10 HUGE Mistakes I Made During Our First Year of Homeschooling


 
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Beginning your first year of homeschooling can be quite stressful. I remember not being able to sleep at all the night before our first day. It was a mixture of being excited and scared out of mind that I was going to fail miserably and ruin my children. Well, here we are almost seven years later and I am happy to say we are still going, and guess what?! I have not ruined my children thus far. They are quite intelligent, social, well-adjusted young ladies. All of that stress and worry in those beginning years was for naught.

10 HUGE Mistakes I Made During Our First Year of Homeschooling

However, I did make quite a few mistakes our first year that definitely added to the stress and headaches we all experienced. These mistakes are all 100% avoidable and I’m hoping that since you are reading my mistakes, you will take heed and avoid making the same blunders. I’m not here to tell you that I have it all figured out, because that is definitely not the case, but these 10 things are homeschool mom rookie mistakes that you simply don’t need to make.

  1. I tried to recreate a public school setting in our home. Talk about a nightmare! I clearly remember the weekend before we began our first year of homeschooling my children spent the weekend with grandparents. They left their home and came back to a school. I had put up bulletin boards, set up perfectly organized desks, put up a poster of “classroom rules”, and who knows what else. These things may not seem like bad ideas, but it was taken to such an extreme that my five year old asked, “Mommy, can we still live here since it is a school now?”. I had lost sight of why we were homeschooling and we had not even started our first day yet. I wasn’t homeschooling so that we could recreate the public school setting in our home. Now, seven years later, we don’t even have a dedicated school room. Homeschooling takes place throughout our home and we love it that way.
  2. Expecting too much too soon. I set my expectations way too high. I expected my little kindergartners to be perfect students, and I expected myself to be the perfect teacher. Neither of which we had any prior experience with. If you are brand new to homeschooling, give yourself and your children some grace. As with anything new, there is most definitely an adjustment period. Take it slow. Ease your way in and celebrate the small victories.
  3. My homemaking skills seriously suffered. And by that I mean, they were nonexistent. I could not for the life of me get a grasp of how I could homeschool my children all day and still find the time to do the many other tasks that were required of me: cooking, cleaning, financial management, laundry, etc. And so, I became overwhelmed and burned out very quickly. The issue wasn’t that I didn’t have enough time, the issue was the fact that I was unorganized and unprepared. I began putting together what I referred to as my Homeschool Mom Life Binder and slowly but surely I was able to get back on track. It took some time but I can definitely say that I finally learned how to balance the many responsibilities I was juggling. Before you start your homeschooling year, go ahead and save your sanity and purchase your own copy of my Homeschool Mom Life Binder. Being organized from the very beginning is the BEST thing you can do for your family!
    Click here to learn more about the Homeschool Mom Life Binder!
  4. I didn’t know how to be flexible. Homeschooling moms HAVE to be flexible. Seriously- it is a requirement. Just as soon as you create that “perfect homeschool schedule”, find that “perfect homeschool curriculum”, and finally get a handle on what you’re doing, something happens: a baby is born, someone gets sick, employment schedules change, you move across the country, the list is endless, but you get the point. Life happens and your once “perfect” plans no longer fit. Flexibility is the name of the game.
  5. I forgot that I was their mom first. This was a painful one for me. I became so consumed with being a great homeschool mom that I totally neglected the fact that some days my children didn’t need a teacher, they simply needed their mommy. Don’t forget that while academics are important, your relationship with your children means so much more. Know when they need you as their mother, and nothing more.
  6. I forgot that I had a husband who needed me. If you can’t tell by now, I jumped into this homeschooling thing at 150%. I was all homeschool, all the time. I was so consumed by it that I totally neglected the fact that I had a husband who was my friend and my partner in this journey. Ladies, homeschooling is great. But don’t sacrifice your marriage on the altar of homeschooling. Set it aside from time to time to make your husband feel important. He loves the fact that you are educating his children, but he would love to hear you talk about something besides lesson plans and curriculum.
  7. I forgot who I was. I lost myself. I neglected my health and my hobbies. If you only take away one piece of advice from this post, let it be this: make time for you. You cannot pour into others when you are running on empty. Make a point each month to take a few hours each week to do something that you love {and homeschooling doesn’t count- even if you love it!} Have coffee with a friend. Read a book {no, read alouds don’t count either}. Go to the gym. Whatever your thing is, do it.
  8. I forgot what fun was. I tried to turn absolutely everything into a learning experience, and while that is okay sometimes, it shouldn’t be the norm. Be silly with your kids. Plan fun days where you put the books aside and focus simply on having fun and making memories with one another.
  9. I compared myself to other homeschool moms. Everyone always seemed to be doing so much more, and doing it so much better than I could. I saw the “Pinterest Perfect” homeschool moms and thought that I could never measure up. When I finally stopped trying to be someone that I wasn’t, things finally started falling into place. It took a dear friend reminding me that God gave my children me as their mother for a reason, to make me stop playing the comparison game. Do not worry about what another homeschool mom is doing. I can pretty much guarantee you that she is really just a hot mess doing her best to survive this madness just like the rest of us….even if she won’t admit it!
  10. I compared my children to other children. This one goes along the same lines as number 9. Comparison will rob you of all joy. Your children are great. They really are. Do not do yourself or them the injustice of comparing them to anyone else. So what if they still aren’t reading by the age of 8? They’ll get it in their own time. God handpicked your children for you because he knew that with His help, you could give them just what they needed. Don’t you dare play that comparison game. Your children are the best because they are YOURS. Don’t forget that.

Friends, you really don’t have to make these same mistakes. They aren’t those “good mistakes” that help you learn valuable lessons along the way. They are straight up evil mistakes that will cause you more stress and heartache than you can imagine. Who has time for that?! Not you! Put your guard up now. You’ve got this!


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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Heather, these are great tips. Even seasoned homeschooling moms would do well to remember these 🙂 Some are easy to remember, but others need to be applied every year. One more that I often see in other moms is doubt. If you have taught your children and they learned over the year and you met or came close to the goals you had for the year you need not doubt whether you taught them enough. There are too many things to learn in one year and even in one lifetime, teach them to enjoy learning and your child can go wherever they want.

  2. Thank you so much for these tips, Heather. I just started homeschooling so I really needed them.

  3. You are spot-on! I made those exact same mistakes for not one, but TWO, years. This last spring I was so burned out and so far from even wanting to do school that I knew something had to change. I was a slave to my curriculum. I had this idea that if I didn’t get all the things in my children were “supposed to learn” in public school that I was failing them. I decided that the one thing I was going to do this year was enjoy homeschooling. I am so glad I did! I already feel better. My husband is still stuck in “public school world.” He taught public school much longer than I did, so I still bought a math curriculum and a grammar curriculum. (And, YES, coming from a public school teaching position is a huge part of why I was so out-of-touch with what homeschooling really could be!!!) I just wish I had realized all this sooner. I pray that other moms will be able to read your article and hopefully avoid these same things. Thank you!!!!

  4. Wow! This really helped me! Thank you!

  5. Even at the near-end of our first year homeschooling, I am so glad I found this 🙂

  6. I did all these things too!!! I feel you.

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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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