10 Homeschool Mistakes

10 Mistakes That Almost Ruined Our Homeschool

 

The title of this post is a bit dramatic, but let’s roll with it, shall we?

If you’re just joining me, I’m Nike (nee-kay), a third-year homeschool mom of two energetic boys, ages 4 and 8. Welcome to my little corner of the internet where I share my passion for faith, family, and homeschool!

I love when moms share their homeschool “hiccups,” so I’ll go ahead and share mine today. Here are ten things that proved to be unhealthy for our homeschool. I’ll spare you the long intro and get right to it!

1. Doubt.

For me, doubt can stem from the insecurity that we may have made the wrong decision for our family. This insecurity is at its peak during the trying moments of homeschool. You know, when my boys refuse to complete assignments, complain about not seeing their friends, or are just completely uncooperative. I have to remind myself during these moments that all callings in life have their fair share of trials, and just because things are tough doesn’t mean we made the wrong decision. In fact, tough moments are an opportunity to gain perseverance and grow in faith.

2. Unclear expectations.

I found out very quickly that it’s impossible to successfully manage our homeschool without effectively communicating to my family what’s expected of them. This was especially true when it came to delegating roles to my husband. When we were just starting out as a homeschooling family, I carried the bulk of the burden until I realized I couldn’t do it by myself. I needed my husband to know how to assist me, and I needed my children to know exactly what I expected out of them to make this homeschool journey successful.

3. Lack of routine.

Routines are important in our homeschool because my children thrive better when they know what to expect. Although I’ve always been adamant about routines, there were moments when we fell off and those moments were tough on everyone.

4. Being unrealistic.

Everyone has their own struggle in this area. Mine was expecting that my boys will catch on quickly to learning new concepts ALL the time. When they didn’t catch on quickly enough, I most certainly struggled in the patience department. I had to learn how to slow down. After all, one of the perks to homeschool IS being able to slow down when needed. And, even as intelligent as they are, I had to learn that they, like most kids, have areas of weakness that need extra attention.

5. Too much socialization.

I never in my wildest dreams thought my boys would get too much socialization as homeschool kids, but they most certainly did. Between extracurricular classes, playdates, fieldtrips, parties, taekwondo, and family road-trips, I had to scale back tremendously to ensure there was enough time for formal learning. While I value providing my children with social opportunities, I had to realize that it couldn’t be at the cost of their education.

6. Too little socialization.

And, of course, there were the days when we didn’t belong to any homeschool groups or co-ops and struggled to get any social interaction with children my boys’ age. Not having that community made homeschool feel lonelier—mostly for me, though. My kids were 5 and 2, so they were at the age where they didn’t really notice much. But too little socialization for momma was no Bueno.

7. Peer pressure.

Peer pressure in adulthood DOES exist. It looks a little something like this: ALL the moms in your group use a certain type of curriculum and uphold it as the holy-grail to which no other curriculum can compare. Or, those lovely mom chats where moms try and one-up each other on how early their child learned to do this or that. Yep, it got to me. I admit it. And I did feel the pressure to use the curriculum everyone else was using and to teach my kids what everyone else was teaching theirs. Thankfully, that ship has sailed and I’m wiser now. Putting pressure on my family to be like another family certainly caused unnecessary stress on our homeschool.

8. Trying to prove myself.

Anyone ever take a million pictures of your kids with other kids to prove to your disapproving family members that your homeschool kids have a social life? Or, pop-quiz your kids in front of family members to prove they’re learning just as well as any other kid? I’ll raise my hand on that one. It took two years to build the confidence to realize that I didn’t have to prove anything or answer to anyone when it came to our family life.

9. Zero me-time.

I’m home with my kids all day every day so I’m going to need some me-time. And, no, I don’t feel guilty about it. Yes, it was my decision to stay home and homeschool my kids, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to feel tired, annoyed, overwhelmed, or in need of some time alone. Doesn’t mean I hate homeschool. Doesn’t mean I hate my kids. It just means I need to recharge—ALONE! It’s called self-care. When I don’t get me-time everyone and everything in the house suffers—especially our homeschool.

10. Too many curricula.

For our family, it can’t be all about learning from textbooks. There’s a whole world out there that my boys need to explore and learn from—something that textbooks can never teach. The world is our classroom! We can learn about plants and animals, U.S. states, and some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, but experiencing them for ourselves will always hold more weight than memorizing facts.


 

That concludes my list of homeschool “hiccups.” Do you have any? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments.

Stay at Home Mom

So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

First off, I commend you. Making the decision to be a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy. There are a series of what-ifs coupled with conviction and excitement. I’ve been there.

