The 16 Greatest Mistakes Homeschool Moms Make


by Cindy Downes

1. They fail to make a commitment. Jas 1:8 (amp), “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Doubleminded means: hesitating, dubious, irresolute — is unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything he thinks, feels, decides. You will want to give up many times and so will your kids. If you don't make a firm decision, your kids, friends, and relatives will make one for you but you and your husband will be the ones held accountable.

2. They are not in agreement with their husband. Amos 3:3, "Can two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" If your husband is not in agreement, ask God to speak to him. In the meantime, keep quiet. God will convict him if that is what He wants you to do. There may be a reason why you should wait that only God knows. Only when you are both in agreement, should you homeschool.

3. They neglect to discipline their children. 1 Tim. 3:4 says an overseer (that's you in this case), "must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect." See Proverbs 22:15 and 13:25 for God's word on proper discipline. The key is to be consistent in enforcing rules and keep in mind that if they don't obey you, they won't obey God!

4. They fail to count the cost. Homeschool will cost you —your personal time, money, and possibly the loss of your family's and friends' support. Many parents react instead of respond by pulling their kids out of school and getting the facts later. Luke 14:28 (NIV) says, "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?" Luke 14:31 says, "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?" Get the facts first, count the cost, and then make a decision together with your spouse.

5. They don't take the time to set goals. Each year, take time to set goals for each child individually. Prov. 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision the people perish." Perish means to go astray or wander. A homeschool mom who does not set goals wanders around trying this and that curriculum, always doubtful that she is doing the right thing. Ask God to show you what each child needs and how to fulfill those needs. Pray. Romans 8:26 says the Holy Spirit will help us to pray when we don't know what to pray for. Trust God to give you the answer. Proverbs 16:3 (amp) says, "Roll your works upon the Lord — commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will and so shall your plans be established and succeed." Then, believe that you heard from God and resist doubt (Jas.1:6).

6. They fail to establish priorities and then stick to them. Many homeschool moms wear themselves out doing perfectly good things and then wonder why their homeschool is not going well. Keep your priorities: 1) God, 2) husband, 3) children, 4) work — homeschool in this case, 5) church/ministry, and 6) other. Don't get so busy doing "good" things that you don't do the "God" thing He has called you to do.

7. They fail to trust God to provide the material things they need. God is Jehovah Jireh — our provider. He wouldn't call you to do something and then not give you the resources to do it. Phil. 4:19 says He will supply all your needs. Many moms go to work, either full or part time, not because they have to, but because they are frustrated at home or in fear over finances. If this is you, instead of going to work outside the home, (1) look for ways to cut costs, (2) pray for your husband's boss or business to prosper, (3) investigate a home business, and (4) be patient. Caution: If you do pursue a home business, don't let it interfere with your family responsibilities. Prov. 31:16 (amp) states this very clearly, "She considers a new field before she buys or accepts it — expanding prudently (and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming others)." The best time to start a home business is when your youngest child is reading and writing so that all your children can participate in the business and learn valuable skills as part of their homeschool.

8. They fail to keep the Sabbath principle with their family. Heb. 4:4b says, "And God rested on the seventh day from all His work." If God rested, what makes you think you can do without? The Sabbath was made for your good (Mark 2:27). The purpose is for you to get needed rest and time with your family. You should only do what is absolutely mandatory or extend mercy in a time of need (Exodus 20:10, Luke 13:15, Matt. 12:12). The Sabbath is from sunset to sunset — 24 hours (Lev. 23:32). Pick a day that you can spend together with your family and break it for no one.

9. They neglect their own spiritual growth. Read the Word. Read it to your kids if that's the only way you can get it. Pray. Pray while you're doing housework if necessary. Don't neglect the assembly of believers. Getting together with other believers not only encourages you but you have the responsibility to encourage them as well. Heb. 10: 24b-25 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the DAY approaching."

10.They strive for the approval of men. Many homeschool moms make the mistake of comparing their school or kids with the public or private school down the street or their homeschool friends' kids. God created each of your children for a specific purpose in his generation. Your job is to help each of your children find his specific calling, discover what he lacks to pursue it, and then equip him with what he needs to fulfill that calling. Don't be so concerned with obtaining "approval" that you miss hearing from God what He wants your children to do.

