I realize I can be a bit overzealous when it comes to lifeschooling, but there are several phrases I see tossed around in the homeschool world that really make me nuts.
Like seriously nuts!!
These are the verbal viruses of the traditional school mindset that have crept into modern homeschooling and are part of what led me to try to “rebrand” this whole idea of “homeschooling”! I was finding myself feeling less and less excited about the connotations with the term “homeschooling.”
3 Homeschool Phrases That Drive Me Crazy
I opened my e-mail the other day and was assaulted by these offensive phrases again. (I know, I know… I can be dramatic. But I really dislike them so much that I a sense of righteous indignation!) This homeschool mom (and second generation, mind you) talked about how glad she was for this particular program because it eliminated her children’s “learning gaps.”
Think on that a minute.
Listen, if you don’t have any learning gaps, then I don’t know what kind of superhuman you are! Learning gaps are part of life. None of us will ever know everything about a topic and the gaps are exactly what keep us pursuing knowledge and enjoying the learning process!
This same mom also talked about not wanting her kids to “fall behind.” Fall behind what, may I ask? Why do we feel the constant need to compare and contrast our children’s abilities with those of other children? Does this really sound biblical at all to you? Who are these people that get to determine where all 3rd-grade children need to be intellectually and academically?
Our kids are not cogs on an assembly line and we are not the assembly line workers, shoving information into their learning compartments and moving them down the line. No, these are our children. They are spiritual beings with deep needs that go beyond academics.
Can we trust that God will orchestrate their academic learning much better than we can?
It is only up to us to be faithful and it is up to Him to reward our faithfulness. As another homeschooler put it once,
There is no behind in homeschooling…except the one you’re sitting on! 😂
The final phrase that I want to banish from every homeschooler’s vocabulary is “grade level.” I hate it for the same reasons I hate the other terms. It is based on comparison and it leads moms to fear that they are not doing enough. I don’t know of a single homeschooling mom who is not trying her best to educate her children…and that is enough.
And the irony is that those who seem most tempted to give in to this fear do more to damage their children’s education because of that fear! It leads them to be controlling and overbearing, rather than allowing the learning process to be natural and fun… hence, memorable and effective.
Perfect love casts out fear.
1 John 4:18
If we love our children, we will not make our decisions for their education out of fear of “learning gaps,” “falling behind,” or staying on “grade level.” We will not compare them with others, but rather ask God where He wants them to be in their unique educational path.
Bottom line: These phrases are nothing more than fear tactics.
They make us think we need someone or something else in order to stand on our own. But listen, moms… God’s school doesn’t have any learning gaps! He knows exactly what your children need to learn each day and His plans cannot be thwarted by those who truly seek Him and obey His voice. So stop listening to those who peddle fear, particularly if they are selling something.
I know. Easier said than done for some of us.
But I just want you to hear this today and take it to heart, even if you have to reread it again tomorrow. We are learning and growing every day and God’s grace is sufficient!
He loves those kids more than you ever could, and the path He has them on is the perfect one for them. Trust His voice.
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Thanks for this. It’s only the third week of September, and we already feel like we’re starting to “fall behind.” Not behind the school system, mind you. Just behind in some of the books in our family’s learning plan. There are tons of books we want to get through this year, and we realistically we have to move at a certain pace to get through them all. It does, unfortunately, but a lot of unpleasant pressure on us, but that’s also a reality of life. Sometimes you have to do work that you’d rather not do at a time when you’d rather be doing something else. I find the biggest challenge in our homeschool is trying to seek balance on a daily and yearly level.
I am encouraged by your implication that we should ignore these terms though!
Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you found this post encouraging! Yes, it’s true that there is balance in everything. Sometimes we do just have to do work that we don’t want to do. But I find most moms put more pressure on themselves than necessary and there is always that danger of turning learning into a “chore” and something to get done. I hope this encourages you to take a breath and enjoy what you are able to get accomplished! 🙂
I needed to hear this today, to be reminded of this. Thank you!
I’m so glad it encouraged you, Andrea! 🙂
Thank you and God bless you! I cannot agree more with these simply empowering words!
Kamisha in England
Thank you for commenting and I’m glad it was helpful to you! 🙂
I needed to read this today, as I sit and contemplate the choices I have made for the school year, your words reminded me that God is in control and yes I am the hands and feet but He is on the throne. With one of our four kids, I have been using most of the terms you detest. It was and is a reminder that he isn’t behind or not at grade level but learning at his sweet pace and what I need to do is let the learning happen and not give up and let the ” negative terms” overpower my school day; allowing them to creep into my thoughts and let this sweet little boy learn and enjoy every moment I get with him.
Yes, Gretchen, enjoy your sweet boy! 🙂 We can really damage their desire to learn when fear takes over and we start to force things. Stop and ask what he would like to learn…a subject that he could really delve into…and you’ll be amazed at how easily the academics sneak in naturally! When they have a self-driven motivation to learn, it will happen! So glad this was an encouragement to you today.
As I sit here and read back on the email that you sent me and also the comments on this, it reminds me that really do want the best for my child. I may not do everything right but I want to do want her to succeed. The Lord has always been there for me, through all of my triumphs and my failures and I know he will lead me through this as well. I think we all just need reminded that we are good enough and your posts mean the world to me and so many others who are just trying to do the best that we know how. My God richly bless you and your family!
Amen! I’m so glad you were encouraged through my writing! We do all need to be reminded that we are enough, even when we are not perfect. No one is! But God made us to be just the right parents for our children and we are equipped for the task. Thank you for your kind words and I pray blessings for your family, as well!