Do you struggle with continually comparing your homeschool to others? Doing so can easily steal your joy and leave you feeling overwhelmed. So how do you avoid the homeschool comparison trap?
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“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
If comparison is the thief of joy, then why can’t we seem to stop doing it? It doesn’t serve us to compare our homeschools, our children, our homemaking abilities, or anything else in our lives. Yet, we can’t seem to help ourselves. Social media has made it even harder to avoid comparing our lives to others’.
But it’s just as easy to compare yourself to others at the grocery store, library, or other social functions.
Are my kids doing enough? Am I?
Homeschool comparisons can create jealousy, a feeling of being less than, and thoughts of inadequacy. It can also lead to a sense of fear. Fear of not doing enough or doing this home education thing wrong.
Suddenly, you’re feeling like your kiddos aren’t reading enough classic books, they aren’t writing epic novels, their math skills aren’t up to par, or your poetry teatime isn’t magical enough because you served Little Debbie snack cakes instead of making homemade treats!
Ask me how I know.I’ve been there, folks.
Should I be teaching Latin and a foreign language? What about artist and composer studies? We should be doing hands-on activities and nature walks.
So, you try forcing, bribing, and cajoling your kids to do more, more, more!
Fear is a liar, and comparisons can make you miserable.
How to Avoid the Homeschool Comparison Trap
Comparisons can be a good motivator if you seek appropriate and realistic expectations. For example, you love the idea of poetry teatime, so you browse the internet looking for poetry teatime ideas to incorporate into your homeschool week. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re looking for more information on a subject that interests you.
But, when you start to compare all aspects of your homeschool in a constant state of inexhaustible contrast that leaves you feeling like you are never enough, that’s a problem.
How do we stop comparing ourselves to each other?
1. Practice gratitude. What are you thankful for today? It’s hard to get caught in a comparison trap when you are actively grateful. Can you think of at least five things? Maybe you could start a gratitude journal.
2. Focus on your homeschool vision. How do you see your homeschool in your mind? What are your goals? Keep in mind your lifestyle, your teaching style, and your children’s learning styles. Now, what can you do to create that vision?
I have found the book Teaching from Rest to be helpful.
3. Reflect on how you want your homeschool to feel. Feelings are important and different from vision. I want our homeschool to feel warm and enriching. If you need a little pick-me-up, then you may enjoy the books:
- Better Together: Strengthen Your Family, Simplify Your Homeschool, and Savor the Subjects That Matter Most
- A Gracious Space: Fall: Daily Reflections to Sustain Your Homeschooling Commitment.
4. Focus on your strengths. Everyone has strengths. Some people are great leaders, organizers, creators, readers, writers, gamers, etc. What is your strength?
5. Remember your homeschool why. Why are you homeschooling your kiddo?It's okay, to look at what others are doing to gain insight and ideas that you can apply to your homeschool. But remember, every family is different, so every homeschool will be different.
6. Look at what has worked or didn’t work for your homeschool in the past.
It’s okay, to look at what others are doing to gain insight and ideas that you can apply to your homeschool. But remember, every family is different, so every homeschool will be different. Every. Single. One. The key is to find what works best for you in this season of your homeschool.
Just don’t judge yourself based on what someone else is doing.
Have you found yourself caught in a comparison trap? What helps restore your perspective?
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Erin Vincent is a homeschooling mom to two intense kids. They are child led with a heavy emphasis on read alouds, games, art, nature hikes, and hands on science! They traded the hustle and bustle of city life for the quiet farm life where opportunities for exploration in nature abound. When they're not homeschooling you'll find Erin curled up with a cup of coffee and a good book!. You can find Erin at Nourishing My Scholar.