3 Common Mistakes Homeschooling Parents Make

We set up our learning spaces and establish our homeschooling routines.

For the most part, homeschooling goes well. As long as our kids are happy and learning, what more could we ask for, right?

From working with parents and being a part of the homeschooling community, I’ve come to realize there are common mistakes homeschooling parents make that shape the way our children think about their learning.

Segregating Subjects

This idea is that each subject has to be taught separately and in isolation of the other subjects. Most schools have specific times carved out for each subject, usually with a different teacher for some of them.

This isn’t done because it’s the best way to learn, it’s done this way because hundreds of kids have to pass through art, phys ed, lunch and recess. The schedule has to coordinate all of that movement while making sure that teachers have prep time and lunch breaks.

By separating each subject, we prevent children from developing an understanding of how that subject is related to the world around them. The topic loses its relevance, its magic. And it makes it really easy for children to draw the conclusion that they just aren’t good at art or that they don’t like math.The desire to schedule different subjects each day fits with our own school experience and how school is “supposed to be.”

The problem with teaching subjects separately is that you miss out on the connections between subjects. For example: Art contains math, physics, and history, not to mention literacy.

To only teach technique, composition, or use of color is to only teach a small piece of the subject. The emphasis becomes more about the finished product and less about the learning and the process.

Like I said, the magic is lost.

The idea that subjects need to be taught separately is reinforced by the online schools and written curricula that many parents choose as their method for homeschooling.

The challenge with a curriculum written by someone else is that it’s meant to be a one-size-fits-all experience. The school or company has decided what topics your child should learn, how much of that topic they should learn, and
how they should learn it.

Prescribing education to that extent is a great way to dim curiosity and independent, critical thinking. Where is the room for kids to ask “big questions” and take their learning in a different direction? What if they want to know more about something? What if their learning style doesn’t match the curriculum’s assignments?

I always ask parents…

‘Do you view the curriculum as the school experience?’
‘Are you supplementing the curriculum?’‘
Or, are you using the curriculum to supplement the individualized learning

Parents Often Misunderstand the Cues Their Children Are Giving Them

We know that when a child doesn’t want to do an assignment they say that it’s boring or that they are tired. The assignment may very well be boring or the child may actually be tired.

But, many children don’t have the vocabulary and self-reflection to verbalize exactly what is happening at the moment. Perhaps they don’t understand what is being asked of them? Maybe they haven’t learned something
needed to complete the step?

It’s common for parents to react to the lack of motivation and think their child is being lazy or giving up too quickly. We know these are qualities that are a hindrance for adults.

Parents tend to react by giving encouraging words and/or resort to a consequence for completing or not completing the assignment.

While we always love encouraging words, neither response actually gets to the heart of what is preventing your child from doing what is asked of them.

Without accurate information to understand the problem, how can you find the solution?

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