We are at the end of our homeschool year. I’m exhausted, and my kids are just done. We are all ready for a break. This is the time of year I’ve found it important to pause and reflect. I want to make sure we finish the homeschool year strong.
In years past, I would feel like a failure at the end of the school year. Workbooks were not fully complete and I questioned if my kids measured up to their public school peers.
My own education was in an institutional environment. It was natural to compare the progress of my kids to the system I grew up in. I tried to use a public school model in my home, but it felt awkward. Well-intended advice from teacher friends and family left me feeling like I was ruining my kids. I learned quickly that I needed to adjust my perspective.
I am going to tell you the most important lesson I have ever learned as a homeschooling mom. It is life-changing. It’s the kind of advice to print in fancy script, frame, and hang on your wall as a constant reminder. Here it is: Stop comparing!
I’m serious. This is the biggest trap of homeschooling moms. If you have ever worried that your kids are falling behind, you are comparing. Of course we want to see our kids succeed, but be careful of the gauge you are using to measure success.
Homeschooling allows kids to grow and learn at their own pace and pursue topics that interest them. I’m not suggesting throwing the math books out, but I am encouraging you to stop looking at the grade level. If a child is not mastering key concepts, do not move on. Let them take the time they need. It is the same if a child is really understanding and ready to move ahead. Do not hold them back.
The idea of a child working only within their grade level has been strongly engraved in our thinking, and it needs to change. Every child learns differently, and at different paces. They may have a subject they excel in, and another that comes with more effort. Let them learn at the level they need and cross out any grade number printed on their workbooks.
I did not read until I was in the third grade. I just wasn’t interested. When I was ready, I developed a deep love for literature. Unfortunately, the public school system had already labeled me because I did not follow their timeline.
Throughout history, there are many brilliant and creative people that have voiced the woes of compulsory education. One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain, “I have never let schooling interfere with my education.”
As this school year ends, consider your perspective. Instead of measuring a child’s growth by the system, consider if they developed a love of learning. Evaluate their personal growth or character development for the year. What books did you share that touched your hearts? What struggles or challenges did they learn to work through? Ask them what they learned this year that was especially interesting or fun.
Our children are amazing. They are each unique individuals growing and learning so differently. As this school year comes to an end, do not look to see if every workbook page is complete. Instead, take time to pause and reflect on how much your kids have learned and grown. That my friend is how to finish the homeschool year strong.