Consider that word for a few moments.
What are your first thoughts when you read it? When you say it out loud? Sit with those thoughts for a minute or so.
Comparison is an intense word when you look at it closely. Like most things, it can have positive and negative connotations.
In a positive light, comparison can help you grow. You can look to mentors, to those you admire and adopt habits and practices that are beneficial to self and those around you. You can compare recipes to tweak your own to discover just that right amount of nutmeg or how long to stir brownie batter.
Conversely, comparison can have devastating effects. It can rip you apart and make you doubt everything about self, family, friends, what you do-your entire life. If you let comparison creep in, it can seep into every crack of your being-and cause you to become unglued and shattered.
Comparison is not isolated to only homeschoolers. It exists from that moment during infancy when you recognize that you're separate from your mother. Comparison is a natural process of growing and developing. It can be seen between siblings, friends, classmates, and strangers. The process is used in the fields of medicine and science to add to our knowledge base. For the purpose of this series, however, comparison will be viewed with its effect on homeschoolers.
Go back to your initial thoughts on comparison. Look at your choice of words-and ask yourself how do they apply to your homeschool. Do these words help you identify areas of homeschool struggle with comparison?
When you say those words aloud (keeping your homeschool in mind), what kind of emotions are brought up? Anxiety? Anger? Overwhelmed? Do you feel like you just want to shut down and never leave your home or go on social media? (Confession time-that's how I often feel!)
What is that well-known saying, "The grass is always greener..."? I don't know about you but I can tell myself that phrase 1,001 times and it still doesn't always cut it.
Sure, I know that life isn't perfect for other homeschoolers. But, reiterating this type of phrase just doesn't always help. I still find myself hearing about other homeschools with a twinge of guilt, jealousy, and frustration.
What Can You Do About Homeschool Comparison?
Comparison has been one of my personal homeschool struggles for quite some time. I love reading other blogs and finding inspiration from their activities, crafts, and projects. Pinterest-surfing is one of my favorite ways to find the latest and greatest in homeschool resources and ideas. What I don't love is the feeling of self-doubt and despair that clings to me after such browsing sessions.
Do you ever experience such a "Pinterest perfect" comparison with your homeschool? If so, never fear-you're not alone! I hear many homeschool moms battling the same thoughts and feelings of "not feeling enough"? And I am here to tell you that there is something that we can do to overcome it!
Now, I don't think that it's wrong to go on Pinterest or other blogs. Heavens no! One of the beauties of homeschooling is how we have this modern community where we can share our ideas and resources. We don't need to reinvent the wheel! But, we do need to monitor how comparison is affecting our overall functioning and well-being.
What can you do as homeschooler to overcome the comparison syndrome?
4 Necessary Steps To Overcoming Homeschool Comparison
- Pray. Or meditate. Or just have some quiet time.
- Look at yourself.
- Observe your kids.
- Take a realistic look at your family life.
I always think it's best to slow yourself down and do a reality check. Maybe you find comfort in prayer? Or meditation is more your groove? Even a few quiet moments can be powerful in helping you hit the pause button and recognize that your thoughts and feelings might be swinging a bit out of control due to the nasty effects of comparison.
Honestly look at yourself. Admit all your strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps you're energetic, creative, and tuned in? Along with those positive aspects, maybe you also struggle with adhering to a schedule, following a specific lesson plan, and checking work? Don't be ashamed about your weaknesses-we all have them! Work towards accepting them-and building your strengths.
Take time and observe your kids. What are their interests and strengths? What areas do they thrive in-and what areas do they struggle? Do they function best in the morning or are they night owls?
What is going on in your family life now? In the next few months? Regular routine or major life changes? Assess your family's schedule and commitments with a realistic eye and determine what is doable (without losing your marbles!).
The final action is to look at your responses and observations from step 1-4. Take time to reflect upon these realizations. Step back and look at the complete picture. Embrace it. This scenario is current reality. It will not look like anyone else's-and that's A-OK!.
Your homeschool is your homeschool. Your kids are your kids. You are you.
These points are all necessary to consider. When you take a bigger look at your homechool and its many parts, you can see your reality and how it looks in contrast to what your ideal is (or what you think everyone else is saying to do!).
Once you've completed these 4 tasks, you can work towards acceptance.
Will this change of mindset occur overnight? Probably not-and that's okay. Your focus can be on the process of acceptance and how that will help you grow not only in your homeschool, but in your faith and in your life.
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You can reach that place of acceptance of who you are as a homeschooler and what your homeschool is. You don't have to continue your quest for the Holy Grail of curriculum or worry that Mary McHomeschool looks absolutely perfect all the time as a homeschool mom.
When you learn to ditch the homeschool comparison game, you'll open yourself and your homeschool to so much joy and peace.
Looking over your shoulder is draining. Plus, you could get a really bad crick in your neck. You don't have time for that type of nonsense. You want to get on with enjoying your homeschool and being the fun mom, right?
Do you find yourself struggling with homeschool comparison?
What's the worst part about it?
You can find more about overcoming homeschool struggles here: