A couple years back, I wrote a piece called Seven Things You Should Stop Doing if You Homeschool. I’m still homeschooling and still taking notes. So, for your entertainment and enlightenment, here are seven more things we should stop doing if we want to harness the true Awesome of our homeschooling experience.
1. Stop taking every single life experience and categorizing it as a school subject.
Some of us say things like, “Oh! We made cookies today! That counts for home ec…and math, too, because we doubled the recipe.” Or, “this walk in the woods counts as science!”
Listen. When you start breaking down every life experience into subjects, your kids (and you) will start believing that every thing you do has to count for something. Every single thing.
Ask me how I know.
Psst. I’ll let you in on a secret. You are not living a subject, you are living life. Just make the cookies. Then eat the whole pan together.
2. Stop making every single issue you face in your day into a homeschooling issue.
Your kid is not sassing you because you homeschool. Your kid is sassing you because you’re the parent.
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It’s a universal parenting issue, really—not singularly a homeschooling problem. You are not having trouble figuring out what to cook for dinner because you are a homeschooler, you are having trouble because you have people to feed. You are not struggling with keeping your house clean because you homeschool, you are struggling to keep your house clean because people live there. And you will discover this if you…
3. Stop hanging out with only homeschooling families.
Someone once messaged my Facebook page to thank me for sharing memes that weren’t necessarily “the things that homeschooling moms would share”. She asked how in the world did I find the pages that I followed? Answer: I branched out.
Listen—I’m not just a homeschooling mom, and neither are you. I’m a mom. Mom encompasses a lot of different women. Figure out how to hang with all of them. You can learn something from every single person you meet, and I don’t want to squash that by only filling my social media feeds (and real life adventures) with the singular qualification of someone having to be a homeschooling parent.
4. Stop thinking everyone who asks why your kids aren’t in school today is looking to turn you in or start a fight.
Some homeschoolers have a habit of walking around half-cocked, waiting for someone to ask The Question, so then they can rant to their homeschooling friends about The Nerve of The Person in Public to Inquire About My Child.
Y’all. When did we get so damn sensitive?
It is quite possible the person simply asked to make polite conversation, and “no school today?” seemed a more appropriate attempt than asking your child’s opinion on the presidential candidates. It is also quite possible that the person asking has a brother/aunt/cousin/best friend/co-worker who homeschools, or that they (gasp) are a homeschooler themselves.
5. Stop making everything about the project.
Eventually, there will not be a fun project to go with the subject you are studying. There will not always be a cute Pinterest worthy post for what you did today. Sometimes the project makes sense, and other times it’s just a total waste of time, money, space, and glitter.
The crazy thing is that sometimes our kids figure this out way before we do.
6. Stop trying to prove how smart your kids are.
You can’t say out of one side of your mouth, “I wish people would stop quizzing my kids in public!” and then out the other side, while at the family reunion, have your child parrot what they’ve learned this week in homeschooling under the guise of, “Gosh, my kids must just love learning so much! They can’t stop talking about it!”
Hey. I get that you want people to understand that you’re not just sitting at home watching hours of cat videos on YouTube. But telling all the public school senior high cousins that your 9-year-old son tested at a 12th grade level and should basically be sitting next to them in school is maybe sorta asking people to get out the pitchforks.
7. Stop doing what doesn’t work.
Which is to say stop trying to fit a star-shaped peg into a pencil-shaped hole.
Which is to say if the thought of doing year round school makes you want to cry tears of acid, then for goodness sake, take a summer break.
It’s also to say that if Best Math Curriculum Ever makes you break out in hives, don’t use it.
And if you can’t wrap your mind around being part of the local homeschool co-op, then maybe don’t do it.
There is no award for the homeschooliest homeschooler or the unschooliest unschooler. So just maybe concentrate on whatever glorious mix of life and learning works for your family.