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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Getting "Behind" In Your Homeschool

I often hear homeschooling friends talking about how they feel they are behind, or that one of their children is behind compared to other students their age.  There are a couple of different reasons homeschoolers woory about being behind.  Some face the possibility of putting their child back into a private or public school setting.  Some worry because of all the negativity about homeschooling coming from friends and family and that it will be fuel to their fire if their child does not do as well at Math or Reading like a friends child or family member.  Some homeschoolers write up a schedule for their year and begin to worry when Dr. appointments, sickness, or big changes in family or situation cause them to not be able to complete the work when they have scheduled it.

Being behind is something I worried about as a new homeschooler, but it is not something I worry about now.  One of the best things about homeschooling is flexibility.  You can work on what you want to work on when you want to do it.  If there is something in your life like a move, illness, pregnancy that causes you to not be able to get the amount of work done when you thought you should, there will be time to do it later on.  There is no rule that school can only be done September- June, Monday-Friday 8-3.  You do not have to follow the public school schedules for vacations.  Homeschooling is flexible and if you feel that you are getting behind now, you can always "catch up" this summer.  Also, check your expectations and see if maybe you are trying to fit too many things into too short a period of time. 

Children are not going to learn at the same pace.  If you are worried that your 5 year old is behind because he can't read like your neighbor's 5 year old, don't panic and start doubling his phonics school work.  All children learn differently and they should not be compared.  Your 5 year old might just be 10 times better in Math than your neighbor's.

Your homeschool is not and should not be just like anyone else's.  There are going to be times when "real life" is going to take the place of what you had planned in your homeschool.  During these times, don't add more stress on yourself because you are panicking because you feel your child is getting behind.  Sometimes, that little break you face just makes your child that much more mature and able to tackle his Math problems faster and easier than he would have if you had tried it the month before.  You may also be surprised by just how much your children are learning even when you are not able to sit down and teach them.   
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