Five pitfalls to avoid when you start homeschooling


Whether you’re still on the fence about homeschooling, have already started the process, or are new to the field, you’re certainly torn between the excitement and all the questions… and it’s normal!You want the best for your children and you have all that is needed to provide it to them. Rest assured!

Still, you might want to deepen your reflection. This is why we have listed five pitfalls to avoid in order to guide you in your homeschooling journey. Of course, it may or may not apply to you depending on your family situation or how you operate. It’s up to you to forge your opinion!

1. You can’t do EVERYTHING … and that’s okay!

One of the main concerns you will probably face is wanting to do EVERYTHING. You’ve made book lists, reserved several at the library, you’ve bookmarked about 50 websites … in other words, you’re superbly prepared! That said, as you browse through them, you may feel overwhelmed. 

Organize your resources by theme, by period, and keep only a few of them. You can add some later if necessary.

2. Follow many (too many) experienced homeschooling families on social media.

You started following homeschooling families on social media and then, one thing leading to another, you found yourself following about twenty accounts. Their stories and publications flood your daily feed and now … you’re overwhelmed! They are all SO interesting! In reality, what may seem like an advantage can quickly become a pitfall!

Keep notifications of the pages that really speak to you and disable the others. You’ll still have them on hand if needed.

3. Define a (very) strict schedule

What pride we take in defining a rigorous schedule to ensure busy days and no waste of time! Not so fast… Although it may seem to reassure in some ways, it can quickly become a huge stressor. Five minutes late because the youngest hasn’t finished his breakfast, another ten minutes because the oldest is late finishing her math exercise, and there you have it! It doesn’t take long before your perfect schedule becomes a source of tension. 

To avoid this, simply opt for a “no time schedule”. You can determine the order of the subjects you wish to see for each day of the week, without going into detail. This will be much more beneficial for the whole family!

4. Plan ALL learning

Having a precise idea of the learning that you want to happen with your children is great. Leaving room for the ups and downs and letting yourself be carried along by the daily routine is even better! In fact, it can be reassuring to plan readings, exercises, outings, etc., in advance. It will help you not to forget the important stuff, a way to achieve a certain peace of mind.

That said, it is rare to see that what is written down on paper is carried out to the letter. Practice does not always reflect theory! Your child may wake up with a craving to do science experiments or prefers to finish reading that great novel rather than complete the exercises you have carefully planned. 

Write down an outline of what you want to do with your child. If you don’t do it on D-Day, it will be the next day … or the day after! Concentrate on cultivating your children’s interests and watching them evolve with passion!

5. Feeling guilty in difficult times

A difficult day, then a second one, then a whole week… Moodiness, loss of motivation, poor collaboration… Whatever the duration of these moments, and whatever their cause, keep in mind that nothing is perfect! We all face hardships in different spheres of our life. However, we must try to put them into perspective so as not to fall into a spiral of sorrow or doubt.

Remember the why. What made you choose this type of education? Why did you take this major leap in your life? Your reasons are undoubtedly focused on the well-being of your children. To spend quality time with them, to allow a pace of life based on their needs and interests, to offer them unequalled freedom, to see them evolve and grow every day, without pressure! There are certainly many other reasons!

In any case, you have made this choice for YOUR children, YOUR family and YOURSELF. Through wonderful activities and learning moments, you are giving them unforgettable memories that will shape, over time, their personality and future until adulthood and beyond.

Keep in mind these reasons, and don’t hesitate to share your difficulties with your local support group. You will surely find families who have gone through similar issues.

To recap…

There you go! You now know some of the pitfalls you may encounter along the way. Some will impact you more than others, and you may find other issues as you move forward in this adventure. This will be a reflection of your own experience, but possibly that of other homeschooling families.

Regardless, the key is not to let yourself be submerged and to seek solutions. There is no one right way to do this. In fact, there are as many as there are homeschooling families! The daily life of homeschooling is rich, exciting and a source of perpetual adjustments. It is not only our children who are growing, but also us, as homeschooling parents.

We are constantly questioning ourselves to make sure what we do is on point. Far from being a weakness, this is a strength that we need to cultivate to evolve in our role as a home educators and thus better accompany our children in their every day. 

For almost 25 years, AQED has been informinginspiring and bringing together homeschooling parents of Québec. See how AQED can help you.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as reflecting the position of AQED.

Traduit par Geneviève Labonté