Why Homeschoolers Should Avoid a Cookie-Cutter Education

Sometimes, homeschooling can be a challenge. I recently discovered that my child’s learning style was very different from mine.

During this time I had a few homeschooling epiphanies, one being that it is very possible to receive a cookie-cutter education at home. I knew this because that’s what I had been providing.

One of the reasons some families choose to homeschool is to avoid a cookie-cutter education and provide their children with an individualized education instead. But sadly, sometimes families never even realize that just because you are at home does not automatically mean you avoid the one-size-fits-all education system.

We can spend hours upon hours searching for the perfect curriculum, and once we have found it, we buy it then neatly organize the year’s work in the child’s school box.

We start from the beginning and tread through each and every page, even if our child gets bored or isn’t retaining the information like he should. We continue to work through our prized curriculum, page after page. After all, we must do every page to get our money’s worth.

Before you know it, you have become a slave to that curriculum, and that individualized education you once dreamed about is only a distant, fleeing memory. Then it hits you: You are providing a cookie-cutter education in your own home.

Now, some kids can go through school like this, others cannot. My son can’t, and it has nothing to do with learning difficulties or discipline problems. It has to do with his learning style. I see that now.

I quit being a slave to that curriculum and stopped trying to just get my money’s worth. I looked at my child, at his educational needs, and realized that they weren’t being met with daily workbooks. I developed a new, individualized plan for him, which focused on what he needed. Because after all, isn’t that what homeschooling is all about?

Did you begin homeschooling trying to make it like being in school at home? Or do you do your own thing based on your children’s learning styles?

About Jennifer Cruz

Jennifer Cruz has written 8 posts in this blog.

Jennifer Cruz is a freelance writer in addition to being a stay at home mom. She lives on 45 acres where she spends her free time gardening, cooking, doing various crafts, reading, writing, learning new stuff, collecting old books, baskets, and anything vintage. Her interests also include natural health and medicine, homeschooling, frugal living, comic books and movies. Jennifer can be reached at jenniferlcruz@hotmail.com.



  1. says

    You are right that having a cookie cutter education is possible, even at home. However, you headline made me laugh because today I’m organizing a cookie cut-out day for our homeschool co-op :-). In this case cookie cutters are part of the plan, but we are certainly open to creativity if the kids decide to go off the “curriculum.”

  2. says

    I left classroom teaching on a Friday and began homeschooling the following Monday. You can bet I went with the traditional model, follow the curriculum and teacher’s guide. Good grief, I even scheduled recess. It took me about two years to realize why it wasn’t working.

    I went into homeschooling with the ideas put in my head during my teacher training in college. I tried to follow classroom management techniques rather than encouraging learning.

    For many parents, though, they believe that unless they do it like school they will cause their children to be educational misfits. The education industry has convinced our society that their cookie cutter model is the only model for learning. The education industry also does a lot to convince non-certified parents that they can’t teach without “proper” tools — the tools they devise. The education industry has destroyed parents’ self-confidence to raise their own children. Thus the clinging to a cookie cutter curriculum.

    In addition to understanding our children’s learning style, we need to understand our teaching style, which may not mesh with the learning style. If that’s the case, we need to modify teaching to match learning.

    I’ve often told parents, if the curriculum is working stick with it. If not, bite the financial bullet and put it in a closet, and try something else for awhile. Maybe that curriculum will work for the next child.

  3. Hayley says

    This is my first year homeschooling. At first, I was oh-so intimidated. I’m a substitute teacher (which was great research towards deciding to homeschool 😉 ) and my first idea was that my daughter and I would benefit from a schedule. Although I planned on getting us up and going and doing a Monday thru Friday thing for about 3 hours of education a day, I, too, had the epiphany of that being just another way of putting my girl in a box, which was the main reason I DIDN’T want to send her to school! Things have become A LOT easier and more enjoyable for the both of us over this school year. I improvise most of the curriculum (even the packages I buy, which I am fortunate enough to do through a distance learning charter program allowance) and I’ve discovered the hundreds of ways we all learn every day without sitting at a desk and listening to someone talk. This has been a tremendous learning experience for me (and my once skeptical and opinionated relatives :-) ).

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