Homeschool moms, let me assure you: there is no such thing as “being behind” in homeschooling.
If you feel “behind,” ask yourself whose timetable you are on?
We are conditioned to believe that certain subjects must be taught in certain grades, and if they are not mastered, a child has “failed” and is now “behind.” But who set those standards? Who? Do you know?
Public schools need a strict timeline for managing millions of children. They don’t have the time or resources to allow children to learn at their own pace or according to their individual interests. So a list must be made, and it must be followed strictly.
But YOU are no longer in that system. So don’t be a slave to it!
Some kids learn to read very early, some will read “right on time” (whatever that is) and some will read much later. Math will come easily for some, and not so easily for others. This does not make them “behind.” This means they need more time to grasp certain concepts. As a homeschool parent, you have the ability to give them all the time they need. So do it!
All children are not the same. Even within a family, the children have very different abilities. Don’t judge all children by the brightest. Don’t judge your children by someone else’s. Look at each child individually, and help them where they are.
My advice: ignore grade levels and focus on milestones. Make a list of what they should learn, and work through it. Don’t worry about what they’re learning at a certain age. Just make sure they are going to learn.
Learning isn’t all about grades and textbooks and school desks. It’s so important to develop that hunger to know; to be fascinated by information and to be awed by the world around us. That happens on the floor with a good book, or outdoors watching a frog jump, or playing in the sand at the beach, or going to visit grandparents.
Children are naturally curious. They want to learn. It’s almost hard to stop them. So embrace that natural desire and allow your mental timeline to relax while your kids explore their world. It’s okay to teach state history in 6th grade instead of 4th, or vice versa. It’s okay to spend 2 years on multiplication until they get it. It’s okay to do algebra early, or never do it at all. (Yes, I promise.)
So empty your head of everything you think school should be, and just focus on learning. Make the learning fun and a natural part of life and school will be fun. Life will be fun. And you won’t stress about grade levels and test scores. You’ll help your kids make the most of their childhood.
Whether you’re a seasoned homeschool parent or just thinking about it, I have a few posts that may be helpful to you…
Learning to Read on the Prairie is all about the old-fashioned, simple education in Laura Ingalls’ day
The Culper Spy Ring for Kids shows how to take a fun aspect of American History and follow all the rabbit trails
Why We Homeschool explains how writing down your reasons helps you to shape your curriculum choices
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Nicki Truesdell is a 2nd-generation homeschooler and mother to 5. She is a homemaker at heart, and loves books, freedom, history and quilts, and blogs about all of these at nickitruesdell.com. She believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. Nicki is a member of the Texas Home Educators Board of Directors. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.