Homeschool -- Am I Doing Enough?
Self-doubts in Home Education
There are two questions that seem to plague homeschool moms.
- Am I doing enough?
- Am I doing too much?
Finding that "sweet spot" can be tough-- just the right amount of activities and just the right level of challenge.
If you are even slightly insecure about teaching your children at home, you may find yourself swinging between those two questions of self-doubt --doing too much or not enough.
When you go to homeschool coop or read homeschool blogs, you may feel a sense of inadequacy that causes you to mentally whisper, "Am I doing enough for my children with their homeschooling?"
Feeling unsure is a terrible place to be. So let's look honestly at the issue and decide if you are doing enough. If so, then enjoy where you are! If you are not doing enough, then make steps to add activities or difficulty until you've found your Goldilocks-esque "just right" homeschool.
So how can you evaluate yourself to know if you are doing enough?
Which question do you ponder more often?
Guides for What They Need to Know When
Questions to Evaluate Your Homeschool
Are your children bored?
All children have days when they don't want to do homeschool. (Even homeschool mommas have those kinds of days!) But if your children are bored everyday, it could be that they are not being sufficiently challenged by their assignments.
If your children frequently complain of being bored outside of homeschool time, maybe their homeschool assignments are too few. A child who has done a challenging day's work will be glad to have free time after homeschool is done.
Are your children spending far more time in passive entertainment (watching television or playing video games) than in creative play or outdoor exploration?
There are things you can do as part of homeschool that can encourage more active forms of entertainment and play. Acting out narrations and doing homeschool related crafts foster a love of creative play. Doing nature study engenders outdoor exploration. Consider how your children spend their free time and if you are doing enough to encourage more creative play.
Are your children being challenged?
Every child is different, and that's why using standardized scope and sequence charts or What they need to know books can be misleading. Although they are a starting point, they are not the final word. You know your child better than anyone. So trust your intuition. If you feel your child can do better, he probably can. If you think that he is frustrated, then he probably is.
And don't forget an obvious solution to the problem -- ask your child. Ask her if she thinks her school work is too hard, too easy, or just right. Another way of getting this information is to ask your child if she would prefer her work become easier, harder, or stay the same. Then follow up with "Why?"
School work should be a challenge, but not impossible to achieve. If work is too easy, boredom can easily set in. So keep pushing your children gently to greater heights, continually watching their frustration levels. When they are frustrated, they cannot learn.
Do you have goals for your children? AND Are your children moving forward?
These two questions are intertwined. You cannot evaluate forward motion if you don't have any goals in mind. If you feel you are not doing enough it could be simply because you've not sat down to consider what you want to be doing.
Set some goals for your children. Then make each lesson directed towards those goals.
Periodically evaluate the progress. Is there forward motion towards the goals? Then you are doing enough. If there is no progress, then consider doing more in that area in your homeschool.
Planning Just Enough for Homeschool
Record Keeping for Accountability
If you take the time to write down all that you do for your homeschool, you may realize that it is more than you initially thought.
Select a record keeping system that works for you. You may want to use a spreadsheet that you design yourself, an old-fashioned spiral bound notebook, or a more professional homeschool planner such as the two options below.
The planner linked here is a comprehensive tool and includes goal setting pages, field trip logs, weekly lesson plan pages, and much more.
Get Organized with Homeschool Planners
- Homeschool Planner
Weekly Homeschool Planner that will help you organize your school day and record daily learning ~ year after year. Fully editable pdf that can be saved to your computer and used year after year.
Sound Advice About Doing Enough
- Homeschoolers: What's the Least You Need to Teach?
Janice Campbell reassures us that we don't have to teach our children everything they'll ever need to know.
- Helpful Advice for Homeschooling Elementary School-Aged Children
More insights on teaching little ones to help you grapple with the "Am I Doing Enough?" question.
- Back to Basics: Keeping School Simple
Some important thoughts to keep in mind as you set goals for your homeschool.
- Is My Child Learning Enough?
The wise folks at Simply Charlotte Mason tackle the question with their gentle and practical perspective.