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Homeschool No-No List

April 2, 2015

I usually encourage parents to do their best, but today I’m going to pause our regularly scheduled encouragement, and tell you what NOT to do.

Homeschool No-No List

Homeschool No-No List

Homeschoolers make mistakes sometimes. We tend to worry and sometimes we go overboard! We’ve all been there! That’s why it’s great to get some tips on what not to do from homeschoolers who have been through it all before. Here are just some of mine:

What NOT to do:

  1. Don’t try to do 4 years of high school before freshman year
  2. Don’t try to write course descriptions for classes you haven’t begun yet
  3. Don’t think you have to change everything to homeschool high school
  4. Don’t make your children take tests for high school when they are in junior high
  5. Don’t expect your children to demonstrate “senior” behavior the first day of freshman year
  6. Don’t expect your children to work longer hours than the working spouse in your home
  7. Don’t expect perfection, or perfect attentiveness, especially not all day long

This is a good start, but can you add to this list?  What No-No items can YOU add? Please share!

Please note: This post was originally published in November 2012 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

See those cute buttons at the bottom of these blog posts?  Those are to make it easy for you to share these helpful posts with your friends who might need encouragement. Go ahead and give it a try. I promise that nothing will blow up!


  1. Laura says:

    Yep. If you have overachieving kids, don’t let them over-commit.

    November 30th, 2012 at 9:29 am

  2. Stephanie says:

    Actually could you clarify #3? What do you mean by that?

    November 30th, 2012 at 9:46 am

  3. Lee says:

    Some people think they need to change their homeschool just because their kids are entering 9th grade. They may think they MUST use tests, MUST use classical education, or MUST use textbooks. My advice is do what works. Even in high school, LOL!

    November 30th, 2012 at 9:54 am

  4. Christy says:

    Don’t ever say, “I’ll homeschool until they get to high school, then I’ll send them to school.” Why undo all that you’ve accomplished in their lives, when what you are doing is what is best for them and has worked all their lives?

    November 30th, 2012 at 10:01 am

  5. Bonnie says:

    Don’t be afraid to include their non-book activities on transcripts. Example – working part-time at vet’s office = credit in “Intro to Veterinary Science”. or spending countless hours writing code for online gaming = “Computer Programming”

    November 30th, 2012 at 10:25 am

  6. Stephanie says:

    Thanks Lee! I thought that’s what you had in mind but wanted to clarify.

    November 30th, 2012 at 10:35 am

  7. Assistant to The HomeScholar says:

    Good point, Bonnie!
    Lee has written about that quite a bit. She calls it “Occupational Education”. Following are a couple of her posts on that very subject:
    Occupational Education for the Confused Homeschool Parent
    Occupational Education in 5 Easy Steps

    November 30th, 2012 at 11:06 am

  8. Suzanne says:

    Regarding #4; do you mean SAT type tests or course specific tests? My son took Algebra I in 7th and I had him take the CBE while it was fresh. He’ll take the Geometry CBE this coming summer. Do you think I should have waited until later to test him? :)

    November 30th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

  9. CommonSenseMom says:

    Number 6 is very thought-provoking!

    November 30th, 2012 at 12:13 pm

  10. Dixie says:

    Don’t be terrified of subjects your children want to study that you can’t teach. The necessary resources are out there! Find them, help your children access them, and provide accountability as well as encouragement (kudos!) while they take some responsibility for their OWN dreams and future. You don’t have to teach everything–facilitate and manage instead!

    November 30th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

  11. Lee says:

    Suzanne, I mean the daily curriculum you use does not need to include tons of tests: Yearly tests are helpful, but constant testing isn’t really a learning activity :)

    November 30th, 2012 at 3:12 pm

  12. J W says:

    Don’t be afraid to learn something new alongside your child, and don’t be afraid to “fail” that class yourself while your child easily gets an “A!” Case in point – Latin. We both love it. I’d flunk it if I were in a conventional school, my student would definitely get an “A.” But as long as I have my cheat sheets, I can at least follow along, and my student is learning a lot because we consult with each other about new concepts and my student learns a lot from correcting my papers. Seriously.

    November 30th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

  13. Dawn@OneFaithfulMom says:

    Never, Never sacrifice your relationship with your child over schoolwork.

    December 1st, 2012 at 6:38 am

  14. Elise says:

    Don’t think there’s a “PERFECT” curriculum for various subjects! It’s still true in high school that the perfect curriculum is the one that works well for you and your child. There are many really good offerings…check out Cathy Duffy’s book or website for a listing of great curriculums and find the one that’s best for your family : )

    Also, Lee’s point about “Don’t think you have to change everything to homeschool high school” helped me resist the temptation to think I HAD to stop reading history to my kids when they entered 9th grade. I beefed up a 7th and 8th grade history curriculum with Teaching Company DVDs and read the books to my kiddos (Lee’s suggestion) and we created wonderful memories through those times (& my son was able to do great on a CLEP test of that subject)! Thanks a million Lee!

    October 19th, 2013 at 12:48 pm

  15. Amy says:

    My curriculum does a lot of quizzes and tests and I’ve really struggled with this. I have the option to not assign them, but I’ve felt like we should be doing them for high school. Yet, I feel like they aren’t very useful and kind of a waste of time as I care more about my children understanding the subject matter. The discussion in the comments so far has been very helpful!

    October 24th, 2015 at 4:22 pm

  16. Assistant to The HomeScholar says:

    Dear Amy,
    Like you, Lee is not a lover of tests. She found other ways to measure her sons’ mastery of various subjects. You can read about it here: How Do I Grade Without Tests?
    Assistant to The HomeScholar

    October 26th, 2015 at 7:49 pm

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