5 Mistakes Homeschooling Families Make (and How to Avoid Them)


Disclaimer :: This article contains sponsored content provided by Texas Homeschool Expo to share its resources with homeschooling families in Texas.

Mother homeschools her sonEducating your children at home is not a new concept, but it’s one that is becoming increasingly more prevalent in Texas. An estimated 750,000 children were homeschooled in Texas in 2020, a figure that continues to rise.

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As more families consider homeschooling, we see frustrations crop up at the beginning of this journey. It is natural to apply conventional knowledge about learning to homeschooling, but that is a mistake that will hinder successful learning at home.

Instead, flip the script on what you know. Here are five common mistakes that homeschooling families make, and how to avoid them:

1. Not Believing You Can Do It

The notion that you need to be a certified teacher in order to homeschool your children is a misconception. The skills needed by a teacher — who must educate, support, and manage dozens of children at a time — are far more involved than those needed to guide your own child(ren) through a curriculum. If you can read, follow directions, set a schedule, and offer time and attention, then you have the skills to effectively homeschool your child.

Plus, it takes far less time to teach at home. Most families can get through a day of schoolwork in less than half of a traditional school day, often taking only two to four hours. Learning can take place in the morning, evening, on the weekend, or anytime that works for the family. This enables all parents, especially working and single parents, to homeschool.

Father homeschools his son2. Replicating Public School at Home

Homeschool doesn’t take as much time as traditional schooling, nor does it follow the same structure. Homeschooling families have the freedom to choose the curriculum that fits their lifestyle.

The only standards that Texas requires from homeschool families is that instruction be real; include visual curriculum (text and/or video); and include reading, spelling, grammar, math, and good citizenship.

For subjects like science and history, some families study one for six months and then the other for the next six months. Others alternate the subjects by doing each two days a week. And still, others dedicate time to these subjects daily.

Working directly with your child allows the opportunity to pursue topics of interest more deeply, take time to make sure the child firmly grasps the lesson, or move quickly through subjects that they comprehend easily.

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3. Using the First Curriculum You Find

It is a huge mistake to settle with the first curriculum you see, or to use what a homeschooling friend likes. Identify your child’s learning type, and choose curriculum accordingly.

Homeschool curriculum has expanded significantly thanks to the rising popularity of homeschooling. There are large companies that develop rigorous curriculum based on state and national standards. There are also smaller companies that create study programs geared towards unique topics.

Options vary widely, and include religious or secular worldview, online or paper-based, traditional textbooks, literature-based, nature-focused, independent versus parent-led, and more. It can take time to find what works, and it’s perfectly okay to switch mid-year, if something is not a good fit.

Mother teaches a biology lesson to her daughter during homeschool outside4. Homeschooling Must Take Place at Home

Just because it’s called “homeschool” doesn’t mean it has to happen at home. Nature lovers sit on the patio or head to the park for lessons, while others study at the library or a coffee shop.

Apply learning to the real world with field trips and outings for hands-on exploration. Many homeschoolers participate in in group lessons through homeschool co-ops or at local museums, zoos, recreation centers, libraries, or dedicated learning centers.

Additionally, there is world schooling. This is when families travel for their lessons, learning through life experiences and incorporating other cultures and languages into their studies.

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5. Assuming Your Kids Can’t Participate in Extracurriculars

Long gone are the days homeschooled children miss out on sports, prom, band, science fair, and field day. All these activities (and much more!) are available to homeschoolers through the growing support system developed by homeschooling families and businesses across North Texas.

There are now homeschool marching bands, choirs, sports teams, debate clubs, theater organizations, dances, and graduation ceremonies. Spelling bees, geography fairs, and homeschool PE classes offer students the opportunity to take part in activities traditionally associated with public school, while still enjoying the individual learning and family support offered by home education.

Choosing to homeschool is a big decision, and it need not be overwhelming or lonely. Connecting with other homeschooling families is important, both to learn from their mistakes, find friends, and seek support on the journey.

Homeschool families attend an expoOne place to find curriculum, resources, and peers is the Texas Homeschool Expo. This annual resource fair was created by a local, homeschooling mom, and connects thousands of North Texas families with curriculum companies, local service providers, and community groups dedicated to supporting home educators.

Attendees also have the opportunity to take part in workshops and lectures on topics such as “How to Start Homeschooling,” “Supporting Learners with Special Needs,” “Teaching Various Subjects,” and “Preparing for College.” Learn more about the Texas Homeschool Expo at www.TexasHomeschoolExpo.com.

Text in red and blue: Texas Homeschool ExpoThe Texas Homeschool Expo is an annual resource fair for current and prospective home educators. It offers a unique opportunity to explore dozens of educational curricula, resources, programs, and service providers in person, connect with local organizations, and attend workshop sessions led by professionals and homeschool veterans. This inclusive event is not aligned with any religious, political, or governmental entity, and is open to all homeschooling styles and philosophies.

Follow Texas Homeschool Expo on Facebook.


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