We often play the comparison game and then second-guess ourselves. In this episode I discuss ways to help yourself feel confident about your decisions, so you’re not always looking around you at what everyone else is doing and feeling like you don’t measure up.
Remember that you have so much freedom as you homeschool high school. Embrace it! Stand strong! And listen to the episode for more reassurance!
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This episode sponsored by College Prep Genius
Most students, even smart ones, bomb standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. This is because these ae not normal tests about content; rather, they are logic-based. The questions purposely mislead students with tricky and appealing answers. Students only get around a minute per question, so most will spend 2-3 minutes each and burn up the clock; yet they can be answered in 30 seconds or less.
Most test prep companies, even name-brand ones, teach more math concepts, thousands of vocabulary words, rehash grammar rules, i.e., reteaching school all over again. You can’t study for these tests but must learn the recurring patterns found on each test. It takes a different skillset to beat these tests since they are testing your critical thinking skills.
College Prep Genius is an award-winning company that helps families prepare for college. We have test prep that works for SAT, PSAT, CLT and ACT. Students can raise their test scores to receive scholarship money, even free college. Our students have raised their SAT as much as 700 points, the ACT by 9 points, have become National Merit Scholars, and have even gone to Ivy Leagues for free. We also help with guidance for high school prep.
Go to CollegePrepGenius.com to take a look!
Episode 73: How to Feel Confident About Your Decisions
Ann Karako: Hi, I’m Ann Karako, and you’re listening to Episode 73 of the It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School podcast.
Welcome to another episode of It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School, the podcast for real people so that you can confidently, competently, and yes, even contentedly provide the high school education that is best for your teen and your family. I’m your host, Ann Karako, from notthathardtohomeschool.com.
Welcome back, everyone. Hope you’re having a great day today. My topic today has two titles. Don’t know which one I’m going to end up actually using. We’re going to talk about the comparison game, otherwise known as how to stop second-guessing yourself [chuckles], because it’s something that we all do, don’t we? We look around at what others are doing, and then we start second-guessing the choices that we have made. We’re going to talk about that today.
Recently in my Facebook group, there was a mom who posted about a particular curriculum. She said her teen had started with this curriculum and loved this curriculum, and was doing great with this curriculum. Yet, she had read reports from others who had struggled with the same curriculum, and she was thinking maybe she should switch. She got a lot of good advice from the moms in the group. Yet, I know we can all relate to that. We can all relate to, wow, I thought this was what we should do, but I see these people over there doing something different or saying something different than what our experience is. Maybe we’re the ones who are wrong. We all do that, don’t we?
Well, what I told that mom was, “Girl, stay strong. Don’t be intimidated by what others have to say. If it’s working for you, then stick with it.” Remember that every kid is different — and you know what, that should be a subpoint. I need to write that down right now. That should be a subpoint on what I’m about to say, but I do have several other things to say about this idea of comparing ourselves to others or second-guessing our own decisions based on what others have said.
We worry that we are not doing it right. We worry that we’re missing something. We think everybody else is doing it right. We look to them for either confirmation or for new information, or oftentimes, we’re actually looking for the ways in which we are failing. If they’re doing it that way over there, then I’m probably failing over here. We’re actually looking for that. Well, let’s stop. Let’s stand firm on our own two feet, on our own decision-making process, and here are some of the ways to do that.
There is only one “should”
First of all, I think we all need to remember that the “should” word is kind of a bad word. It’s an “sh” word. It’s a bad word. Let’s not use the “should” word. Just because somebody else is doing something differently than we are, it doesn’t mean that we should be doing it the way they are. Remember, there is only one should, when it comes to homeschooling high school, only one, and that is to follow your state homeschool law. That is your only should. The only thing you absolutely must do. If somebody else is doing that and you’re not, then yes, you need to start doing that for sure. Follow your state homeschool law by all means, but that’s the only thing you absolutely have to do. Everything else is your choice. Everything else can differ from every other homeschooler on the face of the planet, and you can still be doing absolutely fine.
Do not get bogged down by feeling like you should be doing something that somebody else is doing if it’s not related to your state homeschool law. I do have a podcast episode, which actually there’s a video of the exact same content on YouTube, about interpreting your state homeschool law. I will put that in the show notes.
Just as a quick reminder, to get to the show notes, you’re going to go to notthathardtohomeschool.com, and you’re going to click on podcast in the top menu and then look for Episode 73. When you scroll down, you will find links to all the resources that I will mention in this episode, as well as many that I don’t mention. It’s a treasure trove of other places to look for good information. Definitely check out the show notes. Get into the habit of doing that if you haven’t to this point.
