How Do I Know If Our Homeschool Is Enough?

The Truth About Gaps in Learning

Homeschooling isn't about teaching it ALL. It's about teaching your children how to find the answers.

Have you ever had one of those days- or entire seasons- when doubt seems to have taken over your homeschool? As time goes on, you begin to realize that there is no way you’re going to cover everything you think you need to, or at least what your curriculum says you should.

The clock is ticking, and you find yourself comparing your kids and your homeschool to other families. Eventually, panic sets in as you realize the enormity of the task before you. 

Don't panic about gaps in learning!

After all, it’s your job as a homeschooling parent to teach your kids everything there is to know about everything, right?


As a vocal proponent of the relaxed homeschooling method, one question I get asked over and over again is:

With relaxed homeschooling, how do I know my children will learn everything?

I’ve got an easy answer for that. Your children will not learn everything with relaxed homeschooling.

Nor with the school-at-home method, nor classical, nor Charlotte Mason, nor unschooling, nor any other homeschool approach you can think of.

And you know what? Children in public schools won’t learn everything, either. Nor those in private schools, charter schools, boarding schools, or schools-at-sea. 😉

You know those dreaded gaps in learning? They’re real.

No matter how your child is educated, what your level of income is, or what your ethnicity is, your children will have gaps.

Worried? Don’t be!

Even if your child masters and retains every single concept in their entire 13 years of school, they still. won’t. know. everything.

Take a look around you. There is no way on God’s green Earth that anyone will ever know or learn everything. As time goes on, information and technology is changing faster than any of us can keep up with.

Discouraged? Here’s what you need to realize:

Homeschooling is not about teaching it ALL. It’s about teaching your kids how to find answers to their questions.

Textbooks and lessons have their place in a homeschool, for sure, but they won’t guarantee success for your child. Will they help? Absolutely. But if you truly want to help your child to fill those gaps, the main thing you need to focus on is instilling in them a love of learning and providing them with the know-how to find the answers when they either need or want to discover more about a topic. Any topic.

Remember that learning isn’t something that only happens in school. It isn’t something that only happens at a certain age. There’s a reason that lifelong learning is such a popular term. It’s true!

Think about it. When you, as the parent, need to acquire information for something you’re unfamiliar with, how do you do it? Google it? Go to the library? Watch some YouTube videos? Read some articles or blogs? Ask someone who does know?

Take those tactics that you use, and encourage your kids to do the same. For example, next week, my 13-year-old daughter will need to research how seismologists predict earthquakes, and then she will need to teach it to her siblings.

Would it be easier for me to plop a textbook in front of her? Yup. But just like the image above of the little sprout coming through the gap in the boards, those learning gaps can be filled with something even more beautiful, like confidence, determination, and experience- something that will only happen when your kids have the opportunity to take a topic and run with it.

So as for those things you never get to in your homeschool, don’t sweat them. Embrace them. Because chances are, your children will learn infinitely more while on the road to discovering the answers they need.

That, my friends, is a sure sign of a successful homeschool.

Join the There’s No Place Like Home Homeschool Community on FB!








Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

27 thoughts on “How Do I Know If Our Homeschool Is Enough?”

  1. As always, you rocked this post, Shelly! And I think a lot of learning happens as we need to know things. For example, I didn’t need to know how to embed a photo or video until I started blogging. And learning is a life long process. It doesn’t end when we graduate high school or college.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely agree. I believe that students need to master the tools, such as reading and basic math, along with some general knowledge that enables them to be culturally literate and politically wise. They need to learn your values and how you arrived at them. They need to learn to think logically and how to communicate their ideas orally and in writing. With these tools and a foundation of principles and values to put knowledge into context, they are ready to learn most of the rest as they need to. Parents can guide them in learning the basic skills they need and in forming their values. They can direct them to resources that will help them learn what they need to know. They can be there to show them how to find out whatever else they want to know. But, as you point out, there is more to learn now than anyone person can keep in his head.

    We need a context, a frame of reference to which we can add new knowledge and see how it fits with what we have learned before. Parents and teachers can help build the context and help students fit things in until they learn to do it themselves. Without such a context, students will have only facts they may not know how to use or fit together.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Shelly! I enjoyed this post and also watched a couple of your videos about relaxed homeschooling. This is my first year of serious homeschooling with my first grade daughter, so I’m just figuring out what homeschool style works for me as a teacher. Relaxed homeschooling sounds about right.

    My question would be, how do you account for hours/days when recording attendance for your state (if you are in a state that requires that) with a curriculum that isn’t very structured? Our state requires a certain number of days and even gives a minimum number of hours and I just wonder how that works without requiring a certain number of hours of school at your home per day.

    I guess what I’m saying is, I want to be relaxed, but feel like I can’t be and still meet the requirements. What would you do in that situation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s really important to remember that textbooks aren’t the only way to learn. If you look at it, everything in life can be classified as a school subject. Playing with legos could be math and art, and if they spend an hour doing that, right there is an hour of homeschool. If they’re out in the yard digging for worms, that’s science- real science- and it will impact them far more than just reading about them on a worksheet. I think it’s just a matter of seeing the educational value in EVERYTHING, and knowing how to classify it accordingly. I did do a video on this several months ago. Maybe it will help you. 🙂


  4. I needed this today! I love teaching my kids through games and activites but our charter requires so much paper (that is changing this year thank God) it always makes me feel I am not doing enough if I don’t have a mountain of work samples to choose from. This is a great reminder to give our kids the tools not just the information.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was literally just considering my plans for relaxed, year-round learning (I don’t consider it schooling) & then find this post! Sign I’m on the right track? I think so! I always feel so bad for people when they’re going through those ‘I’m messing this all up, aren’t I?’ moments, hopefully your post will find them, too!

    I just wish people would have realistic expectations for themselves & their children; no one needs to know everything, they only have to be willing & able to find out what they do need to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yep there is no better way to put it than life-long learning and our job is to help them find ways to find knowledge that goes with their interests and passions. Myself an example, after graduating college, I set on a mission to master the art of cooking and baking and I kept on getting more knowledge and skills and today I pride myself in gourmet dishes that I make at home for my kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this! Even though we’ve homeschooled for many years, these thoughts creep into my mind more often than I would like them to. Thanks for the reassurance you’ve given us through this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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