What in life is without challenges? I’d argue that anything worth having has some challenges that go along with it, and homeschooling is no exception. While most of the homschoolers I interact with consider homeschooling among the most rewarding experiences of their lives, they all face challenges of some sort. This can range from such things as a lack of organization to a lack of an adequate support system. I guess you could say that the bad news is the fact that such challenges exist at all. The good news? Well, that’s that fact that you and your children can overcome them with a little perseverance.
Common Homeschool Challenges
Lack of Organization
Lack of organization can be a huge problem for some homeschoolers. It can be difficult to balance the time set aside for home education with all of the other tasks you have to accomplish in a given hour, day, or week. What happens to the day’s math lesson when you have doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping that can’t wait, or a sick family member to deal with? And how much time will be lost if junior cannot find that beautiful book about trees that you planned to read for the day’s science lesson? Staying organized and having a plan for unfortunate delays can help you not only keep learning on schedule but also hold onto your sanity.
Scheduling issues can wreak havoc on your plans as well. Let’s say you believe you are the super parent of homeschooling and will fit an enormous amount of school work into a single day. But, you’re human, so that doesn’t actually happen. Now you feel like a failure, and both you and your children feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Not good. Or, maybe you’ve decide that homeschooling means your child can and should take advantage of every extracurricular activity that interests him, except both of you feel burnt out from all of that running around. Look, downtime is a good thing. Overscheduled children don’t get the chance to play, create, imagine, and dream—all important things. Likewise, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is an education. Take your time, pace yourself, and create a schedule that allows for significant downtime. Your child will thank you for it; you’ll be a happier, healthier parent; and your child will still learn.
No Support System
If you are a first-time homeschooler, you may think you have to go it alone. This isn’t true. While you can do your own home-education thing without any help from outsiders, that doesn’t mean you should. There are many support groups available to provide help and support throughout your home-education journey. These groups offer guidance and suggestions for overcoming many of the obstacles you might face as a home educator. You’ll find parents who have already been there and done that as well as those who are just getting started like you. Besides support, you and your child may also develop friendships that last a lifetime.
Not Including Your Children
Ask your children what they would like to accomplish and include those things in your home education plans. If you assume total control and don’t seek your children’s input, they may get bored easily and dread learning. Listening to their needs and concerns can prevent this and make homeschooling feel more like a family affair. And after all, isn’t that what this home-education thing is really all about?