The 4 Worst Homeschool Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

Nov 13, 2015

Every homeschool parent makes mistakes. What matters is how you handle those mistakes.
boy at desk

Every homeschool parent makes mistakes.

We all do it. I did. Chances are you have (or are). I'm sharing some of the more common homeschool mistakes and how you can fix them.

Worst Homeschool Mistakes and How to Fix Them

{This post may contain affiliate links.}

Comparing Your Homeschool to Public School

It's common for new homeschool parents to worry if their child is 'keeping up' with his public school peers. The result can be that you pressure your child to move along before he has mastered a skill. It can also keep you stressed out.

The Fix:

Understand that homeschooling is not a competition. 

Your child doesn't need to 'keep up' with what his public school peers (or homeschooling peers, for that matter) are doing. Homeschooling means freedom. Guide your child according to his abilities. Take advantage of that freedom.

Relax and know that your child will progress at a pace just right for him

Becoming a Slave to Your Curriculum (or schedule)

What does this look like? It looks like a stressed out mom with stressed out children. You spend each day fretting over how much is getting done and when.

The Fix:

View your curriculum and schedule as guidelines. 

Your schedule should be more of a routine than a schedule. With a routine, you can start and finish at any time of day, regardless of what else is happening in your life. 

Your curriculum is not your master. Allow your child to move at his own pace. Set short lesson times and when the timer goes off, he's done. 

Of course, if he is engrossed in something at the moment, allow him to continue. Following his interests is a step toward self-education. Encourage that!

Setting Unrealistic Expectations (or no expectations)

This can go hand-in-hand with the previous two mistakes. 

When you're expectations are unrealistic, your child will be under undue stress and you, quite likely, will feel like a failure as a homeschool parent. 

Just because your child isn't reading at 5, doesn't mean he's behind. Just because your friend's 3-year-old already reads, doesn't reflect on your homeschool either.

It's also easy to slip into a too-relaxed state. It starts off as a simple break and before you know it, you haven't done anything all year. 

Yes, that can happen.

The Fix:

Get to know your child well. Set some realistic goals, then put together a curriculum that addresses his unique abilities, weaknesses, and interests.

Take breaks, yes, but don't let that get control of you either. If it does, don't beat yourself up. Pull out the books and start moving forward!

Ignoring Your Child's Ideas and Opinions

Yes, you're the parent. Yes, you know your child very well. Still, you can't know everything he thinks and feels unless he tells you, right?

If you press forward with all sorts of ideas and projects without consulting with him, he's going to lose interest. School will be a drudgery for him. 

That, my friend, defeats the goal of creating self-educators. You don't want him to hate learning.

The Fix:

Listen to him. Value his input. 

If something isn't working, make a change. 

If he's struggling, find out why. Then make a change. 

There are plenty of mistakes to be made, but these are the top four I see in my consulting business.

What other mistakes would you add to the list?


  1. Very encouraging post Michelle!

  2. Thankyou. you hit them on the head.

    1. Thanks! I hope they help someone along the way.

  3. I'd like to add to this. We've been homeschooling for 15 years, and something I changed about 3 years ago REALLY improved our experience. I switched from schooling 5 days/week to 4. I never feel "burned out" from it anymore, and I have a day for appointments, errands, etc., during the week, if needed.

    1. Yes! A 4-day school week is FANTASTIC! That's what we do , too.

    2. Great advice,thank you!

  4. Also, when they reach high school, they get a lot more "say" in what they want for subjects. I let them pick their science, LA, language (if any). If something has been working for years (i.e. Teaching Textbooks for math, then we don't look around for a change).

    1. My kids are very up front with what they like and dislike, especially Alexis. She's the first to tell me if something doesn't work for her and what she'd like to try instead.

  5. What lesson do you feel works best? Abeka? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Next year will be my first time. I'll have a 2nd and 7th grader.

    1. I don't believe there is a best curriculum. The best style or method of homeschooling is what works for your family. The best curriculum is the one that fits that method or style. Our family uses the Charlotte Mason method. We build our own curriculum based on that.


Join the conversation!