Teaching - What would you like to have known? Prevention!

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Teaching - What would you like to have known? Prevention!

Unread post by mgardenh »

What would you have liked to known when you first started homeschooling but did not.

I thought it might be helpful for some people just starting out homeschooling and for others to know what you would have liked to know, then what you know now.

I'll start. I wish someone would have told me to keep good track of attendance and what were doing even at least giving a pass/fail grade. The laws in my state are really lax on homeschooling but in doing this it is good to see how many days we have done school, what we've done, and how dd is doing on paper.

I wished I would have:
* When picking a curriculum looked at what my DD needed rather then what I liked.
* Known about MFW
* Known Crystal 2 years ago and all the great advice she gives.
* Looked at more curriculum options then I did
* Had someone to mentor me in the process of homeschool (so I would be guided and not be so unknowledgeable as I am)

Looking back now what would you have liked to know then that you know now?
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR

Unread post by cbollin »

Looking back now, what would you have liked to know then that you know now? Let’s see. My oldest is only 12. I still have so much to learn.

*How to gently encourage my child each year instead of pushing hard at the wrong times in the wrong way.
*that I didn’t have to really do 2 years worth of curriculum into one academic year. Confession – I really thought that if I did 2 years worth of stuff, then my kid would be smarter and the grandparents would approve of homeschooling more. (stop laughing at me now. I got better) blush
*that advanced assignments (in a multi level program designed for 2nd-8th grade) do not equal your “first born homeschooled genius” who is 2nd grade.
*That if a publisher or author said don’t use my program before a child is a certain age, that didn’t somehow mean my first born so-called genius was the one and only exception.
*that no matter how well I taught a literature based unit study to a 5 year old, she would forget a lot of it in a few years anyway. (should have done more projects)
*more hands on stuff is good when it can get done.
*doing grammar worksheets in 2nd grade does not equal language arts
*I wish I knew the importance of copywork and dictation as part of language arts
*more is not always better
*science should be fun and “light” in the early years.
*making them get dressed in the morning helps to set the day to get stuff done (Ok, I’m still learning that one)
*I wish I had taken the time to learn more about how to teach writing. I took the time to read about how to teach reading. I should have done that with writing. I think I relied too much of thinking it was a curriculum’s job to just magically lay it all out for me.
*how to separate out parent vs. teacher (ok, still learning that one) But what I mean is that sometimes when we teach we have wrong expectations because they are OUR kids and we’d never treat someone else’s kid that way.
*what to expect at a state convention. From the size of the vendor hall to the fact that I wasn’t going to agree with every speaker that was allowed to speak. Ok, story time. The first convention I went to, I really expected it would only be about 10-20 booths. Whoa!!! I really had no idea that so many options were out there.
*that it really is ok to help our children when they need help
*that sometimes it is just better in the long run to buy it new and buy one per child when it is says one per child.
*Oh, and I wish I had known about those rolling crates before going to convention.

adding a variation to the question just a little--
I’m glad I heard very early on in homeschooling that...
*just because you homeschool, that doesn’t guarantee problem free children in the teen or young adult years.
*that not all people stopped homeschooling at the end of 8th grade
*and that not all people continued homeschooling in high school

And another variation question:
What do you wish your spouse knew when you started homeschooling?

That’s enough for now.
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Unread post by TriciaMR »

1. Just because it's in the curriculum, doesn't mean you have to teach it, or teach it that way, or do it.

2. Books that say "Easy Lessons" aren't always easy. (Especially when dd is only 4.)

3. Discerning bad attitude vs. "this is really beyond my child's capabilities." Still need work on that one.

4. Agreeing with Crystal about not pushing the first one so hard.

5. I don't have to do it all. (Meaning, keep the house spotless AND teach my children and cook perfectly healthy meals and... Laundry does have to get done, though.)

6. Chores for children are a good thing.

7. Relationship with my children is more important than math facts and perfect spelling (even if I'm good at math and spelling).

