As hmmmschoolers, we are often so worried about what we should be doing. But let’s just for the moment focus on a few things we should STOP doing. I can think of seven to get us started.
1. Stop being afraid of your kid being mad or uncomfortable.
If your child is mad at you, you are not Satan. You are not the Antichrist. You have not screwed up your kid. If your kid is mad at you, it simply means the both of you are in disagreement. This is normal. And valid. And okay. Stop thinking that because you are you, you’re automatically going to get along better with your children than all the other parents and children in history ever have.
2. Stop thinking that because you homeschool/unschool/radically unschool/fluffy unicorn school that your child is going to be more enlightened/more inspired/more motivated than all those other children who attend (gasp) public school.
Stop thinking that your child is going to be self-motivated to change the world by age eight. It could happen. But more than likely, it won’t. It’s entirely possible that your eight year old might be throwing mud at his sister in the house while your 12 year old plays TF2 for the 13th hour in a row and you sit at the table with a glass of wine. Be proud of the kids you have, okay?
3. Stop thinking you have to pick a side.
We should be beyond having to point this out, but to be a homeschooler, you really don’t have to a) quote a minimum of 37 Bible verses a day or b) hate God, cops, government, GMOs, gluten, and structure of any kind. The groups at both extremes in the homeschooling community are so polarized—even though they say they aren’t. That polarization makes it really hard for the HUGE middle ground to convince the rest of the world that we are not one of Those Kinds Of Homeschoolers.
4. Stop using homeschooling and unschooling to make your world smaller.
If all members of your family have defected to their own countries of isolation under the guise of “we’re following our interests”, you might want to rally the troops back and re-group. If all your social contacts look, talk, and think just like you…you’re headed in the wrong direction. There is a difference between diving into your interests, and diving into a hole like a hermit.
5. Stop asking me what I taught my kids when they were two.
I’m either going to tell you a) I don’t remember or b) “nothing”. Realize that when you complain to me that public school moves too fast and doesn’t let kids be kids…but then ask me what curriculum I used to teach my 18 month old their colors, we’re going to have a very uncomfortable staring contest.
6. Stop telling me you are homeschooling your six month old.
You plan to homeschool. You are not currently homeschooling. If your child isn’t old enough to be asked “why aren’t you in school today”, you’re not homeschooling him. If your child wouldn’t otherwise be in public/private school at the age they are currently at, you are not currently homeschooling. You are a parent. When your child is older and you are wading through long division or algebra or mom you never taught me how to write a paper, or hey guess what there are still bullies in co-ops you will understand why I’m-homeschooling-my-6-month-old is so annoying.
7. Stop thinking there is a solid, lasting point in homeschooling where you will say “I get it! THIS is how I’m supposed to do it!”
That magical blissful point does not exist in real life. Once you find center, it usually moves to a completely inconspicuous place, never to be seen again except in fleeting glimmers of hope. Kids change, parents change, situations change, interests change…everything changes. The way you do it will change many, many times. And then it will change again.
That is all. Carry on, dear hmmmschoolers.
Or, hey! Go read Seven MORE Things You Should Stop Doing if You Homeschool.