Home School Material Mistakes

Before you look at my Christian home school material ideas, I suggest you read a little advice from other seasoned home schoolers.

If you want to skip the advice of others about home schooling, go directly to my page that discusses Christian home school curriculum.

I took a little survey of home schoolers I know. Specifically, I asked them, "What mistakes do people often make in choosing Christian home school material?"

Below are their responses.

Christian Home School Material Mistakes

The lists below are home school ideas from people who are well-experienced at home school. In most cases, these are people who have already finished home schooling at least some of their children.

I found it interesting that there was significant overlap in some of the responses. Because of that, I list each person's responses separately so you can see which areas are most important.

I'd like to hear about what you've learned too. Toward the bottom of this page there is a form where you can tell others about your experience. What mistakes do you suggest people avoid? What advice you do want to pass along? Below the form is a list of other people’s stories. Read about them and add your own.

Home School Material Mistakes: Bettie R.

My sister, Bettie, home schooled her son for many years. Here are the four mistakes she recommends avoiding.

  • Thinking that just because a curriculum works for your friend's child it will work just as well for yours. Your kids are unique. Do what works best for them. Listen to the advice of others. But be sure to make choices based on what works best for you and your children.
  • Going to a home school convention without doing any research first. You will just be overwhelmed. You need to have a plan of action. What are you looking for? What do you need to know? What home school material do you need? Know these things in advance.
  • Thinking that you have to have all the bells and whistles. Start small. You can always add on. Don't be so enamored by all the glitter and glitz. There are a lot of home school resources available – but you don't need them all, especially at first.
  • Not checking into what the rules are for your state about homeschooling. Be sure you know the rules.

Home School Material Mistakes: Gina D.

Gina says that she home schooled pre-internet. But her advice is still appropriate.

  • Thinking of home schooling as a static process. Home education is a very organic and fluid method of educating and therefore the home school parent has the luxury to choose rabbit trails down which to explore. You may not veer off the path too much in a subject like Math which is less free-flowing, but science and history are more adjustable as you go.
  • Buying too much home school material. This, in turn, defeats the purpose of home education by relegating the student to a fill-in-the blanks method of instruction. It might be a good idea for the first time home educator to follow along with a curriculum, but eventually he/she can learn to be a little more independent and choose from a variety of products.
  • Starting without considering the cost. Before embarking on the journey, parents might consider reading the following books: Home Grown Kids by Raymond and Dorothy Moore, For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, Home Schooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax, and The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise.

Home School Material Mistakes: Kaylene M.

Our friend Kaylene home schooled her two sons. They are now graduated and on with their very-productive adult lives. Here is her list of mistakes to avoid.

  • Going to conferences and getting excited about a curriculum only to find out it really was not a good fit for my sons. As Bettie noted above, do some homework and planning before going to the conference. Don't let yourself be swayed by the latest and greatest.
  • Being more focused on curriculum than character. Don't forget that you are not just giving your children an education; you are preparing them for adulthood.
  • Buying more than needed and wasting the money. Sometimes simple is the best.
  • Choosing home school material that doesn't fit your child. Be sure to consider the needs, gifts, and abilities of your child before you make a curriculum commitment.
  • Choosing to teach facts instead of living history. History is alive – it discusses the lives of people and how cultures and nations were shaped by the decisions and actions of people. Don't just teach names and dates.
  • Trying to do it without help. Use dvd and online helps – especially when the subjects get beyond your own knowledge.

Home School Material Mistakes: Jennifer S.

My sister-in-law has six children – all of them either were or are home-schooled. Here are some mistakes she recommends avoiding.

  • Too much preparation time. Often a curriculum sounds really good, but just doesn't fit your life - too much prep time on the Mom's part. Honestly, the more prep time it requires of Mom the less likely it is to work.
  • Getting too creative. Some things just take plain ole work and repetition! Spelling is one of those, basic math facts are another - you can make a game of them, and that's fine. But the fact is that it is the going over them time after time that makes them stick.
  • Working with non-Christian material. There is value in some non-Christian home school material. But, the effort to correct the anti God attitude and evolution in them can be overwhelming. It permeates several subjects, not just science.
  • Keeping on when things aren't working. One of the hardest things to do is to admit the curriculum you spent all that money on just isn't working! I ran into this with Biology for my son. It is a GREAT curriculum. But here's the problem: my son isn't able to understand what he is reading! The bottom line? I should have listened to him when he told me after two weeks that it wasn't working. The moral? Cut your losses and run! If it isn't working... sell it for what you can and get something different!
  • Trying to be too complicated. Keep it SIMPLE, SIMPLE, SIMPLE. Train your children to work independently - at a pretty young age they can correct their math. (Mom corrects the tests). It relieves mom of one more thing to do.

So, let me see...

  • Don't buy curriculum that is prep heavy.
  • Don't buy gizmo's and gadgets. K.I.S.S. is the best approach.
  • Don't do too much for your kids. Your goal is to raise responsible, independent working, honest kids.
  • Don't be so sold on a curriculum that you fail to listen to your kids about whether or not it is working.
  • Don't make a purchase before you look for reviews.
  • Don't be afraid to try something different.

Home School Material Mistakes: Conclusion

Tell us your home school story below. What did you do right? What mistakes did you make? Read other people's stories by clicking the links below the form.

Now you are ready to move from home school material mistakes to Christian home school curriculum. Or, you might want to read about free home school curriculum.

What Is Your Home School Story?

Share with all our readers your home school story. How did you get started? Why did you start? What motivates you to continue? What worked well for you? What didn't work? What advice would you give other home school families?

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