5 Things I Don't Do in Our Homeschool

Jun 19, 2018

From curriculum to homeschooling methods, I've done a lot of things in my homeschool, but there are 5 things I do not do.

shrugging woman

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I've switched curricula many times. I've tried different methods. I've even gotten my kid to hate learning. And gotten my kids to love learning.

While there are plenty of things I've done, there are a few things I do not do.

I do not do school-at-home.

My homeschool looks absolutely nothing like a classroom. We don't follow schedules. We don't use a bunch of text-based learning. We just don't.

Not that I've never done those things. Boy, did I do them! That's the story of how my son learned to hate learning. That's why I don't do school at home.

It makes no sense at all to emulate the very system that is failing kids every day. It makes no sense to create a fake environment for learning when a natural home environment works so well.

I don't let homeschool stress me.

This would tie into the fact that I don't do school at home, but maybe it's more than that.

I belong to a few homeschool mom groups on Facebook, and I am a homeschool consultant. I often read and hear things like "homeschooling is hard" and I feel like the oddball because I don't think so.

Of all the struggles I have in my life, educating my kids isn't one of them.

Now, before you start thinking I'm full of myself, or one of those bloggers who paints a perfect life on social media, let's get a few things straight.

I'm no homeschool snob, and certainly I've not done things perfectly. I haven't.

So, no. I don't put on a show for social media, and I know I'm imperfect.

Still, I find myself wondering how homeschool is so hard. Despite the many mistakes I've made, I've never been stressed by homeschool. Well, not since I tried to force my son into that school-at-home box, anyway.

We are incredibly relaxed in our homeschool approach. I do have lessons, books, and things to do, but I don't stress over it.

The children will learn. They will. No matter what I do or don't do, they will learn.

I know this because, despite all my mistakes, and despite 10 years of basically unschooling them in a near-radical but not-quite-radical sense, my kids got into college. So. Yes. They will learn.

That is the lesson I learned from my previous mistakes. No matter how badly I believe I've screwed up, my adult children did obtain an education.

They became self-educators, as I wanted them to. Even more importantly, they're loving, kind, generous, considerate, respectful human beings.

I don't make lesson plans.

I don't. I won't.

I used to create lesson plans, but it's a pain. It takes more time to map it all out than it does to do the lessons! It gives me anxiety, quite frankly. Then, if we don't get through the day's planned activities, I feel like I've failed. They feel like  they've failed.

It's just a big ol' pot of failure for us to stew in. Who needs that?

Instead, I write down what we did today. Tomorrow, I'll just pick up where we left off. That's easier.

If life happens, we're OK.

If mental illness happens, we're OK.
If it's just a beautiful day, and we decided to take a field trip or go hiking, we're OK.

No guilt.

I don't follow a schedule.

I love schedules, honestly, but for years, they didn't work in my homeschool.  

(Read all about our schedule for bipolar disorder, and how my kids' bipolar disorder had my life turned upside down for years.)

Nowadays, they could work a little better. My daughter has been bipolar symptom-free for 22 months. She's up in the day and sleeps at night, but it's not a perfect life. We're still dealing with borderline personality disorder, me being a self-employed WAHM, and other real-life stuff.

So - schedules? Not so much. Routines are more like it. We do A, B, C, and D in that order. Whether the day starts at 7 a.m. or noon.

I don't do preschool.

During the preschool years, I don't conduct any formal lessons. In fact, I don't start formal lessons until age 6 or 7. Traditionally, children didn't go to school until this age, even in the U.S., but around the world, it's still the standard.

In fact, in most U.S. states, the age of compulsory education is 6 or 7 years of age.

mother shrugging and smiling

Before then, I let my kids learn naturally. Sure, I'll teach the alphabet, counting, colors, and all the things any parent would teach. We'll follow rabbit trails when the children ask questions. 

But mostly, we do things that help them developmentally - games that increase observation skills, fine and gross motor skills, drawing, and such things.

Basically, I let my preschoolers be preschoolers. Childhood is too short. I see no need to push them to be older faster.

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  1. So many good reminders about focusing on what is really important!

  2. Anonymous9/04/2018

    Thank you Thank you Thank you. It's my first month homeschooling and I was convinced I was already failing at it. You just described my life perfectly. Now I know what I'm doing actually CAN work and he's still learning even if we're not watching a clock all day.

    1. Yes, ma'am! We have to focus on what's important.


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