At some point or another, most homeschooling parents wonder whether their children are receiving a well rounded education. Are they reading enough? Are they learning sufficient algebra or geometry? Will they pass the ACT or SAT tests? What about college? … And, lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!
We have been homeschooling for 17 years now with many ups and downs in the process. One thing I have learned is that education is like building blocks. Once the foundation is laid, everything else just builds upon it. I have been guilty of spazzing out because my child wasn’t catching onto math concepts or reading as well as I thought they should in a certain prescribed year. But, I’ve come to understand that much of the elementary learning process is redundant. (This works to the advantage of my spazzing out issue.) This means that if a child doesn’t grasp a concept this school year, chances are, they will next year or even the following. Time and patience play a key role in education, don’t they? Each child matures and develops at different rates, after all.
We homeschooled our older son, who will turn 26 this summer, from 5th-12th grades. I can recall so many times I was uncertain I was doing enough as his teacher. He began concurrent enrollment at the community college when he was in 10th grade and did very well. By the time he graduated from high school, he was just three classes shy of his Associate’s Degree. We were so very proud of him! I’ll never forget his homeschool graduation night and thinking, ‘I guess I can do this thing’! (I think part of me graduated that May night back in 2006.) Why did I waste so much time wallowing in insecurity? I suppose it was because he was our first homeschool “experiment”.
Here we are, eight years later, and the homeschool machine rolls on. Our daughter will graduate from high school next May, and our younger son will enter high school this fall.
Our older son is excelling in a career he says he would do even if he worked for free, and we are infinitely proud of him. Our daughter began her first job at the library last fall, and they all love her there. She began as a volunteer and is now in a paid position. It’s only a matter of time before our youngest gets a part time job and spreads his wings a bit. He is, however, very happy about volunteering as a door greeter at church with his Dad for now. 😉
If your child is struggling in a particular area, seek out supplemental videos at the library or perhaps a tutor. Other homeschool parents or even friends could be a great resource. Everyone is gifted in different areas. We’re not all good at grammar or math. Seek out those with strengths where you are weak.
Annual assessment tests can be helpful. Some families like them. Some do not find them necessary. I’ve found that with the one on one interaction we enjoy, we pretty much know where our children are excelling and where their weaknesses lie. But, it’s a matter of preference and your state law.
Some years are filled with challenging distractions that require greater fortitude to overcome. Maybe the birth of a baby. Maybe illnesses. Family situations. Moves. These are all part of the homeschool journey. Cycles of life. That’s what makes it a journey, rather than a destination. Those are times we offer ourselves a little more grace while our hands remain on the homeschool plow. We still have much to accomplish, but it may take longer than anticipated. We may need to reach out to others to assist during special hardships. Try not to resist the blessings others can offer when help is needed.
If you’re at a difficult juncture in your homeschooling journey, it’s time to take a deep breath, reassess, prioritize, dismiss the distractions, and resume making progress. You can do this! One step at a time. Think positive, uplifting thoughts. Devise a plan moving forward. No need to beat yourself up over past failures. Just move on, knowing that with the Lord’s help, you will reach the finish line. And, what an accomplishment that will be!
Here’s to your homeschooling success! 🙂