Why is it so easy to get burdened down with comparisons? I know one thing, it starts early in life. "I can't take that little pink purse to Kids Zone! It's not big and fancy like so and so's purse." You have a small purse and it will hold what you need. I mean what does she really need in her purse?!? What does it matter?
To a six year old girl it does matter.
To a not even closely near to six year old girl it also matters. More than
New moms are particularly brutal with comparisons. We tend to choose teams early on and never the twain shall meet: formula feeding vs breast feeding, regular diapers vs cloth, crib sleeping or co-sleeping, forward facing vs rear facing, vaccinations vs non-vacs, Chuck E. Disease goers vs non-Chuck E. Disease goers (yes, I am raising a Chuck E. deprived child)...it goes on and on. It doesn't get any better as the kids grow up either. As human beings, we tend to flock to those that share a common bond and shun those who don't. Is it for solidarity and support or is it a true superiority mindset? Mixture of both, I'm sure. Misery loves company. Kidding. Ties that bind make us feel secure. Why would you try to discuss successes or failures with someone that doesn't understand where you are really coming from? I told a friend once that discussing homeschool related challenges with a non-homeschooling mom is like discussing spiritual things with someone who doesn't even go to church. It doesn't make sense to do so and may put you in an even more confused state when they offer their point of view, which, from the start, is far off base from yours.
My comparisons (and I think it's a common thread for most) stem from insecurities.
One of the first things pieces of advice you will receive when you start homeschooling is not to fall into the trap of comparing your child (or your academic choices) to their public school peers. That's one reason why you are choosing to homeschool...customized education. What does it matter what the public schools are teaching or at what level? It's also important, for your own sanity, not to compare your homeschooling journey to others' homeschooling journeys. It can be just as torturous as thinking about the public schools. It is a great, sound recommendation. It's just hard to put it into practice.
I have an upcoming review for an online reading/math enrichment program and Julianna had to do assessment tests to determine the level for the program to start. Ugh. I turned it on for her and let her complete them independently. She scored higher in some areas/lower in others, but overall came in lower than she "should" be. Double ugh. Not what I wanted. Did she not listen to the directions? She does have a habit of clicking through quickly without listening to all the instructions. Does she have learning issues that I'm not facing? All the results do is feed into my distresses.
If I were teaching her the "right" way or the "right" things, she wouldn't have these problems.
If she were in school she would be doing...
Another teacher would be able to teach her...
If I hadn't chosen to homeschool she would be testing at levels of...
If I would have gone with such and such curriculum...
"What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in thee." Psalms 56:3
This is only our second year homeschooling and for whatever reasons it has been a tough, tough year. Struggle after struggle. An uphill battle from the beginning.
We attended a conference in Northern Virginia before beginning our homeschool journey and the speaker (Michael Smith, President HSLDA - He was awesome!) did a session on "The Three Be's of Homeschooling": Be steadfast (consistently, firmly/loyal - committed to homeschooling), Be immovable (do not give up) and Be abounding (filled) in your work. He used the following scripture:
"It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of [anxious] toil--for He gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep." Psalms 127:2, Amplified
His point was do not waste time or lose sleep worrying over things, God
will fill in the gap.
When the doubts and insecurities creep in, I will choose to stand on His promises and not compare where we are in our educational pursuits to others.
I will not let comparison steal my joy.
The joy of having the front row seat as Julianna learns every day.
The joy of raising her in a protected environment where we can control what she is exposed to.
The joy of listening to her sing praises to Jesus as she is doing her work or playing.
The joy of the privilege to be able to homeschool.