How to get out of the Public School Mindset

When we first started homeschooling, I knew that I did not
want to follow the “school-at-home” model.
The school-at-home model is essentially what you would think of when you
think of public school – kids sitting at their desks with a teacher at the
front teaching them.  I’m not saying this
model is wrong, I’m not even saying setting up cute little old fashioned school
desks is wrong (I totally did that!), but rather that I wanted to try something
different in our homeschool.  Our relaxed,
year-round, literature based model appeared.
You have most likely come to the same conclusion.  You decided to homeschool for a specific
reason, and realized that there are so many amazing ways that you can teach
your children – you did not want the traditional school model to be picked up
from public school and placed in your living room (or wherever you may choose
to do school).
How to Get Out of the Public School Mindset in Your Homeschool
What is the problem then?
The problem is that even though my kids have never attended public
school in their lives, we have, and because of that, we look at the traditional
school model and constantly wonder what we are missing at home.
I remember my first official year of homeschooling, and
trying to figure out how I was going to fit in all of these subjects
every.single.day.  Then I realized that
we did not need to do history five days a week, and science five days a week,
and all the other subjects five days a week.
What a relief it was to figure that out!
I should know that in the traditional public school model the kids are not
doing every subject every day, yet I still felt the need to do that to myself,
and to my children.  Why?
The reason is because we were always trying to “keep up”
with the public school, even if we weren’t doing their prescribed
curriculum.  We would add in extra, just
to make sure that we were “on track,” but what good was that for our
homeschool, or our sanity?
How do you shift your thinking from traditional public
school to a homeschool that works well for your family?
One of the most wonderful reasons parents choose to
homeschool their children is the freedom it brings.  Not just the freedom of a schedule that works
for that individual family, but also the freedom to be able to teach in a way
that is meaningful to each individual child in the home.
How amazing is that?
You get to choose what is right for your family!
Sign up for the Getting out of the Public School Mindset workshop below!
That isn’t to say that it is easy to figure out what that is
for your family, and there is definitely trial and error, but you have the
freedom to make that choice.  Whereas at
the public school there are set parameters that need to be followed.  These parameters are not bad in any way and
are often needed to measure progress for large groups of students.  You may even find that you want your children
to still continue to learn within these parameters in your own home, but you
have the freedom to make that choice.
If you, like me, are not deciding on the “school-at-home”
model, but you still need to fight against that public school mindset, here are
some practical ways in which to combat that.
First, sit down and look at everything you are studying on a
daily basis – everything.  Include life
skills here as well because those are an important part of any day, especially
as we are raising the next generation, and want them to be productive members
of society.  Now sit back and look at the
list and breathe.
Mama, you are doing a lot.
Even when you feel like you aren’t getting through all of your lesson
plans, you are still reading, you are still engaging in conversations about all
manner of topics with your children, you are still teaching them
every.single.day.  Be encouraged in that.
There will be seasons where you think they are falling
behind, or perhaps you were too ambitious with your homeschool plans for the
year, and you aren’t nearly close to completing what you planned out and
expected, but you are still doing amazing things for your children!  You are showing up for them, and that is just
as important as grammar in my book.
Second, have a conversation with your child.  Talk to them about their homeschool
experience, let them speak and just listen to all that they have learned.
I am amazed to listen to my older two kids.  They are always coming up to me with new
facts that they have learned, entire experiments that they have created in
their minds and now need to physically do to see if their hypothesis is
correct, the stories they want to write – even if they don’t finish them.  I’m sure your kids are the same way, if you
step back and listen to what they are saying, you will realize they are
learning so much!  And you may even
figure out some areas of interest that you could delve deeper into during your
One of my primary goals in homeschooling is to give my kids
an immense love of learning.  I want to
give them the tools they need in order to learn whatever it is they set out to
learn, whether that is baking a cake, writing a book, or building a
computer.  In order to do that we have to
let go of a lot of the public school mindset and instead let our kids follow
their interests, and then work as the teacher to show them what we feel they
need to learn through these great interests.
Often I have to get out of my own way, since I can hinder
that love of learning by trying to get them to shut down a project so we can
move onto the next lesson I have planned out for them.
Getting out of the public school mindset is not an easy one,
especially for those of us who went to public school.  But, it is essential that we not use the same
mindset in our homeschool because it is not the same thing.  We are not sitting with 30 kids for 6 hours
each day, trying to teach them the main subject areas.  Our schooling does not stop when we put a
math workbook away it continues all day, every day.

If you are interested in my taking my workshop on Getting out of the Public School Mindset, sign up below!

Kids naturally love learning, and it is our job as parents
to foster that, no matter what type of schooling they attend.  But, as homeschoolers we have the unique
opportunity to dedicate more time to the individual child’s learning style and
passions.  We help them shape their
ideas, ask questions when we know something isn’t going to work the way the
child expects, and guide them on their path.
This doesn’t mean that homeschooling is easy, or that we don’t
need to teach our children what an adjective is, but it does mean that we have
the ability to change the way our school looks, as often as needed, in order to
encourage our kids in their learning.
No teacher will be able to teach every single thing they
think the student should learn, not in public, private, or homeschool; but if
we give the students the tools they need in order to problem solve, and to
research, and to understand, we have done them a great service.
Do you
fall into the trap of the public school mindset in your homeschool?  What ways do you try to combat that mindset?

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