Homeschooling always has its challenges. Holidays can intensify what can already be somewhat stressful. In the busyness, don’t slip into these common homeschooling mistakes.
Over the past 18 years, I’ve supported thousands of homeschoolers. I’ve noticed that there are some common mistakes that even smart, well-intentioned homeschooling parents often make. Are you making any of these mistakes and unintentionally getting in the way of your child’s academic progress?
- TOO dependent on the parent – If the curriculum or intervention you are using is too dependent on Mom, your child may not be developing appropriate levels of independence as a learner. When Mom is overburdened by life’s demands, it is easy for the work to just not get done. This robs your child of valuable learning time. During the holidays, there is no extra time to go around.
- TOO lax — Too often, the response when your child is struggling is to back off. Of course, you don’t want to cause undue stress and your natural response is to protect your child from the frustration. For the moment, that may be needed to help your child’s thinking brain and emotional brain work together again. But overall, a better approach is, instead of backing off, to back down to your child’s “just-right level” which allows them to build confidence and independence. Once they are experiencing success again, you can build up the time and intensity at that “just-right level” and can often 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 so don’t give up!
- Have interventions you’ve 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. Many of our clients tell us they’ve “tried everything” and that Wings to Soar Online Academy’s approach using our personalized combination of adaptive online programs is the first thing that has worked. Perhaps this holiday season would be a good time to take a break from what you’ve been doing and take Wings to Soar up on our free placement assessments and trial and explore if some new programs are a better fit.
- 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 for family connection 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.
- 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 10-11 hours for everything else (after allowing 9-10 hours of sleep for their growing brains).
- Struggling learners need MORE time, not less. Your 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.”
- DO take breaks when your student needs them frequently throughout the day proactively BEFORE they hit the wall.
- Break the content into many small, varied chunks, so as not to become overwhelming. Work at their “just-right level” in each learning strand so your student can experience success and build confidence.
- Struggling students are hurt even more than others by lengthy breaks from working on building skills. So, resist the temptation to just take off from Thanksgiving to early January.
- 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. On super busy days here during the holidays get in at least 2 hours on the core skill-building subjects!
If this resonates, you many want to learn more by watching this 25 minute video about these common mistakes that may be sabotaging your child’s progress.
Wings to Soar Online Academy equips and empowers dyslexics and other outside-the box learners through Path to Success online personalized learning plans. As 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 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.
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