ABCs of Homeschooling ~ Not Comparing

“Thou shalt not compare thyself to other homeschoolers.”

I was very fortunate to have homeschool moms in my life during the early years who were very real and honest with me.

They told me they made mistakes.

And that it’s okay when I make mistakes.

They shared some of their frustrations and how they were learning from them and they listened to mine and encouraged me. …. We all need that.

We all need to know that life on the other side of the pretty family portrait or the impressive science fair project or the clean and tidy blog page is not perfect. Their grass is not greener. We all have weeds, brown spots that need water, and large patches that flourish and grow. And we don’t need to fool ourselves in to thinking that we aren’t good enough and that if we could only be like them everything would be so much better. Or worse, that we aren’t good enough and should just quit.

Never, ever give up because you don’t think you can compare to “everybody else.”

The truth is that I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I mess up. But I am the perfect teacher for my children. I know their hearts. I have a heart for theirs, with their best interests in mind.

I know their fears, their interests, their strengths, their weaknesses. I know how to encourage them, challenge them, inspire them.

It’s just that sometimes I forget that. DO YOU??

When we do, we can get right back up and dig right back in. Having a heart for homeschooling your children, loving them unconditionally, doing your best and trusting God with the rest will go a long way toward covering over the little mistakes.

Don’t get me wrong.. there’s a lot to be learned from other homeschool moms. (This post, case in point. I hope that I can help encourage you in some way if you’re struggling with comparing and feeling inadequate.) I enjoy talking to other moms and reading other blogs to see what other people are doing. Sometimes another perspective on something is a good thing which leads you to a different conclusion that you would not have come to on your own. If it were not for other homeschool moms I wouldn’t know about the Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System, the Westminster Catechism for Kids workbooks or Teaching Textbooks — all of which are good things that work for us.

On the other hand, you will find much more than you could ever do in your own homeschool, and much of that will not be a good fit for you. The Workbox System is a wonderful thing but we’ve tweaked it to fit our own needs SO MUCH I’m not sure it can even be called a Workbox system anymore. And the history timeline seemed like a FABULOUS idea at the time but we never could get around to making it happen. (We’re going to try one more time, though!)

The point is that we can’t all be like everyone else. And we don’t have to be. We aren’t supposed to be.

And that’s okay.

Be you.

Be the mother of your children, the keeper of your home, the one who knows what will and won’t work for your family. Seek God because He will give you wisdom in these things and find your value in the value that HE has given you and the mission he has called you to. No one else can give you that.

Go forth, enjoy each other’s homeschool stories, be encouraged, inspired — but whatever you do:

No comparing!

God Bless. =)


This post is a part of the ABCs of Homeschooling series by Dawn @ 5 Kids and a Dog. It was born out of need, as lately I have seen more and more homeschool moms online despairing of their battle with feeling inadequate and comparing themselves with others. I am so fortunate that I was able to establish a habit of Not Comparing early in my homeschool ‘career’ thanks to some very wonderful women God placed in my life. Whenever that ugly monster tries to rear its ugly head I can put it back in its place! It’s my prayer that you will be able to release the need to compare and give it over to God, that he would free you from these feelings of inadequacy.

If God has called you to it, He will equip you to do it!

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew: 7:7-8

You can find the rest of my ABCs of Homeschooling posts here:

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July 12, 2011 10:09 am

So true. . . us women are so prone to comparing. It it is hard to remember not to compare. . . But, we have to remember sometimes that we are comparing our whole self to the little outside bits that we get to see of other moms. We don’t see them on their worst days generally, or when their house is a mess, or when their kids are having a “Day”, they don’t talk about the school day where nothing happened and they decided to send their kids to public school. So we see the best parts of other… Read more »

July 13, 2011 9:41 pm
Reply to  Our

“We need to get rid of that completely and focus on only pleasing GOD. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing and thinking, only what our relationship to HIM is. He can and will guide our steps when we are walking with Him.” Yes, exactly! Thank you!

July 12, 2011 1:26 pm

I love this post. I have so much trouble with this. I always have a hard time swimming in my own lane, and just Being Me.

July 13, 2011 9:44 pm
Reply to  crafty_cristy

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…
I have a little bit in common with Dori from Finding Nemo sometimes. 😉
The thing about ‘just keep swimming’ is that you gotta keep looking ahead where you’re going instead of all around you. =)

July 14, 2011 1:12 pm
Reply to  Amber

I probably need to re-watch that movie. I know I need to sing that song to myself, so I will remember to swim in my own lane. I most definitely need to stop looking all around me, and just do what works for our family.

July 12, 2011 4:10 pm

Excellent and inspiring post! It’s so true…I think it can even go beyond compare homeschooling families to one another. Whenever there’s a family, parent, or child who seems to do everything right…or is successful at something (or multiple things), it is easy to compare.

However, your post eloquently pointed out the reasons not to do that. Getting the encouragement, inspiration, and ideas from others – the positive aspects of connecting with other moms/homeschool families – should always be the main purpose.

July 13, 2011 9:46 pm
Reply to  Ann

I was thinking the same thing, we women are bad at that sometimes, homeschooling or not. I thought of all my mom friends as I was writing this. It begins with they’re little– co-sleeping or not? Binky or not? Then it just keeps going– home school or public school? Classical or Montessori or Unschooled or Charlotte Mason? The comparison canyon is deep and wide when we let ourselves fall into it!

July 12, 2011 8:26 pm

I completely agree…. I just read an organization post tonight on a blog that had me feeling very inadequate, and then God sent me your post. 🙂 Thank you! I am fortunate to have many real life homeschool mom friends who keep it real and expose their flaws on a regular basis. I think sometimes reading blogs too much can make you feel a little “less than” if you know what I mean.

I appreciated the reminder in your post!

July 13, 2011 9:47 pm
Reply to  Mary

Oh, ORGANIZATION! Now THERE’s a topic that can get a homeschool mom’s knees ashakin! Especially since it’s so easy to take pictures when a new system is set up and it all looks neat and tidy and we’re looking over at the piles of paper in the corner!

July 13, 2011 1:58 am

This is entirely true! Even given an even playing field, each child is different. There is no comparison. It took us a couple of years to figure this out.

July 13, 2011 9:00 am

Thank you so much for putting this “out there”. I think it is the downfall of many a homeschool.

July 13, 2011 9:51 pm
Reply to  Danica

I think you’re right. And there’s no “one standard” method of homeschooling that we all have to live by. And still some women feel like they must not be doing it right because it doesn’t look like XYZ. I *have* wondered a time or two if I was doing it right, in the beginning, and I think that’s okay to an extent because we should be evaluating ourselves and the job we’re doing but not while comparing to any specific model or idea or method.

July 13, 2011 12:29 pm

Comparison is a trap that SO many homeschool moms get stuck in! To make matters worse, there are always the more experienced moms who will make a newer hs mom feel like she is doing everything wrong. I remember that when I was just starting out too. Great post Amber!

July 13, 2011 9:54 pm
Reply to  Dawn

A trap! Good word choice. And I really don’t want to be one of those moms making others feel inadequate. I like to encourage and be positive and talk about all the good stuff and share ideas and try to help people out — but I hope that everyone understands that I am NOT all that and SOOO not perfect. I hope I can keep up a positive attitude without coming across as condescending or belittling. (I’m not saying that you said I am, my comment just sparks out of the comment you made about moms doing that to each… Read more »

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