Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some thoughts on "Avoiding Homeschool Pitfalls"-

I saw this blog post over on the Lesson Pathways blog just this morning and it got me thinking of a few other things I might be able to add to this list. I really like this blog post and I think that new homeschoolers or possibly parents who are struggling can really learn quite a bit from posts like these.

Here are my own personal thoughts based on my experiences with homeschooling for a number of years now:

1. Never compare your own children when it comes to their abilities and needs with their home learning.  We all have done it so getting over the "guilt" of having done this and moving ahead will not only help your learner but also will help you! ( just don't go back to doing it, lol)   Our children are all different and even though there may be similarities there is nothing to gain by comparing them at all.  * Children are smarter than we give them credit for, they know when we are comparing them how we might really feel, by not comparing them and accepting them for who they are, with all their unique qualities may actually alleviate some sibling rivalry that may be going on also*

My boys could not be more different. I can see this in just about everything they do. The way they play, interpret information, personalities and many other things as well.  In the beginning when they were first diagnosed with the same learning disability I found I started doing this more often, but then I realized just how different two children having the same disability can be!  I learned I couldn't even remediate them the same.

Both needed to be taught and helped through their own strengths and when you begin to really start thinking like this you realize that if your thinking MORE about their strengths then you really can't teach them the same because it would not make any difference to them.

I have one son who dislikes workbooks, writing and any kind of real "rote" learning. And I have the other who is diving more and more into more left brained learning, with more traditional methods, workbooks and is thriving on more rote learning. * I am planning on posting about different methods, tools and techniques I use for each of my "different" learners very soon*.

I don't even try to compare these two boys because it would be unfair and as home educators I really believe we need to move away from this thinking all together. Richard Lavoie said it well "Fair doesn't mean that every student gets the same treatment, but that every students gets what he/she needs." 

2. Don't attempt to keep up with our public/private institutions.  I think this is a huge mistake and is counter-productive of what we are trying to accomplish by teaching our children at home.  Grade levels are in most cases not helpful, since they tend to "box us in" by what we are to be teaching not allowing for us to be able to expand on the learning and reach out and stretch a bit further, which really can make learning much more fun and exciting.

3. Move away from feeling like you have to "hurry up and finish up a program" just because it is nearing a certain "term", "semester" or "season". It's not helpful, try and think back to when we were in school and we knew we had winter vacation coming and we knew things were going to "ramp up" just because we needed to meet the needs of the calendar year.  It causes much anxiety in the learning process where finishing something becomes priority over learning something. How is this real learning?

4.  Don't let programs run your home learning. YOU run them. How many times have we heard this before? I know many. BUT do we practice this?  There are lots of great programs out there, probably too many, but not all meet all our needs and the abilities of our learners. This is where we can find a program that meets our own needs as a home teacher and then alter it a bit to allow it to be flexible enough and be able to meet the needs of the person actually doing the program.  If your learner doesn't learn vocabulary by reading a word and writing down the definition why do it? Why not find other ways to learn about these new words either with discussion ( like my boys) or making a poster or playing a game. :)  I think this becomes very powerful when we re talking about children with special needs especially.  There are many ways we can alter things to meet our children where they are and not push them into a box which is what many programs can do.

I hope some of these tips help you as much as they have helped me. Following these and practicing them can really make your homeschooling much more successful and less stressful.


RP said...

Thanks! These are great reminders! Most of it I "know", but a refresher is always a good thing!

Learners at Home said...

Honestly RP it is good reminder for me to ! Glad you found it a good reminder :)


Christina S. said...


I enjoyed reading your additions to the post on our blog! is thankful that Kristie, of granted us permission to repost her blog entry!

Feel free to check out her original post, and other great entries on her blog.

-Christina S. Team Member

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