Homeschool, Quit Comparing

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I’m a mom and a teacher.  Sometimes this is a blessing and sometimes it is a curse. Being a homeschooling mom I find that the line between the two is very difficult to see, until I have crossed it.

Tractor Man is in kindergarten and it is a very exciting and challenging time. He is exploring learning and finding interests but he also struggles with concentration and structure.  This has been a concern for me but I keep reminding myself that he is simply 5. 

Fun at the library using individual ramps

At the age of five I used to fake sick everyday after lunch so I could go to work with my dad who was a self employed carpenter.  Unfortunately the school and my mom caught on after three weeks. The point is I get not wanting to do school when other things are more fun.  That’s what kids do.  I think adults would join them if they had the choice.

Yesterday I stopped at our local small town post office and ran into a friend. Between my feiend, the post office lady and myself a conversation started up on young kids learning. My friends kids are older than my own and she has one of each. The post office lady was talking about her daughter who is the same age as Tractor Man and how she is already making progress on the 100 book challenge.

Homeschooling, I couldn’t stop myself from comparing so I of course asked what the 100 book challenge was.  I felt so ashamed to find out that her daughter was already reading books on her own!  I mean great for her but all I could think was “oh crap, Tractor Man is behind for his age.  I have failed him!”. 

That’s what we do as homeschooling parents. We put these huge expectations on ourselves to have “the perfect school year” but lets face it, life happens. 

In college I learned a huge lesson, probably one of the most important things to stick with me from there and my years teaching public school.  No two children learn the same.

Did you catch that?!?!

No two children learn the same!

So why are we trying to force them to?  Why am I comparing Tractor Man to this little girl?  Shouldn’t I allow him to learn at a pace that is good for him? I can see he is growing in understanding his phonics lessons, he is challenged but making progress.  For now that is enough.

Pumpkin patch picking.

At this point my friend piped up and also reminded me of another key thing about teaching. Boys versus girls.  Yup that’s right I said it.

We cannot compare boys levels of comprehension and learning to that of girls. Girls mature more quickly. Boys, well they are boys. And I mean that in the best way.

Big Island Rendevous, a time for reliving history.

Boys are rambunctious and enjoy adventure. Sitting still all but disappears once they learn how to roll and crawl. 

Simply put, boys and girls should not be compared to one another when it comes to education.  Especially in the early years.

Homeschooling is a difficult task.  We all need to remember to not only put so much pressure on our children, but on ourselves in the process.

The key to a great education for young children is ingraining the important things deep.  At a conference I attended Andrew Pudewa once said and I paraphrase here “We want education to be an inch wide and a mile deep not a mile wide an an inch deep”.  Kids have different time lines for teaching those levels, so accept that and plan to spend the extra time helping them.

Although homeschooling is a challenge it is one worth the effort for our family.  Perhaps it is for yours as well.  Just remember as you go that no matter how challenging moments can get, forward progress is the sign that you are not failing your child. 

Enjoy the ride.

I hope you all have children that are an inch wide and a mile deep.  You can increase the inch as they grow older…happy homeschooling.

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