Homeschooling Regrets

Homeschooling Regrets

I try not to look back with regret on life.  Life is far too short to be worried about what I should have done.  I prefer to focus on what I can do in the here and now, how I can grow from my mistakes, and make better decisions.

There aren’t a ton of things that I regret about homeschooling thus far, like parenting there is no instruction manual!  It’s just a bit of trial and error, we quickly learn what works and what doesn’t work for our children.

However, if I knew then what I know now, there certainly are some things I would change:

Homeschooling Do Overs

One of my biggest regrets is buying a boxed curriculum for my kindergartener! No 5 year old needs to be sitting at a desk filling out workbook pages – especially a boy.  I think I was more anxious to do “real” work than anything.  Our mornings would have been much better suited to being outside, taking little field trips and reading good books.  Of course we did all of those things, we just didn’t really need to add in the workbooks.

My other big regret is trying to replicate my public school days at home.  Not that my public school days were bad at all, but homeschool and traditional school are vastly different – as they should be! I never plan on serving my kids lunch while wearing a hair net 😉

Having a rigid schedule.  Yep.  At one time I tried having a schedule with everyone changing up every 30 minutes.  Yikes.  All that did was make me a slave to the clock and then scurry to check the schedule to see where everyone was supposed to be.  This is a home not a military base. Although some days I do feel like a military sergeant barking orders to everyone, but that’s not how I prefer to spend the majority of our day. Having a routine works so much better for us.

Math.  Ugh, I dislike it so.  Even though I’m still holding out hope, there is no magic fairy that is going to impart math knowledge to my children while they sleep.  So, that means we just need to keep plugging along with our imperfect system and making it a priority each day. I’m working on that.

I often feel like I’m walking a fine line between wanting my kids to know a bunch of “stuff” versus wanting them to experience a bunch of stuff.  My goal is always error toward the side of experiencing life.  I want my kids to know learning doesn’t end when the books are closed and it’s never too late to make changes or pursue what matters most.

What would you change in your homeschool past?

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  1. Mary says

    I would change that we didn’t start homeschool right from the beginning, like you did! That’s a huge regret I have, but like you say — it doesn’t pay to look back. :-)
    Mary recently posted…Having the Courage to Be Different – No Fear HomeschoolingMy Profile

  2. Patty says

    Gosh…I regret not doing more “fun” things…like field trips early on. Maybe the fact that I had quite a few under a certain age was a deciding factor in it. I’m not sure if that is a regret or not, but I think I would do it differently…but then again, with age comes wisdom and confidence, right? I certainly didn’t have as much confidence when I was 30 as I do now at 45.

    Our move to TX made me want to get out and learn about our new environment which meant plenty of field trip opportunities. See, another plus to making the move!

  3. Marianne says

    I regret being so anxious in the early years. I do think that those struggles are normal and that those struggles push us to find a better way. So glad for the freedom of homeschooling!
    Marianne recently posted…What I Wish I’d Known Before I Started HomeschoolingMy Profile

  4. Susan W says

    I bought boxed curriculum for K also! I was so worried that I would miss something important. It wasn’t all bad because I did like the program we used and after a few months I realized I could pick and choose what worked for us. Every year has been a learning experience for our entire family, but overall we wouldn’t change anything!
    Susan W recently posted…Biography Report Form/Organizer [FREE Printable]My Profile

  5. Tiffany says

    Great post…Good reflection! I love your new blog look, though I miss that cute photo of the kids holding hands:) They don’t stay little forever, do they? Thanks for your shared wisdom, as always!

  6. melissa newell says

    LOL I could have written this exact post, word for word….

    We have changed the way we homeschool here. Doing MORE real life activities and less “worksheets”. As the children grow, I pray I have the talent and the know how to teach them all they need to know or at least find the resources….all about Faith!

    melissa newell recently posted…Homeschool Books for MomsMy Profile

  7. Tracy Bua Smith says

    Hi Jen,
    Great post! I regret not doing more “fun” things with the kids and it’s getting more difficult to not be a “slave” to the books since I now have older kids, but I also have younger kids that I wish I could do more field trips with. I also struggle with balancing it all!
    Tracy Bua Smith recently posted…Lent 2014 is Coming ~ Join the “Keep Love in Lent” Carnival Hosted by Catholic Bloggers’ Network!My Profile

  8. Milly says

    I regret not getting my kids out more. Out of the house and into more life experience. We are changing that…slowly. We will be making our Fridays an “out of the house school room kind of day”. We will be doing survival training (building shelters and clay ovens in the woods, making homemade bow and arrows, and learning what is edible in the woods – my kids really like Bear Grylls). We will also be volunteering at the human society and several food pantries around us. I hope to get us involved in Habitat for Humanity. I foresee this to be the best day of our week. I guess regrets can be helpful if we allow them to help us make changes in the right direction – and not feel guilty about the past. Thanks, Jen for your post!

  9. Lisa says

    I love this post. I feel exactly the same and am just now starting to experience freedom. I totally agree with the boxed curriculum. I didn’t want to do anything wrong or miss something. I finally feel free to never buy boxed curriculum again. (This is our third year of homeschooling). I also struggle with the math. My oldest is super smart and gifted in math and I felt inadequate to move him along at the pace he can go because I didn’t want to miss a critical step. We just discovered I wish I knew about this sooner. He flew threw an entire year of teachings and worksheets on the computer in 8 days. He is now on to the next grade level. It has a short ~4 minute teaching before each lesson. If they get it, like my son and master the questions, they are on to the next thing. If they need longer to get it like my other children, then they can listen to the teaching as many times as needed and keep answering questions until they master the topic.

