Things I Wished I’d Known Before I Started Homeschooling – #4 of 4

#4: Don’t Compare

If you have more than one child or have been around multiple children, you know that every child is different. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses. They have different learning styles. They comprehend, retain, and apply information at different rates. In fact, these differences are probably one of the reasons you started homeschooling in the first place. You realized that one teacher in a classroom of twenty plus students couldn’t possibly address the needs each one has on a daily basis. Although traditional classroom teachers work extremely hard and have their students’ best interests in mind, there just isn’t enough time.

But even with that information, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing your child’s progress with that of other homeschooled children. Perhaps you see your friend’s four-year-old reading Dr. Seuss without any help, while your four-year-old is still mastering the alphabet. Maybe the eight-year-old in your child’s playgroup is on her way to becoming an accomplished pianist, while you haven’t even thought about music lessons. Your neighbor might have her children on a structured school schedule, while your children sleep in until nine.

Just remember – that’s okay! You know your child’s needs; you know his struggles, and you know where he’s confident.  You know his personality and how he learns. And you know your child is not just like your friend’s child.

Also remember that your family is just as unique. Every family dynamic is different. Perhaps you have an elderly grandparent living in the same home. Maybe there’s a new baby on the way, and Mom hasn’t been feeling well. The new baby might already be there, and require a lot of extra care. Dad may work from home and be more involved in the schooling, or he may be working two jobs trying to make ends meet.  Extended family may live nearby, or they may visit for a week or two at a time. You may live in a rural area, in the city, or in a foreign country. These types of factors affect a family’s daily life, and thus how they homeschool.

Every homeschooling situation will be different; you just can’t make a valid comparison. So avoid the temptation, and relax!  Instead, focus on your children, their education, and what is best for them, and enjoy the journey!

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