8 Ways to Ensure Your Homeschool Isn’t ‘School at Home’
Homeschooling has so many benefits that it’s no wonder numerous families want to escape from the traditional educational system.
But quite often, when you make the transition to homeschool—and despite your best intentions!—your homeschool could turn into “school at home.”
What I mean is that first-time homeschooling parents sometimes fall into the trap of turning their homeschool into a replica of the traditional school that they experienced as a child.
To avoid this, let’s explore eight mistakes you might be making that limit your homeschool because it’s imitating traditional school.
If you want to make sure your homeschool is not a school at home, discover these pitfalls and recommended alternatives!
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8 Mistakes That Make Homeschool a “School at Home” And How to Avoid Them
Although I know that you want to do your best, some of the following mistakes are because you might be a bit overenthusiastic.
You might feel a bit of fear while starting your homeschooling journey that you won’t be able to prepare your kid in all the areas. You might be afraid of skipping something important.
With this fear in mind, new homeschooling parents tend to overschedule their academic year and want to plan everything ahead: material covered, projects, and field trips.
My best advice? Forget it!
The biggest difference between homeschooling and traditional school is the flexibility you can provide at home. You’re not accountable to a school director and don’t need to provide weekly, monthly, termly, and yearly plans.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t plan (because you should), but focus on shorter periods and make sure it’s flexible enough to follow your child’s needs and pace.
You might like: 10 Sample Homeschool Schedules You Can Copy
2. Constant Busy Work
Don’t overload your child with constant work, uncountable handouts, and homework to review materials.
This is what usually happens in traditional schools as teachers think that physical proof of the student’s work is synonymous with time-well-spent.
What happens if you replicate this at home? You’ll get an unmotivated, bored, and tired child.
You can learn in so many different ways that there’s no way for tiring, constant, busy work. Get out of the house, hit the local museum, go to a park to watch insects, and do whatever you feel like.
You might like: 13 Inspiring Homeschool Activities That Any Parent Can Do.
3. Wasting Your Time
Do you know how much time is wasted in a traditional school? Moving between classes, checking the attendance, waiting for other kids to finish.
Of course, time wasting in homeschooling is different from time wasting in a traditional school but it’s a sin not to take advantage of the time management possibilities you now have.
If your child is not a fan of early lessons, start later to have their full attention. If they work best in the morning, don’t extend classes till the afternoon, or leave it for other less academic activities.
If you homeschool more than one child, there’s no need to work simultaneously and wait for the slower worker to finish. Plan the activities to have time to assist the kid that may need it more in a particular situation. Plan independent learning for the kid that finishes.
If you have a gifted child, while not skipping some material and starting at a higher level?
4. Traditional Approach
I know that Traditional homeschooling is one of the homeschooling methods but in general, what’s the point of replicating the traditional way of teaching if you don’t have to?
Some parents buy the same books as are followed in schools, follow the same curriculum, and do quizzes, tests, and exams. Yes, it’s safe and if you plan on coming back to the traditional educational system soon, it might be the way but only then.
A traditional approach in homeschooling, in the long run, is a shortcut to burn-out. It’s also very time-consuming, rigorous, and inflexible.
5. Typical Classroom Setup
Obviously, you’ll need a homeschool space that should be designated for this purpose but please, don’t try to imitate a classroom!
You don’t need a desk for yourself and a desk for your child, a whiteboard, and a serious vibe.
Make the space colorful, and inspiring, and fill it in with anything that your child will look forward to working with.
You should also remember that learning can take place anywhere and you might take the science classes in the kitchen, design in your garage or cellar, and the biology lessons in the backyard. Have I already mentioned flexibility?
Need inspiration? Here you go!
- 17 Beautifully Organized Homeschool Room Ideas on a Budget
- 13 Awesome Homeschool Desk Ideas for Kids of Every Age
6. Boxed Curriculum
Sometimes rookie homeschool parents feel lost or insecure and buy ready-to-use complete homeschool programs that replicate traditional curricula. It’s the same, but home-taught. And it’s expensive.
Although, it’s clear that you don’t need to be an expert in all the subjects and teach them all yourself, buying boxed programs takes the most important element of the program. Yes, you’ve guessed—flexibility.
Each child is different, has different interests, and talents, and learns at a different pace. You are in your right to reach for help and look for tutors and online providers but do it according to your kid’s needs. You can find beer options looking for online language schools, science courses, or even following the Khan Academy for the subjects your kid likes.
You might like: How to Find the Perfect Homeschool Foreign Language Curriculum
7. Not Enough Breaks
In a traditional school, break times are not enough and their frequency is the same for everybody.
Your child needs breaks. The younger they are, the more they need. But also older kids need to learn how to disconnect and focus their attention on something that will help them relax.
As I said before, each child is different and they will communicate their necessity to pause at different moments and with different frequencies.
Taking a five or ten is not a waste of time. On the contrary, it’s a time investment. Your kid will focus better and longer after the rest time. Numerous studies prove that breaks increase productivity ¡n kids and get their attention high.
8. Ignoring Your Child’s Input
Do you ever remember this feeling from the times you went to school yourself that you had no voice at all? You couldn’t decide what you wanted to learn or focus on until the electives time later on.
Remember this and check on your child. Homeschooling assumes that the schooling occurs according to your child’s needs and pace and you mustn’t forget it. Let your child give direction to their learning depending on their interests.
A child’s input is the key to a successful educational process.
While introducing a new topic check what your child already knows, what they think they know, and what they want to know. Prepare the lines of inquiry together and go in the direction chosen by your child.
You may get surprised by your child’s curiosity, creativity, and engagement.
Don’t Be Afraid To Go Your Own Way
Don’t take your home in a mini school where the unique advantage is avoiding toxic school relations and/or ideological input.
The flexibility of homeschooling is its biggest asset and use it to its full. Choose your learning hours, duration, pace, frequency, subjects, electives, places, etc. according to your kid’s and your family’s very particular and unrepeatable situation.
Celebrate the individuality of your child and give them the best education you’ve always dreamed of.
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