7 Mistakes New Homeschool Moms Make (+ How to Avoid Them!)

mistakes homeschool moms make

There is so much to learn and do as a new homeschool mom – here’s how to avoid the most common mistakes most new homeschool moms make. 

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Before we dive into specifics, here’s a quick overview of the 7 common homeschool mom mistakes we’ll be covering in this article:

  1. Trying to imitate public school at home
  2. Becoming a slave to the curriculum
  3. Not finding a homeschool mom support group
  4. Feeling bad about your decision to homeschool
  5. Sticking too closely to your homeschool calendar
  6. Not taking time for your own self-care
  7. Expecting perfection

Keep reading to check out more details about each of these common mistakes, and learn how to overcome them too!

Mistake #1: Trying to imitate public school at home

When they first make the decision to homeschool, it’s very common for homeschool moms to work really hard to duplicate the public school format their kids may already be used to. 

You may feel that you need to create a homeschool room that looks a lot like a public school classroom, complete with all the desks, charts, maps, graphs, and more. Or you might work really hard to recreate the public school schedule your kids followed throughout the day. 

public school classroom

Why this is a mistake: 

Trying to imitate public school at home is a mistake because it totally undermines some of the best things about homeschooling in the first place. 

For example, giving your child the opportunity to listen to his history lesson while sitting in his bean bag chair is perfectly fine! (Interestingly enough, many public schools are trying to incorporate more flexible seating options because it helps them engage in critical thinking, and be happier and more engaged at school.) 

Also, the purpose of homeschool and public school are similar, but they aren’t fundamentally the same.

A successful public school setting is designed to educate large groups of students using the most effective method for the entire group so they can perform well academically. Instead, the purpose of your homeschool is to teach YOUR child (or children) in the very best method for them as individuals! 

Related article: What You Do (and Don’t!) Need for a Great Homeschooling Room

How to avoid it: 

As you begin your homeschool day, remind yourself of your homeschool goals that center on your individual child. Remember that you are homeschooling to help your children learn the things that will help them find success later in life and become contributing members of society. 

Give yourself the freedom to create an environment of learning in your home.

This may mean that you have your kids sit at a table, desk, couch, beanbag, get up and walk around, or even lay on the floor! Perhaps you do want to put a map on the wall for history and geography. That’s perfectly fine.

But don’t feel the pressure to conform to a public school classroom setting. One of the best things about homeschooling is that it’s NOT public school.

Mistake #2: Becoming a slave to the curriculum

One of the toughest decisions new homeschool moms make is choosing a curriculum for their kids.

Oftentimes, once the decision and the investment have been made, you may feel huge amounts of pressure to carry out the curriculum perfectly and to stay with it no matter what. 

homeschool curriculum

Why this is a mistake: 

At The Reluctant Homeschool Mama, we’ve always felt that one of the best things about homeschool is that you can select and tailor your curriculum to best fit your children’s needs and personal learning styles.

Beyond that, homeschooling also gives you the opportunity to teach your kids important life skills, such as enjoying the moment, trying again, and catering to their strengths. 

Related article: How to Easily Determine Your Child’s Learning Style

When you stay locked into a particular curriculum (especially when it’s not working), you are denying yourself one of the biggest pros about homeschooling. 

How to avoid it:

It can be so easy to feel that your kids need to finish every curriculum textbook by the end of the school year. But it’s important to give yourself and your kids some grace to deviate from the curriculum from time to time.

For example, if you’re studying Medieval Times and your kids get really into the story of the Bayeux Tapestry, take an extra day or two and let them really dive in deeper to satiate their curiosity!

Additionally, if you need to ditch a curriculum, there are lots of different ways you can sell it to recoup some of the costs. Check local homeschool Facebook groups or online at Second Harvest Curriculum. Some moms have even found success selling used curricula on Ebay!

Mistake #3: Not finding a support group

Many new homeschool moms feel that there’s so much to do in getting their homeschool started that they don’t have time to find new friendships for themselves.

 

homeschool mom friends

Why this is a mistake: 

By its very nature, homeschooling can be very isolating. 

You’ll now spend the majority of your day at home educating your children. 

And if your kids are young, you will no longer have the opportunity to meet friends for coffee like you did if your kids were previously attending public or private school. 

Feelings of loneliness aren’t easy for anyone to deal with, and when you’re making a big life change like starting homeschool, it’s important that you have a system of support. 

How to avoid it:

Thankfully in this day and age, homeschooling has become much more common! It is highly likely that there are many other homeschool moms in your area. 

One of the best ways to find other homeschool moms is to search online. Spend some time looking for local homeschooling Facebook groups or do a Google search for homeschool co-ops in your area. 

Finding the right co-op for you and your kids might take some effort, but it is worth it! 

Homeschooling is a significant life decision and finding friends to share with and learn from can be hugely rewarding! 

Mistake #4: Feeling bad about your decision to homeschool

While homeschooling is becoming more popular, it’s still not considered a mainstream way of life. You may feel social or extended family pressure to not homeschool your kids, which can make you feel poorly about your choice. 

homeschooling isn't always a popular decision to make

Why this is a mistake: 

It is likely that you didn’t jump into homeschooling on a whim.

