5 Ways to Overcome Homeschool Failure

The diagnostic spelling test didn’t lie. My suspicions were correct, and I wasn’t happy about it.

They had made no progress in spelling over the past year.


I thought we were on solid footing. The phonics were ingrained. The reading was fluent. The membership to that online program seemed like a valuable investment and a great way to take a lot of the burden of the subject off of me.

So I thought.

And that program was awesome. They loved it. I loved it. They were passing their spelling lists with 80-90-100% and moving ahead. I loved it so much that I paid to renew for this year. Right before I gave them the diagnostic test.

The  test  didn’t lie. They tested just barely ahead of where they had begun in our spelling program last year. Just barely.


Don’t we always ask why?

Sometimes the why isn’t nearly as important as the HOW… as in, how to we get past this hurdle and get back on firm footing again?  There isn’t a setback that we can’t move past.

Do you hear me?

There is no setback, no failing such as this, that you cannot overcome and move past.

The key  is to not let yourself become so burdened with the issue that you don’t see a way out of it. Our problem here is that my sons have “lost” a lot of the early phonogram training that they learned when I taught them how to read.

It’s not that it is gone, it just isn’t in the forefront of their minds any longer. It makes them sloppy spellers and has also caused their reading fluency to slide a bit.

Let me tell you something: Literacy is a big deal to me. Every one of my kids learned to read in Kindergarten. Two were four years old at the the time.

It didn’t just happen. I taught them the phonogram sounds helped them build words with the phonogram cards, and they were reading before they could really even write properly. I was intentional.

Allowing a computer based program to take over the foundation that I had begun was the mistake. It was not intentional, but it wasn’t BAD either. I should have continued building and reinforcing the foundation at the same time.

Looking at their scores on that test made me feel like such a failure. It made me angry at myself and initially I was also angry at the online program we used.

I dropped the ball, but balls can be picked back up again. A game ball on the ground is a dead ball. It’s OUT. But homeschooling isn’t baseball or football, and dropping a ball simply means you need to make an intentional grab, pick it back up, and start again.

5 Ways to Overcome Homeschool Failure

1.  Honestly assess the situation and notice the areas where you didn’t do what you needed to.

2.  Look at your children and assess what their capabilities are vs. what they have been doing.

3.  Identify the key areas that you need to reinforce in academics and character.

4.  Talk to your kids about what happened and what needs to be done about it.

This is important! Let them know if you didn’t do what you needed to do, and what steps everyone needs to take to fix it. They need to know that Moms make mistakes, too.

5.  Set aside regular lessons in that subject or subjects, make a plan, and DO IT.

As for us, the boys and I will be having a “Spelling Workshop” for an hour a day from now through Christmas break.

Have you ever realized that you had failed at something school related? How did you move past it?

Dawn P The Momma Knows

The Momma Knows


Dawn (23 Posts)

Dawn is still happily homeschooling after 16 years. She teaches her two sons, 13 & 11, enjoying every minute of "the second time around". She lives in Eastern Washington with her husband, the youngest 2 of their 6 kids, and an assortment of barking, squeaking, and clucking critters. She writes at her homeschool/parenting blog The Momma Knows and her new chapter, Dawn Marie Perkins. You can also find her on Twitter @DawnMPerkins, , and Pinterest.

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