7 Habits of Highly Successful Homeschool Families

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There are currently over 2 million homeschooled students in the US. It’s no secret that homeschooling is growing at astounding rates, but it goes without saying that not all homeschools are successful. In fact many homeschools are closed each year because for one reason or another, the family just could not make it work.

I’ve spent a great deal of time studying the dynamics of homeschool families. I’ve spoken to families who run successful homeschool and have graduated multiple students who have then gone on to prestigious colleges and have successful careers, I’ve also spoken with many former homeschool parents who have closed their homeschools and pursued alternative educational avenues.

I’ve noticed that there are a few key attributes that successful homeschool families possess, and if you’re in this homeschooling journey for the long haul, I suggest you take a look at your homeschooling family and ensure that you are working to embrace these qualities:

7 Habits of Highly Successful Homeschool Families

7 Habits of Successful Homeschool Families:

  1. They are flexible. Yes, flexibility is key. A successful homeschool family realizes that life happens. A baby is born, someone loses a job, illness plagues your home, and the list goes on and on. The fact is just when we think we have our homeschool schedule all figured out, something will happen that turns our best laid plans on their head. Flexibility gives us the power to embrace whatever the Lord sends our way and to stay the course. Successful homeschool families also know the value of trial and error. They aren’t afraid to toss out a curriculum that isn’t working for their family.
  2. They institute a lifestyle of learning. Ask any successful homeschool family and they’ll tell you that learning doesn’t stop outside of “school hours”. Being a homeschool parent means you are always teaching. These parents instill a love of learning in their children that will take them far beyond a diploma or degree.
  3. They don’t fall into the comparison trap. Playing the comparison game will kill your homeschool and successful homeschooling parents know this. While receiving encouragement and advice from fellow homeschooling parents is helpful, never ever compare your homeschool or your children to theirs. God placed you in your family because He knows that’s where you are meant to be. Run your homeschool according to the needs and uniqueness of the family He has given  you and you’ll succeed.
  4. They know the value of community. Sometimes, we just need to vent to someone who understands. Sometimes, we need curriculum advice. Sometimes, we simply need someone to say I’ve been there, we got through it, and so will you. These are benefits of being part of a homeschool community. Real life friends who understand the homeschooling lifestyle. They encourage, support, and advise one another on the ins and outs of homeschooling. Not only do homeschooling parents benefit from communities, but homeschooled students do as well.
  5. They know when to ask for help. Homeschooling is hard. Successful homeschool parents know this and they accept it. They are able to recognize when a struggling child needs more help than they can provide and they find the help needed. Successful homeschool moms realize they aren’t Wonder Women. They aren’t afraid to ask for help with chores. They aren’t shy about speaking up when they need a few hours to themselves.
  6. They know when to say no. Effective homeschooling parents know the benefit of building white space into their schedule. They have the wisdom to turn down seemingly good opportunities because they know their family and they know the point where adding just one more thing could be detrimental. I’ve heard many homeschool families say that they have a hard time fitting homeschooling into their busy schedule. This my friends is a recipe for disaster. Homeschooling isn’t just something that we fit into our day. It must be among the most important parts of our day, and sometimes this means saying no to friends, family, and opportunities.
  7. They understand the power of prayer. Not only do they understand the power of prayer, they are constantly calling on the power of the Living God to assist them in their days. Successful homeschool parents realize they cannot do this on their own. They recognize that they were called to this homeschooling journey by God, and they boldly approach His throne each day and ask for his guidance in assistance in fulfilling their calling.

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Great article! It is a wonderful reminder for me to remember to be flexible and realize that life happens. We have been getting in plenty of learning time lately, but I have been feeling guilty that it hasn’t been as “school” like as I would like. As long as there is learning, that really is what matters.

  2. Great article! This is our second year homeschooling and I have to say that the biggest challenge for me last year was breaking the “I have to do things on a strict schedule, just like public school” mindset. Once I embraced the fact that we chose to homeschool for many reasons, including not wanting to be part of the public system, I was able to get over the “strict schedule” anxiety and relax enough to make our homeschool work for us.

  3. I believe that one thing that helps with homeschooling is looking at it as a fun, learning opportunity rather than a chore to be completed. Learning with my kids is fun. I think my joy of learning rubs off on my kids and their joy in learning rubs off on me and we all have fun together.

    We also tend to read together curled up on the couch, or sitting on my lap, or lying on my back. It’s fun, family, together time.

  4. I’ve been home educating our 10 children for over 25 years, and I can testify that this article/list is true. All the 7 on the list are good, but I’d say the most important is the last one, #7. There is simply no way I could have done it all without the Lord, having a close relationship with Him through prayer and walking with Him daily. Yes, the work is vital, the planning so necessary, the choices so many and so important, and so much more. But with God as the thread that holds it all together, the Common Denominator through it all, we have been successful according to His standards.

