Seven Homeschool Success Tips

Published by Heather on

Seven Homeschool Success Tips

Homeschooling is a tremendous commitment. And usually with counsel, each family finds curricula, homeschool groups, etc. that best suit their family. Yet, none of these necessarily are the key to homeschool success. From my research, here are seven homeschool success tips our family is growing in this year.

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A Growth Mindset

Is this concept new to you? As far back as I can recall, I would observe a quality in some people that I held in high esteem. But I didn’t know what to call it. As it turns out, this quality is a growth mindset.

One of my favorite reads as of late is The Growth Mindset Playbook: A Teacher’s Guide to Promoting Student Success by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley. There are so many treasures this book. And I’m sharing with you seven of my top favorites.

1. An Authentic Growth Mindset

In order to help our children and youth develop a growth mindset, we parents need to model it. Indeed, it needs to be authentic on our end. And there are two components to this:

  1. Parents need to believe and model a growth mindset in life and education. It’s about the internal (what we believe) to the external (modeling it).
  2. Parents need to be sure to demonstrate a growth mindset vs. a false growth mindset.

There is some confusion out there about what encouraging a growth mindset looks like. To be clear, there is a false growth mindset out there. The book explains:

“Dweck saw teachers who were praising students for effort, even when effort resulted in no real achievement. This hollow praise actually counters growth mindset, and is more akin to the self-esteem frenzy that Dweck saw as the antithesis of her mindset movement.”

-The Growth Mindset Playbook
©2017 by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley, p. 11

In part, a growth mindset incorporates building strong, positive relationships.

2. Building Strong, Positive Relationships

By far and large, the research shows that when teachers clash with students in their classes, it’s because of a poor relationship. So, it makes me wonder how true this is among some homeschoolers and their parents.

As I reflect on this, I think I do see a possible connection in some cases. For instance, I once knew a girl who had one parent who really invested in the relationship with her. And this parent allowed for growth. But her relationship with her other parent was quite different. The other parent embraced an overall negative mindset and a fixed mindset and was distant. So, guess which one she bonded and connected with the most.

In the book, we learn that teachers in the school system struggle with having to place routine and curriculum over the students. But some find a couple of minutes here and there to connect with challenging students. Once these students feel that they’re important, their behaviors and attitudes are positive.

But how much greater is our impact as parents when we have more than a couple of minutes a day to invest in our children? How much more valuable and loved will our children and youth feel when we invest in building positive relationships with them?

First and foremost, we homeschooling parents need to place relationships first. And we need to walk with confidence that the learning will come along. So, maybe we need to each evaluate our relationships with our children whom we tend to have conflict with. Especially if we want to live forward with them once they’re adults.

Part of leading up to living forward means that parents need to genuinely ask and answer for themselves growth mindset questions.

Homeschool Success Tips Growth Mindset

3. Ask Ourselves Growth Mindset Questions

On the note of evaluating our relationships with our children and youth, we need to ask ourselves growth mindset questions. Because no matter how much frustration or inconvenience we may feel, we have our role in it to some extent as well.

Now, you may wondering if parents are just to give in based on our child’s or youth’s whims. However, that isn’t the case:

“Of course, there is an expectation that students abide by rules you have set in place for your classroom, but it is important that you fully assess whether or not those rules are realistic or necessary.”

-The Growth Mindset Playbook

©2017 by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley, p. 38

Do you have at least one child who tends to interrupt the lesson when teaching him or her? Tell me I’m not alone. Well, an example scenario that is given in the book goes something like this:

  • Child talks out of turn.
  • Adult takes away 5 minutes of recess time.
  • Possible solution for child: The child could jot down thoughts/questions on a note and share at a more appropriate time.
  • Possible solution for the adult: The adult can create predictable times for the child to share thoughts.

I think this possible solution is great. And I’m going to think of a way to indicate to my particular children that they may have a turn. Once they’re time is up, it’s back to the lesson.

That being said, parents and siblings should never be the source of shame. But when shame does happen, it’s important to talk about it in a healthy way.