8. Include the little ones as much as you can, as much as they want.

9. You will see great improvement in skills and abilities around 7 1/2. (Maybe I wouldn't have pushed so hard if I'd known that.) It may be later for other kids though.

10. They are learning whether or not you're "teaching."

11. Include God in everything.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
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2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
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Unread post by kellybell »

Well, Crystal basically said it all.

Anyway, when the girls went to a Christian school (through 1st and 3rd grade, not to mention a 1 year old and a 3 year old at home), we decided to homeschool. The school had just sent home the letter with the announcement that next year's tuition would be higher. I had been wanting to homeschool, dh was against it ("too much work" he said).

So, when he saw the bill for next year (and we wondered, "how in the world could we afford to send four kids in a few years?") he all the sudden wasn't too concerned about the "too much work" factor. Anyway, I'd love to say it was a Journey to Damascus sort of experience. It wasn't. It was a Checkbook Shock experience.

Anyway, we decided that spring that we'd start in the fall. I asked all my "successful" homeschooling friends for advice. One lady said, "Use the classical approach" and another said, "delight-directed learning is the only way to go." "Unit studies" and "LifePacs/Abeka/Textbook" also got votes. How confusing. I guess the advice THERE is "curriculum just isn't too important."

Proverbs 3:5-6 ("Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will direct your path.") is probably the BEST advice. God has special plans for each of us! Yippee. Isn't it great to be loved by the Creator of the UNIVERSE? Wowie, that always gives me chills. He is SOOOO Faithful.

I have forgotten all the (secular) advice except for two things. One is from a dear lady at church who homeschooled her three wonderful wiggly boys to adulthood and one is from my dh.

Teri told me. "You want a piece of advice? Okay, here goes. RELAX" That's all she said.

And, my dh told me to remember that "average is fine." The two older girls were excellent students at the Christian school, bringing home mainly As and high percentiles in their standardized testing. Both girls were reading well before they started kindergarten.

With his statement, he was releasing from the pressure to keep them in that top range. Of course, we all want our kids to excel, but he realized that homeschooling might be tough on me and that the test scores might drop some (actually, they rose, halleluia!). And, also, he realized while the first two of our children had proven to be bright creatures, we weren't sure how the others would do when presented with tests, math, reading, etc. And, sure enough, especially our youngest (an immature almost-seven year old) is downright ... AVERAGE.

I guess I'll add my own two cents:

1. Remember that homeschooling has very little to do with "schooling." The emphasis is on the HOME. Yes, state laws say what you need to be teaching your children. And, yes, this is an excellent way to educate. But it really is much less about education and much more about family and relationships and protection. I didn't realize that the first few years. I realize it now.

2. You (the parent) will learn more in the first two or three years in homeschooling than you have learned in a decade or two of your schooling!

3. You don't have to homeschool just like your neighbor, friend, or sister. Your family is unique. They might sing the praises of their method, co-op, or curriculum. That doesn't mean it's right for you.

4. Grade levels are artificial. It's fine to teach your child that "you are in fourth grade" so that they can answer that question of "what grade are you in?" But, grades are inventions of the school system to group kids together.

5. Same goes for grade levels for books. Use the book that fits the child or the family. Your 8 year old doesn't have to use a "second grade" book for any subject. On a similar note, quality picture books are never really outgrown. My teenager likes to cuddle up with a cup of tea and a book basket picture book. That's fine. I like to too!

6. If you get an unbelievably sunny and warm day in February, do NOT do math or language or science. Read a little Bible, pack a lunch and go on a hike or go to the zoo. You'll have the place to yourself and everyone will be better for it.

7. You will lean on God more than you probably ever had before (except for really trying circumstances).

8. Even if you don't do it too often, you need to have a pajama day now and then. Sometimes we spend the entire day reading a good book, with our pillows and stuffed animals, with paper and colored pencils for doodling. My dh comes home, and there are blankets all around, but everyone is happy. That's good.

9. On a similar note, remember that when you homeschool, you don't only homeschool your kids, you homeschool their dolls too. I always am glad when Courtney, Katie, or Jessica join us. They never make any noise or have to go to the bathroom at an inconvenient time.