Do your OWN research
Another idea to think about when it comes to feeling insecure about the decisions that you’ve made and looking around at others and thinking, “Oh, maybe they made the right ones” — have you really done your research? Or is your research just polling the opinions of others?
If that’s the research that you’re doing –hey, what do you think about this, and what are you doing about that –then, yes, that’s going to lead to much insecurity on your part. A definite lack of confidence in the choices that you are making because you’re basing them on what other people are doing. To gain confidence, do your own research.
What kind of research do I mean? Well, definitely research your state homeschool law for yourself. Also, if your kid is headed to college, research college requirements for yourself. Don’t go by what somebody else is saying, “Oh, we’re doing this many credits of math and this many credits of English.” You look at what college requirements are for yourself and determine what your kid needs to do in order to get into college or to complete graduation requirements that you have set.
We don’t have to go to the local school district’s graduation requirements either. In some respects, that’s kind of like polling somebody else’s opinion. The local school district is not the be-all and end-all. They are not the ultimate authority. As homeschoolers, we do not have to follow what they say.
Every school district is different. Somebody high up in the food chain at the school district decided what their graduation requirements had to be. They didn’t base it on other people’s graduation requirements. They decided for themselves, and that’s what we can do as well. We don’t have to follow the local school district or the state public school law. We only have to follow the state homeschool law, but you might want to add some of those college requirements in. Have you done the research about what they are?
If you have not done those two pieces of research into your state homeschool law or into college requirements, my book, Cure the Fear, walks you through both of those processes, and then guides you as you are making decisions based on what you find out. When you get done with Cure the Fear — it’s called that for a reason, Cure the Fear of Homeschooling High School — when you get done with it, you are confident in the choices that you’ve made. You’ve planned out all four years of credits and course requirements to meet your graduation requirements based on the research that you did and saw with your very own eyes and recorded on colorful printables that you used to keep track of the data that you gather.
I would recommend, if you are feeling unconfident in what you’re doing, feeling like all you’ve done is poll the opinions of others, then take a look at Cure the Fear of Homeschooling High School, which again will be linked on the show notes. Also if you just want to go to notthathardtohomeschool.com and click on Shop, you can find Cure the Fear there.
Hey, I want to jump in here for just a second and say that this episode has been sponsored by College Prep Genius. Most students, even smart ones, bomb standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. This is because these are not normal tests about content; rather, they are logic based. The questions are purposely misleading students with tricky and appealing answers. Students only get around a minute per question so most will spend two to three minutes each and burn up the clock, but actually they can be answered in 30 seconds or less.
Most test prep companies, even name brand ones, teach more math concepts, thousands of vocabulary words, rehash grammar rules — in other words, they’re reteaching school all over again. You can’t study for these tests, but really you must learn the recurring patterns found on each test. It takes a different skillset to beat these tests since they are testing your critical thinking skills.
College Prep Genius is an award-winning company that helps families prepare for college. We have test prep that works for the SAT, PSAT, CLT, and ACT. Students can raise their test scores to receive scholarship money, even free college. Our students have raised their SAT as much as 700 points. Their ACT 9 points. They’ve become National Merit Scholars and even gone to Ivy League schools for free.
College Prep Genius also helps with guidance for preparation for homeschooling high school. I will say that I have looked over the College Prep Genius curriculum. It’s a test prep curriculum, and I’ve looked it over thoroughly. There is a review on my website. I’m going to tell you, this is the absolutely most thorough test prep curriculum you will ever find. I advise you to check it out.
Know your WHY
Thirdly, I think it’s very, very important to know your why. I say this in practically every podcast episode, don’t I? If you’re a regular listener, this is going to be old hat to you. Do you know why you are homeschooling high school? Your why is going to be individual to your family only. Nobody else is going to have the same why as you do.
Why are you keeping your kid home during the high school years to educate them there? What are you thinking that you will be able to provide that the public school cannot? There are so many answers to this question. Sometimes it’s a matter of wanting to be able to travel. Others times there’s a consuming interest that the teen has, that they need time to work on that, and they wouldn’t be able to do that if they were going to school. Sometimes it’s a value system that you want to uphold.
There are just umpteen, gazillion reasons why, and you’re not going to choose just one of them. You’ll probably have several that mesh together to make your overall why. That is YOUR family’s why. It is no other family’s why. Another family is going to have a different why than you do. When you’re looking at their choices and they’re basing them on their why, they’ve got reasons for why they’re doing what they’re doing. They’re not going to be the same reasons why you’re doing what you’re doing. To choose to do what they’re doing, just because they’re doing it, doesn’t make sense when it comes to, are you fulfilling your why? Are you making the choices that your why tells you to make? Because that’s what a why does for you.
