Don't Make These 10 Homeschooling Mistakes

Whether you are starting your home- school journey with a kindergartner or have just taken your teen out of school, here are some things many new home- schoolers do and what to do instead.

1. Try to make home like school.

You do not need to recreate every nuance of a school, complete with desks and a rigid schedule. Your arrangement, both physical and schedule-wise, can be more flexible.

2. Homeschool all day and night.

You don’t need to spend seven hours a day doing schoolwork with your elementary age child. Try shorter chunks of teaching/learning time for each child, then take a day off every now and then to go to the zoo, visit the library or watch some documentaries. For older kids, a part-time job and volunteering count as real-world education.

3.Try to keep your kids at desks all day.

We all learn and teach differently. Sometimes I’ll read to my kids while one is doing art and another is playing Minecraft — and I’m doing squats. I also include my kids in errands, meal prep and chores.

4.Try to keep up with others.

Don’t try to keep pace with other homeschoolers or families with kids in school. You can take more time to let your kids play and explore on their own.

5. Pay a fortune for curriculum.

With so many free options like, Khan Academy and the public library, the ele- mentary school level of homeschooling doesn’t need to cost anything. Check into virtual schools through your state, too. You could get your state to pay for most or all of your curriculum, with completed lesson plans.

See page 2 for more mistakes to avoid.


6. Not follow your child’s lead.

I was in a homeschool store and heard a child ask his mom if they could study a certain topic he was excited about, and she said, “No, these are the books that we are working on this year, and we aren’t going to stray from those.” Keep in mind that every student is interested in different things.

7. Stick with something that isn’t working.

Many home- schoolers switch curricula halfway through the year. If a certain workbook makes you and your child want to throw it across the room, don’t power through it until the end of the school year. Find something else that works.

8. Do everything with and for your child.

Independent learning definitely has its place.

9. Compare yourselves to everyone else.

It’s great to have a homeschool group to discuss ideas and vent with, but comparisons and competition aren’t good for anyone, least of all your child.

10.Try to be perfect.

The longer I homeschool, the more I enjoy telling newbies about mis- takes I’ve made on my journey and seeing the relief on their faces.

As a homeschooler, you are a pioneer of sorts, and you need to do what works for your family. If you accept that you will make mistakes, you might go easier on yourself and have more fun on this journey with your kids.

Kerrie McLoughlin has been homeschooling her five kids since 2006. You can read more about their fun antics at

Categories: Elementary Education, Secondary Education