Thursday, April 26, 2012

How Do You...Know What to Teach?

How do you know you're covering all that you need to cover? {That's probably my biggest fear!}
submitted by Jenna

My answer is two-fold.  First of all, I try to step away from the idea that I have to teach what the public schools are teaching.  I don't mean the obvious no-nos like evolution or secular humanism.  I'm referring to the more benign pressures to teach this subject in this grade.  If I take a step back, I realize that it really will be alright if my child doesn't learn to read until second grade or write cursive until fifth grade or if she doesn't learn about simple machines until she is older.  If my son gets to third grade and we realize he never learned the days of the week, we'll take a minute to learn them then.  I need to remind myself that the world is not my standard, whether it be academics or something else. 

That being said, all homeschooling mothers have a fear that they will somehow do their child a disservice and forget to teach something important.  I have this fear multiple times a year when I evaluate what we're learning and thinking of all the things we haven't gotten to yet. 

If I find a gaping hole in our education, I do try to fill it.  For example, I did not plan to teach spelling at all because I figured if we were reading good literature and doing regular copywork, it would come naturally.  That theory has proven true for two of my children, while one of them struggles horribly with spelling.  When I realized that there was a deficiency in that area, I panicked and called myself a bad teacher for not having realized it before.  Then I stopped having a pity party for myself and began tackling spelling mid-year.  We should never feel we're set on a path that we can't change. 

My ultimate goal for my children is that learning will become a life habit.  With that mindset, I can rest easy knowing that they have a lifetime to learn what I forget to cover. 


How do you decide what to teach your children?  Let us know in the comments.

If you have a question for a future "How Do You...?" post, share that in the comments, too, or send me an e-mail   


  1. I love this mindset. I'm trying hard not to think about what is taught in public schools in what grade--too much like just doing school at home, not homeschooling. Also, without added pressure of forcing subjects kids are able to learn whatever we miss teaching them much quicker when they're older. A good reminder to myself (just breathe, Allyson).

  2. Okay, I really like the idea of being aware of the "holes" and then filling them. It makes so much sense! I TRY not to put the "regular school" pressure on myself thinking they must do this in this grade. But that's easy for me to say, and much harder when I'm looking at all the books out there and realizing there is SO much I want them to know! :) But if I'm being a student of my student, I'm going to be aware of their needs. Good, good, good advice!


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