10. Your house probably will be a degree or two messier than it was before. This is because there are kids in it 24/7 and kids are messy (mine are). That's okay. There are homeschoolers out there with immaculate houses, but most of us are relaxed in our housekeeping. If you homeschool, you don't need to dust. Really, you don't.

11. You WILL have bad days. But, a few bad days doesn't mean that you are a bad teacher or a bad mom. It doesn't mean that you need to put them on the next yellow bus that drives by. Homeschooling is still the better choice.

12. When you have a bad day, remember that public (or private) school teachers have bad days too. They have days where they lose their cool. And days where they don't accomplish what they had planned. And days where the kids misbehave a lot.

13. And, shhhh, don't tell anyone, but some ps teachers don't finish the entire language (or math or science or history book).

14. You'll also have amazingly good days.

15. The first year will be weird. It's sort of like a honeymoon. You might be "high" on the idea of homeschooling and just so excited that you are finally doing it. If you go through this, then realize that a year or two down the road, the honeymoon might be over. And, things might feel awfully routine. Sort of like a marriage, I guess.

16. The first year, homeschoolers often spend too much money on curriculum, games, videos, seminars, etc. If you do (and I did), don't get down on yourself. It's not good, but it's normal, natural, and forgiveable. Just give away those mistake purchases to someone they might better serve. Be generous with your mistakes (and, later, your outgrowns).

Well, I need to go... Surely there is more advice, but perhaps someone else (someone not so wordy) can give it.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Unread post by RB »

I just learned a few new things from this thread...now I wish I had known them earlier :)

About MFW

To start a little earlier and be done by the end of May each year...summer in Maine is just too glorious to miss :) (So much for my thought that we might be year-round homeschoolers.)

That much of school can be done on a picnic blanket.

My second child does not have the same incredible attention span as my first, and it's OK to give her more breaks.

That I don't need to search for and read each and every single book basket book to my dc.

That it's important to find curricula that fits my learning/teaching style as well as my childrens'.

That the subject I excelled in (Math) is the hardest for me to teach, and the subject I hated (History) is my favorite now.
dd 15 dd 14 ds 12 ds 1
Adventures and 1st ('07/08), ECC and K ('08/09), CtG ('10-'11), RtR ('11-12), Expl-1850 ('12-'13)
Cyndi (AZ)
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Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

I wish that I would have had Kelly's 1-10 from the above post posted on my wall to ram them into my head everyday and quit beating myself up over the little things! I'm still thinking about printing that and hanging it by my computer. (I still probably would have smirked back then and said, "oh, I think I can handle it . . . " pride, pride, stupid pride . . . ) So, I wish I would have known that it is A GOOD THING to ask for HELP.

I wish my spouse would have known that homeschooling was going to be a job. An obsession. Not just a fun little hobby for an hour a day. Poor guy is just now figuring out what hit him.
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Unread post by ComfyDenim »

I think I wished my hubby would have known how emotional it was going to be -- you know, being married to a homeschool mom. Or maybe I should say - how many of my emotions he was going to have to suffer through.

I wish I'd known that:

- my kids might not like their teacher.

- my kids weren't going to be the perfect student.

- having 2 toddlers was really going to affect my schooling system..(such that it was)

- that having friends who have "been there - done that" is vital to my sanity.

- that scriptures like: "No weapon formed against me shall not prosper" and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and "My God shall supply all my need according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus" really did apply to the homeschool - and not just other areas of life.

- Legos are good for toddlers

- by the time I'll get this figured out - they'll be grown and gone so I need to enjoy it now.

- I have so much to learn. :-)
Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

mgardenh wrote:What would you have liked to known for th high school/graduating and getting your kids into college? That you know now but did not know then?
Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:05 am

Oh, my, I am not an expert on this by any means so I hope someone else adds their wisdom! I started homeschooling with a 10th grader, but she is not college-bound in the forseeable future. However, I have had a public schooled son go thru the college experience (graduating soon). What do I wish I would have known? Or maybe, what do I wish I would have focused more on? The question is quite broad, from the academics to the character. Here are some random thoughts:

1. Their character is more important than the school they get into. The latter can go off in the wrong direction; the former will not.

