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Keep Kids Challenged, Not Overwhelmed

February 26, 2015

keep kids challenged

Keep Kids Challenged, Not Overwhelmed

Remember Goldilocks and the Three Bears? One bowl of porridge was too hot, one bowl was too cold, and finally she found the porridge that was just right. Education is like that, too! The joy of homeschooling is that you can find the perfect temperature! You can monitor and adjust, and keep kids challenged, but not overwhelmed. Remember, you want them to learn, not to be bored. Check out these news stories.

School is Too Easy

New research says that children report school is too easy. “Millions of kids simply don’t find school very challenging, a new analysis of federal survey data suggests. Among the findings: 37% of fourth-graders say their math work is “often” or “always” too easy; 57% of eighth-graders say their history work is “often” or “always” too easy; 39% of 12th-graders say they rarely write about what they read in class.”
Read the article in USA Today: School is too easy, students report
School is Too Hard 

The New York Times wonders if school is to hard, and suggests that algebra is not necessary. “It’s true that students in Finland, South Korea and Canada score better on mathematics tests. But it’s their perseverance, not their classroom algebra, that fits them for demanding jobs.” My HomeScholar thought for the day - doesn’t  algebra require perseverance? Perseverance leads to jobs. Therefore algebra leads to jobs, right?
Read the article in the New York Times: Opinion: Is Algebra Necessary?

Homeschool Can Be “Just Right”

In a Wall Street Journal article, called “My Education in Home Schooling,” the author shares that she chose homeschooling because “Her academic options seemed to lie on either side of a wide chasm: a fluffy pillow on one side, a jackhammer on the other. I tried home schooling because I couldn’t find a better alternative.” I like her take on the socialization issue. “Homo sapiens have walked the Earth for at least 130,000 years and, in this time, they learned to be human from their elders, not from their peers”
Read the article in ThWall Street Journal: My Education in Home Schooling 

My best advice: keep kids challenged, but not overwhelmed. You want them to learn, not to be bored.

How do you keep your kids challenged but not overwhelmed in your homeschool? Please share!

Please note: This post was originally published in November 2012 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.


  1. Grace says:

    Hmm…I understand and agree that a child’s education is intended to come from elders rather than peers. But I dislike the quote from an (apparently atheist) author who, by using the term homo sapiens, ventures to reduce humans who are made in God’s image to a mere species of animal. She states that we “learn to be human”. This contradicts scripture that says we were created human. No one needs to learn to be what they are. Adam walked and talked with his creator in the Garden as a fully cognizant man. While must grow in social graces and wisdom and our instincts must be refined, our humanness is God made.

    January 26th, 2015 at 9:26 am

  2. Assistant to The HomeScholar says:

    We are in total agreement, Grace!
    The main reason we homeschool, as Christians, is to “raise up a child in the way he should go” Biblically speaking. The article in The Wall Street Journal resonates with the idea that humanist and Christian homeschoolers have in common: The want to meet our children’s needs.
    Assistant to The HomeScholar

    January 26th, 2015 at 1:21 pm

  3. Tristan says:

    This is probably one of the biggest challenges and blessings to homeschooling! I have always homeschooled our children and my oldest ventures into the high school waters this fall. My challenge comes in because I have seven younger children with a baby on the way. I have to be very deliberate about keeping my finger on the pulse of each child’s learning to be aware of where they are and if I’m serving them up porridge that is too hot, too cold, or just right. It can be easy to let someone slip under the radar or not recognize when they are becoming overwhelmed instead of challenged.

    March 1st, 2015 at 4:10 am

  4. Assistant to The HomeScholar says:

    You said it perfectly, Tristan!
    Assistant to The HomeScholar

    March 1st, 2015 at 2:12 pm

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