When it Comes to Homeschooling – How are you Measuring Up?
For many homeschoolers, feeling that they are not doing the job as well as a ‘real’ teacher or even other homeschoolers is a common plight. But the truth is, you’ve taken on an important task and you’re doing just fine.
Over the years I have heard complaints and concerns from many homeschoolers who feel like they aren’t measuring up the public or private school system in regards to goals and achievements through their teaching. The reality is that homeschoolers tend to worry too much and too often about hitting standards – high standards. Many homeschoolers even feel they may not be qualified to teach their children since they aren’t a ‘real teacher’. When this happens, they tend to go over the top and do far more than is necessary in regards to teaching style and even curriculum. This is sure to cause stress for both teacher and pupil.
Measuring up to your own standards
If you’re homeschooling your child, you might feel that your own teaching style or child’s progress isn’t measuring up to that of a public or private school teacher or, even other homeschoolers. This will add unnecessary stress to an already stressful but critical role. When this happens, many homeschoolers will start to set unrealistic goals for themselves and for their students in order to conquer their fear that they aren’t doing enough. While these goals may feel necessary to the homeschooler, they aren’t often realistic and don’t help to put their teaching style or child’s development in par with or ahead of other children who are taught in public or private schools.
The reality is that as a homeschooler, you are adding a very important job to your daily duties as parent, home keeper and spouse. You may even have a large family that requires much of your time to look after them taking away any spare time for extra schooling or even activities. It’s easy to feel that the formal school system is doing a better job due to the fact that they have more resources and support however, don’t underestimate what the schools are and are not teaching children. As a homeschooler, you have the opportunity to tailor your curriculum to your child’s particular needs. That means you are providing them with a more targeted and customized learning plan. That’s something to keep in mind the next time you size yourself up against the public or private school systems.
A few simple tests to put your mind at rest
Why not try a few simple things to gauge how you and your students are doing in regards to progress? This will help give you peace of mind that you are on the right track and help to see if there are any areas that need improvement or revising.
- Just by listening to your student read you can see if they are improving by counting the words read and the errors made. This will demonstrate how much real progress they are making.
- Do a spelling or math test and see how many words they can spell in a minute or how many math facts they can do. If their scores go up, you know you are doing well!
- Have kids read a word list to see if today’s score was better than yesterdays.
Use the “Rule of Thumb” to see if a book is on your children’s reading level. Sometimes learning issues are due to material that is more complicated than their learning level. Have them read a page of the book aloud. Have your student hold up one finger for each word they don’t know. If they hold up four fingers and a thumb before the end of the page, the book is probably too hard for them to read alone. But it might be a great book to read aloud.
By keeping track of problem areas you can track your student’s success weekly. Get some information by getting some counts to show that your teaching is effective.
Homeschooling is equally as effective as public or private school
While it’s easy to feel insecure about you’re your decision to home school and your success as a homeschooler, it’s critical to keep in mind that the research shows that homeschooled children are as well equipped academically as other strong students. Not only that but homeschooled children score as well as others on SAT admission tests.
Perhaps the only thing you might want to remedy, as a homeschooler is the pressure and expectations you put on yourself as a teacher. Given what we know about the success of homeschooled children versus publically educated children – you’re doing just fine. So take a look at the results and let yourself chill out a bit.