2. Practical skills are what keep the child on the road to independence. All too many of the young adults I know have no practical skills and thus are still living in their parents' homes, with little responsibility and very slow maturation. I taught some practical skills, but not enough.

3. From my own experience, I have a sense that teens need to feel needed. They need to contribute. If they are not going to be like teens of old and begin their own family and household by 17, then then need *something* that makes them feel successful, valuable, and creative. And they need the encouragement of seeing things that make the world look less self-centered and hopeless.

4. Using a very easy version of the Bible (my middle daughter read the NIrV in high school -- the Adventures Bible -- really!) is far better than a lovely, mature, accurate Bible that never gets finished. I have given (and seen given) far too many unopened Bibles, given to young people who would really like to read them but just get overwhelmed trying to get through them for the first time. (Now, MFW students will NOT have this problem -- this is for your nieces & nephews & such LOL!)

5. Teens often spend too little time absorbing the concept of the fall of man, and too much time on the next chapters of Genesis. Those chapters are very discouraging -- the sweet little Noah's ark becomes to a teen a story of destruction -- and these early stories are far too brief to get a real sense of who God is. Lesson learned: Start stronger on the fall, read quickly through the rest of Genesis, and make sure you keep reading the rest of the Bible - the stories get longer and God's history really comes through.

6. Back to the practical -- college scholarships are of no value if you are not wealthy and expect to be awarded grants by schools who want your child to attend, since the grant will be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the scholarship(s). And along the same lines, an independent student receives a much better break in college tuition than does a student at home and dependent upon their parents -- a year of living on their own has this advantage.

7. And finally, that homeschooling is just parenting, without the middle-man. It's what I had always wanted to do for my kids, and what I was doing all along, but I had this big, huge public school system to work around :o)

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Preventing HS Burnout

Unread post by mamacastle2 »

RB wrote:I'm not burned out right now, but I was for awhile, partially due to outside circumstances a couple of years ago. As we are just a couple of weeks into this school year, I find myself wanting to make sure we do anything we can to not burn out again. It's nice to enjoy teaching and learning as a a family again!

Anyone care to share your best tips to keep running the homeschool marathon with joy and peace?
Just a quick response, but 2 things that help me are limiting outside activities, no matter how wonderful they might be, and reading "Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe" by Todd Wilson.

Looking forward to reading more tips. Blessings!
Wife to Brody
Mother to DD 10, DS 7, DD 5, DS 3, DD 1
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Re: Preventing HS Burnout

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Quiet Time every day, before I start the day.
Praying at the beginning of our school day.
A homeschool support group with a Mom's Night Out.
A husband that starts the laundry on the way out the door to work (the laundry "room" is just off the door into the garage). :-)
Trusting God for the results, not my abilities.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
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Re: Preventing HS Burnout

Unread post by gratitude »

Summer break. I feel really refreshed and ready to go again this week after a summer without teaching. I love to teach my kids, but it was nice to have a break.

Sundays. My DH & I decided to take Sundays as our day of rest when we first married. It has saved me for years. It isn't always easy to take Sundays off from laundry, house cleaning, yard work, errands, groceries,etc. I am very glad though that we do. On days of decent weather we often use Sundays for a visit to a park or the beach after church or being outside in the yard. On days like today we came home from church for lunch, and to just be home as the rain falls. Sunday is probably the one thing that has prevented burn-out for me through the years of teaching piano, having babies, and now home schooling.

Oh my other burn out prevention is getting either an hour in the morning or evening without the kids being awake. This varies some. 6 a.m. is a great time for Bible study or a walk or coffee with my DH, and 9 p.m. can be the same way. I realize they go to bed at 8, but it seems to take me at least an hour to decompress.

Happy Home schooling! :-) :-)
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Re: Preventing HS Burnout

Unread post by dhudson »

Quiet room time every day for atleast an hour for everybody - including Mom.

