Falling Behind in Homeschool: 3 Tips to Get Back on Track

Feeling like you’re falling behind in homeschool is no fun. As humans, we’re programmed to move forward, to compete and to feel like we must be ahead of the game. 

I also think the reason why it feels so crummy is because homeschooling comes with so many expectations – from ourselves and from others. We’ve taken on this huge responsibility so we better start doing it perfectly right away. Or else we’re failures.

If you know me, then you know that I’m not someone who’s going to tell you to work harder and push more to get ‘back on track’. Yes, those posts are out there! I read them and felt sad about the message they’re spreading. 

Let’s rather investigate where these feelings come from and reframe them. I think you’re going to have a better chance of moving forward from that point. And it will be much better for your homeschooling as a whole.  

1. Reframe 'Falling Behind'

The concept of falling behind means that there’s something you’re trying to keep up with. This idea comes from public school for sure. Actually, it comes from society in general, I believe.

From a young age, children are expected to hit milestones when it comes to sitting up, crawling, walking and so on. At school, they’re expected to be able to read, write and do math in certain grades. And once they’re done, there’s college, getting married, having kids, buying a house and so on.

But the world is changing, right? I think it’s hard to deny the fact! Education and learning are very much a part of this! So this means we need to reframe what falling behind means. Otherwise we’re missing the whole point of opting out of the system. 

So let’s reframe falling behind in homeschool terms:

  • When you’re worrying about your kiddo falling behind, reframe it by thinking about the all the ways your child is thriving in homeschool. You could notice that they’re ahead in certain areas. Or that they’re much more relaxed, confident and joyful. This is a huge step ahead for someone who had a bad time at public school! 
  • If you feel like your child has not performed like you wanted them to on a certain task, reframe by looking at big picture. Find the good in the whole homeschooling experience. You’re probably building strong bonds with your child. And you’re having the wonderful opportunity of seeing them grow up first hand! These are so much more important than one task or test. 
I know it’s not easy to ignore pressure from the world around you. But reframing is a good way to start. Journaling about your homeschooling experience is a wonderful for self care and reframing too. Take those negative thoughts and turn them into wins and charms! 

2. Do Some Deschooling

Falling behind in homeschool can also be an indicator of a need for deschooling. I always recommend deschooling when you start out with homeschooling. But it’s also a great tool for when you’re getting stuck.

If your kids are resisting and reluctant to learn, then maybe you need to rethink the way you’re teaching them. Is the curriculum right for them? Are they being engaged in a way that suits their learning styles?

It’s really worth it to take the time to reflect and regroup. Even though it might feel like you’re missing out on valuable learning time, you will in fact gain time when your kid is learning in a way that really works for them.

Let me tell you what that looked like for us. We struggled for years to find a math programme that works for us. And the boys were so resistant and reluctant. But once we found an online math curriculum that worked for us, the kids flew ahead. Just to illustrate what I mean, they did two grades in one year. 

Here are the three steps you can take to deschool:

  1. Allow your kids to decompress and relax. Give them the opportunity to do what they like, to sleep late and to have fun with friends.
  2. Start introducing learning opportunities and observe what they enjoy doing. This is the research phase where you can discover what lights them up. 
  3. When your kids are ready, start to slowly introduce more structured learning based on what you’ve discovered. Be sure to be open to tweaking and adjusting as much as needed. 
Once your kids have deschooled properly, they will fly! You could find that they’re way ahead in terms of what’s considered ‘normal’. Because that’s the other side of falling behind in homeschooling. The standards might actually be keeping them behind. But when you take those standards away, they will be able to soar! 

3. Think About Year Round Homeschooling

  • Another practical step you can do to stop your kid from falling behind in homeschool, is to homeschool year round. As someone who talks loads about time management and schedules, this is one of my easiest go-tos for having more time to homeschool. And for managing your schedule in an effective way as a working homeschool mom. 

I know it sounds like a lot. But it helps so much with alleviating the day-to-day pressure of homeschool. We’ve been doing it for years and I swear by it! We homeshool 4 days a week, year round. 

Year round homeschooling helps in two ways:

  1. It means you can do less on any given day. This is great for you in terms of time management and for your kiddos in terms of stress and energy. It makes it easier to fit homeschooling into your schedule. And it means that kids can have time for doing what they enjoy too. Because there’s so much learning to be had in this way too! 
  2. It also means you can get more done. Weird, right? The reason why is because you prevent wasting time or those dreaded holiday ‘slides’ that can be hard to come back from. You kiddos remain in the flow of learning which makes it much easier to maintain. 

 Year round homeschooling is easy to move into. And you’ll be able to convince your kids when they’re actually engaged and enjoying how they’re learning. And if they have to do less every day! 

Final Thoughts on Falling Behind in Homeschool

I know it’s easy for me to say forget about falling behind in homeschool. I’ve been a working homeschool mom since 2017 so I’ve got a lot of confidence about what I’m doing. 

But I hope that this post will set your mind at ease a little bit. Because you will also build confidence in what you’re doing. It will come when you see how effective homeschooling can be. 

But if you’re not there yet, that’s ok. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take a deep breath and take that first step forward. Because this is how all effective change happens. And know that you’ve got everything you need to have a happy and thriving homeschool!

Charlotte Jones - Working Homeschool Mom Coach

Follow me InstagramFacebook and Pinterest for more homeschool shenanigans, advice and resources. And please check out my working homeschool mom coaching if you need some extra help and support. 

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