The Top Six Mistakes Made By New Homeschool Parents
1. Building a classroom instead of a BOO
What is a BOO you ask?
A BOO stands for Base of Operations, which is your family’s home base for all things homeschooling. It serves as a student art gallery, library, studio, office, and classroom.
Wait, if it serves as a classroom, then what is the difference between a BOO and a classroom?
A classroom can be anywhere and everywhere that your child is learning at any given time. A BOO, on the other hand, is a specially set-up room that often serves as your students' classroom, but is more like their personal business office for learning. It is set up for optimal productivity, creativity, and inspiration in every way and tends to look more like a student's personal studio than any traditional classroom.
So what is the problem with traditional classrooms?
Traditional classrooms are not optimized in any way for student success. Their design is based on classroom management principles and they are more suited to behavior management optimization and packing in as many students into a small space as possible than they are to maximize your children's effectiveness in learning.
2. Feeling obligated to buy a pre-made curriculum course
This one stems out of one major root cause and most parents don't like hearing it: learned helplessness.
Most parents are perfectly qualified and capable of teaching their own children, whether they have one child or several and no matter their ages, grades, and college aspirations. Yet most parents have never heard of the term unschooling, let alone given much thought to whether a traditional curriculum is really warranted or even a good idea to use in the education of their children. Fear of the unknown is all too common and the staggering amount of federal regulations and "certified" curriculum or e-learning programs profiting from this fear doesn't help matters. Parents are sent messages, both consciously and unconsciously, on a daily basis that they aren't qualified to know how to educate their own children from companies making huge profits directly from this fear.
3. Failing to create a schedule
Homeschooling has much in common with running a home-based business in that much of its success is dependent on how much the person or people running it takes it seriously. Is is no secret that children thrive on routine. There
is nothing magical about education that homeschooling should be any different in this regard. Parents who fail to schedule a homeschooling routine will also likely fail to homeschool, as an effective schedule is a prerequisite for truly effective homeschool.
4. Lowering academic standards
Your children have a massive advantage over their traditionally-schooled counterparts in three of the most important aspects of their education: time, freedom, and individual attention.
When parents see schooling as just something to quickly get through everyday so their children can be "done," they are cheating their students out of everything else they could be learning. Education isn't just another thing to get done on the morning to-do list. Leave that line to unloading the dishes.
Curriculum that is custom-designed for a child's unique interests and goals is not something that any child will want to hurry through just so they can be done. Children and teens working on passion-based curriculum designed for them won't view their schoolwork as work that simply has to be done at all.
The problem comes in when parents buy pre-made, prepackaged curriculum mass-produced for a profit, rather than to suit children as individuals. To any parent reading this, please don't pull your child out of traditional schooling only to lower the bar even further...if it goes down much farther than what it is in public schools right now, you may need a shovel just to place the bar.
5. Keeping children isolated
Just because the umbrella term for educating your own children is "homeschooling" doesn't mean the entirety of their days should be spent at home. When you homeschool, you should be using the world around your children as their classroom, not just your dining room table. Use the time and freedom other kids aren't as lucky to have to allow them to experience the world more than they might otherwise.
Find places for them to volunteer or, if they are on the younger side, to volunteer with them. Help them find internships that match their interests. Let them work jobs to start building a resume for their dream career. Encourage them to find a mentor to teach them real world experience and skills necessary for their interests that you don't have the necessary tools or means to teach yourself. Sign them up for team sports. Make sure they see and interact with other children and/or teens everyday.
Homeschooling is NOT about being home.
Homeschooling is about freedom.
6. Not having a plan
Have you ever heard that old saying, "failing to plan is planning to fail?" Your children's futures depends upon the success of their education. Taking that responsibility into your own hands is a wonderful first step towards that success, but having both a short and long-term plan for each child you teach is vital in order to ensure it. Making sure you plan with your children rather than for your children is just as important.