In my homeschooling journey of 37 years, I learned a LOT and changed the way I approached education as well. When I started out, I had a pretty traditional approach to education and never questioned that what was in the book was what my child needed to know.
Here are some conclusions I came to and things I would have done differently from the start had I known.
- Don’t feel like I have to teach everything that is in the book or finish every book.
Don’t be afraid to scrap a book mid-year and try something else. Some books that worked well for most of my kids, just frustrated others. What works well for one doesn’t necessarily work well for the next child. Kids just learn differently. If you’re rolling along and find something included in the book that you don’t think your child will ever need, feel free to skip over it. Or if you’re in mid-year and the book you’ve chosen just isn’t working, try another. It’s okay. It’s not only okay, it’s the wise thing to do.(Here are 5 tips for choosing curriculum)
- Don’t assume that a government school course of study is best for my child
I just automatically thought that government schools had studied kids and knew what was best to teach each child at each level/age. That just isn’t true! You know your child so intensely. Don’t be afraid to follow your instinct, or better yet, God’s leading for each individual child.
- Don’t hold my child to standards of “where they’re supposed to be” or hold them back because they are learning too quickly
I allowed each of my children to progress at their own rate in every subject, at least after my first few years of teaching them. They may be a couple grades ahead in history and a year “behind” in math, but that’s okay. They need to be free to progress at a rate that challenges them but not overwhelms them and that that will be different for each child.