6 Biggest Regrets That Haunt Homeschoolers
Why would anyone regret homeschooling?
And more importantly, what can you do to avoid these potential regrets?
Keep reading to learn all about homeschooling regrets, if you will regret homeschooling in the future, and read the 10 biggest regrets that haunt homeschooling students and their parents.
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Will You Regret Homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a beautiful experience but it definitely isn’t for everyone.
And trust me, even homeschooling-confident families discover that they regret having done too little or too much when it comes to their experience.
Some parents regret not having started earlier, while others may regret being too strict with their kids or not planning more field trips with them. To be honest, homeschooling is a challenging experience that requires a lot of preparation and effort from everyone involved in the family. It’s just normal that some things don’t go as smoothly as one would prefer.
Will you regret homeschooling?
That’s a question that only you can answer, but by learning about other parents’ experiences and their own regrets you can prepare yourself to avoid their mistakes. This way, you can minimize the risk of yourself one day having regrets about homeschooling your kids.
10 Biggest Regrets That Haunt Homeschoolers
The following are some of the main regrets that students and their parents have about their whole homeschooling experience. For each regret, I’m including a recommendation on how to avoid making the same mistake.
1. Needing to Prove to Others That Homeschooling Works
Obviously homeschooling isn’t the most common way to educate children. Even though right now homeschooling is becoming more and more popular, the number of homeschooling students in the U.S. is around 3.7 million or roughly 6% to 7% of school-aged children.
This means that homeschooling families are a minority, a kind of outsiders. Social pressure is a real thing and as parents we do what we think is better for our children, but it’s normal that we doubt ourselves and feel the need to justify ourselves.
Trying to prove to other people that homeschooling works is a typical feature among homeschool parents. So much so that some parents later regret having worried too much about what other people think about their kids’ education style.
How to avoid it:
Once you make your decision to homeschool, don’t look back. You’ve chosen this path because you know it’s the best thing for your kids. Trust yourself and forget about what others may think. Remember that you’re doing this for your children, not for your neighbors!
2. Sensing a Lack of Social Interaction
This is one of the most common criticisms about homeschooling—but it doesn’t have to be. If social interactions aren’t planned and integrated into the daily curriculum, then children do tend to stay at home and miss out on important connections with other kids their age. Even the best parents can’t substitute that, because they simply aren’t 7 or 8 years old.
This mother tried really hard to make homeschooling work, but her heart was broken when her son said that he didn’t have any friends to invite to his birthday party. After that, she decided to quit homeschooling and enrolled her kids at a public school the following September.
How to avoid it:
The friendships that kids make at school aren’t as profound as society makes them out to be. In fact, there are far superior spaces where your children can socialize.
If you make a conscious effort to create experiences for socialization, you will notice that a whole new world opens up for you and your kids. An easy way to do this is to enroll your child in multiple extracurricular activities and be sure to invite new friends from these activities over for playdates. Get to know these children’s parents as well and build strong friendships. You can also set up homeschooling co-op experiences with other families in your area, and frequently visit the nearby park or playground to encourage your children to play with other kids their age.
By giving your children the gift of consciously choosing their friends, you’ll notice they have a much higher quality of interaction than most kids do at school where they’re forced to be around children who mistreat them or act in ways that don’t align with your family values.
3. Not Preparing for Record-Keeping
One of the main challenges of homeschooling is keeping everything well-organized. It may seem trivial but keeping good homeschool records and tracking all the work done is a crucial part of the homeschooling experience.
But when you start, nobody tells you this!
There are so many things to consider as you begin homeschool—curriculum and subjects to cover, daily and weekly schedules, designing your homeschool working area, and gathering materials—that it’s easy to overlook the need to keep records consistently to track your child’s learning progress.
How to avoid it:
Consider record-keeping to be one of the pillars of your homeschool and find a record-keeping method that fits your particular needs. Whether you choose to keep a daily journal, portfolio, or side notes on your lesson plans is up to you. The bottom line is to just make sure you keep some sort of record of your child’s homeschool experience!
4. Pushing Your Child Too Hard
Many homeschool parents regret having pushed their kids too hard in their pursuit for academic excellence. I’m all for academic excellence, but sometimes parents need to take a step back and let their children learn at their own pace.
The basic problem here is not slowing down enough to see what truly interests the child as you balance your expectations with reality. While curriculum standards are important, they are not the most crucial element of your homeschool (remember, you’re not doing traditional school for a reason!). The goal of homeschooling is to prepare your child for a successful future by supporting their talents and abilities to learn—it’s not to force them to meet unrealistic standards generated by your fear of their future failure.
How to avoid it:
No one knows your child better than you do, but you’ll have to do a bit more digging! Find out what your child loves and use it to inspire them to learn the subjects you’re planning to teach. If you’re determined to teach your youngest how to read, then discover her favorite themes (does she love Peppa Pig? Or farm animals?) to use as the medium through which she can get exposed to reading.
