10 Homeschooling “Mistakes” You Need to Quit

10 Homeschooling “Mistakes” You Need to Quit

Ever feel like your happy home school has turned into a never ending roller coaster ride of emotions?

Things roll along smoothly for a while and then the dips come…then the loooong climb back up to the top only to find you dive down once again; but this time with more momentum and speed.  There are many reasons for this, and one might argue “that’s life”, which can be true; another reason is, you could just be stuck in a rut.  You know what you are doing isn’t working but still plug along making the same old “mistakes”.

Remember, there is no one size fits all when it comes to homeschooling, and my mistakes might be what actually works for you.  These are just some ideas to help you keep an open mind and to not be afraid to change things up if need be.


Ten Homeschooling Mistakes 

10 Things You Can Quit:

  1. Quit mimicking what doesn’t even work in the first place!   Schools are an outdated institution that were basically developed to form perfect soldiers and then later adapted to develop obedient workers for the industrial revolution where freedom to think and explore are squelched.  Don’t add more barriers to learning than you have to; please quit thinking you must fit your home school into that old outdated mold!
  2. Quit expecting you need to home school from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday.  You have the freedom to do and incorporate what works for your family. By working more one on one with your children you can accomplish quite a lot in 15 minutes. Allocate 15 to 20 minutes for each subject, anymore than that you will start to overload them. (High school could be an exception to this.)  Take a look at how they learn, the material they are trying to learn and their tolerance for a given topic.  (Recently I had one child only do 2 math questions per day, and expected perfection. This worked wonderfully! He quit his “self-blocking” about this particular math operation and realized on his own he could understand it and execute it with confidence.)  Be flexible when it comes to this as well, you don’t want to stop something that is going great just because the 15 minutes is up.  As well, your older children may require more time to work through high school level material, take the time to understand what works best for your child. 
  3. Quit requiring that they do page after page in workbooks.  I know quite a few homeschoolers who do not use workbooks at all, or some who just use Math workbooks.  Don’t be afraid to set you and your children free from boring workbooks. If they don’t work for you, quit using them.  Be creative, technology is here waiting for you, so jump in and use it!
  4. Quit boring Spelling lists.  I’m not telling you to throw spelling out the window, but there are so many fun creative ways to do spelling! Everything from using computer apps to getting out the letter tiles.  I use a workbook from time to time to get suitable words and other times we use words from whatever we may be reading.  A favourite for my kids is to have a list on hand and use letter tiles to make their own crossword puzzle! Words are wonderful, quit making it boring!
  5.  Quit Reading Comprehension Questions The written out, long drawn out questions…..Boring!  Talk about sucking the life out of a great novel!  Have a great discussion instead.  Give your children an opportunity to form their own thoughts about what they read.  You can guide them, but be careful as to not to lead them to what you think it is about.  This is such a great way to get them to think about thinking.  Forming an opinion and owning it is a skill that will carry them through life.  If you feel the need to have them write something, why not get them to write one awesome paragraph to summarize a chapter. If you have teens, they can then collect and put together those paragraphs and work on forming an essay!  Don’t over complicate it.  Let them fall in love with books!  Loving books and novels will carry them further than the 15 written out questions for each chapter.
  6. Quit boxing your children into grade levels.    Let go of grade levels and instead grab onto passion.  Kids are very passionate, get in and get your hands dirty with them.  My husband has explained higher levels of Physics to the kids because they were eating it up.  Never stop explaining because they are only in grade 3 and that is all that is required.  When the door of opportunity is wide open don’t be foolish and close it.
  7. Quit thinking that for kids to be learning they must be sitting We have two big work tables put together so projects can be spread out and puzzles can be on the go.  I allow the kids to spread out, and move around.  We also will often have music playing in the background.  Music enhances your brain power; it’s a proven “Brain Fact”.  Embrace the fact that everyone learns differently and experiment to see what works best for each of your children.
  8. Quit lecturing You can go on and on hoping that what you are “teaching” is sinking in, or you can choose to be a mediator and facilitator of information.  When you mediate with your children you are doing them more favours.  They are learning to think about thinking, are becoming more independent and owning what they learn. This, in turn, will enhance their retention for what they are learning.  Bridging new information to something real and tangible for them will increase reciprocity.  I dare you to do this!
  9. Quit being so busy.  Quit being so busy looking like you are doing school for the sake of the doubters that you in fact end up missing out on amazing wide open door opportunities and moments.  Those are the moments your children will remember. These moments will keep them moving forward, fanning the flame, and quenching their thirst for knowledge.
  10. Quit thinking homeschooling involves necessary boring work.  Our English word “school” derived from the Latin word “schola” which means “leisure devoted to learning”.  I challenge you to think about that, have you embraced that meaning or have you allowed modern day institutional type of schooling creep in.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to learning, which is why I wrote this post.  I want to challenge you to be brave enough to step out of your comfort zone of what you think learning, teaching and homeschooling is.

