Homeschooling is a big responsibility, and arguably one of the most important tasks you will have your entire life, if you choose to take it on. This fact is a big reason why many people never get started. Many others worry about if they are failing along the way. So, how do you know if you are a homeschool failure?
Fail is a big word. If we’re going to get all formal, the definition of failure is:
A subnormal quantity or quality; an insufficiency
Of course, there are other variants of the definition, but this is the one we think of most, isn’t it? We are worried we are providing an education or experience that is of subnormal quantity or quality. We are worried that our work is insufficient.
Insufficient in compared to what? What do we think we should be doing better? When you start looking at all the available homeschool materials, it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough. When we read blogs that give you the highlight reel, it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough. (In fairness, would you read a homeschool blog that complained and showed you all their failures? Most of us are looking for support and ideas, not a list of “don’t do” items).
Don’t compare yourself to the systems setup by the schools. You aren’t a system. You don’t get a group discount for buying supplies for your three kids. Don’t compare yourself to other homeschool moms. She might have different goals than you. So, what’s the marker?
You’re failing when you aren’t reaching YOUR goals.
Really, ask yourself honestly. What are your homeschool goals? Why are you homeschooling? Most times are goals are far beyond the curriculum, and have more to do with how we want to connect with our kids and how we want them to connect with the world.
I bet you are meeting those goals.
I bet your kids are well adjusted and caring. I bet they are able to teach themselves new skills. I bet they have a love for their Creator and a wish to please Him. Even if they aren’t meeting these goals right now, do you think those goals would be better met elsewhere? Would someone else work on those goal areas as hard as you will?
Of course our kids should learn to their reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. Those things are important in the adult world! If you forget to cover the Fertile Crescent (which I never learned in public school, ever), the impact of The Iliad on modern literature, or your child never gets past Algebra 1, it’s still more than likely they have the ability to be a successful adult.
They can still have successful relationships, they can still have healthy and encouraging friendships, and they can still find fulfilling and meaningful work.
Knowing that, and remembering your actual goals, do you still think you are failing? Do you still feel insufficient? Who would do it better than you?
Take heart, homeschooling mom. You are meeting more goals than the books can carry, and in sha Allah (God willing) building a generation to come based on your love and hard work. After all, you hand crafted their education. Whether you use a boxed curriculum, choose various resources, or even create some curriculum yourself, it was hand chosen for your child and their needs. Wow.
It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely not as easy as you think to fail.
Jenny Bergren says
Great post! I’ve been homeschooling for a long time and I finally sat down and wrote out my goals. So glad that I did! I review them often and especially now that I am planning for next year. If I can instill in them a love for the Lord and a love for learning then I’ve accomplished a lot, even if they don’t know about the Fertile Crescent. 🙂
Shannen Espelien says
That’s exactly it! If they can live their lives in an upright way, and know how to find information they don’t know, then I think we can call it a success.