Guest Post from Brenda at Schooling a Monkey
While this post is geared toward homeschooling parents, it also applies to parents of children in traditional school as well! We all make decisions about how to educate our children and may feel unsure from time to time! This post offers some helpful encouragement for parents who may be second-guessing their educational decisions.
Homeschooling parents are different, in case you haven’t noticed.
We are different from parents who send their children to public school, we are different from parents who send their children to private school, and we are different from each other.
There are as many different reasons for choosing to homeschool as there are homeschooling parents. Some choose to homeschool because their children have learning differences, some choose to homeschool for religious reasons, some choose to homeschool to suit their current lifestyle, some choose to homeschool to provide a specialized education, some choose to homeschool to provide extra education to children bored in traditional school- and there are thousands of other reasons.
Even though no two homeschooling parents choose to teach their children at home for the same reason- we still tend to compare our children’s schooling with others.
I found myself falling into the comparison trap a few months ago. One of my friends is using a more delight-directed schooling style for her children. We are using a more traditional textbook-based schooling style this school year.
As I listened to my friend describe their school days, I started to feel guilty about the choices that I had made.
Was I stifling my children’s creativity? Should I try to provide more hands-on activities for them? Were we doing too much school and not enough living?
But when my daughter was younger, we did follow a more delight-directed approach. And you know what? I still had questions.
Is she learning everything she needs to know? Is she on grade level? Am I holding her back by not pushing traditional schooling?
All educators, whether at home or in a traditional school setting have the same goal. To ensure each child can function as an adult by the age of 18 and receive whatever education is necessary for that child to reach their career goals. However, how each child reaches that goal differs from family to family, from child to child, and even from year to year.
This year, I am moving toward that goal by providing a structured school environment. My friend is also moving toward that goal by offering her children the chance to explore their world and find what they love to do.
This is why comparing our schooling choices to another family’s is so dangerous. You know where you want your children to go. You decided that a certain path is the best way to get there. Later, you will decide if you need to choose another path or keep moving on your existing path.
If we compare our lives with that of another homeschooling family, we not only become discontent with our own schooling style, but we also start to second-guess our qualifications to teach and make decisions about our children’s education.
You know what is important for your children to learn and the best way to teach it to them.
Your way will not look like your friends’ way, and that is a good thing! Homeschooling is designed to be highly individual to meet the needs of your children. All children are not the same, and all homeschooling will not be the same. You have the flexibility to choose a separate path and alter that path if it is no longer working.
No matter what homeschooling method you have chosen, never feel guilty that it does not match what your friends are doing. They have chosen the method that works best for their family, and you have chosen the method that works best for your family.
Have confidence in your choice!
Stacie’s note: Be sure to check out How to Homeschool: Six Ways to Get Started if you are interested in learning more about “types” of homeschooling!
Bio: Brenda Priddy is the creator of SchoolingaMonkey.com and mom to two girls. She is passionate about providing useful and simple resources for parents particularly in the areas of crafts, DIY projects, homeschool ideas, and healthy food.
Brenda loves finding fun ways to teach children, craft projects, books, and coffee. Her goal is to help other parents educate their children with easy, fun ideas! Follow Schooling a Monkey on Facebook or Twitter.