8 Ways We Compare Homeschools And How To Stop

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8 Ways We Compare Homeschools And How To Stop-Busy Boys BrigadeThis post on 8 Ways We Compare Homeschools And How To Stop is part of a blog and Periscope series dedicated to helping homeschoolers overcome common struggles. To find links to other post in this series, please scroll down.

The homeschool comparison game is absolutely no fun. When you started homeschooling, did you ever think that you would be dealing with the additional burden of comparison? You probably thought that the major struggle over whether to homeschool or not was going to be your biggest hurdle.

And then, swoosh! Comparison hit you in the face like a glass of ice cold water!  Brr!

Comparison can be like that-icy and takes your breath away. An unexpected jolt to the system that sends you reeling.

Of course, as mentioned in earlier posts, homeschool comparisons can be a good thing. The icy glass of water might be the wake-up call you need, the kick in the pants to get to the research and decision phases. Perhaps you found motivation and encouragement through a homeschool mentor who kindly guided you through the beginning stages. Or a homeschool friend who willingly shared ideas and tips to help you get on track.

A trusting and supportive friendship between homeschoolers can truly be a beautiful thing.

Unfortunately, the tendency to compare homeschools does arise-and can be detrimental to all involved.

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8 Ways We Compare Homeschools

Before I get to my recommendations on how we can overcome the struggle of how we compare homeschools, let's look at 8 common ways homeschoolers experience comparison:

  1. How We Do Homeschool-By this I mean, the homeschool approaches and philosophies a family adopts for their home education.
  2. Schedule vs. Non-Schedule-I have been hearing a lot of chatter within homeschool circles about unschooling, with a weighing in on its pros and cons.
  3. Time of Homeschool-I often hear homeschoolers ask how many hours a day and how many days a week. Also, the comparison between year-round homeschooling vs. following a traditional school calendar.
  4. Subjects Covered/Curricula-Another big area of discussion! What curriculum (if any) is used and what subject areas are addressed (and how often)?
  5. Books & Resources-I placed this topic separately because I have heard debate over which are "the best" books, games (if allowed), and other materials outside of a particular curriculum.
  6. Structured vs. Non-Structured-Does a family strictly stick to a schedule or do they just go with the flow?
  7. Boxed vs. DIY Curriculum- (again, for those that use curriculum) Some homeschoolers swear by using a boxed set of curriculum while others balk at the idea.
  8. Vs. Public School-As homeschoolers, we often compare our homeschools to public school-positively and negatively.

Affects of Comparing {Home}schools

When we find our comparison of homeschools to negatively affect our overall functioning. we may suffer from a variety of struggles. Anxiety, anger, depresssion, and feeling overwhelmed are a few of the ways homeschoolers may be affected.

You may fear that your homeschool is less than another. Maybe you worry that your children are night owls and dilly dally with a late start to your homeschool day-but your friends' kids flourish with a 9am start time. Perhaps you are afraid that your kids are missing out on all that a public school education could provide like science labs or recess.

Other times, you may get angry that you don't have the financial means to purchase the big-sticker curricula that comes highly recommended. Maybe you become angry when you hear another homeschooler bash your homeschool approach. You may also feel anger at yourself because you are inconsistent and unable to stick to the schedule of your dreams while your homeschool friend flies through the day with apparent ease.

Sadness over homeschool comparisons is quite common. The fears and anger we experience often get shoved down until we become overwhelmed and frozen. All of the above ways we compare homeschools can lead to depression when left unchecked.


What To Do When We Compare {Home}schools

My #1 recommendation for how to deal with the negative game of homeschool comparions is STOP YOURSELF! Put on the brakes. Envision a red stop sign. Get that glass of icy cold water and dump it over your head. Whatever it takes to make you hit that pause button!stop-1207069_640

The downward spiral of homeschool comparisons is going to take you nowhere. You will be boarding the bus to the blues, blahs, and boos. Don't even pack your homeschool bags for that ride, sister!

Then, EXAMINE THE COMPARISON.  Yes, revisit what was causing you such struggle. Write down any and all ideas surrounding how you compare homeschools. Have a chat with a family member or friend that you feel comfortable sharing such thoughts with. Or, my favorite, have a conversation with yourself! Find a quite spot (or uninhabited closet or bathroom) and talk to yourself about what is going on inside of you.


After taking a closer look at the source of your homeschool comparison struggle, do a REALITY CHECK! Is this thought true to life? Could you present the ideas to another and it would be crystal-clear sense? Can you list at least 3 facts as to why this other homeschooler/curriculum/book/schedule would be better?


Next,  you have a few options based on your reality check:

  1. If you truly think your homeschool comparison is justified, explore if it is a viable option. If it is, discuss with your spouse and family. Get their feedback and make a family decision.
  2. Also, if comparison is justified but not doable at this time, determine if there is an acceptable alternative. Again, consult family and proceed.
  3. If your homeschool comparison is totally unrealistic, pitch it! Find the humor in it. Replace the "should"s, "have to"s, and "I-can't-stand"s with positive phrases like "It would be nice if..." or "I would prefer...".
  4. Check with your family and friends to see if they consider your homeschool in the same light. You may feel like your homeschool is lacking and unable to see its positives, but your spouse, kids, or friends may see a completely different picture.


Join me and other homeschoolers on Periscope as we work together to overcome common homeschool struggles. It is a great way to connect and know that you are not alone. Supportive and encouraging conversation that can help lift us up in times of need.


I pray that this series on overcoming common homeschool struggles is helpful. Find out more in these posts:

An Honest Look At Homeschool Struggles

Overcoming Homeschool Anxiety: Interview & Tips

What To Do When Feeling Overwhelmed In Your Homeschool

What To Do When Time Management Is A Homeschool Struggle

What To Do When You Have Anger With Your Homeschool

Homeschool Comparisons: What Is It And What To Do To Overcome

Homeschool Comparisons: Let's Drop The Labels!


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