It happens. Homeschooling tears away grade-level expectations and allows a child to go at his pace in the different subjects. Some families may encounter a younger child exceeding an older child in a certain subject or skill. We have encountered that in our household and have chosen to face the issue head on.
When I first began to see my younger child excel in an academic area that my older child did not, I contemplated using different programs so they wouldn’t be very aware of the difference. The problem came when the program I chose was superior, in my opinion, to other programs. I decided to let them use the same one and focus on teaching my kids to accept themselves and others for who they are.
Each child is a unique mix of strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has some things that they do well and some things that are difficult. I’ve focused on helping my children learn to accept that fact. I teach them that it is okay for them to be good at something. It is okay for them to struggle with something that comes easy to someone else. It is okay for someone else to do something better or faster. It is okay for them to be who God made them to be.
When we discover a person who has an ability towards a certain skill or subject, I like to engage my kids in questions like:
“Is it okay that the person is good at __________?”
“Is it okay if you are not as good at ___________?”
At the same time I teach the value of perseverance and working hard. Today my two older child attempted to build an impossible cube out of Zome Tools. It sure lived up to its name. About a half an hour into their attempt, I tried to help. I too failed to figure it out. We put it away and will try again next time. Whether a child is good at something or not, it is important to work hard and learn to persevere through frustration.
It is okay to be yourself. It is okay for my child to struggle to understand a concept. At the same time it is okay for my child to do something with ease. It is okay for my child to be himself. I find that if my child can accept that others can be good at things and fail at things, he is much more likely to accept himself and all his successes and failures.