When you delineate exactly why you are homeschooling high school, what you hope to get out of it, what is different in your family that you can provide that is not provided by the public or private school system, then that helps choose your curriculum for you. It helps choose your activities. It helps choose your scheduling. Almost every decision you make follows from your why.
When you have a why, even written down, I highly suggest you write it down. When you have a why and you know what your why is, then you can feel confident about the decisions that you are making without having to look around at what other people are doing. I have a blog article about how to craft your why. Another term for it is a mission statement. I’ll link to that in the show notes.
Have reasonable expectations
Lastly, I wan’t to talk about expectations. This is the longest portion of my outline, and I’m actually running out of time. Let’s see what we can do with this. Do you have realistic expectations for your homeschool? Or are you always looking around and seeing other people who are doing it better and thinking that your homeschool is supposed to be as good as that? Guess what? Their homeschool isn’t as good as that. It’s that whole social media thing where we are always only seeing the best of the other person. Here are some realistic expectations. Listen to these and see what you think.
Your kid will get B’s. Yes, they will. They will get B’s. They will not get all A’s. They will not earn all A’s. Your kid will get some B’s. Maybe even some C’s. This is reality. It’s okay. It does not mean you’re doing anything wrong or have chosen the wrong curriculum or anything.
Here’s another one. Your kid will not understand everything they study. They just won’t. Sometimes you can help them, but chances are, they’re not going to understand it all. That’s where the B’s come from [chuckles], right? They’re going to get a few questions wrong just because they don’t understand them. Your kid will not learn everything. Your kid will not understand everything.
Here’s another one. They won’t remember everything either. You can work on something for five weeks straight. Then try them again, two months after that, will they still remember it? They might not. Do you remember what you learned in high school? No. The expectation here is not that they will learn content, but that they will learn how to learn, and they can do that with any curriculum. Oh, that one was good. No curriculum is perfect y’all. None of them. There are always going to be some things you have to adapt to.
If you get thinking, “Oh, they’re using this curriculum, and I’m using that one, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I should switch.” They are having problems with their curriculum, too. I generally recommend if you feel like you’re running into problems with your curriculum that you stick it out anyway, and just figure out how to adapt rather than switch mid-year. There’s a lot of time wasted when you switch mid-year.
Again, we’re learning how to learn. One curriculum teaches one way and another curriculum teaches another way, but guess what? When we get out to the real world, when we get out to college, we have to adapt to all kinds of different ways of learning and being taught. Professors don’t all teach the same way. Employers don’t all teach the same way. We are the ones who have to learn how to learn in all different types of situations.
Here’s another thing. No homeschool is perfect. Your homeschool will not be perfect. In fact, most days will not even be close to perfect. Most days you might even feel like, “Wow, if anybody walked in the front door at this moment, we would not present an impressive picture.” That, friends, is called being human beings. That is called being a family, right?
Here’s the thing. Mistakes are not the end of the world. Maybe you did make a poor decision. I don’t like to look at them as poor decisions or bad decisions. You know what? You make decisions, right? Then it either works out the way you hoped it would, or you learn from it.
It’s not good decisions versus bad decisions. It’s good decisions versus decisions that you learn something from. All learning is good growth in our maturity as we grow up as human beings, and I’m still doing it. Even at my age, I am still growing up as a human being. We’re all going to do that for the rest of our lives. We’re all going to make mistakes for the rest of our lives. We’re all going to have to decide whether we’re going to learn from those mistakes or not, but let’s not base that on looking around at those around us, and trying to figure out what they think about it.
In the end y’all, we’re responsible for ourselves. We’re responsible for our emotions. We’re responsible for our happiness. We’re responsible for the decisions that we make, and we’re responsible for our homeschool. The way to be confident about that is to do your research, to know your why, to remember that you have so much freedom. If you make a choice one way and somebody else makes a choice another way, that is totally okay. Then also to have realistic expectations. Nobody’s perfect. You’re not going to be perfect either, and neither will your kid. It’s okay. Go with the flow and enjoy one another in the process. That’s the main thing.
I hope this has been helpful. You know where to go for show notes. I did go a little bit longer than I wanted to, but I want to encourage you today, so I hope I’ve done that. Next time, we will talk about what happens if your teen is unable to learn independently. Thanks for being here. I’ll see you then.