I just read a great article by Diane Flynn Keith entitled “7 Dumb Mistakes Smart People Make When They Homeschool and How to Avoid Them.” The article really struck home with me in areas where I’ve been, and some areas in which I insist on returning, despite my best efforts. For copyright’s sake, I won’t post the entire article here, but I will share her list of mistakes:
1. Unrealistic expectations (or no expectations) regarding yearly or daily goals
2. Over-scheduling & under-scheduling
3. Ignoring child feedback
5. Isolation (interestingly enough, one of her remedies is to participate in an online chat room—HA HA!)
6. Thinking you can do it all
7. Striving to convince everyone else that they, too, should homeschool
Like I said, I could preach a sermon on all but #4, and I’m good enough to even get an offering on #s 2 and 6. The reason that I’ve not been guilty of overspending, at least not yet, is more of a function of the method I chose for homeschooling than any well thought-out savings strategy. One great benefit I’ve always enjoyed about Charlotte Mason’s principles is that there isn’t a lot of curriculum to buy if you play your cards right. I have used as a mantra that quote I heard early in my journey about ‘all you need to homeschool is a Bible, a math book, and a library card.’ Don’t get me wrong; spending money on some curriculum is a necessary, and every now and then, you will purchase something that just isn’t working. I think that’s par for the course of any homeschooler.
I mentioned earlier that I was in a bit of a quandary about the preschooler and what to use for next year. There are a number of brightly-colored packages out there, complete with all the bells and whistles, that sure are tempting. I think I’ve crossed that bridge and backed up to look at, academically, where I would want her to be. However, I didn’t mention that the dilemma is the same when kids enter middle, and especially, high school. Is there some rite of passage which states that as kids get older, everything must cost more? Of course, I have at least one more year with the oldest to mull over these prices, which are exorbitant for me.
As I pray and do the homework, I have a couple of homeschooling jewels that I often refer back to, especially at the year’s end when I’m beginning to think about the years to come. So, what pearls of wisdom did I find? A few questions to consider:
Is this something I can teach without a curriculum?
Am I attracted to the content, or the packaging and promotion?
What do the reviews say about it?
Finally, this one is my favorite: buy books instead of buying “stuff”. Hopefully as you plan for next year, this one will help you, too.