Monday, April 2, 2012

A Different Angle of Comparrison

It's funny how you can know something in your mind, but your heart can completely ignore it and cause you to fret and worry. We've heard about the dangers of comparing our homeschool to others, but on a more immediate level, we should learn not to compare one child to their sibling.

Alana (6) and Kyra (5) are finishing up their Kindergarten year. Both have enjoyed school and get excited about trying new things (well, except when it comes to food). Both love to learn, play games, and get dirty!

I've struggled this year with the fact that Kyra is exceling at school, while her older sister can't seem to keep up and has her own issues in subjects like reading/phonics.

This is where the knowing and the heart comes into play.

I know that each child is different. Each child has their own passions, their own strenths and weaknesses, and their own path. Part of the reason that we homeschool is to be able to cater to these differences.


Sometimes when I reflect on Alana's struggles, I can't help but wonder and worry. I mentioned a few posts ago about her speech therapy and possible delays due to being premature--and it could all very well be related. Or it could be something else, or nothing at all.

I worry about Alana's feeling inferior in academics and, in turn, not enjoying the learning process. This year, I've not pushed Kyra to her full potential because I was kind of trying to keep them on the same page--after all, Kyra was already doing Kindergarten stuff a whole year early.

As I consider our curriculum and schedule for next year, I can't help but compare my children and their strengths/weaknesses.

I've realized a few things, though, and trust me, some of them are very "duh!" in nature:

1. I can't expect that both girls will excel at the same things. Kyra is already reading, but Alana can wield a crayon/pencil to create the most amazing things. Alana can put a 100 piece puzzle together in no time and with no help, but Kyra can remember songs and Bible verses like their going out of style.

2. Children learn more when it's something they enjoy or that they can apply to themselves. Incorporating their passions into subjects like Math and Reading, or using unit studies can encourage them in their learning. Unit studies in particular can include children on any level, so they are all learning together.

3. We need to celebrate the differences! For the most part, Alana will only "feel" inferior, if we make a big deal out of the fact that Kyra is passing her--even when there's nothing wrong with her or with Kyra. Alana won't lose interest in learning if we continue to cater to her interests and encourage the stuff she does well. Little things, like giving her a small "art studio" will do far more for her self-esteem than having her sister working in different curriculum and whatnot.

4. Whta works for one, may not work for another. Children, in general, learn in different ways, at different paces. Kyra is remembers most things she sees and hears. Alana is much more a kinesthetic learner. I was using All About Spelling for both of my girls at the beginning of the year. About halfway through, I switched Alana to Horizons because she was having trouble with the auditory/verbal stuff in All About Spelling. She's done better after switching.

5. Comparing doesn't help anyone. What do I gain by comparing an apple and an orange? There is no comparison. And all it results in is useless worry and doubt that is anything but proactive and encouraging.

So, as I finish up this homeschool year and prepare for the next, I'm trying not to compare my children, but instead to celebrate and embrace their differences. I aim to deepen our relationships and encourage their trust in the Lord. I hope to instill and nourish a love for learning that will take them well into their adult years.

None of that has anything to do with comparrison.

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