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. But the biggest way to tell if I’m successfully homeschooling is to simply quit comparing.
Kids Will Be Kids
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.
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. Heck I know I would.
How a Homeschooling Parent Fails Their Child
Yesterday I stopped at our local small town post office and ran into a friend. Between my friend, 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 for Kindergarten this year.
For those of you that don’t know, like me previously, the 100 book challenge is to have your child read 100 books before they graduate from Kingergarten.
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.
The Realities of Educating Our Youth
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?!?! Just in case let me say it again.
No two children learn the same!
So why are we trying to force them to learn the same? 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 of his phonics lessons, he is challenged but making progress. For now that is enough.
What Parents of Boys Need to Remember
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 a boys’ level 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 as a proud mama of three of them.
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.
Successful Homeschoolers Don’t Compare
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 reaching those levels, so accept that and plan to spend the extra time helping them learn the content deep.
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.
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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