Why I Can’t Teach Everything and Education Gaps Don’t Really Matter

All my children are now “home school graduates” and I must confess there are gaps in their education – things I could have taught them, but I didn’t, or at best it didn’t sink in. When those education gaps first reared their oblivious head, I was embarrassed. I internally cringed and thought, “Whoops! Let’s keep that piece of ignorance under-wraps”. However, ‘twas not to be contained.

Why I Can’t Teach Everything and Education Gaps Don't Really Matter

Over the years my children learned a few techniques when ‘tested by friends’ (judgemental friends) for educational gaps; one child would reply with an outlandishly wrong answer such as, 9×6 = 581 – at least he knew it was wrong. Another would refuse to be tested and would reply with a cheeky smile, “Sorry I can’t answer that because I’m homeschooled.” Another would discuss things they knew about that were often beyond the scope of a public-school education. However, they knew they had gaps and in the long run, it didn’t matter much. They all still got into university, they all still got good jobs and they are all glad to have been educated at home. And whilst they may not have know everything their public-school educated friends knew – their school friends also had plenty of educational gaps that my kids didn’t have.

You Can’t Teach Everything, and You Don’t Need to Try.

But every now and then we panic! I mean can’t sleep panic! Curriculum purchase panic! Or enroll them in school panic! STOP panicking. I’ll say it again – you can’t teach everything so stop trying.

“Well, it’s all well and good for you to say that,” you say in your mind to me now. “You don’t know how BIG my kids’ gaps are…”.

“Well! that may be true…I’m not confessing all my kids’ GAPS either.” I say back to you.

But I’ve come to terms with the fact I wasn’t the ultimate homeschool teacher (is anybody). I also had a few revelations over my 18 years of homeschooling that have helped me deal with the fact that when my kids graduated from Michelle Morrow Homeschool they still had a lot to learn.

Four Homeschool Education Revelations

  1. Realize your children are lifetime learners. Homeschooling is not the end of their education. They will still be able to learn the things that they don’t know now.
  2. Help them to take responsibility for their own education. But don’t be nasty about it. I’ve seen some parents pick on their kids for not knowing things—berating their child like an idiot—don’t do that! Instead teach them the thing they need to learn on the spot if possible, no need to wait for an official lesson. Give them the revelation that they don’t have to rely on you to teach them everything and encourage them to learn things themselves.
  3. Be intentional about your child’s education, teach it consistently and watch them grow and mature. I do believe we need to offer our kids the opportunity of a good education. We don’t want to lock them out of options for their future. These years are a window in their lifetime which are dedicated to learning. Having a homeschool philosophy or vision will really help you navigate this territory.
  4. Don’t get sucked into the academic vortex. We can get obsessed about subjects and keeping up with the latest – must-have, must do trends. Everything in life, including education, is a trade-off; if you are doing one thing you are not doing another.

Hindsight is a Wonderful Thing and Ignorance is Bliss!

When I look back on my homeschool journey, I think of all the things I could have done differently, and I’m tempted to do an ‘I wish I’d taught blah, blah, blah list’. However, I can also look at it in another way, and look at all the things we did learn. Sure, they may have missed learning this or that, they can still learn it. When I chose to homeschool, I did it because I wanted an alternative education for my kids. The richness of a homeschool education far surpassed learning gaps that may be here or there.

Don’t panic! You can’t teach everything – accept it!

Michelle Morrow

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