The Fear of Failing Them
I think we all worry about failing our children. That they will be “behind”. But in the homeschooling community there is a great question that we like to ask each other as a way of reminding each other and encouraging one another, “behind WHO?”
You worry your child will be behind? Who are they behind? Behind who? Who sets the standards? The state? The teachers union? Your in-laws? The nosy neighbor who has an opinion? Your best friend whose kid aced the SAT? Who sets the standards? And maybe those standards are just right for you. Maybe all of them are right. But maybe none of them are right. And that will take courage to stand for what you know to be the right path – but it is worth it. Because maybe none of the standards swimming in your brain were meant for your child. Maybe your child was never meant to meet any of those standards but to go a different path and lead them all.
That is the beauty of homeschooling. That is the freedom that we have in Arizona. So many people have fought so hard for your right to choose. So think about it. Give it the effort that it deserves. Think about what you want for your child and what your child truly needs. You are the parent. You are in the driver’s seat. No one can tell you what is best for your child because no one knows your child as well as you do. There is no one more qualified or more capable to teach and assess your child than you.
Once you decide what standards are actually important to you then you can start to think about curriculum that meets your goals and needs. Don’t go looking at every shiny crayon in the box. With the popularity of homeschooling there are lots of shiny crayons. First, decide what is important to you. That is the first step. And then go from there.
How Does That Work with Classical Curriculum?
You make the curriculum SERVE you. You are not the master to the curriculum. The curriculum is there to serve you. Oh the boxes. The need to CHECK. EVERY. BOX. You know the urge! There are boxes on the curriculum guide that tell you what you must do for Monday and it grates on your soul to leave it unchecked.
I have a solution for you. No, I’m not saying leaving the the box blank. That would be heresy to a Type A homeschooling mom. It would never work. Akin to torture, am I right?! No, instead you have another resource available to you– you may cross it out. Crossing it out says–I am choosing to not have you be part of our homeschooling life.
Quiz over a subject your child already knows super well? Cross it out. More time for outside play or working on their entrepreneurial activities! Essay on a subject that is of no interest to you or anyone. Cross it out. You didn’t skip it – you didn’t fail. You evaluated the suggested idea in the curriculum manual and chose that it wasn’t a right fit for your child and CROSSED. IT. OUT.
You also can choose to sub out parts. My daughter was doing great in the Memoria Press 2nd grade curriculum but needed the phonics was a little slow from using a different curriculum the prior year. Subbed it out. Reading and spelling was a frustrating chore for both of us. So I set aside the second grade stuff and purchased the first grade spelling (which is phonics based – they learn both phonics and spelling in Traditional Spelling) and the first grade reader set. Little Bear was perfect. She (and Little Bear) had a great many chuckles as she easily read at a very excellent level for her.
You are in the driver’s seat! Don’t let any teacher or curriculum guide tell you differently. This is your child and you know what is best. Embrace the individualism that is offered to you –own it– and make it your own.