Instead, you probably spent hours and hours mulling over the pros and cons, or have dealt with compounding negative situations for your kids in their public or private schools for some time. 

No matter what anyone else says, no matter how much you may respect them, YOU are the only one who is in a position to make the most informed decision about what is best for your children.

How to avoid it:

When you share that you’ll be starting to homeschool with your family or friends, be upfront with your reasons for doing it! Let them know it’s a decision you’ve considered carefully and that you’re doing what you truly feel is best for your kids. 

If others speak negatively about your decision to homeschool, remind them that you are the one who is ultimately responsible for your kids. You may even need to separate yourself from these naysayers for some time. Hopefully, over time they’ll begin to see homeschooling in a more positive light. 

Mistake #5: Sticking too closely to your homeschool calendar

Similar to becoming a slave to your homeschool curriculum, it is also really easy to make the mistake of sticking too closely to your homeschool calendar. 

homeschool calendar

Why this is a mistake: 

Of course, we feel it’s important to take homeschooling seriously. Having a calendar and a routine is extremely helpful to keep your homeschool organized.

But if you start to take your calendar too seriously, you can start to feel frustrated or stressed when things don’t go according to plan. 

How to avoid it: 

Accept the fact now that there will be times when you or your kids might be sick or need to go to the dentist, or a small emergency might pop up. This is life, and it happens to everyone! 

Additionally, give yourself and your kids some grace from time to time. Taking a break from your homeschool calendar every now and then can teach the importance of making the most of life and being spontaneous. 

It’s perfectly okay to end homeschool early on the first beautiful spring day after a long, cold winter! Or to skip a math lesson to visit the apple orchard in the fall. 

Taking the opportunity to teach your kids how to enjoy life, to celebrate the small things, and not take everything too seriously will likely pay dividends later in their lives! 

Mistake #6: Not giving yourself some time for self-care

We believe homeschooling is a wonderful thing! But we’d be lying if we didn’t admit that it’s hard.

The time and effort it takes to educate your kids are no joke, and it can be very easy to fall into the trap of not taking any time for yourself.

 

take time for self-care

Why this is a mistake: 

Two words: homeschool burnout. 

There’s no doubt that burnout is real, especially for homeschool moms. Burnout is often a sign that you need to make some changes, and very often that change is doing something for yourself from time to time! 

How to avoid it:

Come up with a simple plan for your own self-care.

This might mean that you wake up before your kids to do something for yourself before the school day starts. Or you may consider scheduling an hour or two of alone time for yourself every Sunday afternoon. Or take yourself out for a pedicure or a trip to your favorite coffee shop on the last Friday afternoon of the month. 

Whatever it is, choose something that will help you to feel reinvigorated and do it. If this means you hire a babysitter, so be it. 

Related article: Dealing with Homeschool Burnout? You Need These 7 Great Tips!

Mistake #7: Expecting perfection

It is common for new homeschooling moms to create an expectation for what their homeschool will be like. 

You may picture everyone getting along perfectly, your kids paying rapt attention to everything you say, or everyone having a great attitude about every assignment.

homeschool mom and kids

And while some of these things will happen sometimes, it’s likely that there will be days when your kids struggle to pay attention or complain about their schoolwork, the science experiment is a flop, and your day is filled with interruptions.

Why this is a mistake: 

Of course, any time we expect perfection, we are setting ourselves up to be disappointed. You are human, and your kids are human too. 

How to avoid it:

We love setting homeschool goals each year! But it’s also hugely important to recognize that there is a big difference between setting goals and creating expectations of perfection. 

Remind yourself on the daily that you are human, and your kids are human too.

Some homeschooling days will go great! And there will be some that completely tank. This is okay. 

Don’t be afraid to admit that something didn’t go well. Just be sure to extend some grace to yourself and your kids and be willing to try again tomorrow. 

Final thoughts about these common mistakes most homeschool moms make

Before we finish up, we want you to know that these common mistakes that new homeschool moms make are exactly that: common mistakes. 

We’ve committed every single one of them ourselves, so don’t feel bad if you’ve been making them too!

Hopefully you’ve found lots of suggestions to help you avoid them in the future. We’re here to help you make homeschooling a wonderful experience for you and your kids!

Free Printable Resource Library

Whether you’re looking for field trip review pages, book report forms, or fun holiday printable pages, we invite you to join The Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s Free Resource Library by clicking right here!

newly updated resource library

With over 50 free printables, there is sure to be something you can use to make your homeschool even better.

 

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How to Create an Amazing Personalized Daily Schedule as a Homeschool Mom

How to Successfully Work from Home and Homeschool (without Losing Your Mind!)

9 Important Secrets to Help with Homeschooling This Year

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Which of these new homeschool mom tips resonated the most with you? 

7 Mistakes New Homeschool Moms Make (+ How to Avoid Them!)7 Mistakes New Homeschool Moms Make (+ How to Avoid Them!)7 Mistakes New Homeschool Moms Make (+ How to Avoid Them!)7 Mistakes New Homeschool Moms Make (+ How to Avoid Them!)

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m Jen, a former reluctant homeschool mom who is ready to help you actually enjoy homeschooling too. Read more here…

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