The following post is from Shannen of Middle Way Mom:
Right behind socialization, stressing out and thinking “Am I doing enough in my homeschool?” may be the most common question a parent worries about before they start homeschooling, but the difference is, this question doesn’t always go away.
So, what’s the benchmark on whether you’re doing enough? When can you rest assure and be able to say to yourself, “I’m doing enough in my homeschool.”
What are you goals?
This is the first question I ask when people come to me concerned that they’re a homeschool failure. We all have different end goals for our kids and what their adult life will look like.
Is it more important to you that your children have a strong religious education than get to pre-calculus in high school? Do you want them to follow their artistic interests, even if it means they don’t remember the periodic table of elements?
Write down your goals that you are unwilling to bend on, and remind yourself of that goal when you’re checking if your homeschool is working.
One family may be able to fly through seven subjects each year, while you feel a comfortable pace at four or five. Also, do they list out grammar, writing, and reading as separate subjects and you list it as language arts?
Each child has their own strengths and weaknesses. Too often we’ll compare our weaknesses with others’ strengths, and that’s just not fair to you! It’s easy to do this with our kids, especially once they hit the puberty and teen years and things get tough. Remember their strengths and work with those.
Never, ever verbally compare them to another homeschool kid. Break the cycle of comparison and don’t let that creep in.
It’s not about time spent
You don’t have to spend five hours a day on school to ensure you’re doing enough. Many elementary school students are done by lunchtime, and they cover a lot of work!
Remember, a public school spends time handing out papers, bathroom breaks, getting kids in line for recess and lunch, classroom management, and all those other classroom tasks you do not have to do. Some days could be two hours, some could be four.
In high school, most students will work into the afternoon, but they rarely have to work in the evening if they are using their time wisely.
You can’t teach everything
As you’re teaching your kids, are you coming across stuff that you weren’t taught when you were in school? Your parents likely were happy enough with your education that those gaps didn’t concern them. Were you less likely to get a job as an adult because you never learned about the fertile crescent, or never mastered the theories of geometry?
For many, the point of homeschooling is to nurture a child through their formative years, and instill a love of learning that they can take with them. This love of learning will fill in the gaps they need to know later in life.
What are the state requirements
Okay, so we’ve gone over the warm fuzzies. Now, there are times when families are genuinely not doing enough in their homeschool.
One benchmark one can use is the state requirements. In Minnesota, homeschooled students are required to cover reading, writing, literature, fine arts, math, science, history, geography, government, health, and physical education. We do not need to teach all these subjects every year, but they should all be covered on a regular basis.
A good rule of thumb is to cover each of the supplementary subjects (geography, government, health, physical education) in elementary, middle, and high school. It would be a big disadvantage to wait until high school to cover geography, for instance.
What are the college requirements
As your student gets older, you’ll want to make sure they are ready for college, if that’s the path they’d like to take. I’d say even if they don’t show interest in college, their transcript should be solid enough to get them into a community college.
Take a look at colleges in your area for their minimum requirements for admission, and go from there. If you’re aiming high, check out Harvard, Yale, and the like to see what they require, too. All of this information is normally fairly easy to find on their website, or give them a call and someone should have that readily available for you.
How do you measure your homeschool and whether you’re doing enough?
Other Posts You Might Want to Check Out:
- When Your Homeschooling Style Looks Different
- What to Do When You’re Feeling Discouraged as a Homeschooler
- Encouragement for New Homeschool Moms
- Back to School After a Tough Year
- How to Help Your Homeschool Day Run More Smoothly
- When Homeschooling Doesn’t Look Like You Thought
|Shannen homeschools her teen daughter, focusing on earning college credit while in high school, and is getting ready to start the homeschool cycle again with two little ones. You can find her blogging about how they homeschool both preschool and high school and everything that goes along with it, plus meet up with her on Google +, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.|
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