HomeLifestyleEducationWhy We Don't Make...

Why We Don’t Make Up Work in Our Homeschool

By Shelley Sangrey

It’s that time of year again—when we homeschooling families tend to finish up what we’ve been working on and either take a break or begin preparing for a new year.

A common theme I’ve noticed perpetuating social media threads is that of “missed work.” I’ve seen many people posting about prolonging the year or homeschooling through the summer specifically to make up for missed work.

That, my friends, is never something you should fret about.

Let me tell you why.

Why I Don’t Worry About Falling Behind

Before I begin, I need to disclose that in our first homeschool year, I was the biggest worry wart when it came to this. Being a type-A, box-checking homeschool mom, I would panic if every single one of the lessons in my detailed planner wasn’t crossed off. At the time, that unfinished business just wasn’t an option.

I made sure that every single thing was completed before a new homeschool week would begin. If we needed to double up on assignments, that’s exactly what I did. I can’t count the number of times my children had to do school until 4 or 5 pm because of this. Sometimes we did school on weekends – even Sundays, I’m ashamed to say. (Thankfully, I never assigned homework. I developed quite an aversion to it when my kids were in public school. At least they got off easy there…)

By the end of the first year, I realized how ridiculous this was and how much joy it was sucking out of our homeschool, so I stopped being quite that strict about it.

Fast forward to this year, as we finish up our 9th year. Things couldn’t be any different.

Spending almost a decade homeschooling has offered me quite a bit of insight into true learning that I just didn’t have that first year. As with most people, I was just trying to replicate the school system, something that I now realize was a huge mistake.

What I’ve discerned is this:

Children learn more from everyday life experiences than they ever will from any curriculum. 

Kids really do learn best from real-life situations. From actual experiences that they can see, hear, and touch, and that actually have real meaning to them.I’ll admit, it hurts me to say that. I spend quite a bit of time and effort choosing curriculum, but let’s be honest here. How much do you remember from when you were in school? If you’re anything like me, probably not much. And that’s coming from someone who was once considered the cream of the crop.

This simply isn’t something that can be accomplished by a curriculum, no matter how good it is, because it will always feel somewhat contrived.

Am I right?

And those homeschool lessons that get missed? What’s a huge reason it happens in the first place?

Life gets in the way. Real life situations that they will learn from whether they fit into that school box or not.

In the long run, will it really matter that your kids only finished half of their science textbook? Will your children be permanently disadvantaged if you only made it to Lesson 100 in history?


On the other hand, will your children benefit from learning about real events that are happening right in front of them, or possibly, to them? Will they benefit from seeing how to handle things gracefully when a wrench gets thrown in their plans? Will situations that actually have a direct impact on them be a far greater teacher than you could ever be?

Children learn more from everyday life experiences than they ever will from any curriculum.

You bet.

That is why I don’t worry about missed work: because there is learning in everything, and life has more to offer than a curriculum.

So what should you do instead of making up the work?

When something foils your plans for the day, take it in stride and accept it. Then use a handy little invention called an eraser and move that day’s plans to the following day. Don’t double up on work. Don’t consider yourselves behind. Just keep moving forward.

I know that some of you are wondering…

What if none of our lessons are getting done? 


There are several ways to answer this, but I’m just going to focus on a few solutions.

First, if the lessons are missed because a child is deliberately not doing them, or they are being careless, then that is something that must be addressed. Missing school work because of life interruptions is one thing, while skipped assignments due to disobedience is quite another.

For the most part, however, “falling behind” happens far more simply because life happens in the midst of homeschooling, so here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself:

Are we using the right approach?

For example, if you’re a school-at-home family and find yourselves never being able to complete assignments because you live a very full life, maybe you could consider unschooling or self-directed learning.

Having a homeschool approach that not only fits your children but also fits your lifestyle is of the utmost importance.

Are we using the right curriculum?

If your children are living a stimulating and rich life, they aren’t behind. They are blessed.