  10. Jess says

    I appreciate a post like this because I’m planning on homeschooling but my kids are still very young. It’s so great having people ahead of you to guide you. Right now we’re doing kind of a freestyle homeschool preschool but so many of my friends are already stressing curriculums and it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong! What type of field trips would you have done more of? I’m always looking for ideas! I have a very smart 3 1/2 year old and a 20 month old who is very eager to follow in her footsteps lol.

    • Mrs P says

      My kids are currently 3, 2, and 1 and our “field trips” are things like the grocery store, library, farmer’s market, menonite-run “country’ store, the woods, the lake, the park. Our kids aren’t looking for elaborate field trips- they’re looking for time with us. I hope you find this encouraging, even though it’s been a year since your original post.

  11. Laurie says

    Great post! I think I have mentioned on my blog that my biggest regret is the amount of time I spent stressing over whether we were getting enough done or keeping up, most especially when my adult children were young.

  12. Ann says

    I would have to agree about the stressing out over whether we were doing enough or suffering through curriculum that was awful!

  13. Sharon says

    I have one big regret from this year. We did not go outdoors nearly enough. I am a warm weather gal and I do not enjoy cold, wet weather. However, that shouldn’t matter. I should have bundled everyone up and head outdoors. From this point on though, this will change!
    Sharon recently posted…March Madness-Homeschool StyleMy Profile

  14. Christie says

    Actually, after 11 years, I regret second guessing my decisions due to other moms sharing what doesn’t work for them (mainly certain curriculums and routines). I think boxed curriculum in the beginning was wonderful. I built confidence and my children learned so much. We did keep a routine but we weren’t a slave to it. It was great. I wasn’t teaching Latin and Calculus, we had plenty of time for experiences and fun. And it has helped develop good habits in myself and my children. We also have a large family grown from biology and community.

    • says

      Christie, that’s true, a boxed curriculum does allow one to build confidence -especially that first year of homeschooling! Even more true that we each have to do what works for us regardless of what everyone else is doing. I try to preach that a lot, God designed each of our families differently and we need to embrace that!
      Jen recently posted…Why Your Big Kids Should Use a Homeschool PlannerMy Profile

  15. Melissa says

    We started homeschooling our 7 yo & 15 yo last year. We started out slow, math for each & history for my oldest & we joined a local co-op where oldest did art/science , Kingdom Club & writing club our youngest did gym, science & Magic Treehouse book club.

    It was going ok, until my husband had a stroke in December, then everything pretty much fell off the rails. Hubby pulled through, thank God, but our homeschooling got extremely messed up. Dr appointments, specialists, an operation, I got very ill for a month.

    So that’s my regret. Not giving my kids a good first year homeschool experience. I feel like a failure. I still have to finish teaching my youngest the rest of his Alpha Math-U-See. I’ll finish that & see where we’re at. My husband and I at least have a better idea of what we want to do with them this fall.

    • says

      I’m glad your husband is okay! Truthfully had your kids been in school during that time it would have been just as disruptive, hard for them to concentrate etc. Often homeschooling isn’t so much about the book work as it is about real life work! No regrets when it comes to the health and well-being of your family, there is always time to “catch-up” with traditional school. God Bless

  16. Barbara says

    I look back and I mean way back and I would like to say that I would have stuck it out through high school. But I wasn’t good in math and I was tired of fussing with teenagers. All they did was give me grief and fight with each other.It was way before all the neat stuff that’s out there now. They were great friends when they were younger but when the hormones kicked in, they just made life difficult. I was a teacher so a local Christian school needed someone to teach the ACE classroom nd I was qualified so they went to Christian school. My heart sometimes sees that as failure but I don’t think God did. He knew my heart and the students I taught those years as well as the interactions my kids had with others. Sometimes I’d like to be able do like that Christmas show did and see your life and what it would’ve been like if one path versus another path had been taken. But God knows the plan he had and has for my life and the life of my girls and my life is to His glory and honor . So moms try not to dwell too much in the regret department. Enjoy those kids ! Trust me they will be 34 and 36 before you know it.

  17. Lynda says

    I enjoyed reading this! I share your feelings about math: Ugh and dislike! I was wondering if you could describe how things changed for you when you went from “rigid schedule” to “routine.” I feel like we need some kind of order in our day, but I also feel like I might be being to rigid. I would love suggestions!

    • says

      When we first tried a schedule I had the day planned out in 30 minute increments. Everything 30 minutes we all changed to a different activity/subject. It was crazy! Now we just go from one thing to the next when we are ready to move on. I agree we need order too, but too much clock watching was not good.

  18. Anne Bodee-Galivan says

    I can relate to most, if not all, of these. I particularly agree that plugging away at math and making it a priority is essential. My son who is getting his degree in Computer Engineering would agree. High school math wasn’t fun but it prepared him to ace his college math subjects.

    One of my few regrets is not having the energy to do with my youngest those things I could do with my older children. My youngest came along late in life (I was 40 when I had him) and I just haven’t had the energy to run him around to field trips, etc. like I did with his (much older) siblings. It’s amazing the difference in mom energy you have in your 20’s and 30’s compared to what I have now as a 52-year old homeschooling mom. I’m in my 25th year of homeschooling by the way. I’m expecting a medal. :)
    Anne Bodee-Galivan recently posted…3 Tips for Homeschooling SuccessMy Profile

  19. Amber says

    Great insight! There are several things I regret and are trying to change as time goes one. I wish I wouldn’t have care about what other people thought so much in the beginning. Beings how most people I know were completely against me homeschooling to begin with I felt I had to prove them wrong, prove that I could teach them and keep up with school standards. It really hindered our progress.

  20. cindy says

    For sure the rigid schedule. For the longest time my concern was more on highlighting off that subject rather than reading the cues of my kids.

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