Do you fear gaps in your child’s education? Many of us worry about gaps in homeschooling. But, are our fears valid? Let’s take a look at the truth about gaps in homeschooling!
When I posted on my Facebook page asking you all if you had any homeschool fears, I was surprised by many of your answers. Although, I shouldn’t have been. The truth is each of your fears has been something I myself have also struggled with at some point.
And some of those fears I haven’t completely overcome. One of those we are going to discuss today. The fear of having gaps in your child’s learning. Here are some of the fears you all shared.
- I get worried I’m not teaching my kids enough. The curriculum I use has a more delayed approach. I struggle and think I need to do more.
- I’m going to leave big gaps in my kid’s schooling.
- I’m not doing enough, missing something, and I want them to love learning.
There’s a common theme there right? Now, I have addressed the “How Much is Enough” question before, so be sure to check it out. But, the gaps in learning? I’m still working on that.
Copyright: kiankhoon / 123RF Stock Photo
Each year before we do our yearly homeschool testing I pour over this book and the state standards and make sure there are no “gaps” in my child’s education. We have done this the last month of school ever since we started homeschooling. But, this year we didn’t. I decided I wasn’t going to teach to the test. I wasn’t going to worry about whether or not they were learning what the public schools were.
And you know what? It was freeing!
What are “Gaps” in learning?
For me, a gap in education is when my kids SHOULD know something that they don’t. Now, this doesn’t mean that they “should” have studied world history in 4th grade, but we studied American. It means that they SHOULD know their multiplication facts, but are still struggling. It means they should be able to sound out words, but they are still struggling with letter sounds. Those are TRUE gaps. However, many of us compare our homeschools to public schools. And, if the public school kids learned each of the presidents in 5th grade, and our kids didn’t? We think that’s a gap. However, we forget that there are MANY things our kids learned that the public school kids didn’t. Do we think THEY have gaps? No. So, why are we comparing our schools to theirs?
How to Fix the “Gaps”
When you recognize your child truly has a gap in their education the best way to “fix” it is to give it your time and energy. We realized last year that our kids didn’t really have any writing experience. Our answer? A solid writing curriculum. When I realized my son didn’t have all of his letter sounds down, we spend the first month or so of school working on them. Gaps can be fixed with time. Gaps sometimes happen because our kids weren’t ready.
How to Prevent Gaps in Learning
Guess what? You can’t! I’m sorry, but gaps are GOING to happen. Our kids are NOT going to learn the same things the public school kids learn because they aren’t in public school. Our kids are going to have gaps because they are individuals, with different interests and passions. Gaps sometimes happen because our kids weren’t ready for the material. None of this means we are failing at homeschooling. It means we are teaching individuals.
Should I FEAR Gaps in Learning?
Honestly, NO. I don’t think you should.
John Holt said this,
Of course, a child may not know what he may need to know in ten years (who does?), but he knows, and much better than anyone else, what he wants and needs to know right now, what his mind is ready and hungry for. If we help him, or just allow him, to learn that, he will remember it, use it, build on it.
And, I truly believe he was on to something there. When we allow our children to pursue learning with a passion. When we recognize that they will be spending the REST of their life learning, and when we focus on the moment, we are doing ourselves and our children a favor. When we stop worrying about gaps and embrace learning as an opportunity to discover, we are inspired to journey WITH our children to find the answers.
Learning is a life-long process. If we teach our children that they CAN continue learning even if it’s a struggle if we show them HOW to find the answers to the questions that they seek we will be encouraging them to be lifetime learners. Isn’t that one of the best gifts we can give them?
This is one post in a series on homeschooling fears. To see the other posts in the series go here.