For Sonlight’s March Blog Party, the question is, “Share the best homeschooling advice you have been given. What would you advise new homeschoolers?”
I haven’t been given a lot of homeschooling advice, and most of what I’ve read, I’ve discarded. However,I guess one thing I’ve learned and taken to heart is how little information tests give you about what your student has learned. If you’re interacting with your student deeply every day, you don’t need tests or grades, because you already know where their strengths and weaknesses are. I’m sure that, as they get older, I’m going to need to come up with methods for documenting to others how well my children, are doing. But, at this point, my kids don’t even know what grades are, nor do they really need to. They know where they are doing well and where they are struggling. They don’t need a letter grade to reinforce that to them.
My piece of advice to new homeschoolers, though, would be on a completely different topic. (And I’m sure many would disagree with this advice.) Find a curriculum or approach that works with your kids, and stick with it! I’ve seen too many homeschooling families who are constantly on the hunt for something better. You’re never going to find the perfect curriculum. Find one that works for you, and persevere. Go to homeschooling conventions if you must, but limit the time you spend in the vendor section. It will quickly lead you to a place of discontent. And the constant changes leave your kids with a great deal of uncertainty about what’s coming next. They spend more time getting used to the new approach than they do actually learning. If this was restricted to curriculum choice, this might not be so damaging, but I’ve seen this “constantly searching for the perfect” approach bleed over into other areas of life. So I find homeschooling families who won’t commit to a local church because they’re always looking for a better one. It’s dangerous. That’s my two cents’ worth.