Homeschooling always has its challenges, and the holidays can intensify what can already be a somewhat-stressful situation. Are you making any of these common homeschooling mistakes that may be getting in the way of your child’s education?
Over the past 17 years, I've consulted with thousands of homeschoolers. I realized that there are some common mistakes that even smart homeschooling parents often make that may be unintentionally getting in the way of a child’s academic progress.
—TOO dependent on the parent – If the curriculum or intervention is too dependent on the parent, the child does not develop independence as a learner. And when the parent is overburdened by life’s demands, it is easy for the work to just not get done, robbing the child of valuable learning time. And during the holidays, there is no extra time to go around.
—TOO lax — It is far too common that, when something is challenging for a child, parents back off. They don’t want to cause undue stress. But a better approach is, instead of backing off, to back down to the child’s “just-right level” where they can experience success and build confidence and independence. Then, building up the time and intensity at that “just-right level” can achieve rapid gains.
—It’s not TOO late! While early intervention is almost always preferable, it’s never too late to help a child on the journey to improved skills and greater confidence.
Have interventions tried been TOO much the same as what previously wasn’t working? This is often a problem I see in the schools where a child who isn’t getting it in the classroom is pretty much given more of the same curriculum that hasn’t worked previously, only in a smaller group and at a slower pace. If “different approaches” have been tried, consider how many have really just been a variation on the workbook, textbook, drill, and test approach.
—TOO little time on academics
While field trips and other opportunities are valuable, they should add to, rather than replace, core academic learning.
DO enjoy making a snowman together on the first snowfall. Enjoy the extra opportunities the holiday season provides! But don’t kid yourself by calling making cookies math. Just call it what it is, that you are being intentional about making memories together and embracing the wonderful flexibility homeschooling can provide.
Even during the busyness of the holiday season, be sure to prioritize time daily to have your children work on their core skill-building work in reading, spelling, language, vocabulary, writing, and math.
The purpose of homeschooling should not be to see how quickly a student can get through a curriculum. It should be to get as rich an education as possible in the available time. I strongly urge you to make 4 hours your minimum for academic time each day. That leaves you with 10 hours for everything else (after allowing 10 hours for sleep).
Strugglers need MORE time, not less. The content should be put into many small, varied chunks, so as not to become overwhelming. It should be at a “just-right level” in each learning strand so the student can experience success and build confidence. The student needs adequate time to allow the brain to build the neural pathways to overcome deficits remaining from previous unsuccessful learning. Extra time is needed, because the objective is not merely to stop falling further behind, but to “catch up.” Many struggling students need more like 6 hours daily. But
—DO take breaks when your student needs them frequently throughout the day proactively BEFORE they hit the wall.
If you would like to learn more and go deeper, here is a link to a 25 minute video of a presentation I gave about these common mistakes that may be sabotaging your child’s progress.
I am the Intervention Specialist at Wings to Soar Online Academy and I’d love to help you find your child’s “just-right level” through our free Just-Right Level™ Assessments and help you create a Path to Success™ Personalized Learning Plan to help you overcome these TOOs that may be getting in the way of your child’s academic success.
This post was written by Beth Ellen Nash from Wings to Soar Online.