Homeschooling     Hot Topics     Home and Family     K-12    

Five homeschooling do's and don'ts

A few simple guidelines can prevent angst

homeschooling, do's, don'ts, kids, flexibility

Avoid homeschooling crises by reminding yourself of a few basic principles that work throughout life but are especially important when you're taking on a big project like the education of your children, says homeschooling mom Barbara Danza, a mom of two kids.

Don't worry about being perfect. Perfection is not only overrated, it's impossible. Aim for a process of trial-and-error, with the successes celebrated and the errors supplying useful information going forward. You and your kids are learning together, designing a grand new adventure. There's no need to put a lot of pressure on yourselves.

Do be flexible. It's good to start with a plan, but expect the plan to change. In fact, it might take a whole year before the schedule falls into a pattern that feels right—and then it might change again. There's no cookie-cutter arrangement or prescription to follow, so allow for creativity and frequent adjustments to resources, approaches, and schedules.

READ MORE: Learn more about homeschooling

Don't compare yourselves to others. What gets posted on Instagram might look more orderly and efficient than what you've got, or more wild and free, but they're just pictures, and every family's homeschooling needs and directions are different. As long as you're teaching your children to be fair and kind, and you see evidence of academic learning over time, you can congratulate yourself on doing a fine job.

Do avoid drudgery. If you buy an online syllabus and find yourself wishing you didn't have to slog through it with your kids—maybe you don't. Sometimes you have to put up with a certain amount of tedium in life, but for the most part, homeschooling gives you the right to throw away stuff that's boring. If it isn't working for you, it's probably not working for you kids either. Stick to learning programs that excite your interest and theirs. 

Don't try to duplicate school. The point of homeschooling is that you get to improve on school. Your kids don't have to sit in rows and do what everyone else is doing. They can follow their curiosity deep into a subject and learn at a level that's not available to them at school. They get a learning experience tailored for them, in the context of family and the world around them. So don't worry if it doesn't feel like school. It's not supposed to.

More Homeschooling

  • Keep kids learning during summer

    3 Fun, Easy Ways

    With school out, summertime brings long, carefree days of play and fun. With a little thought and a few supplies, summer is a perfect opportunity to revitalize their innate love of learning that may be a bit squashed after a year of academic pressures, tests and schedules. read more »
  • 6 tips to mitigate mental health risks for youth

    The surgeon general highlight the urgent need to address Youth Mental Health Crisis

    Today’s kids are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety at home, school and in their communities. The COVID-19 pandemic, which affected kids in all those places, only exacerbated the problem. read more »
  • How to prevent cyberbullying with technology

    Who is at risk and what you can do

    Cyberbullying is becoming more prevalent among children and teens, as young people now spend more time on phones, computers and digital devices. About 6 in 10 teens have been bullied or harassed online, according to Pew Research Center. read more »
  • Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Homeschool Naturalist Program

    Adventure Awaits Students Ages 6-9

    The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Homeschool Naturalist Program for children ages 6-9 has quickly become one of the Nature Museum’s most beloved programs. Originally created out of the needs of families undertaking distance/learning, the program has proved so popular it has remained in place by demand. read more »
  • Indoor spots for teens to play

    Older kids need exercise too

    Teens need places to go that aren't lame and won't bore them to tears. We have the best in the Valley listed just for you. read more »
  • World's No. 1 STEAM Program Launches New STEM/STEAM Book Series

    New Challenge Island chapter book series with a spectacular, hands-on STEM/STEAM twist!

    Challenge Island has been providing kids with award-winning STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) learning adventures for almost two decades. On National Stem Day (Nov. 8), the magic of the world's No. 1 STEAM program will combine with the magic of reading to launch the first book in the Challenge Island STEAM book series. read more »
  • Mother Shares Her Journey with Heroin-Addicted Daughter

    Read the gripping new book about this family

    September is National Recovery Month and one mom has shared her journey with her daughter struggling with addiction. read more »
  • Learn How to Help Your Struggling Adolescents Navigate Change and Overcome Anxiety

    Parenting expert Erica Komisar has a new book that can assist you

    Adolescence is a notoriously complicated time for kids as well as their parents. Plus, the epidemic of mental health disorders in young people has made parenting today even more challenging. But it’s not too late. Parents of adolescents can still have a profound impact on the health and well-being of their children. read more »
  • The Mama Bear Effect Launches New Resource to Combat Child Sexual Abuse

    Parents of young children and those with special education needs now have a free tool to educate children about their bodies and boundaries

    Parents, caregivers, teachers, and therapists now have a new tool to educate the most vulnerable population of children, those who need specialized assistance with learning and communication. read more »
  • How to help high-achieving students manage stress

    Tips and insight for parents

    School administrators at Howard County Public Schools (HCPS) in Maryland were surprised to learn that high-achieving students wanted to get rid of class rank—a measure of student success that weighs higher-level classes differently when calculating grade point average. The class ranking system created an unnecessary burden, students said, and discouraged them from taking the classes they really wanted. read more »