The moment God placed it on my heart to become a stay-at-home mom wrapped me in a swirl of emotions. I never saw myself as the soccer-mom type, but suddenly there I was, knowing for certain that staying home was the best thing for my family—yet still struggling with doubt that triggered from the what-ifs. What if we can’t afford it? What if my husband loses his job? What if I hate staying home?

Let me tell you. All of these things happened and more! But God’s grace is always sufficient and, with His help, we are fulfilling our call to be the parents He destined us to be. Eight years in, and two kids later, I’ve learned some things I’d like to share with you. So without further ado, here are eight things to consider as you journey into becoming a stay-at-home-mom. 

1.    God is with you. When God told Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land, God’s exact words were “Do not be afraid; Do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Whenever God gives us a task that initially scares us out of our wits, we can rest assured that He is with us. With that said, being a stay-at-home mom is not easy. There’ll be sacrifices, tough moments, and unwarranted opinions that’ll tempt you to give up. Trust that God will never leave you or your family hanging. Yes, it WILL be tough at times, but it is in those moments that we strengthen our character and persevere. 

2.    You should consider the cost. Going from a corporate job to a stay-at-home mom can be quite the adjustment. You may be accustomed to contributing to your household and, perhaps, having that extra income to splurge on the things you desire. Please, place your desires into perspective and consider the cost of being a stay-at-home mom. Your household budget will likely tighten, but it is set in place to help you afford the opportunity to stay at home with your children. Remember, “Don’t begin until you count the cost” (Luke 14:28). For our family, that meant no cable television, one cell phone and car between us, and many other sacrifices, like dropping my husband off at work early in the morning (6am!) so that I could have the car for the day. 

3.    You may hate it at times. Even people who absolutely love their job have off days, maybe even an off week. Please don’t let a bad day or a bad week convince you that you’re not cut out for the job. At the end of the year, you’ll see that those bad days don’t even matter in the grand scheme of things. Trust me, you’ll have more good days than bad. Remember, “do not grow weary in doing what is good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). And what is that harvest? All the good things that result from investing time into your family!

4.    Your husband may lose his job. Yes, this happened to us. I want to stress how important it is to have multiple streams of income. The word of God tells us to “invest in seven ventures, yes in eight; for you do not know what disasters will come upon the land” (Ecclesiastes 11:2).   Therefore, consider investing your money elsewhere, whether in stocks, bonds, a startup company, or other ventures God may have for you. Not only will this grant you peace of mind, but you’ll have a cushion to fall on should your husband lose his primary job. 

5.    You can still work. I know that may sound like a longshot when you’re chasing down your toddler, but consider that there’s a time for everything. Of course, when I was a new mom, my main priority was caring for my babies, especially since I nursed them around the clock. But as my children grew older, more independent, and I started getting enough rest, I seized the opportunity to invest in my own ventures to help add more passive income to our household. Proverbs 31 tells us about the virtuous woman who managed to run her home while contributing to household finances. It can be done!

6.    You may lose yourself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the needs of your children, husband, and home. But you must take care of yourself, first. This doesn’t just mean physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Feed your mind by continuing to invest in the things that interest you. But, most importantly, feed your spirit. When Martha opened her home to Jesus, she became easily distracted by all the preparations she had to do. But her sister, Mary, ignored the preparations and sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to his teachings. What did Jesus tell Martha? “Mary has chosen what is better” (Luke 10:38-42). The lesson? It’s great to serve the ones we love, but never place it before spending time with God. 

7.    The grass will look greener in the corporate office. There will be times when you envy working mothers. Not only do they get regular breaks from their children, but they also get monetary recognition for their work ethic and achievement. Take heart and know that God sees and values all of the work that you do. Remember when David worked as a shepherd boy? It seemed no one noticed when he fought off lions and bears to protect his sheep. But God did! God gave David (who later became king!) an opportunity to shine before men (1 Samuel 16). Remember, what’s done in secret will be rewarded openly (Matthew 6:4).  

8.    This is your calling. Being a stay-at-home mom is not for everyone. It is a calling. Therefore, resist judging mothers who are not called to stay at home with their children. God has a different path for them. It’s easy to believe EVERYONE should be doing what we’re doing when we feel so passionately about something. However, when we don’t consider that every woman has a different walk, we place God inside a box and put ourselves on a pedestal as “the only way to do it.” Even worse? We stifle other women’s passions and pursuits by forcing our own on them. Stay on your own course and fulfill your calling with a joyful heart. “For the gifts and callings of the Lord are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). 


There’s so much more I want to share, but those topics deserve a post of their own! For now, I’ll leave you with the first eight things God placed on my heart to share with you. Whatever path you’re on, remember not to compare your journey to others. Comparison will always be the thief of joy.  

Join me this month for my new series called “The Better Mom” Tuesdays! Every Tuesday of this month I’ll be sharing some nuggets of truth I’ve learned from being a young wife and mother. You don’t want to miss it!