If you’re trying to teach your 8-year-old son the multiplication tables, figure out how he can apply this knowledge to something that he personally likes. Take a trip to the local farmer’s market and have him calculate the total, or do a carpentry project together where he’s in charge of tallying up the totals of the materials involved.
If your child is not meeting a specific learning goal despite your best efforts, then take a step back to evaluate the structure of your homeschool and your own level of accountability toward overcoming challenges. Learn more about Self-Accountability for Homeschool Parents.
5. Not Using Standardized Tests
Standardized tests don’t have a good reputation, but sometimes they’re useful to measure your child’s progress. Of course, you can also do that with a homeschool evaluator, but that comes with its own set of challenges.
This parent felt that the evaluator didn’t do a serious enough job evaluating her child and all he sent to the state was a letter saying that her child was “progressing.” That wasn’t good enough for her, so she had her child take the Stanford 10 test for an objective evaluation, which proved much more fruitful.
How to avoid it:
Do your research and familiarize yourself with the different options you have to evaluate your homeschool child. And remember that the experience is different for every family. Some families may find standardized tests annoying exercises of bureaucratic control, while others may find them to be the perfect fit for their needs.
6. Going It Alone
Sometimes homeschooling can feel like a lonely journey. Some families stay together at home, focused on their own project, and tend to become more and more separated from the outside world.
That’s one of the downsides of technology, isn’t it? It brings us together in some ways, but also can keep us apart in others. If you don’t need to get out of your house to get all you need to educate your children, you can end up secluding yourself at home and losing contact with other people that may also be in the same situation as you.
How to avoid it:
A homeschool family doesn’t mean a secluded family. There are homeschool groups and co-ops, parent groups who share tips and ideas, tutors for specific subjects, community events and extracurricular activities, and many other ways to make your homeschooling experience more collaborative with others—and simply more joyful!
7. Not Doing More Field Trips
One benefit of going to a traditional school is the constant organization of field trips. The experience of field trips are essential to a child’s education. Going out of the classroom, learning in a different way, and discovering zoos and museums spark a child’s natural curiosity for the world around them.
Some homeschooling parents neglect this aspect of their child’s education. With so many other things to consider, plan, and implement, it’s understandable that time gets away from you and planning a trip to the zoo takes a backseat.
How to avoid it:
Make a point to take field trips. Mark it on a calendar. Set up a monthly or bi-monthly field trip schedule and get your child excited about all of the possibilities. Scout out places in your area that you can visit with your child and design a learning experience to make the most out of the visits. Your child will thank you for it!
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8. Comparing Your Children to One Another
I have to say that this happens to every parent, homeschooling or not homeschooling. However, homeschooling makes the comparisons more obvious as you spend more time with your children and you’re seeing first hand their differences in learning progress.
This can, in turn, make a parent push one child harder than another to get them to reach the same level as their sibling. This is a situation that will only bring stress and frustration in your family and it’s important to avoid it at all costs. It’s a sure-fire way to regret homeschooling.
How to avoid it:
Every child is different with a distinct learning style, and each one develops at their own pace. That your eldest child learned to read quickly without much guidance doesn’t mean that your youngest one will learn in the same way (and it doesn’t mean that if your youngest doesn’t learn as quickly, that they’re “slow”—they’re just different).
9. Trying to Do Too Much
The old adage “less is more” really means something here.
Sometimes, new homeschooling parents want to do everything at the same time. They would get every new book, schedule ideas, daily journals, curriculum, or furniture that could enhance their child’s homeschool experience.
However, having more doesn’t always produce better results. In fact, it may provoke the exact opposite of what you’re hoping for, as your focus gets lost on all these other details, instead of focusing on the actual learning experience of your child.
How to avoid it
Try different ideas and resources, but remember to keep a balance between the materials you get and the focus on your child’s learning process. If you try too much, things can get really stressful at home and that’s not an ideal learning environment.
10. Not Having Started Earlier
For some parents, their only regret is not having started their homeschooling journey before. That tells you all you need to know about how much they like their decision to homeschool and how they regret nothing about it.
Every family is different. Not two homeschooling experiences are the same. Some parents make some mistakes, others will make different ones. The important thing is to learn from them, try your best, and always put your child’s learning and development above everything else. If you regret homeschooling later than earlier, then you know you’re not alone!
Learn From Other Parents to Avoid Homeschooling Regrets
The idea of showing you this list of the 10 biggest regrets about homeschooling is to help you avoid the same mistakes. There’s no need to regret homeschooling, it’s a beautiful experience with its own share of challenges, but nothing that you can’t handle together with your child.
Try to organize your homeschooling experience as much as you can, but remember the little pearls of wisdom shared by the parents mentioned above. At the end of the day, having regrets doesn’t mean that you failed, but that you care too much and want to give the best to your child.
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