10 Things You Can Quit in Your Homeschool
Homeschooling “Mistakes”

We all make mistakes, and we can all learn from them as well as from one another. Don’t wallow in a wrong turn, but empower yourself to pick up and move on.

Take action and embrace what works for your family!

Share with with me 1 adjustment you will make in your homeschool.



About Angela Hoffman

Page with Comments

  1. My husband and I homeschool our 4 children and I must admit, we’ve been guilty of the very things mentioned. Thanks for this eye opening post, it was an awesome read.

  2. We’ve already chucked all of these things, but I have to admit it took me a couple of years to get to that point. The fun thing is, I don’t lecture, we discuss. Sometimes my youngest still drifts off, though. 🙂 I make changes every year, both to what we study and how we study it, and my littles help me decide how we’re going to do that. That way they stay interested and engaged. This is an amazing post that should really help new homeschoolers get started. Thanks so much for putting it out there.

    1. Worksheets can be useful, but I find they work best in moderation. Have fun with your real life learning! 🙂

  3. Well said. I have been struggling with all these issues and this puts light back in homeschooling. I am new to this. I have a 5 year old and 9 year old. How do you balance with different ages. My 5 year old is very smart and fast learner, so I put limits on her while I believe my 9 year old is dyslexia, but without proper resources and help to teach her the way she needs, it is a struggle. Any suggestions

    1. There are many subjects you can teach to your children at the same time and then just require each child to do an assignment suited to their level. Sometimes with reading struggles it can be a challenge to get to the root of it all, look for experts in your area and don’t forget to check in with an optometrist. Thank you for your kind words and good luck. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the reminder We are the middle of building a cabin ourselves and starting a small pecan orchard, and I have to keep reminding myself these life experiences are way better than hours on workbooks and lectures on history and science. People are always asking are your kids getting any schoolwork done?

    1. Sounds like quite an adventure Candace, good luck with your orchard! Such a great experience for your family which you can draw upon as you homeschool throughout the year.

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I’m in my second year of homeschooling and as a former teacher I find it difficult to break away from the traditional school mold. There is freedom and encouragement in really breaking out and doing something different.

    1. Kendra, it can be challenging to break away from school teacher mode and embrace homeschool mom mode, but it sounds like you are well on your way to finding your homeschool groove.

  6. So so true! A wonderful article indeed! Im guilty of pushing when I know my son is tired…some times I forget we r in homeschool & can breathe a little!

    1. Thank you Regina! I’m sure everyone has been guilty of pushing through material at times, just remember to embrace the flexibility and yes, breath. 🙂

  7. I love this post and really needed it! Thank you! My favorite line: “school” derived from the Latin word “schola” which means “leisure devoted to learning” This IS why we homeschool… isn’t it?

  8. I’m glad I read this. As a newbie, I easily get caught up in a lot of these things. Each day I try and remember that we are free to make learning as fun as we want it to be!

    1. Hi Nike!
      Yes, have fun! It will keep the momentum of your homeschool to push through any hard days which may arise.

  9. I will stop talking about homeschool to my 14 yr old. I will just do it. I am guilty of most of these very incitive thank you.

  10. I will stop talking about homeschool to my 14 yr old. I will just do it. I am guilty of most of these very incitive thank you.

  11. Thanks for the freedom. It is strange, but in a way we wait for someone to ‘give us permission’ to break out of the mold. You just did that, so thank you! I used to teach in classrooms and I now feel more confident to homeschool because I realize what an impossible task they are attempting in regular schools. I have tons of respect for those teachers, I just don’t want to try to do it anymore because the expectations are so idealistic *which is great in a way* and high they are unattainable. So many, many kids fall through the cracks. Around my kitchen table there are plenty of squabbles but nobody is going unnoticed. You nailed it with the idea that we can work wonders with 15 to 20 mins of personal attention!

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