Struggling with homeschool fears? So do we

homeschool fears

“Homeschool fears … I just feel like it would be SO much on my plate, so much for ME to screw up. I have enough ways to fail as a mother already, you know? This is one of THE most important decisions I’ll ever make as a mom, and I don’t know that I have enough confidence in myself to say “yes” to a scenario that makes their educational success dependent on MY performance as their teacher.”

If this sounds in any way like you, here’s a secret you should know – we all felt (and sometimes still feel) this way! 

It’s perfectly normal to have these fears because you love your kids so much, and want the best for them.  In fact, we’d probably be more concerned if you felt thought you simply couldn’t fail!

If you’re on the fence about homeschooling and can’t get over this fear, here are some amazing tips and wisdom from veteran homeschoolers who’ve been right there with you – just from the perspective of 5, 10, even 20+ years from now:

Understand that you’re already a teacher.

As one mom said, “This is an over-simplification, but you have been homeschooling since your first child was born. Why stop now!”

Did you train your baby to sit up? Stand? Walk? Speak? Go to the potty? Every day you’re teaching your children something – even if it’s just how to deal with the struggles of everyday life!

It’s also important to remember that no other teacher will care as much for your child (or has invested as much in them) as you do. Classroom settings weren’t designed for that one-on-one attention that you experience every day in your home.

Furthermore, you’ve built up a history and relationship with your child over years that no teacher can replicate in a few days. Such knowledge is invaluable when determining your children’s learning styles and figuring out subjects they’re passionate about.

Homeschool indoor activitiesMake sure you have the right mindset.

Sometimes the best path to homeschool success is to jettison any ideas that “homeschool” has to look like the school you grew up with, only at home.

As one mom wrote, “Homeschool is not (for most) a class in a home setting. It is home plus. It’s talking about the letter ‘s’ while stirring a pot of soup and making s shapes with the noodles. … Some days it’s watching educational videos while you catch up on all the sleep/laundry/toilet cleaning you are behind on.”

See more information about setting the right expectations for first-year homeschooling.

Meet other homeschoolers.

Browsing and researching can only get you so far. Talking to homeschool families often gives you a much better picture!

We have a great mentoring moms program where you can chat with veteran homeschoolers about specific questions.

Additionally, thriving homeschool communities in Kansas, as well as in Missouri, are ready on Facebook to welcome and support you.

Some readers also find that subscribing to homeschool blogs can re-energize them and confirm they’re not alone in this journey.

Take small steps, one day (or year) at a time.

God's promisesSome people assume that homeschoolers must plan out their entire academic adventure from K-12 before they even start.

Most of us are taking this homeschool journey one year at a time, and we’ve learned to allow ourselves flexibility. A curriculum isn’t working? We tweak it. Our child isn’t grasping algebra yet? Maybe it’s time to work on fractions instead…and retry algebra next year.

Keep the big picture in mind.

What’s your real goal for your children’s education? Is it really to memorize the periodic table? Or is it more that they learn to be active, well-rounded and fulfilled human beings?

A lot of moms find that writing an educational philosophy can help them keep life in perspective, regardless if they homeschool or choose another route.

Another gift of homeschooling, one mom writes, is “the time it allows me with my children. … The thing I strive to teach my kids most is how to serve the Lord and to love to learn. I may not be able to perfectly explain every concept they will ever need, but I can show them how to approach problems, break them down, and find the resources to help them figure it out.”

And remember, it’s not completely up to your expertise as a teacher. Studies have shown homeschoolers typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public school students on standardized achievement tests, including those who didn’t have certified teachers as parents. (See more homeschool myths debunked here.)

Explore all your options.

first year homeschooling adviceAn increasing number of parents are choosing to homeschool their kids in kindergarten (or even preschool) as a kind of “trial run.”

This helps them get over a lot of homeschool fears and realize they’re more than qualified to educate their children.

(See more information and tips about homeschooling preschool.)

If your child is already in school, try taking them out for a year or two to see whether it’s a good fit.

You may also find that co-ops and homeschool enrichment programs, where your child learns in a group setting some days and at home on other days, can help with the transition.

And even if you try homeschooling for a year and decide it’s not right for your family? You’ll still be closer because you read, talked, played and shared life together for that time. As one mom writes, “Never compare yourself or your child to anyone else. You really can’t screw this up.”

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