11. They have an unnecessary fear of authorities. Prov. 16:7 says, "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him." When Cindy lived in Pennsylvania, one of the toughest states in which to homeschool, she used nontraditional curriculum which was unfamiliar to the local authorities at that time. The Lord not only gave her favor with the school officials but even helped her deal with mandatory testing during the years her son was behind grade level. If you do what's right in God's eyes, He will protect you. Listen to what the Spirit is telling you. If the Lord is telling you to spend more time in ministry and less time on diagramming sentences, or spend more time on electronics and less time memorizing dates in World History, do it. Don't try to do everything in the curriculum according to the teacher's manual. Scope and sequences vary from school to school, year to year, and book to book. No one can learn everything there is to know. Curriculum publishers and "professional" educators make decisions on what topics a child "needs" to learn and when, based on their standards and philosophies. Your child; however, may need to learn something else or on a different time schedule. As you go through your school year, before you assign seatwork or introduce a new topic, ask yourself: (1) Is this going to help this particular child do what God has called him to do? (2) Is this the time to introduce this (readiness)? If you answer yes to these two questions, then teach the topic and/or have them do the seatwork. If you answer no, then don't!

12. They forget to create enthusiasm for learning. Enthusiasm comes from the Greek words "en theos" meaning "in God". Learning in God should be exciting! Don't be afraid to have fun in your homeschool. Use real books and hands-on activities instead of, or to enhance, your textbooks.

13.They neglect their children's spiritual training. The great commission (Matt. 28:19-20) applies to your own children, too! Pearl S. Buck, a famous author, was homeschooled by Christian parents who were missionaries to China. While they were ministering salvation to the people of China, they neglected to minister to their own child. In the morning, Pearl studied her lessons assigned by her mother from a secular curriculum. In the afternoon, they gave her more studies under the tutelage of a local Chinese man, Mr. Kung. Pearl says in her book, My Several Worlds, "I became mentally bifocal, and so I learned early to understand that there is no such condition in human affairs as absolute truth. There is only truth as people see it…" (p. 41) The damage done meant she "never belonged entirely to one side of any question." She called her parent's faith "their religion" not hers. By neglecting to continually put the truth of God's Word in front of her and allowing her to be taught by a person of another faith, Pearl's parents will eventually have to stand before the Lord and be held accountable. Our children are body, soul and spirit and all three parts need feeding on a regular basis. One or two hours at church every week will not do it. God gave us a model for a well-rounded education as shown in Luke 2:52, "And Jesus increased in wisdom, stature, in favor with God, and in favor with man." Our goal should be for our children to increase in all four areas just as Jesus did. (See The Checklist for more information.)

14. They fail to teach their children the love and grace of God. If they don’t experience the love and grace of God, they will not be able to give God’s love and grace. My biggest regret regarding my homeschooling years is that I failed in this area. Yes, I was saved and serving God with all my heart, but I hadn’t personally experienced the love and grace of God. Therefore, I was not able to pass this on to my children. They, like me, learned all the rules and regulations of serving God, but not the joy of God’s love and His unending grace. Consequently, in spite of all that I taught them, they spent their early adult years running from God instead of to God. Thanks be to God who IS love and grace, we are all now learning to know God’s love and grace. My prayer for you is that as you personally experience God’s love and grace, you will pass it on to your children. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:1-2, “If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers—that is, the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose; and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have sufficient faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me), I am nothing—a useless nobody.” (Amplified)

15. They fail to get help when needed. Proverbs 1:5 says, "A wise man will hear and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels." Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. However, make sure it's the right kind of help. Don't ask your local school teacher. That would be like asking a skin doctor to perform heart surgery on you. Even though they may both be good doctors, they are experienced in two different fields. Don't ask a friend who's new at homeschooling. That would be like asking a student in law school to represent you in court instead of an experienced attorney! Consult people who have several successful years of homeschooling under their belt and who are of like faith.

16. They don't endure to the end! I think Paul was really talking about homeschool in 2 Tim. 2:2-3! He tells Timothy, "…and the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others also. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ." You are stewards of God's children and it is "…required of stewards…to be found faithful" (1 Cor. 4:2). It's not always going to be easy. Your kids are not always going to like it. It's a job that God has called you to do. Some days it may seem as if you are just spinning wheels. But Jas. 1:12 tells us that the patient man wins the crown. Keep on doing what God says and trust Him for the results. I like what Paul said in 1 Cor. 4:3-5, "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time."

Even if you made some of these mistakes in the past (and who hasn't!), it's not too late to make corrections. Make a commitment with your husband, today, to avoid these 16 mistakes and then open your heart to hear from God. You will do what God has called you to do. You will finish the course and you will receive the prize! Prov. 30:31 says, "Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates of the city!"

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