We make tons of lists of things we are going to teach our homeschooled children. Everything from reading and algebra to cooking and cleaning is on those lists. We want our kids to learn so much. Here is a list of things they probably don’t need to learn this year.
Waiting until later to take care of themselves
One of the odd side effects of public school is children learn that someone else has authority over when they can do things for themselves. They have to ask permission to go to the restroom. They have to wait to eat a snack at the designated times even if they are hungry now. As a homeschooler, your child can skip the waiting and asking and do what they need to do for themselves. Trips to the bathroom, getting a snack, and even brushing their teeth can be done when it is the right time for them. Yes, it can be annoying when your child realizes they need to do one of those just as you sit down to do school work, but with a class size of one, you can wait. And your child learns that they are responsible for taking care of themselves.
Art projects they hate
Some kids adore every arts and crafts project you come up with. Most don’t. Most of us look at a list of possible projects and see at least one idea that it too long, tedious, or challenging to be fun. The projects included in any of the Five Senses Literature Lessons programs are specifically chosen because they are open-ended. This means your child can work for a few minutes or a long time on the task. It is up to them. However, many homeschool “craft projects” can mean hours of working on something no one really wants to do. So, my advice, just skip those! If your child isn’t engaged, they aren’t going to learn from it anyway.
Sticking it out, when it just isn’t working
This is important to learn. Sometimes in life, you need to walk away from a program, person, job, or place that isn’t working for you. In homeschooling, we teach our kids how to ask better for themselves when we help them walk away from a curriculum that just isn’t working. In my experience, this has happened most with math and spelling. Not every program works for every child and working to find something that does work for your child, will help them see themselves in a positive light. This means they won’t just learn to spell, but learn to take care of themselves in life.
In homeschooling, there is no need for “homework” or “busy work.” Your child should be able to do their work in just a few hours a day. This means they don’t need to learn to work all day and then do more work at home.
Stopping learning to “wait on the class”
Sometimes in school settings, children are held back to stay with the class. They are told not to finish reading the book, not to look ahead to the next math lesson or not to ask complicated, tangentially related questions in history. The desire to keep the class together squashes the curiosity of this child. In homeschooling, there is never a need to wait for the rest of the class. Your child can finish the novel, or the math workbook because they want to. They can even spend time Googling their history or science topic and learn far more than the book was ever going to teach them. And if they fall down a bit of a rabbit hole watching every SciShow video about insects today, they still learned a lot.
Spelling can keep until tomorrow. Ride that curiosity wave while it is rolling. You don’t have any reason to teach them to wait on others before they pursue their own learning.
These five things might not seem like much, but they mean that your child’s homeschooling is their own. The two of you get to own your homeschooling experience. This means you don’t have to teach like a school would. You get to do it your own way. It isn’t always easy to figure out what that looks like, but feel free to find it. Try something this week, and if it goes badly, try something else next week. Create new chore charts, or just wing it. Do lots of art or create music. What you do is up to you.
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.