Successes and Failures in Our Homeschool

Homeschooling Successes and Failures

Photo Credit

In August I offered to give weekly updates on how our homeschool plans were working out.  I have not posted on that subject in some time for several reasons;  some weeks are awfully mundane and boring and others are just plain awful!

In reality, every week comes with its successes and failures.  Sometimes it is healthier (for me at least!) to view homeschool progress from the long term perspective.  Ahem…

I wrote about our curriculum choices for this year here:

 High school

4th & 5th Grade

1st Grade and


We have remained with most of our curriculum choices mainly because I have learned the secret to finding the perfect homeschool curriculum.

I even posted a fairly typical day-in-the-life of our homeschool here.

2013-04-16 14.28.58

Homeschool Successes

All of our children are still alive.  That has to count for something, right?

I have managed to keep a love of learning the large majority of the time for my 3, 6, 9 and 10 year olds.  This has come about by me becoming more and more sensitive to teachable moments.  When we are really enjoying a subject, we stick with it as long as we like.  When I see an opportunity to inject meaningful instruction, I do.  For example, for the past few weeks, a few of the kids have had a really nasty flu.  We skipped a bunch of chapters in our Human Anatomy course to read about the immune system and how it works.  Lessons in the 3 Rs are short and intense and as much as possible – meaningful.  For example, writing letters to friends and family in England.  Learning geography via biographies and good literature.

Tie Dye

Our basic routine is working and keeps working.  There is a rhythm to our days that hums.  Well, usually.  Morning, afternoon and evening routines are established.  There is always more to do in a day than can be managed but enough of the good stuff gets done.  Our days are generally balanced.

My high school kids are pressing on through an English class with our homeschool group that stretches them.  They are learning the joy of the rewards of hard work.  Acquiring high school/college level reading, writing and vocabulary skills when you have dyslexia can be big.  These subjects have been learned slow and hard but are finally being learned.

Homeschool Failures

I use the term failure loosely but I suppose it primarily means that things didn’t work out the way that I had hoped or planned.  This doesn’t necessarily constitute failure and usually motivates me to dig deeper for answers and to eventually make positive changes.

Areas where our homeschool has hit a road block or needed changing (aka failures) are:

High School Struggles.  One high school- aged student (who shall remain nameless) is struggling taking ownership of their studies.  I want so much for my older kids to discover their passions, talents and gifts and to walk in them.  Some kids get this earlier than others.  Some have better attitudes about this than others.  Amazing how attitudes of entitlement can creep in sometimes!


We are still going outside the house more than I would like.  With dyslexia tutors twice a week for 3 hours and a few classes, scouts, ballet etc., we are out enough to disrupt the flow of our weeks.  That is in large part the nature of the beast with a large family.  It is just hard to follow interests and be flexible and creative when we have to be in the car dressed and lunch eaten by 12:30, you know?  I’ve got some pretty big changes planned in this area for next year.  More about that later.

Finding time for everything.  I still struggle to find the time to teach all of my kids everything that I want to teach them each day.  This is not so much a ‘failure’ as it is an area that I am continually looking to improve.  When my younger kids (ages 3-10) are busy creating forts and painting the old wooden pallets making them into furniture, it really does seem a shame to call them in for ‘school’.  When we are really enjoying a great book and everyone wants to keep reading, it really doesn’t seem right to stop because we ‘should do’ some other subject.  Flexible homeschooling, interest-led learning don’t always lend themselves to neatly checked off boxes – something with which I am (surprisingly) getting more and more comfortable.

Final Ideas

We did a more formal mid year homeschool assessment a few months ago.  Overall I am happy with how things are going.  We have attained a fairly reliably peaceful environment in our home.  That is, as peaceful as it can be with so many young kids still running around.  We do quite a bit of character training.  This peace and balance comes from being home, having my finger on the pulse of my kids’ hearts and sensing early when things are getting off course, before we crash and burnout.

How’s it going for you?

Marianne Sunderland

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