Hey, there! Whether you’re a homeschool newbie or have been at it for a while, we all make mistakes.
However, there are some mistakes that are really common in the homeschool community. One specific type of mistake we make is practicing bad habits.
Below, I will share 7 homeschool bad habits that I see all the time (and what we can do to break them). I hope it helps!
7 Things NOT to do in Your Homeschool
Homeschool Bad Habit #1: Buying All the Things
As homeschool parents, we realize that it’s up to us to make sure that our kids have everything they need for a well-rounded education. That means that WE have to buy it.
Public school parents think they have it rough when it comes time to buy things on their child’s school supply list, but homeschool families typically have much longer (and much more expensive) shopping lists. We buy everything from writing utensils, paper, and arts and crafts supplies to textbooks, technology, and extracurricular supplies.
But are we doing too much?
Take a minute now to think about the things you’ve bought since you started homeschooling.
- Have you really used everything?
- Does your child complete every page from every workbook?
- Do they read through every single textbook?
- Do they fill all of their notebooks or use up all of their arts and crafts supplies before you buy more for the new school year?
- Do you use all of the cool gadgets regularly?
If you can genuinely say yes, then that is wonderful! If, however, you look around your homeschool room and see a ton of things that your kids have never used (and may never use), then it may be time to reassess your spending (or collecting) habits.
If possible, sell as much of the extraneous homeschool stuff as you can. Then sit down and make a list of the absolute essentials you need.
It also helps to set a homeschool budget so that you have a good idea of how much you can and should spend on homeschool supplies. It’s even better if you physically set that money aside or keep it in a separate account so that you can see how much you’ve spent and how much you have left.
You just may find that you can homeschool on a much lower budget than what you’ve been spending – without sacrificing the quality of education.
Homeschool Bad Habit #2: Comparing Your Homeschool Family to Others
Since there are so many homeschool families (and we tend to gravitate towards each other), you’re likely to get to know homeschoolers who are both really similar to your family and really different from your family. And that’s the beauty of homeschooling! We all have different goals, different goals, and styles.
The problem comes when you start comparing your homeschool family to other homeschool families.
You worry that you’re not doing enough extracurriculars because the Brady family has each of their kids doing something every day of the week.
You worry that you’re not doing enough because the Sheltons and Jacksons have their kids signed up for an expensive co-op that teaches Latin.
You worry that you’re being too relaxed because the Miltons homeschool their kids for 5 hours a day and your kids are done in under 2 hours.
You worry that you’re too strict because you don’t like your kids on electronics, but the Bingham’s kids all do their curriculum online.
Basically, you worry a lot because you’re looking at what everyone else is doing and wondering if that’s what you should be doing as well.
So try what feels right for your family. If it doesn’t work out, try something else. Do that until you find the homeschool setup that works best for your family. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.
Homeschool Bad Habit #3: Comparing Kids to Each Other
Another bad comparison habit that we as parents in general have is comparing kids to each other. Whether you’re comparing your kids to someone else’s kids or comparing siblings to each other, it’s unfair – to yourself and to the kids.
You might be wondering why your kids don’t behave the same way as another set of kids. Or why one of your kids is struggling with a subject that your other kids mastered easily.
Homeschool Bad Habit #4: Comparing Yourself to Other Homeschool Moms
While we’re on the subject of homeschooling, we also need to stop comparing ourselves to other homeschool moms. Even if you never say it out loud, a lot of us still compare ourselves to other moms. We may envy the way she seems to have it all together. Or how she seems to never lose her temper. Or how she seems more equipped to do this whole homeschool thing.
The next time you find yourself putting yourself down, think of three things you’re doing well and hold onto THAT feeling. Give yourself some grace, mama!
Homeschool Bad Habit #5: Modeling Homeschool After Public School
A lot of the time, when we start the homeschool journey and are not sure HOW to start, we turn to the one model we know – public school. We plan for our kids to study 6-8 subjects (often on a daily basis). We have schedules where they are learning for 5-7 hours per day. We have set times for breakfast, lunch, and recess. And we stick to those schedules like our lives depend on it.
A lot of the time – this doesn’t work.
We hate it.
Our kids hate it.
Everyone is grumpy.
While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to study a lot of subjects, wanting to get in a certain number of hours per day, or having routines, I do think that trying really hard to model your homeschool after public school can backfire in a major way.
If it works for you, that is beautiful. If it doesn’t it is 100% okay to switch things up. As I said, homeschool is what you make of it. So make it great!
Homeschool Bad Habit #6: Overly Packed Schedules
One of the things a lot of people worry about when it comes to homeschoolers is whether they are getting enough socialization.
Sometimes, this worry manifests itself as the parent making sure their child has a full schedule. They do school for however many hours a day and then the rest of the hours are filled up with activity after activity after activity. They go from school work to 4-H to theater to softball to music lessons to martial arts to field trips and there’s very little downtime.
And there is where the problem comes in. It’s great for kids to have extracurricular activities that they enjoy and that align with their goals. But if they are always on the go and never have time to just BE, it can wear on them – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Not to mention, when your schedule stays super packed, it doesn’t leave much wiggle room for things like illness, unexpected events, or, well…anything.
I’m all for having routines and schedules, but make sure you weave in some downtime and wiggle room as well!
Homeschool Bad Habit #7: Ignoring Self-Care
Which brings me to my last (but definitely not least critical) bad habit – ignoring self-care. As moms (homeschool or not) and women, we have this really bad habit of putting ourselves last. We prioritize our children, our partners, our careers, our homes, our friends, our extended family, and even our pets. But, when it comes to prioritizing ourselves – not so much.
And, if you don’t mind me hitting you with another cliché, we can’t pour from an empty cup.
We really can serve everyone around us so much better when we are happy and healthy. And, I realize that that mindset STILL stems from a desire to take care of others, but if that’s how you have to look at it to make YOU a priority, then that’s what I will use.
Again, I really hope this helps you in some way. I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on the subject in the comments below. And if you think some of your fellow homeschool moms would benefit from reading this article, be sure to share it!
RELATED Homeschooling ARTICLES:
- 7 Must-See TED Talks for Homeschooling Families
- Common Homeschool Fears and How to Combat Them
- Fun Reasons to Teach Your Kids to Bake