My Kids: Average to the world; awesome to me!

 Homeschooling’s Best Kept Secret: Average Kids

If I haven’t mentioned this before, I will now: I am involved with many types of Yahoo! homeschooling groups.  Some groups I am just a member of, and some are groups that I created and directly oversee.  The important part of this information is that I read a lot from homeschooling families sharing the successes of their kids in relation to homeschooling (and their kids’ personal lives).   There are families that have young teenagers in college—real prodigies.   There are families that are able to graduate their kids at a young age.  Some kids that are phenomenal in certain course subjects, sports, or activities—such as math, the Geography Bee, skating, horse riding, or dancing—and they are recognized for their abilities.  These kids, they are the faces of homeschooling and what we aspire for our kids, right? 

It’s easy to get the feeling that if you want a successful kid then all you need to do is homeschool and it will automatically happen.  It’s a fail-proof opportunity, so why would anyone not give it a whirl?  Open your email and you find a forward about a homeschooling kid that has done an amazing thing—and the homeschooling community wants to share that news with other homeschooling families; it keeps up the homeschooling morale and value in our society.  And who can blame their parents for wanting to share such wonderful news?  Not me.  If I could, I would too.  These kids, they are the faces of homeschooling, even if it’s a little intimidating to me at times.

But I’m not one of those parents that have the next math prodigy, the next Tim Tebow in athletics, or the next Spelling Bee champion.  I’m a parent that has straight average kids.  Yup, your regular, run-of-the-mill, overall average kids.  Sure, in some areas they may be a little ahead of the curve; but in other areas they are below it—simply averaging out.  While they do well in language arts/grammar, spelling is not at the top of their “I can do” list.  In mathematics, the highest course they have completed is Algebra IA (meaning that I broke the Algebra I course down into two parts, covering two years: Algebra IA and Algebra IB); and in many homeschooling circles that would not be bragging rights for high school level kids to only be halfway through an Algebra I course.  Their yearly (testing) evaluation shows them to be grade level.  These kids, they are not the faces of homeschooling, but I imagine they are the majority.

If I were new to homeschooling, I would probably look at my kids in comparison to other homeschooling families and feel like I should put my head in the sand.  Average is not what is forwarded in emails to homeschooling circles and groups; and they are certainly not what homeschooling magazines are filled with.  Sometimes I get to the point that I don’t even want to open the latest edition of a homeschooling magazine because I tire of reading of all of the kids that are so wonderful.  And while it may sound like I am a sorry sport or sore loser that my kids are only rank as average; that’s not really the case.  I’d just like to know what other average, regular kids are doing.  Don’t worry, I get it that average doesn’t sell; but average is homeschooling’s best kept secret. 

So here’s the thing: don’t get caught up in the feeling that your homeschooling isn’t succeeding because you haven’t graduated your daughter at 13 or colleges aren’t knocking down your doors because of your son’s SAT scores.  Focus on the areas of your homeschooling that are a personal success for your own child.  That’s really the benefit of homeschooling, even if it doesn’t seem like what is circling in the homeschooling community. 

–Rebecca Miller

The Sandwiched Homeschooler

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