Scheduled dates with dh atleast every other week.

My dh is great at allowing me time off with friends once or twice a month.

We take a vacation - even a weekend - without kids once a year.

End time for school daily. Scheduled time for housework, laundry and meal prep.

Chores for kids.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
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Re: Preventing HS Burnout

Unread post by mgardenh »

Not getting burned out. I'd say only doing what's in the manual and the recommended LA and MATH (if you are able to). Not supplementing the curriculum. It is a complete curriculum and you don't need to add anything except where the hazels tell you to.

Set time for school. Start and stop.

Most of all pray pray pray look to Jesus to get you through.
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR
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Re: Preventing HS Burnout

Unread post by 705emily »

I find for me--(in addition to quiet time with the Lord each day, and taking the summers to rejuvenate :) ) is being prepared for the year. I have to have each week organized ahead of time so that things run smoothly. This helps my attitude--as well as the kids to stay on track.
Irmi Gaut
MFW K, MFW 1, Adventures, ECC this year!

'And my God shall supply ALL your needs according to his riches in Glory!'

Re: Preventing HS Burnout

Unread post by cbollin »

1 . I have to take care of me:
time with the Lord daily - even if it is reading the mfw Bible plans that week and preparing. Yes, it's nice to have other Bible reading, but I'm getting lots of daily reading in the Word from MFW's AHL.
proper nutrition
exercise and fresh air
doctor visits
ok, I take some meds as life hits in the 40's. smile.

2. just go down the grid. I like what Mike said about using MFW recommendations to get it done. don't add what isn't necessary. Don't create curriculum over load in your life.

3. schedule days off during the year so you know a break is coming.

4. schedule field trip days to just enjoy it all. Don't make lesson plans out of field trips. just go, pack picnic lunch and rejoice that you get to do that! I did one of those last Friday. fun.

5. arrange for time away from kids. others mention taking vacations without kids, but that's not possible for us due to special needs child and not living near relatives.... so instead, my dh makes sure I get away from the house and kids once in a while. Sometimes it is dropping older girls off at church youth stuff on Sunday nights, and I just get to go read a book, or grab a drink and do nothing!(I love it! 1.5 hours once a week... I love it!) Other times, it's letting oldest get to stay over at some one else's house once in a while. dh and I have "date nights" at home -- ok, we're weird and like TV shows like Pawn Stars and American Pickers and Ice Road Truckers. So set the DVR, send kids to their rooms and enjoy. LOL. (so, there's a range of date nights and vacation options to fit a wide variety of life situations. The principle is the same -- we need rest and breaks. so do that)

6. find times to do service projects together and call that school for the day.

7. one of my friends told me once when I was suffering from winter blues: get out your beach clothes, crank up the heat for an hour, play beach music, and have school on a beach towel in the living room. it worked.

Think of homeschooling as an occupation: then ask, if I worked full time, year round, how would I keep going in life with the job that I really really really love doing and honestly plan to be in that occupation for the long haul.

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Re: Preventing HS Burnout

Unread post by lisaha »

I think taking a break from subjects that are causing problems for your child.

For example, my 2nd grader has been struggling with reading and then answering questions about what he read. After struggling with him, loosing my temper, him in tears and prayers, I took a whole day off from having him read. Today went much smoother and although I know he will get back to reading I think we BOTH needed a break from it! LOL! Another example is math, if you child just doesn't get what you are trying to teach them and you are both getting frustrated, I have found that putting it off for a day often results in them understanding it the next day! Or even just putting it off until daddy gets home, daddy can explain it to them and they get it. :) I will admit that I do need to drop things for a day more often than I do, bc it often helps so much.

Like others said I stick to the grid, not adding more then a fun freetime project. I have also been known to drop something if we don't have time or like the worm thing in ECC, I just don't like worms! LOL! I do keep Friday's light.

Last year with Adventures was the first year since I started homeschooling that we did not get burnt out and the children wanted to play school in the summer and even wanted to start another MFW book right away! LOL! We did take time off in the summer though, which we all enjoyed! :)
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