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  • Louise Cheetham

Making Sure Your Child Doesn't Fall Behind


As a home schooling mum the question that I get asked a lot is “How will you make sure your homeschooled children aren’t falling behind?”


I really struggled with that question in our early days. I spent hours checking the level my kids should be at across their core academic subjects, either sweating on them catching up or celebrating them being ahead.


But over time a small internal voice started asking for my attention. It had a point to make, and grew louder until it couldn’t be ignored:


You can only fall behind if you’re trying to arrive at a specific place within a specific period of time. Childhood doesn’t have to be a race, it can be a journey. It can have many different paths and endings, many different measures of progress and success.


I paused, thinking about my two older children.


The first, an avid reader, writer and artist. Not a square inch of his bedroom clear of his own illustrations. Inhaling books as if they give him life. A beautiful writer with a voracious appetite for creating his own work. Matching and exceeding academic standards in his sleep. A delight to every teacher he ever had.


The second, his younger brother by just two years, almost the opposite. Unable to spend the time needed at a desk to meet any standard that requires it. Always needing to move, to make noise, to express himself physically. Learning by doing, tinkering, exploring, experimenting, by breaking and fixing, by trial and error. Testing enough boundaries to cause tense parent-teacher meetings while he was at school.


The voice, far from finished yet, pointed out that I was trying to benchmark two very different children against one very specific standard. That one of them would always tick the expected boxes while the other would always struggle. That perhaps my son wasn’t the problem, the standard I was holding him to was.


The penny dropped.


What started as a quiet internal voice soon became my strongest conviction: it’s impossible to fall behind when your main goal is to become the truest version of you.


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