I had someone comment on an article I wrote a few years ago and decided to share it here. I also included the comments & my response at the end.
Too often, I hear homeschool moms ask if they are doing things right.
- Am I spending the right amount of time?
- Am I covering the right courses?
- Am I reading the right books?
The list goes on and on and on….
As homeschoolers, we need to be sure that we do not compare ourselves to one another. What is right for my child, may not be right for your child. Some homeschoolers live on a farm with ten kids while others live in a high-rise with an only child. Will their homeschool look the same?
Will they look the same as the government school or private school down the street?
Of course not! Doing things right does not depend on doing things the same as others.
Wes Callihan of Schola Tutorials makes the following comment as he encourages families in their homeschool endeavor.
The suggestions that follow are just that–suggestions–as the important principles behind them, drawn from the philosophy of a classical liberal arts education described above, will have very different applications in different families. Do not be trapped into comparing your family’s approach to education with another family’s based merely on the techniques or methods you follow– you may either panic or be tempted by pride. “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth.” The manner in which you cause your child to be educated is only important insofar as it embodies the principles that are the real issue.
Taken from: http://www.scholatutorials.org/prepare.htm
One thing I try to stress to homeschool moms is the need to look at their own families, their children’s strengths & weaknesses and their own strengths & weaknesses. If you are concerned about whether or not you are schooling the right way, make a list of these strengths & weaknesses within your own family. From there, take these before the Lord and ask Him which direction you should go. Before long you should have an individual plan of attack for your family.
I truly believe that God will direct you down the path He wants you to go in your homeschool if you take your concerns to Him. Too often, we scour the homeschool magazines and read every homeschool book in sight, before we turn to God to see where He wants us to go. Pray first and then turn to others for advise.
I would encourage you NOT to compare your homeschool to other homeschools or the schools down the street (ie. government or private schools). Look to see what your priorities are for your family. If you have younger children, you will be able to complete school activities in about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Enjoy the rest of the day playing with your children or sharing God’s world around them. Don’t panic because you are not spending 7 hours a day on “conventional schooling” when your child is 6 years old.
As your children grow older, try to choose activities and subject areas that are most appropriate for that developmental age. You do not need to do every subject at every age level (like the public school does). Teach your kids grammar when they are ready and then get it over as quickly as possible. Don’t make them drudge through 12 years of grammar exercises. Use the younger years to delve into language areas and the older ages to teach technical areas and critical thinking skills.
As a mom, I know it is stressful to teach every subject area every day you school your children. Choose wisely and choose what is BEST for your children and your family 🙂
comments from original article:
Dana: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!
I have been homeschooling for 4+yrs. and still struggle with comparing our “school” with others. And because I have taught in a structured school setting for 3 years, I still think our school days have to act, be and compare to a public or private school setting. This article along with prayer has greatly helped. With God’s grace and loving hand, maybe now, “I” not my kids, can get on the right track!
Leah: I want my husband to read this because he thinks I should be teaching my son from 8-3 and I think I should do what feels right to me as long as I know he is learning and he is learning more than I realize. I am glad I made the choice to homeschool because I get to see first hand what new things he can do everyday, but at the same time it is still tough to get him out of the routine of getting to watch TV. Thank you for enlightening me.
from Kerry to Leah,
I completely understand. I was a public school teacher for 6 years before I had kids. I had to “unlearn” so many things to become an effective homeschool mom. There are times I was concerned about whether or not they were learning enough, but for the most part, I taught them what God showed me to teach. We were usually finished with formal school by lunch time. After lunch was time for silent reading, projects, sports, group activities, finishing independent work if necessary.
FWIW…all of my kids are finished homeschooling. They have all done very well in college. My oldest never took the SAT but finished her degree in 2 1/2 years. My next daughter has been on the Honor Roll of Texas A&M and will graduate next December. My youngest just finished his first semester at Texas A&M with a 3.8. What I taught them was more than “content”. We taught them the tools of learning & a good work ethic. I believe those characteristics will take them through life. Of course, that is secondary to following our Lord.