Tuesday, March 29, 2016

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents: Don't Compare

One of my biggest regrets of homeschooling is all the time I wasted in the beginning of our journey, over 7 years ago, comparing how my son was doing to my friends' children that weren't homeschooled.  What a total waste of time that was on my part, but I can tell you in my defense I was new to homeschooling and I was so worried that I was doing it all wrong.  I only wanted to make sure that my son was learning the same kinds of things they were learning in regular school because I didn't completely understand homeschooling.  When I first started, I worried so much about what people thought about us homeschooling and honestly my support system was very small back then.  These things left me feeling very unsure and the more people questioned me about our homeschooling, the more I started to compare what I was teaching our son to what was being learned in public schools.  I used to tell myself that I was just making sure that if I had to put my son in school, I wanted to make sure he was performing on grade level.  The truth was I was unsure and insecure in my ability to teach my child which was crazy because I have a teaching background.  So all this background is to say...my tip for you today is don't waste your time comparing.


In my opinion, when it comes to homeschooling, comparison can be a very dangerous thing.  Comparing usually starts with something little, but then it tends to snowball and you start comparing more and more things.  Honestly it can be maddening.  For me, when my son was young and I was just starting out homeschooling, the conversations between friends and I started out simply and innocently.  Many times I didn't even realize that I was comparing how my son was doing to how their child in private school or public school was doing until the conversation was finished and I would walk away questioning myself and my choices on homeschooling.  I didn't question myself because of what they said, I questioned myself because I thought I couldn't do this which again I will tell you is completely absurd.  I had been teaching my son since the day he was born as we all do with our kids.  I just had to really adjust my thinking about my abilities and stop questioning myself.  Good grief, I graduated college with a teaching degree.  Not only was I qualified to teach my own child (and eventually children), but I was qualified to teach other people's children.  I just had to stop comparing what I was teaching to what was being taught in local schools because the bottom line was that we decided to homeschool because we wanted to be the ones that decided what was taught at each age and grade level.  I just had to own our decision and be confident in it.  The more confident I became in our decision to homeschool the less I compared what we were doing in our school to what was happening in local schools.

Comparison can also be dangerous between your own students within your own homeschool.  I learned years ago when babysitting kids as a teenager that no two kids are alike and they certainly don't all learn the same.  This was reinforced over and over throughout my college years when I was working on my education degree.  It is certainly true today as a mom who homeschools.  My kids are night and day.  They really are.  I do my best not to compare them and how they learn because they each learn differently.  Many times what has worked for one of them just confuses and baffles the other child.  They learn concepts and subjects at completely different paces and completely different styles and that is perfectly fine with me.  They keep this mama on her toes.  If I started comparing them, I would just destroy their self esteem and ultimately it would pit them against each other so I focus on telling each of them where they excel and helping them in subjects they struggle with.  It is my job to build them up, not tear them down.

Comparison can also be dangerous for us moms.  When we compare ourselves to other moms we open the door to the devil who will quickly take advantage of an open door and fill us with doubts, insecurities, and irrational fears.  We can be so quick to look at that mom over there who looks like she has it all together and wish we could be like her.  We wish we could have it all together and not only get school done, but the house would be immaculate like hers, our kids would sparkle like hers do, and dinner complete with dessert would be ready and waiting on the table just like we are sure she serves her family every night.  See how quickly we compared ourselves?  The reality is that mom that looks so put together, she has real struggles too and by looking put together she is probably hiding the struggles she has because she sees you and in her eyes you are so put together and you manage to do it all.

So my whole point today is this...don't compare.  It's not worth the doubts, fears, and insecurities it will produce.  Remember when you compare, you teach your children to compare too.  That is one habit I don't want to teach my children.  I work all the time to stomp out comparison and make sure I am not teaching my children to compare.  I am still a work in progress and sometimes I do better at it than others because I am a real person, but I have learned I don't need the negativity that comparison brings and neither do you.  Accept who you are, what stage of life and homeschooling you are in, and know you are doing a great job!

This week I am participating in a blog hop with my Schoolhouse Review Crew friends.  We are all sharing all kinds of tips for you on all kinds of different subjects.  Each day I will be leaving you links to different Schoolhouse Review Crew blogs.  Please go and check them out.  The Crew is AMAZING and they have great tips to share with you this week.  Today you should check out the following blogs:

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Latonya @ Joy in the Ordinary
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Meg @ Adventures with Jude
Megan @ My Full Heart
Melanie (Wren) @ finchnwren
Melissa @ Mom's Plans

Also you can check out more tips at our Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog by clicking on this picture:
5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

3 comments:

  1. The comparison trap is a dangerous one for any parent, but especially homeschoolers! Great post!

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  2. I used smartstates scope and sequense as guidelines and it was usually the year ahead, because my ds was a sponge and was interested in so many things. I also created unit studies to tie the subjects together. In the few occasions my ds came in contact with public/private kids he didn't have "school" in common, so they just played and were kids. :)

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