as a product we just started reviewing is telling him he is behind the curve based on his grade level. I do not believe in the comparison game, but fear if he had to attend a school the transition would be difficult.
While I know he can catch up and get through the work quickly, it is still disheartening to him and has my husband questioning what we do each day. It also has me contemplating whether he will need to go to school for a period of time if my need to work to pay bills continues. We’ve sent other boys to school for a period of time and know there are times when it is the best option.
Homeschooling while also working outside of the home is possible.But, it does not run smoothly when everyone is on board and willing to do their work when you snap your fingers. Recent prayer and reflection along with my review of Taming the Lecture Bug have me realizing it is in part a heart issue that needs addressing.
Not Training Boys to Work More Independently Earlier
When my eldest reached high school, I was giddy.
Because I thought he’d be able to do like those other homeschool kids I’ve read about and work independently. I dreamt of giving him a list of assignments along with his books with his snapping to and doing it all on time and with a cheerful disposition.
I should have known better.
My boys might love to read and learn, but they are NOT the “bookworm” that I have always been. When they go off to do their work, it often ends with them playing games on the computer instead.
I did include some instruction in studying. But, the reality is that for them it wasn’t enough. Also, we needed to be adding study skills from day 1 and not save it until they were preparing for high school.
Time management is something many people struggle with in life and I need to make more of an effort to train my boys. Using checklists is great, but they need to budget their time more effectively instead of procrastinating.
A mistake I Have NOT Made as a Homeschool Mom
If there is ONE thing that I feel I have consistently done well, it is to be a tough grader.
I’ve met some homeschool families where the kids get all A’s. Often times this is from the parent taking a mastery approach. But sometimes it is the case of wanting a child to feel successful or having low expectations of them. When it is the later (and I HAVE witnessed this more than once!), it does no one a great service.
While we do have some programs (e.g. Math U See) which have that approach, the boys do not routinely get an A. Instead, they are graded on what they turn in to me and are expected to correct missed problems. For a while, I used to give them partial credit back. But, when they hit high school I no longer do that.
Why be a tough grader and not adjust grades?
I know that when they enter life they will not experience this. Professors at college are not prone to making things easy. I also do not want them thinking to correct a mistake means to get a better outcome.
If anything, I WANT them to get an F when the work was extremely substandard. I shared this a while back in a post about practical secrets parents can learn from homeschoolers. Better to fail now in the security of your home than enter the ‘real world’ and wonder why you struggle to be successful in life.
When all is said and done, I do my best to maintain the Holy Spirit Guided Approach to Homeschooling.
If I truly believe this is the lifestyle God calls me to lead, then I know following His Will can make all these mistakes just bumps in the road.
What are some mistakes made as a homeschool mom in your life?
How did you correct those mistakes?