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Other People’s Children

Be REALLY careful of comparing your children and a friend's children.

By Ann Zeise

Life isn’t a race!

Someone else’s children will ALWAYS know something that your kids don’t. This doesn’t mean they are ahead and your children are behind. Ahead or behind in what?

Your children may be carefully laying a solid foundation, while your friend’s may be going too fast and her kids will need to go back and review. Your children will have the basics down cold, and so can move into advanced materials easily when the time comes.

Her children may be spending too much time in text books, and yours are getting a sound understanding of how real life works.

In the long run it is being “smart” about how life works, not how well you do in Trivia games. In the long run, it is how wisely and lovingly your children manage their lives that will make them successful. No one will ever know or care how fast or slowly they once completed a 3rd grade math book when your children wind up being thoughtful and trustworthy leaders in their communities.

Set some goals you hope your children will attain by the time they are 18 or so. You won’t have much control after that. Your goals will probably sound a lot more like the Boy Scout laws than anything else — I want my children to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. (And as my son’s troop added – AND WELL FED!)

Wouldn’t you be much prouder if your children succeed in these areas than if they master calculus and have none of these?

Having goals like these will help you decide which is more important, say, when something comes up that conflicts with a planned lesson. For example, if your child has a chance to help his grandmother do some baking, that would then take precedence over doing workbooks. An activity like this would cover at least half these goals: loyalty to a family member, helpfully making cookies, a thrifty activity, and a very friendly one at that when the cookies are shared cheerfully.

Catch my drift?

And, yes, this holds for very bright children, too. We need more diplomats in this world than we need rocket scientists! We need leaders with kind and honest hearts to take office and remain loyal to the people.

Most of us homeschool because we didn’t care for the values taught in the public schools. Take time to think hard about what your core values are so that you will be teaching them to your children, and not just parroting the party line.

Setting Goals

I highly recommend this workbook for families just starting to homeschool or experiencing burnout and wondering why. Overview and ordering information. By Ed Dickerson.

What is your child’s purpose?
At its best, home schooling begins in much the same way panning for gold does. Until you see a child’s INTEREST glistening, you can invest all the energy you want, but you’ll just be moving … and maybe muddying … the waters of life which can be made to swirl around a child.


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