By Raylene M. Hunt
It is one of the most common statements I hear from new homeschooling moms. Recently, I gave a workshop on the importance of play in early learning, and the subject came up again. "The neighbors children always have homework. I don’t feel like we’re doing enough. What if I don’t teach them everything they need to know? I don’t want my child to fall behind." The first thing I say – and anyone who has talked to me knows this – is very simple:
B R E A T H E
Seriously, please, just stop and breathe! It’s going to be fine. You are not going to ruin your children. They aren’t going to fall behind!
The goal each year is not for your child to keep up with their public school counterparts. The goal is for your child to make progress. That is what our Maine homeschool statute requires. Children make progress by learning. You cannot keep them from learning. It comes naturally to them! You can’t keep them from making progress. There is no such thing as falling behind when you are homeschooling.
Let me repeat that. Your child cannot fall behind! This is a concept that is difficult for homeschooling parents to embrace. We cannot teach our children everything that they need to know. It’s just not possible! The good news is that the public schools do not teach their students everything they need to know either. With homeschooling, the difference is that you can instill in your children a love of learning. You can create an environment rich in learning opportunities that are specifically geared to each of your children, their interests and abilities. The public school cannot do this. In this one area alone, you are already ahead! How can you possibly fall behind if you’re ahead of the public school?
Take time to let your children explore and discover. This is how they learn. Instead of worrying about "teaching" them, lead them by example. Explore, discover and learn right alongside your children, rather than trying to teach them. Most of all, stop worrying and enjoy who they are. The years pass too quickly, and before you know it, they’ll be on their own. I know it’s hard to believe now, but trust me on this one! There is no such thing as behind when you homeschool!
Raylene M. Hunt, is Early Childhood Educator and homeschooling mom of two. She is a homeschool group leader and the founder of Creation Exploration Ministry. She has 14 year of experience as a home educator and 25 years of experience working with families with young children. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.