4. Play the Shame Game

While this totally sounds counter-intuitive, it has an important role. The book explains:

“Shame has deep implications for growth mindset. Growth mindset, at its core, is the belief that your traits and qualities can be developed over time. But, as Brene’ Brown said, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” When we shame a student, we are also diminishing his or her capacity for growth.”

-The Growth Mindset Playbook

©2017 by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley, p. 82

The exercise has adults consider how they personally respond to shame (internally and externally). And they also need to think about their internal dialogue as they experience shame and how they bounce back from it.

If your child or youth is experiencing shame, it’s important to talk about it with them. And, in a homeschool setting, it may be done with love among a healthy family unit. This allows for the “classroom” to…

“… freely name shame and meet it with empathy, what Brown calls the “antidote” of shame, is a classroom that offers students a fighting change against destructive forces of shame. If shame is the feeling of unworthiness and being unloved, then when a student feels shame we must work to bolster his or her sense of value and belonging through words and actions. Where teachers and peers work to fight shame with empathy, shame cannot exist.”

-The Growth Mindset Playbook

©2017 by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley, p. 83


And how much more powerful is this when we can do this as a healthy, emotionally intelligent Christian family unit?

There are other exercises in this chapter in this book that I think are time-worthy.

5. Building a Sense of Community

From a homeschooling perspective, this might sound a little silly. But when students feel supported and don’t feel self-conscious, they’ll be more likely to tackle difficult projects. It shouldn’t be any different within a homeschool setting.

Therefore, it’s important that brothers and sisters and parents help encourage each other in learning endeavors. No little quips or put downs in a healthy homeschool community. In effect, it becomes a home culture of social sensitivity. And part of building that type of family culture or community is to establish fluid goals which give room for growth.

Homeschool Success Tips Growth Mindset

6. Establish Fluid Goals

Whether or not you have a natural inclination for planning, it’s important to be intentional about planning for your homeschool. Of note, we’re talking more than just the academics. We’re also talking about the parents working out their roles. Therefore, it’s important to plan your homeschool as an intentional couple. Although, as with our students, we parents need to accept that our roles may need to be somewhat fluid. After all, life happens. But in general it helps to prevent possible couple conflict and stress as each homeschool year passes.

As far as helping students establish fluid goals, this is important so that they have a clear idea of what to accomplish. And what they want to accomplish. One of the keys is for both students and parents to accept that goals may need to morph over time. Additionally, a parent’s teaching style may need to morph to meet individual student’s needs. This makes room for some multi-dimensional teaching.

7. Use Multi-Dimensional Teaching

Basically, this give students room to think and reason about topics and subjects from different angles to find solutions. Instead of having a fixed mindset that there’s only one way to do something, it allows for thinking outside the box. Another way to put it is this: inspire curiosity and foster different paths to success in learning.

If you think about it, this might also entail adjusting our teaching styles to individual student learning styles…

In Conclusion

Definitely we see a growth mindset concept throughout the Bible. Our Heavenly Father is about growth:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Romans 12:2 (KJV). Emphasis added.

Firstly, after placing our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, our faith is to increase throughout life. Of course, trials and tribulations helps us to grow in our faith in Him. To me, this is related to spiritual growth.

Secondly, after receiving Christ as our Lord and Savior, He wants us to leave behind the old man. That is to say that He doesn’t want us walking in the flesh. Or in other words, as the world. Rather, He desires us to grow into the likeness of Christ’s character. That’s an internal-to-external process that requires a growth mindset. Because we need to accept that we can change through Christ vs. our self-talk of a fixed mindset that “we’ll never change”. To me, this is related to personal growth.

Thirdly, He wants us to extend forgiveness and grace to others. To be sure, healthy boundaries may be in place when the need arises to establish them. But we’re to be open to giving people room to grow and change as well. Otherwise, do we really accept that what Christ did at the cross truly does make a difference in the lives of individuals or not?  To me, this related to grace growth.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to be genuinely growing continually in Christ-like character. In order to do this, we need to have a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset. And what a blessing to be able to extend this to and live out growth mindset for our children and youth as we homeschool them.

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