What happens if I fall behind?

I hear this a lot. As homeschool parents, we worry that our children are going to fall behind because they aren't "on track" with their peers.

How do you know that your child doesn't have their own track? Their own timeline of developmentally appropriate learning?

Maybe your child needed to spend extra time on addition and subtraction early on and now is more than a semester behind in their math book. While the public school progressed on leaving students who weren't ready for addition and subtraction behind, you spent the extra time to make sure they got it. Now your child is in 2nd grade and blowing through the material you give her because she finally gets it. She's catching up fast. That's what happened to my daughter.

We spent so much time and energy on basic number sense, addition, subtraction, clocks and money. I repeated chapters. I supplemented with other, more simplified math hoping that maybe it was the way it was explained in our math program. Nope, she just wasn't getting it. I worried she had dyscalculia, which is a difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic, such as difficulty in understanding numbers and learning math facts. Why? Because she wasn't learning? Because she was "falling behind"? She could read at a 6th grade level at 6 years, 9 months old. Why wasn't she getting math? 

The answer is she had her own track for math. 

My middle son has his own track for reading. This one had me worried he would never learn or be interested in reading. It wasn't until he turned 9 and discovered a book series he loved (Captain Underpants) that he finally started reading on his own, with enthusiasm. He preferred to read out loud because he wanted to share the funny stories with us. I had him read each book twice for fluency and he did not mind at all. 

This is the son that didn't start talking until age 3. He still goes to speech therapy for his /R/ sounds. At 8 years, 7 months I gave him the DORA test and he scored at or below grade level for everything except reading comprehension and oral vocabulary. He would drive me nuts when I would read out loud because he never appeared to be paying attention, but he could always narrate back to me exactly what I just read. 

I feared he could never quiet his mind enough to sit and read a book. One night, when he was 8 years old, he asked to have a reading light like his big brother clipped to his bed. He has trouble going to sleep at night (his mind goes a million miles a minute) and wanted to try reading just like big brother. I thought this was perfect! Of course I would do it and of course our daughter wanted one as well. And that was when he finally started trying to read. He wanted to read The Spiderwick Chronicles. Those books are 4th grade level books with plenty of large words to sound out. He worked his way through them because he wanted to. Those books were hard work for him, too. He would show me any words he couldn't sound out or didn't know the next day. He worked hard at it, but it wasn't really until 3rd grade and Captain Underpants came along that he truly enjoyed the act of reading. I bought another DORA test and plan to have him take it at the end of the year. I'll update with the results. 

Do not be discouraged because your child is not ready to do the same tasks as other children. They are just working at a different pace and that is one of the beautiful things about homeschooling. They are given the time to work to mastery and then move on. So give yourself and your kids a break and drop the idea of grades and what the other kids are doing in public school. 

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I have been homeschooling since 2009, but have been reading about it since 2003. Homeschooling is rapidly growing. Whether you are a veteran or new to homeschooling, I hope to filter some of the vast amounts of information for you


  1. Great post. My kids all have their own tracks, and one of the benefits of learning outside of conventional school is that we can let them go at the rate that is right for them.


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