One of the first 5 questions new homeschoolers ask me is: How do I know my child won’t get behind if I try to homeschool? They go on to ask which curriculum will insure they stay in lock step with their school district.
I offer them a chair and a paper bag to breathe into. I ask why they are interested in homeschooling. Many times the child is floundering to keep up with the demands of that public or private school. Additionally, the child often has an inadequately administered IEP.
A True Story About Falling Behind Academically
I once worked at a teacher supply store with a capable young manager. She had a 4-yr degree from a well-respected college. The store ran efficiently and profitably. As I left one day, I wrote a cursive note for her to see the next morning.
When I arrived for my shift, she said she was unable to read my note. “Is my handwriting that bad,” I chuckled. She smiled, hesitantly admitting she could not read anyone’s cursive notes.
Turns out, when she was in 2nd grade, her school taught cursive during 3rd grade. The summer after 2nd grade, she moved to a different state. Expecting cursive instruction during 3rd grade, her family discovered the new district taught it during 2nd grade.
So what happened? Yep. She fell completely through the cracks never learning to read or write in cursive.
The Truth About Scope and Sequences
Here’s another fun fact for you – this situation repeats itself over and over in every subject in every grade in every district.
Ask any public school teacher. She will tell you they never finish covering a textbook over the course of a school year. She may skip some chapters a teacher 2 schools over covers in the same textbook. That teacher may skip 2 different chapters.
One district may teach Algebra I out of one text and use an alternate text for additional honors material. Skip over a few districts and find this district reversing the use of the same two textbooks.
There will always be a difference in the scope and sequence of what is taught or what is covered in any formal schooling situations. Trying to ‘keep up with’ your local school district is a burden you need not bear.
Apart from general reading and math milestones, lay aside those fears. Your child will learn things your district is not covering and vice versa.
Your child will learn how to learn which will serve them better than staying in lock step with ‘the district’.
One last thought before you go! A nervous mom came to see me and called me multiple times fretting over ‘not falling behind’. I kept encouraging her with stories like the ones I’ve shared with you today.
Before the school year was out, she called me one last time. The stress was gone. Through laughter she said, “Why was I so worried about keeping up? We are having so much fun learning. Why would I return her to traditional school when what we are doing is working so well.”
Four years later, mom and daughter are enjoying their own educational timelines. If anything, Grace is ahead of her traditionally schooled peers.
I’ve lost count of stories of children falling behind who came home to school.
By the end of the year, they were working above grade level. It takes work and patience and depends on the severity of any learning challenges. But, it happens more than it doesn’t.
You can do this. And, your kid can too! I am for you. I believe in you. Now let’s get busy doing it!
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Love you long and strong,
the Homeschool Answer Mom
This Post Has 4 Comments
Great article. I don’t even care if my son is “behind.” Especially while he’s younger. Kids learn more life skills through play, and keeping up with the standards can hinder that. I have heard of so many kids who were homeschooled and “behind” when they were 6-9, but then they caught up and were well advanced compared to their same aged peers attending school when they were older than that.
I don’t think we should be pushing young kids to know all this stuff. It takes away other more important activities
I don’t care what our state standards are. I care that my son is preparing for and having a life.
You are so right, Leslie. Especially for young children in the preschool and K5 years, play is an integral part of learning. I have a friend whose daughter was significantly ‘behind’ in math up every year into 7th grade. In 7th grade, her ‘math brain’ kicked into high gear. By the end of 8th grade she was almost finished with Algebra I. The freedom to learn at your own pace frees our kids of so much anxiety. When the time is right, they come into their own.
Great article. I think this is my biggest fear for homeschooling my girls as they get older. Thank you for the encouraging words.
You are so welcome! Rest easy. I am sure you are doing a great job.