    Just by way of testimony to the truth of this list of 7 things (and NOT boasting at all, because if you only knew how LITTLE my husband and I had to do with our success and how MUCH the Lord did, you would be convinced I am not boasting but simply testifying to the Lord’s incredible faithfulness), here is a sample of where we are in our journey after 25 years:
    Of my 5 adult children (we have 10 children): 3 have college degrees (in the humanities fields) — 2 are Masters degrees and 1 is currently finishing her PhD at a major university, and at a younger age than her graduate associates — and all were in the A range at graduations. The next is halfway through her college degree at a younger age than most, as well as having pursued her other passions of worship, prayer, etc., at another Christian institution, doing both concurrently. My 5th is just about ready to graduate homeschool high school, and is currently at an internship pursuing his passions of outdoor navigation, search and rescue, and other highly physical endeavors, but also involving wonderful spiritual learning — and this 5th child is interested in pursuing astrophysics, but has recently decided maybe the Lord doesn’t want him to go that direction, but possibly business.

    My younger 5 children still at home are also doing well, but again, by the Lord’s standards and not necessarily the world’s. For example, my 10-yr old son is just now reading fluently — not because he couldn’t before, but because circumstances in our family were so extreme that I’m finally getting around to teaching him to read. The world would see that at “not successful,” but I’m not concerned. I waited to teach a couple other to read until they were 7 or 8 years old, and they have turned out just fine — passing College Level Examination Program tests for college credit while in high school, making dean’s lists at college, etc.. I choose not to worry about what “others” think, but only what God thinks.

    And speaking of God, that brings me back to my first paragraph and #7 on the list. It was through God’s guidance and direction that we have homeschooled, stayed the course, and flourished in the process. I told of some of the academic “successes” of some of my children, as a testimony to the Lord’s faithfulness, but that’s not even what true success is. I’m thankful to the Lord that the seeds planted through prayer and faith in His promises are now producing fruit that I can see in my adult children. They are well-rounded, responsible, respectful, and very wise people. No, not perfect, but becoming WHO they are, WHO God made them to be, following the Lord for themselves and seeing His faithfulness for themselves. THIS IS SUCCESS. And this is your reward, homeschooling mama. “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

    My goodness, my family has had so many problems, and we are sooo far from perfect or even halfway perfect! But God…. But God…. God makes the impossible possible, and the complicated so simple. Please be encouraged that what this article says is absolutely true, and even more, that God is absolutely faithful to you. Successful homeshooling is simply leading your children to become who God made them to be, each very unique, by leading them in a real relationship with Him — not only in teaching His Word to them, but also, and more importantly, by living it yourself. Success is showing them how to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength and all your mind,” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Success is leading them to learn and grow in LOVE and WISDOM, even as you learn and grow in love and wisdom yourself in the journey. Success is simply saying “yes” to God, no matter what, and walking by faith and not sight.

    Here are two of the promises the Lord gave to my heart when I first started out, and the ones I’ve stood on the entire time:
    “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great will be the peace of your children.” (Isaiah 54:13)
    And, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [like math, science, reading, history…] will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33, my additions in brackets).

    Many blessings to all in our journeys, Janis

    1. Janis,
      We sound like kindred spirits. We have graduated 6 from home school with 3 left at home. It is startling how amazing our children have turned out…all glory to God! Certainly wasn’t our faithfulness. But, be faithful, young parents. God will take your feeble efforts and produce warriors for His kingdom. And that is truly our main goal, is it not? Great advice in this article.

    2. Amen, Janis! Thanks for the encouragement. It always helps to hear about others experience and success. And you are right, we can only give God the glory! Thank you again!

  5. I’d like to point out to you that secular homeschooling is the fastest growing subpopulation of homeschoolers currently, and it’s snowballing at an exponential rate. To suggest that one needs religion to be a successful homeschool is ludicrous. Sure, there are many successful religious homeschool families, but it is not a core need. There are MANY extremely successful homeschool families raising their children with no religion.

    Homeschooling is no longer just for Christians. It’s for EVERYONE. Please stop furthering this myth. Secular homeschoolers struggle against the “all homeschoolers are religious” myth on a daily basis from the general population already. We don’t need homeschoolers furthering the myth as well!!

    1. Hi, Tina! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and reply. I cannot imagine the homeschooling journey without God by my side. This post is obviously on my blog and written from my point of view so there is NO way that I would leave God out of it. It is my belief that God is a necessity of a successful homeschooling experience. I do understand that others do not share this sentiment and I definitely encourage them to find secular homeschooling blogs that will help to encourage them and meet their needs without “furthering myths” as you put it. Blessings to you and your family. 🙂

    2. Good job, Heather. We choose God, and we need God, but those who disagree are welcome to search out Secular help. I love your blog and I love your attitude. I’m not some crazy over the top Christian Homeschooling Freak, I am a rooted, grounded, strong tested and tried believer in Christ and I couldn’t homeschool without Him as my (our) guide!!

  6. When I get free time I use to sit and think about the homeschool education my daughter received and what parts of it were most successful. I believe that the habits you have shared here were also most critical to my successful homeschooling. Thanks for reminding me once again!

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Hi, there! I’m Heather Bowen, and I am so glad you’re here.

My passion lies in helping homeschool moms balance marriage, motherhood, homemaking, and homeschooling all while remaining sane!

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