Homeschooling moms and dads sometimes worry about covering all the bases. Particularly when just starting out, they may worry that they haven’t taught all the subjects correctly or that they’ve missed something terribly important along the way. This is perfectly understandable, and many homeschoolers will admit to feeling exactly the same way at one point or another.
It may be helpful to look at this concern from a couple of different angles, the first being to ask the question, in all seriousness, “Does it really matter?” That is, of all of the things that are learned in homeschool, does it really make that much difference if something small is actually overlooked? Unless the omission is something quite major — as in a child not knowing how to read, write, perform basic computations, or generally understand his or her system of government – does it really matter in the larger scheme of things? Looking at it statistically may help, too. How likely is it that this particular child will actually need to recall and utilize each and every piece of trivia learned during his or her school years? If the student really didn’t learn whatever-it-was, will it severely impair them as an adult?
The second angle is all about asking why a family is homeschooling at all. That is, having chosen homeschooling generally means families aren’t particularly satisfied with the way things are taught in schools anyway. That being said, why try to teach exactly what is taught in schools and, moreover, who’s to say what they’re doing is right anyway? The school-at-home approach, the method which tries to duplicate what goes on in conventional classrooms, is only one way to homeschool. There are others to consider trying, too.
A third perspective involves thinking ahead to the overall accumulation of knowledge over a child’s entire homeschool experience. Knowledge, experience and wisdom are cumulative – things that keep growing larger and larger with every passing school year, and throughout a person’s lifetime, too. If something really is missed in an earlier grade, there is a pretty good chance someone will notice it later on, and cover it then (“Woops! I guess I forgot to show you how to reduce fractions last year. Let’s quickly learn it now…”). Or perhaps nobody will notice but the student will somehow learn it anyway, naturally, during the course of school and everyday life, perhaps even easier now that the student is that much older (“Wow, I guess I’d better figure out how to create a resume since I’m looking at getting a job soon.”). Look at it this way – if primary colors aren’t specifically taught in preschool or kindergarten, does that mean a child will never learn them? Can you even imagine a child who doesn’t know the difference between blue, red and yellow as an adult, even if they never had a lesson on colors? Sometimes things get learned anyhow – even if they were never covered in homeschool at all.
And for those who still worry about covering all of the bases, consider this option. There are many useful guides that parents can follow to be sure that most of the traditional subject areas are covered. Many homeschoolers use these guides as a way to plan the year, being sure they don’t miss anything that students that age typically cover that year. These resources can range from reviewing national standards, to looking over statewide requirements, to using curriculum products with a “scope & sequence”, to buying books that outline a traditional course of study for every grade from K-12. Obtaining one of these guides is a very easy and inexpensive way to take the guesswork out of what to cover, and put one’s mind at ease that nothing important has been missed along the way. Some of these resources are described in this post.
As a final note, parents are reminded to slow down and relax about the process. Despite their fears, it is highly unlikely that good, conscientious parents who diligently homeschool their children will forget any of the big things anyhow. Though they worry about it happening, it really seldom does. After the first year or two of homeschooling, once the learning curve levels off a bit and parents become more comfortable with the entire process, these things tend to take care of themselves. Worrying about them only makes the early homeschooling years more nerve-wracking, plus having access to general homeschooling information and a decent support system ordinarily helps to avoid these kinds of problem altogether anyway.
[Photo: Free Digital]