While I certainly don’t consider curriculum to be the be all and end all of homeschooling, it is certainly helpful to have a curriculum that both you and your children enjoy. You will be far more likely to be diligent if you are using something that motivates you.

What’s my homeschool “why”?

If you, the parent, are the one who isn’t motivated, re-evaluate why you decided to keep your children home in the first place. Reflecting on this lifestyle choice and your initial excitement will often rejuvenate you and give you the kick in the pants you might be needing. 😉

Always remember that it’s very common for homeschooling parents to become obsessed with not falling behind, but just take this one thing with you: If your children are living a stimulating and rich life, they aren’t behind. They are blessed.

- A word from our sponsors -


Most Popular

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be the first to.know what's happening in the Christian community

More from Author

Why I’m Not Worried about what My Kids ‘Need’ to Know

Our society today is obsessed with timelines and milestones. Everywhere you turn, there are checklists, pamphlets, books, and charts telling you what your children "should" be doing by a certain age. It's enough to make any parent neurotic.

8 Practical Steps to Homeschooling a Child with ADHD

Can homeschooling and ADHD go together? As the mom of one child officially diagnosed with ADHD and a few others I suspect may have it, I’m going to answer that question with a big, resounding YES.

13 Unique Gift Ideas that Inspire Learning

Now that fall’s in full swing, the Christmas season is creeping ever and ever closer. As a mom who strives to be practical in every way, I try to steer clear of presents for my kids that are mere “fluff.”

3 Reasons I Don’t Send My Kids to School to be Salt and Light

As a Christian homeschooling mom, one query I often get is why I do not allow my children to go to school as their mission field. Their reasoning is typically that the children in public schools may never have been introduced to the love of Christ, and my children just might be the ones to do that.

- A word from our sponsors -


Hallow App Launches 2022 Advent Prayer Challenge

Hallow, a Christian prayer app, launched this year's Advent challenge with cast members from the hit series The Chosen joining the program.

Group Gives 10,000 Bibles to London’s Children

The Trinitarian Bible Society announced that over 10,000 Bibles have been given to London schools within three years.

Prayer, Faith Can Help Teens with Mental Health Issues

A study on teens and young adults confirmed that those who pray and have a relationship with God were more likely to flourish in life more than their peers.

Count Your Blessings Daily, Not Just Once a Year

I heard about a family seated around their table looking at the beautiful golden-brown turkey. Dressing and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, various vegetables, and casseroles complemented the turkey. From the oldest to the youngest, they went around and expressed their praise.

More than 7,000 Kids Decide to Follow Jesus –YFC

The Youth for Christ announced that 7,323 kids and teens decided to follow Jesus Christ this year, twice the record reported in 2021.

Billy Graham Archive & Research Center is Now Open

The new Billy Graham Archive and Research Center opened in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 7, the birthday of the late evangelist.

MercyMe hopes new album can help heal divisions: ‘We’ve got a divided body of Christ’ 

Bart Millard and his MercyMe bandmates began writing some of the songs on their latest album in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, long before the nation was divided over issues that now dominate the headlines.  Millard, though, believes the album’s release in 2022 had been God’s plan...

‘Praise the Lord!’ Ukrainian Christians Cheer Kherson Liberation

Ukrainian Christians celebrate the liberation of Kherson with cheers of praise and thanksgiving, seven months after Russia occupied the city.

JESUS Film Makes History, Now Translated in 2,000 Languages

The JESUS film makes history as it is now translated into its 2,000th language making it the most translated film of all time.

U.S. Renews Calls Against Blasphemy Laws

The United States joined 15 countries in expressing concern over international blasphemy laws.

Franklin Graham Attracts Record-breaking Audience in Italy

More than 13,200 people gathered for an evangelical outreach led by Franklin Graham in Milan, Italy on October 29.

A Hindu PM Marks a Historic Moment in the UK

Rishi Sunak becomes Britain's first Hindu prime minister. He is also the first person of color to hold the highest office in the UK.