Hey parents, great news! Your child is not behind. Or ahead. They are exactly where they should be right now.
Have you spent hours, days, months, or years fretting over how to catch your kids up to their grade level in a certain area? Us too! As homeschoolers, it’s easy to idealize everyone else’s perfect homeschool. We imagine perfect children sitting at a perfectly clean table, efficiently and happily doing their lessons, and learning above and beyond what is expected in the categories deemed important by your state. Or by you.
Spoiler alert: that’s not real. And whatever benchmark you’ve set for your child isn’t real either. Our kids are natural learners. They can’t help but learn… when they are ready. If their brain is not ready, they will learn what they have capacity for, and the rest will blow past them. The amount of time and effort we put into making something stick is sometimes so huge, but the reality is, if our kids aren’t ready for the information, the learning is not happening… until they are ready, in which case, we can put much less time and effort into a topic. This is when we see a burst of learning happen when we least expect it!
Why do we try to catch up? It’s when we get into this unhealthy loop of thinking that we aren’t enough, our kids aren’t enough, and our homeschool isn’t enough. It’s this deficit mentality that pushes us into the damaging behavior of trying to fill in an empty hole. Our kids are not holes to be filled. They are complex human beings, who are wired to wonder, explore, experiment, synthesize, and communicate. In other words, they are wired to learn! We have to change our mindset to see the learning. To notice that our kids are learning all the time. To give them credit for all the work they’re doing, even though it doesn’t line up with state standards.
So what’s our job? We get to witness this miracle of learning! We get to encourage the process. We get to prepare the environment for efficient and enjoyable learning. We can provide tools and supplies. We can plan trips to the library or the museum. We can follow our kids down their own rabbit holes of interests. We can introduce concepts when we see our kids open and ready for them. We can back off when we see it’s not the right time or the right activity. We can try again later. We can understand that our kids are not behind. Or ahead. They are right where they need to be.
Maren and Angela