Homeschool Comparison, Be Gone!
We’ve all heard it…comparison is the thief of joy. But how do we stop comparing ourselves to others? I say, “Homeschool comparison, be gone!”
As homeschoolers, we all want check in and assess how we’re doing. There’s nothing wrong with being curious about how your homeschool measures up, or compares to others. With social media at our finger tips, it’s so easy to peek into the lives of homeschoolers to get ideas and see how others do things in their homeschool.
But here’s the thing: continually comparing your homeschool to others can erode your confidence, rather than build it up.
And I know from my work with homeschoolers over the years that what we want more than anything else is to feel more confident.
Here on this episode of the Art of Homeschooling Podcast, I want to share 3 specific strategies to help you declare once and for all, “Homeschool comparison, be gone!”
What is “Comparisonitis”?
I want to start by introducing you to this great term: comparisonitis. I first heard this from life coach, Marie Forleo. But recently, I found a book entitled Comparisonitis by Melissa Ambrosini.
Here’s her definition of comparisonitis.
“Comparisonitis is a contagious, socially transmitted condition that occurs when you compare yourself to others so frequently and fiercely that you’re left paralyzed, with your confidence in tatters and your self-worth plummeting. It may sound trivial, but this affliction can have serious adverse effects on our mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, overthinking, and regret.”
Comparisonitis can take hold so easily!
Isn’t it crazy to think of all the self-confidence we’re robbed of when we compare ourselves to others? All the pain and suffering it can cause by stealing your joy and leaving you feeling overwhelmed and uncertain.
Homeschool comparison, be gone!
It doesn’t have to be this way! Here are my three strategies to stop comparing yourself and focus instead on your family’s unique journey.
Remember Your Why
It can be so helpful to remind yourself often why you chose homeschooling in the first place.
Reflect on your family’s unique values, needs, and goals because when you have a clear sense of purpose, it’s easier to stay focused on your own path.
When our oldest son was only 5 or 6 years old, back in the mid-90’s at the very beginning of our homeschooling journey, my husband and I wrote down our values and goals in a homeschooling manifesto. We wanted to capture our our vision right from the very start.
On of our guiding principles was to cultivate creativity and foster lifelong learning. Our vision was for family-based learning or life schooling even more than “homeschooling.” We saw learning, even back then, as something innate to us all, young and old.
By putting this document in the front of my homeschool planner every year, I was reminded of why we chose homeschooling and it really guided me, inspired me on our less than perfect days, and helped me stay focused on the bigger picture.
So just remember, you can turn the tables on homeschool comparison by tuning into your own goals and values. Picture them as your treasure map, leading you to unique homeschooling adventures. .
Here more about the vision statement Brian and I wrote together in Episode #4: Why Are We Homeschooling? How to Write Your Family Vision.
Celebrate Your Wins
Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on celebrating your own progress and achievements, no matter how small they may seem.
It’s essential to acknowledge and appreciate the unique milestones and breakthroughs your family experiences.
This is a really practical strategy and the truth is, it really works!
In my training as a Simplicity Parenting Family Life Coach, we studied a process know as the Change Wave. This is a process which guides you to identify what you’re dissatisfied with in your parenting, family life, or homeschool, and then design a small doable change.
And the first step of the Change Wave process, even before identifying your dissatisfaction, is to celebrate what IS working right now for you. And I promise you, there is SOMETHING.
Often, we are moving too fast, trying to get to the next thing, figuring out the lessons, the stories, and the hands-on activities, trying to fix some unwanted behavior in our child, feeling so worn out or even discouraged… that we forget to look at what went well.
So ask yourself this: what wins can I name today (or this week)? Take a moment to celebrate those! Swap those mini marvels with the comparison for just a moment.
Every small victory, every “aha” moment! These are like sprinkles on your homeschooling cupcake. Remember to savor each one!
Want to hear more about the Simplicity Change Wave process? Check out the Homeschool Simplicity Bundle.
Run Your Own Race
Our human brains are wired to scan for trouble, because the brain’s job is to keep us safe. So that means that our job is to remind our brain that all is well and that there is no danger.
Run your own race! Stay in your own lane!
When we see someone who looks super successful at homeschooling, let’s just remember that there is no one right way to do this. Everyone is running their own race.
There are mindfulness techniques that can help you stay present and centered. And when you catch yourself making comparisons, you can gently redirect your thoughts to the present moment and what IS going well in your homeschool and all the progress you’re making.
And here’s an important tip! Don’t compare the beginning of your homeschooling journey to someone else’s middle, or your middle to someone else’s ending.
No homeschooling journey is without challenges. So be realistic about what you can achieve and don’t set impossibly high standards for yourself or your children.
Learning takes time. Time takes time. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Understand that everyone’s homeschooling journey is different and there’s no one size fits all approach.
And your job is to be the YOU-est YOU that you can be!
The Role of Social Media in Comparisonitis
Did you think I was going to tell you to take a break from social media?
I don’t want to overlook this strategy. But I also want to acknowledge that many of us get lots of ideas and even connections on social media. So just be wary.
For me, I often need to give myself a few days of not scrolling or searching for an answer, a little break to just be in the moment. This really helps me to connect with my loved ones more deeply and appreciate what the present. To slow down, observe, step out of my analytical mind and constant mental chatter.
I like to replace social media with reading and going outside, my two go-tos for reconnection. So I can reconnect with nature, myself, and those around me. If you feel that you’d benefit from cutting back on social media scrolling, give comparisonitis a run for its money by busting out the social media detox dance.
Unplug, unwind, and reconnect with your own homeschool rhythm!
Homeschool Comparison, Be Gone!
Homeschooling is about adaptability and finding what works best for your family. So allow yourself to make adjustments as needed without feeling compeled to meet someone else’s standards.
Stop the endless scrolling and searching so you can shift your energy back to just being with your children. Do the lessons, observe, go outside, observe. Taking a break from social media can help you stop comparisonitis in its tracks.
And remember, homeschooling is a deeply personal journey. What matters most is the growth, well-being, and happiness of your children and family. Embrace your uniqueness and focus on creating a nurturing and fulfilling educational experience for your children.
Lastly, if feelings of comparison are causing you significant distress, consider finding a mentor who can offer you strategies to manage these feelings and develop a healthier perspective. I offer mentorship sessions to help homeschooling parents get back on track and feel better about themselves while homeschooling.
So keep in mind that you can seek guidance if comparisonitis gets too feisty!
You’ve got the power to turn away from homeschool comparisons and toward the fun, whimsical adventure of your homeschool journey. Embrace your unique path and let your playful spirit guide you along the way!
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