having to stop and think about what grade you’re in, because…
it really. doesn’t. matter.
Are you shocked?
Homeschooling is having to stop and think about what grade your children are in, even though you are their mommy AND their teacher.
Are you appalled?
I might’ve been too, once.
But that was before 15 years of homeschooling.
Actually, home educating sounds so much better, doesn’t it? Use that one when talking to the most critical critics. 😉
My children get asked this all the time. Sometimes they answer right away. Sometimes they glance at me for the answer. Sometimes we stand right there and have a conversation about it to figure out the answer.
Something like this:
Nice cashier at the store: “What grade are you in?”
My child: Glance. “Um, fourth. I think.”
Me: “No, you’re still in third grade.”
Child: “Mom, I was in third grade last year.”
Me: “You were? Oh my goodness, that’s right.”
The cashier smiles, but I am sure she is thinking: These people are nuts.
What she doesn’t know is that we homeschool. It is an ongoing process. So, we don’t have to chop our learning up into artificial, arbitrary grade levels. When someone doesn’t finish a math book at the “end” of the school year, we don’t toss it and start a new one just because he is supposed to be in a new grade. On the other hand, if someone finishes a spelling book by Christmas, he can certainly start a new one in January. And he can do fifth grade math and tenth grade reading. Or whatever works for him.
Learning is about knowing what we’re working toward, and just working our way toward it, in a 24/7 kind of way, with plenty of flexibility and individuality.
And yes, I do keep track of how far along they are and when they are expected to graduate, and such things. It’s just that I am much more in tune with what specific skills they are working on, what topics we are studying together, and what their personal strengths and weaknesses are, than what grade they are in.
If you’re a veteran, like me, you’re smiling. You know what I’m talking about.
If you’re new at this, and you’re nervous, worrying yourself sick over grade levels, tests, and “what ifs”…
then relax. I give you permission.
There was probably a time when you were nervous about learning to ride a bike, too. I was, and I remember it well. I wanted to look down at my pedals, and make sure they were okay, and look down at the handlebars, and make sure they were straight, and look at the ground in front of the wheel, to stay on track. I wanted to avoid falling. But all that did was make me wobble along, stop frequently, and not get very far. My uncle who was teaching me, said, “Just look where you are going. Keep your head up.” This sounded like very bad advice to me. I was sure he was wrong. But he insisted, so I did. I stopped looking down and looked straight ahead, at where I wanted to end up…and I got there. I still fell a time or two, but it got easier. I began to relax.
If that’s where you are in homeschooling, focused on falling, then stop looking down. Don’t get bogged down in worrying about finishing each book by year’s end, or grade levels, or whether each child excels at everything (they won’t.)
Just look straight ahead…fix your eyes on the horizon and prayerfully think about where you’re going…what your ultimate goal is for your children…write it down and put it on the fridge if you have to…
and enjoy the ride. Bumps and all!
Pretty soon, you’ll be riding with
“no hands!” 😉