Parents are deciding to take the homeschool journey in ever-increasing numbers, and for myriad reasons.
Our family has traveled the homeschool path, and I want to encourage you young moms and dads as you start out on your own homeschooling journey.
There are many wonderful and successful strategies for navigating the road, but there are a few potholes that are common snares for all travelers.
Here are 5 potholes all homeschool parents should avoid:
1. Leave home too often –
When I first started homeschooling, I had a wonderful vision of visiting all the museums, missions, science fairs and national parks that we could possibly take in. Reality soon set in, and I realized that going to the grocery store, or attending a park day, ate up our day, and our productivity. Once we left the house, all motivation to complete the day’s lesson plans was lost. Instantly. Permanently. I learned that I had to plan outings and errands very carefully to minimize disruption of our school schedule.
2. Choose a curriculum or class because it’s trendy –
There is a dizzying array of classes, materials, curricula and free down-loadable lessons available to homeschoolers today. This is both a blessing and a curse…especially for new homeschool parents. There is a temptation to use a certain curriculum because it is the popular offering at the homeschool convention this year. Study your children. Find out how they learn best, and find out how you learn best. Then choose learning materials that fit your family.
3. Compare your family and homeschool to others –
This is one of the more dangerous potholes that can cause a serious blowout on the homeschool road. We can always find a mom who seems more organized, more confident, and better dressed than we are. And of course, her children are NEVER behind in their lesson plans, they NEVER complain about chores, and they are working two grades ahead of our children who are the same ages. And they speak fluent French. And Spanish. If you allow yourself to compare your family to other families, you will find it hard to be content, and your confidence in your ability to finish the homeschool journey will suffer.
4. Look too far into the future –
Psalm 119:105 tells us that God’s word is a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path. God limits our vision to small steps in front of us so that we have to trust him little by little along the way. If we were able to see far into the future, we may become overwhelmed and fearful, or we may become arrogant, and forget that we need to rely on Him. Don’t fret about high school graduation when your child is starting third grade! Walk confidently in the glow of the lamp, and the brighter beam of the light. You can reach your homeschool destination with God’s help, step by step, year by year.
5. Forget to rely on God –
The homeschool journey is extremely rewarding, but it is also extremely challenging. Forget God at your own peril! God is sufficient to provide you with the patience, strength and wisdom you will need to navigate the homeschool road. Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you. Let Him be your guide!