Headed back to school?

A common question/fear that I am often asked about refers to information gaps. Parents who are contemplating homeschooling ask how to determine what information gaps exist in their current education, and the also fear that they will not be able to teach their children adequately to fill any gap, and even worse, that they might create some new ones. The main counsel that I give to all about this is: Relax. Your child most certainly has gaps; you will inevitable create some, and you won’t be able to fill them all. While that may sound a bit harsh and uncaring, I want families to know the reality about gaps in education that exist for everyone.

Current education gaps

Every student, everywhere around the globe, past, present, and future has/had gaps. This is because no education system is flawless, no teacher is all-knowing in absolutely every topic under the sun, and no student is so capable as to learn all there is to know about everything. This, of course, sounds completely obvious, which it is. However, whenever I counsel parents and students about gaps, they are usually concerned that they are somehow missing some special information or training that will keep them from getting into college and pursuing the career of their dreams. They worry that they must have missed something along the way that they are unable to learn now that will be the ultimate hindrance to their future. But realistically, that is most probably untrue. While there are always going to be gaps, an average learner should be able to make up for it or at least mitigate its effect through hard work and study. It may take some time, with extra classes, extra tutoring, and longer study time. But you can certainly gain the knowledge or skill you feel is necessary but which you are lacking currently. Bottom line – don’t be surprised or overwhelmed by any gaps in learning, but rather expect them. Decide which ones are the most important to eliminate and let the others go.

Inability to adequately fill gaps

Inability to Adequately Fill Gaps – Almost every new homeschool parent has the fear that they won’t be able to help their children fill any current gaps they may have. Many actually decide to homeschool because they see their current education situation as being inadequate and because they cannot find an alternative suitable for them. But then as they delve into the homeschool world, they feel maybe they were too presumptuous about their teaching abilities and are now completely overwhelmed. They become paralyzed by the available choices and realization that they are not at all sure where to even begin. With some guidance though, it is possible to assess your child’s needs and find the right curriculum to meet them. Many curriculum developers and publishers have free assessments to determine proper placement. There are also websites that have curriculum reviews that go beyond online shopping blurbs and explain the ins and outs and pros and cons of different curricula. And of course, you can hire an education consultant like me to help you get going. Also, like I said before, you won’t be able to fill all the gaps, and you will find new ones along the way. By choosing to focus on certain topics and subjects, you will naturally not focus on other things, creating new gaps. Bottom line – don’t be overwhelmed by the gaps you find in both your child’s education and your teaching skills. With some guidance, you can determine what the gaps are, which ones are most important to deal with, and choose the best education plan to success. You can become a confident homeschooler by stepping back and taking a wide view. This perspective can help calm your fears and help you homeschool with confidence.

Fear of total failure

Most of us as parents at some point fear we are total failures and are going screw up our kids forever. An added joy of homeschooling is that this fear now extends beyond the personal areas to also their academic career. When we hit our first hurdle in trying to deal with a gap we have identified, we all feel we have crashed and burned into the Titanic after it already struck the iceberg. This happens to all of us from the newbies to the veterans. The feeling often comes back at different times until we cross the finish line of graduation. But again, this is normal and should be expected. No one of us has it all figured out no matter what it looks like from the outside. None of us is such an expert ninja teacher in all areas that we will produce a whole family of Einstein or Hawking clones. So, decide what you want to focus on and build out from there. Your children will grow up to be as generally well-adjusted as the next person. They will become functioning and contributing members of society. You will have struggles and challenges as a family and as teachers/students along the way because that is part of life. Homeschooling is a different way of life, but it is still life, full of challenges for everyone, homeschoolers and traditional schoolers the same. Bottom line – you will not fill all gaps and you will create new gaps in your child’s education if you choose to homeschool. It’s normal. You will not be funding any therapist’s future dream home on an island in the Pacific because of it. You will not total fail your children by taking the homeschool path.If you need help, I offer a free 30-minute consultation to help point you in the right direction!
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