Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Five Mistakes from Our Homeschool Journey

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again,
only this time more wisely."
- Henry Ford

Certainly, I have experienced many opportunities to begin again
with the mistakes I have made in our homeschooling journey.
Today, I am sharing my 'top five.' 

1.  Overburdening a child academically
Not that I really think you should rank mistakes, but I still think this one was my worst homeschooling mistake, ever.  One of our children advanced through academics very quickly.  Another did not, but I expected her to work at the same pace as her older sibling.  It was a terrible mistake.  One that I hope I never make again. 

Did you know that a llama will simply lie down if you overburden it? Wouldn't it be great if children had a similar signal? Oh, but they do!  Children show us in many ways that they are overburdened. We just have to know our children well enough, and observe/listen well enough to determine if they have been overburdened academically.

"When you get to the end of your rope,
tie a knot and hang on."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

2.  Not taking advantage of interest led studies
You know that spark you see when a child's eyes shine with interest?  He may ask numerous questions and want to do more with a topic.  Too many times, I haven't fanned these interest sparks into flames.  I should have.  Who knows what great discoveries and learning experiences we missed because I wanted to stick to the lesson plans and not alter them.

3.  Trying to do the same as another family
Yep, been there.  Dare I say it?  More than once.  Every family is unique.  What works for one may not work for another.  Even if you find a family with the same number of children aged exactly like yours, I guarantee, something about your families will be different. Personalities, interests, and budgets vary greatly.  While I find great value in another's suggestions, experiences, and advice, I can not make my homeschool just like theirs.  Nor should I try.

"I don't know the key to success,
but the key to failure is to try to please everyone."
- Bill Cosby

4.  Comparing myself and our children to others
Have you done this?  Tell me I'm not the only one!  Haven't you met another homeschooling family and started comparing yourself or your children?  For me, the other homeschooling family usually gets put on a pedestal.  She is more patient, takes a relevant field trip every week, or prepares her own lessons.  Her children know more math, read harder books, or have more activities.  This better mom/better child comparison does not encourage, and should not be done.

5.   Succumbing to discouragement
It's easy to do.  Mistakes discourage and rob us of the joy of homeschooling.  Moments that I succumb to discouragement, I want to quit.  It is then, that I must remember...we all make mistakes.  It is what we do with the lesson we learn that matters.

"I have not failed. 
I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
- Thomas Alva Edison

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