Have you ever had one of those days—or entire seasons—when doubt seems to have taken over your homeschool?
As time goes on, you begin to realize that there is no way you’re going to cover everything you think you need to, or at least what your curriculum says you should.
The clock is ticking, and you find yourself comparing your kids and your homeschool to other families. Eventually, panic sets in as you realize the enormity of the task before you.
After all, it’s your job as a homeschooling parent to teach your kids everything there is to know about everything, right? Wrong!
Homeschooling is not about teaching it ALL. It’s about teaching your kids how to find answers to their questions.
As a vocal proponent of the relaxed homeschooling method, one question I get asked over and over again is: With relaxed homeschooling, how do I know my children will learn everything?
I’ve got an easy answer for that. Your children will not learn everything with relaxed homeschooling—nor with the school-at-home method, classical method, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, or any other homeschool approach you can think of.
And you know what? Children in public schools won’t learn everything, either—nor those in private schools, charter schools, boarding schools, or schools-at-sea.
You know those dreaded gaps in learning? They’re real.
No matter how your child is educated, what your level of income is, or what your ethnicity is, your children will have gaps.
Worried? Don’t be!
Even if your child masters and retains every single concept in their entire 13 years of school, they still won’t know everything.
Take a look around you. There is no way on God’s green Earth that anyone will ever know or learn everything. As time goes on, information and technology are changing faster than any of us can keep up with.
Discouraged? Here’s what you need to realize: Homeschooling is not about teaching it ALL. It’s about teaching your kids how to find answers to their questions.
Textbooks and lessons have their place in a homeschool, for sure, but they won’t guarantee success for your child. Will they help? Absolutely.
But if you truly want to help your child to fill those gaps, the main thing you need to focus on is instilling in them a love of learning and providing them with the know-how to find the answers when they either need or want to discover more about a topic. Any topic.
Remember that learning isn’t something that only happens in school. It isn’t something that only happens at a certain age. There’s a reason that lifelong learning is such a popular term. It’s true!
Think about it. When you, as the parent, need to acquire information for something you’re unfamiliar with, how do you do it? Google it? Go to the library? Watch some YouTube videos? Read some articles or blogs? Ask someone who does know?
Take those tactics that you use, and encourage your kids to do the same. For example, next week, my 13-year-old daughter will need to research how seismologists predict earthquakes, and then she will need to teach it to her siblings.
Would it be easier for me to plop a textbook in front of her? Yup. But those learning gaps can be filled with something even more beautiful, like confidence, determination, and experience—something that will only happen when your kids have the opportunity to take a topic and run with it.
So as for those things you never get to in your homeschool, don’t sweat them. Embrace them. Because chances are, your children will learn infinitely more while on the road to discovering the answers they need.
That, my friends, is a sure sign of a successful homeschool.