Don’t Take the Bait: Avoiding the Comparison TrapLaToya Edwards
When I first decided to homeschool my boys, I looked at what other people were doing. I knew of only one family in real life that was homeschooling. This family was composed of a single mom and her children. She was a full-time law student, and she seemed to make things work. Then I watched a family on TV homeschool their children, and I thought, “I can handle that.”
And then I got started.
There are many things that I struggled with as a new homeschool mom, but I think the most difficult has been avoiding the comparison trap. No matter how hard I try, I seem to fall into that pit over and over again. I see a project on Pinterest and think to myself that I’m failing because I could never pull it off. Even when we have success in our lessons, I feel inadequate when a friend’s child seems to be doing far better than my own.
So what are we to do? How can we learn not to take the comparison bait?
Cast a Vision for Your Homeschool
Before starting your homeschool journey it’s important to have a vision. Why are you homeschooling? What are your goals for your family? Creating a vision and long-term plan for your homeschool will help you recover when burnout sets in, when you start a new math curriculum for the seventh time, or when you start to feel inadequate.
Define What Success Looks Like
Every family is different, and every family will homeschool differently. I’m going to let you in on a secret that has really served me well over the years: You decide what success looks like for your children.
If test scores and completed textbooks are not something that you think is important, then don’t use them to measure the success of your homeschool year.
I have learned to place a higher value on progress instead of constantly measuring my children against others. As long as we are moving forward in our lessons and in learning, we are successful.
Play to Your Strengths
Here’s the thing — not everyone is going to be the mom who does all the fun hands-on activities, complicated crafts, and beautiful projects. Maybe your strength is in planning fun field trips or finding great read alouds. Whatever it is, stick with that. When you focus on the things that you do well (and that your children do well), you won’t have time to look at what other’s are doing.
Those are just three ways that I’ve learned to combat the need to compare myself to other families. When all else fails, you could always just avoid Pinterest and blogs for a short amount of time. You can’t compare yourself to the things you aren’t looking at right?