Dear homeschool mom, are you afraid your homeschooled child is academically behind his/her peers? Or maybe you already “know” he is, and you are thinking you should put him back in a formal schooling situation to catch back up. Well, today I have some encouragement for you!
And the fun thing is that the encouragement comes in TWO ways — first a little blog post, and then a little video. Both are encouraging; both will ease your worries — and each has different information to digest and ponder. So read for a minute, and then watch for a few minutes, and then go about your day with a lighter step!
Many homeschool moms carry around a large worry.
They are concerned they won’t teach their child well, with the result that their child will be “behind.”
Moms all want their children to succeed, after all. And homeschool moms want to be sure that their children know what they “should” know at each grade level. So they buy books that tell them what every __th-grader needs to know and make sure they cover everything listed. And that is fine. Except when it becomes apparent that their child is not going to make it through the list. Now what?
My feelings about all that changed very early on in our homeschool journey. A quick story: when my eldest was in kindergarten, she was working through the ABeka kindergarten math book. I remember distinctly that we were coming to the section about how to tell time, when we got distracted away from school for a couple weeks. I remember telling myself we needed to get back to that workbook to be sure that she learned how to tell time. Because it was important that we checked that box — right??
Well, the couple weeks turned into several weeks, and then months…it might have been summertime… UM. But guess what? The beginning of first grade came around, and somehow, magically, my daughter already knew how to tell time. Even though we had never gotten back to that workbook that said she should learn it in kindergarten.
That experience taught ME a lesson — that often what kids “should” know is a function of what they NEED to know. If they need to know it, they will learn it eventually. And WHEN they need to know it will vary from year to year, age to age — and child to child.
Dear homeschool mom, do not let the worry about your child being “behind” exist in your brain any longer.
There is no absolute SHOULD list for each grade level. The appropriate list will be based on who your child is and how they learn. That’s something that only YOU will know best.
As a veteran homeschool mom who has graduated three students from our homeschool (two more to go), I want to reassure you that even if your child is doing work that is “below” their grade level, there is no need to feel as if you are failing or that your child is not learning what they should. Or that they will be messed up for life, which is where we often go in the dead of night when we can’t sleep, isn’t it? Been there done that. :-)
Over time you will understand your child better and how best to plan their educational path, and they will most likely understand better how to walk along that path to a place of progress and increased knowledge. As the years go by, you will begin to see that what you thought was so detrimental in the beginning wasn’t really anything to lose sleep over — and that everything is gonna turn out just fine. For now you may just have to trust me on that. :-)
But if you’re still not sure you believe me, then watch this live video that I did the other day in my Facebook group called It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool K-8. In the video I talk about government standards and what they mean for us as homeschoolers. I also look back on my own teaching experience to help us put things in perspective. It’s really worth watching, especially if you’re still feeling discouraged in any way!
Listen, dear homeschool mom, don’t place an unnecessary burden on yourself.
This homeschool life we’ve chosen is challenging enough without taking on more than we need to. Yes, we should practice due diligence to be responsible to fulfill the task of educating our children — but that doesn’t always have to look like we’ve been conditioned to think it does. Fly, be free!
P.S. If your kid is in high school, and you are wondering what being “behind” means there more specifically, check out my other post and video: When You Fear that Your Homeschooled Teen is Behind. You’ll be reassured, I promise!! HUGS!!