Aiming for Mastery

Aiming for Mastery @homeschoolsurvival

This time of year, many homeschool moms start discussing mastery.

How do you know when students have mastered a subject and are ready to move on to the next level? Some experts recommend that you complete at least 75% of a textbook to consider it credit-worthy.

But, what if you don’t use a textbook? Or, what if you switch curriculum mid-year?

According to HSLDA, “For courses that do not use a standard high school-level textbook (perhaps you are putting together your own unit study, or you are using an integrated curriculum), log the hours that your child spends completing the course work. One credit is approximately 120-180 hours of work.” (

With those guidelines in mind, I go one step further when evaluating my students’ readiness to move to the next level. I move ahead when they’re ready, and I don’t move ahead if they’re not.

It isn’t easy to let go of the feeling that you have to complete this or that, or that you have to check this or that box in the plan book. It is also a struggle when you have the feeling that you’re behind if you haven’t reached a certain chapter in the book by now. Believe me, I get it. I’ve been homeschooling for eleven years, and every year is still a new experience as we move into upper level high school classes. But, I decided it is more important that my kids know enough to move forward than it is to finish the book by a certain time.

Aiming for mastery is the goal:

  • When my youngest masters printing, we will move into cursive.
  • When my oldest masters Algebra I, we’ll move on to Algebra II.
  • We might set anatomy aside for a while and study ecology and astronomy during the summer months, and then pick up where we left off.
  • Even when 180 days have been completed, we will continue reading our read-aloud novel until we finish it, because we really want to know how everything turns out.

Equipping my kids with the joy of lifelong learning is my primary target.


Anne CampbellAnne Campbell is the mother to three boys (in every sense of the word!) and a homeschooler for the past eleven years. She is the Managing Editor of Blog at Home Educating Family Association, columnist for Home Educating Family Magazine, and member of the Home Educating Family review team. As a former classroom teacher, she loves to share resources and ideas and encourage other moms and homeschoolers. When they started on their homeschooling  journey, her oldest son was in kindergarten. They decided to take it one day at a time, one year at a time, and now she has a high school student, middle school student, and elementary student, and all still at home. They fly by the seats of their pants most days, spending as much time as possible exploring nature, and seizing learning opportunities whenever they appear. You can visit her at her blog Learning Table. You can also find Anne on Bloglovin’FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

Speak Your Mind