It Looks Like a Mistake. But, It May Be Something Better.

Mistakes I Made as a Homeschool Mom

  1. Not Committing Fully for a Year
  2. Not Asking for help from local (or online) community
  3. Not involving my kids’ fathers
  4. Not being more flexible on some subjects
  5. Being too flexible on some subjects

Because I am a blogger who blogs (a bit) about homeschooling, I can sometimes forget my family’s choppy homeschool start.

Public school doesn’t register with my youngest. My oldest? She can recall the confusion, bullying, and tears during her public-school years.

And, yes. That’s public school in Costa Rica.

But she rarely thinks about it now. Unless she helps pick up her cousin from the same school she once attended.

Yet I would hardly consider myself a veteran homeschooler. Y’know. The one who has her schedule altogether.

I think I have a wonderful digital homeschool planner. But the truth is, I just changed my girls’ schedules…

Again.

When I reviewed my Google Calendar, their lessons looked more like a mosaic than a guideline. I was getting cross-eyed.

So, I made some changes.

Oh well. I’m not perfect. I took the lesson learned from the puzzle that was our homeschool schedule and adjusted.

But it reminded me of some other ‘mistakes’ I made as a homeschool mom.

Mistakes that helped me understand it was OK not to be perfect.

If you know my story, you know I started homeschooling before my kids were born. So, I should have had a grasp on things by the time they came around, right?

Wonk! Wonk!

Even though it was a great experience, I ultimately returned “my girls” to their parents. And I think that somehow influenced Mistake #1.

#1 – Not committing fully for a year

I loved finding cool new curriculum and supplemental material. But I wasn’t used to being committed to homeschool for the long haul. Having my own children made that clear. Until then, we were on again, off again for days at a time.

Some of the off again was because of Mistake #2.

#2 – Not asking for help from local (or online) community

I was in such a state while grieving my former life, I had to put homeschooling away for a bit.

But I was ashamed to let anyone know. Telling others and convincing myself that immersing my daughter in public school was the only way she could learn Spanish, I signed her up.

Now, I know of several communities (local & online) where my daughters can immerse in Spanish. Their homeschool co-op is one. The house of Dad #1 is another.

Although his wife speaks English very well, she respects my request to speak Spanish to the kids. They are now used to hearing it regularly.

So yes, my oldest speaks Spanish (probably better than her dad). But, she had to go through a couple years of not so nice kids in the process. I’m glad that her new environment helped to replace those harsh memories.

And speaking of dad, Mistake #3…

(I don’t mean it like that)

#3 – Not involving my kids’ fathers

For me, this was a big one. This mistake began to look and feel secretive and untrusting.

And Dad #1 really wanted to take charge of life science education.

Dad #2 just wanted to be involved any way he could. Even if that meant 1950s Dick and Jane books. (Yes, I know.) Or, at the least, daddy-daughter boating and camping trips.

So, while they bond, mommy gets to rest. And the girls get to learn new and fascinating things.

Granted, some single parent homeschoolers don’t have this option. But if you have it, do yourself a favor and take advantage of the bonding/resting time.

Mistakes #4 and #5 I find to be common among many homeschoolers.

#4 – Not being more flexible on some subjects

This reminds me of a very…very…very old saying.

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

Umm. Question.

Why would you want to skin a cat? Can’t we shear a sheep instead?

A lot easier and less cruel.

In a way, it was like our family homeschool learning environment.

At one time, I thought math and English had to be taught a certain way.

Memorize the facts. Memorize the vocabulary. Memorize the spelling. Complete the drills.

My kinesthetic and audial learners showed me that memorization without connection seriously got under their skin. (Cats.)

So, I tried ELA another way. Isolated sight words. (Meow.)

While it worked well enough for my audial learner, if she could not connect it to something and explain it to me in her own words, it didn’t stick.

In my search to get the spelling and reading to click for them, I found that they liked reading and copywork in context…or in song. (Baa…baa…black sheep)

Kinesthetic is a big picture person. Audial is a song and dance detailed person. After it’s read or written, (or sung), if they still don’t understand it, they will begin to isolate the problem.

And it turns out, memorization and drills are no longer the go-to methods of learning. Although, they are methods that continue to work for some.

Unfortunately, it took me a moment to see that method wasn’t working because I was being completely inflexible in my thinking.

At the same time, the opposite was true.

#5 – Being too flexible in some subjects

Like I said in mistake #1, I loved finding new curriculum and supplemental materials.

In fact, if I’m honest with you – and myself – I have a shiny red button problem.

Because of it, I’ve gone from Letter of the Week to Orton-Gillingham to whatever else might work.

From math drills to math literature.

In search of something without really understanding WHY it wasn’t clicking with my kids.

So, for a time, if they weren’t feeling it…neither was I. In my effort to have the cool homeschool, I let go of any subject that presented a challenge…instead of inspiring and engaging them to rise to that challenge.

After understanding how my kids learn best and what piques their interests, my searching methods changed.

I now look for hands-on programs for one. Programs that spark theatrics in the other.

And you know what? For the most part, they get it!

I don’t have to put it away waiting until they seem ready.

(It’s rare that I do now anyway.)

As they grow older and graduate from the previous program, the process starts again. But, I remember that one size does not fit all. And I may not make the ‘best’ choice the first time at bat.

And that’s OK.

Because it’s not really a mistake.

If I look at it a different way, it’s just a learning curve.

 


Looking for encouragement with a few laughs? Need to know you’re not alone?

Well, you’re not. Other homeschool moms have been where you are.

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