Combating Homeschool Fears
Why does homeschooling cause a cold sweat when we are just starting? Why does the idea of keeping your children home and teaching them yourself cause so many sleepless nights? There are so many fears that arise when you decide such a big decision for your children. Having these fears are rational, I am going to share how to combat these homeschool fears. Before we begin, take a moment and pin this post to your homeschool board.
Why we have fears of homeschool
It is probably because, in this day and age, it isn’t the “norm.” However, that doesn’t mean you can not fall head over heels in love with homeschooling. I know, it may seem like an impossibility now. When you are worrying about how to sign your child out of school, or your state’s regulations, or what kind of curriculum you will need, but trust me, more likely than not you will be kicking yourself in the behind for stressing over homeschool as much as you have.
That is not saying that once you have a few years of homeschool under your belt that the fears fade away, that isn’t the case, your worries and concerns will still arise, but the tips in this post will help you combat them.
Let’s start by addressing our fears. Most of our concerns boil down to three issues.
- Doing damage to our children.
- Not being good enough.
- Other people’s perceptions.
These are the three main issues that will wear many fancy faces and play on a loop in our heads.
Have you caught any of these fears cross your mind lately?
- I am not smart enough to teach my children.
- What are my in-laws going to think?
- CPS is going to knock on my door and take away my children from me.
- What will happen when they reach high school?
- Will they get enough “socialization”? Or How will they learn to make friends?
- What about making money, can my household survive on one income? Can I work and homeschool?
- How am I going to afford to homeschool?
- Am I patient enough?
- What if my children don’t like it and resent me?
- What if they don’t learn?
These fears come up over and over in many shapes and sizes, but that is okay because you can take solace in the fact that most of us are dealing with them too. Another thing about these fears is that they are big fat distractions, while they are real concerns, they are taking your time and energy away from actually doing the thing. Let’s start combating these fears!
Damaging Your Children
Have you ever worried that you are doing this whole parent thing wrong? It is something I have often thought about. Do you know what I forgot to take home when I brought my kids home from the hospital? The manual that came with them. Oh! That’s right; they didn’t come with instructions or manuals. Isn’t that crazy, oh and another crazy thing, no one questions you as you are leaving the hospital about your ability to take care of this little creature? Yeah, there are a ton of books, blogs, videos, and magazines dishing out theories on how to parent your child perfectly, but you have to go out and research them and then experiment with them. Plus, if you are like me, you will go through a phase where you feel overwhelmed and like a complete failure from the get-go.
Whether it is parenting or this new adventure in homeschooling, I guarantee that you worried about doing damage to your children. It is something that is inside us, from the moment we got pregnant or the baby was placed in our arms or home we have worried about doing what is best for them.
When it comes to homeschooling, this worry doesn’t go away. In fact, it may be amplified. Maybe you worry about socialization, while we hate being asked about it, it is a real concern. Perhaps you are worried about them resenting the fact that you kept them home to learn or that you will not provide them with a good enough education. Whatever the specific worry is about damaging your children, it is there in your brain and weighing on your heart. Something that helps me through these kinds of concerns is that no matter what I am doing, this worry is completely normal, and it is a good sign that I have my child’s best interest at heart. While they are not going to love and approve all our choices for them, it is kind of our job, at least while they are too little to make their own decisions.
If your children are growing older and voicing opinions when it comes to their schooling, than it is essential to hear them out and let them in on the decision making, whether that is choosing to go into a traditional school or trying a new curriculum for math, hearing them out builds trust and helps them have some control over their lives. Which is a great advantage of homeschooling, try suggesting a new curriculum to a traditional school teacher, that just doesn’t fly.
Not Being Enough
While many of us feel like we may have had an inadequate education, or that we are just not good enough in certain areas, it is still possible to homeschool.
I, for one, have a deep feeling of inadequacy when it comes to MATH! Oh, it causes migraines! However, it has gotten a bit better since homeschooling. There is something to be said for parents learning alongside their children. It is so magical that we are not done learning! None of us are. Even those who are highly educated are bound to learn alongside their little homeschoolers.
If learning alongside your children doesn’t give your mind any rest, then at least rest assured that we are in a fantastic moment in time where you carry a computer inside your pocket to help you through every step of the way! If you are struggling with something, I can guarantee you there is a video, blog post, book, podcast, or what have you about the topic.
You can deep dive with or without your child in tow, don’t feel ashamed to call class a day to dive deep into the topic to feel comfortable teaching it.
You may not feel like enough right now, but once you get your homeschool ball rolling, you will be gaining more know-how than you will know what to do with.
What are they going to think?
For over a year, when people saw my children home from school and asked if it were a holiday or something, I would just smile and nod and quickly walk away. I was afraid to tell people we were homeschooling. I avoided the discussion like the plague. I was scared and didn’t want to deal with their judgments. I didn’t want to see them make that strange contortion to their faces and proceed to quiz my children or ask me about socialization. I was afraid I was going to have to defend my decision to homeschool, and I wasn’t even sure how to do that since I was battling my own fears.
The fear didn’t end with people I didn’t know. It was present at family functions and gatherings because the extended family wasn’t, and some still aren’t fans of homeschooling. That first year I had to deal with monumental feelings of judgment and a heavy load of responsibility to prove to everyone and myself that this was not a mistake.
Everyone has an opinion!
Doesn’t it seem like everyone has an opinion on the choices you make for yourself and your family? It can be extended family, friends, the people you see in your day to day errands. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what is best for your children and your family. Many of these people may have the best intentions, and while they have those intentions, it doesn’t mean you need to take their doubts and criticisms just because they exist. Most of the time, it is best to be respectful, agree to disagree, and move on. Sometimes it gets heavier and can weigh down on you. Just because everyone has an opinion doesn’t mean you need to listen to it.
What is your problem?
Many people are curious about what your issue is with the school system. They don’t understand why you would choose to spend the whole day with your children. They don’t know how you, without a degree in education can educate your children. They worry about your children’s social skills or “socialization.” They may come from a different time, location, or set of values. They may just not understand the reasons you choose what you choose. Sometimes it is great to explain why you are doing what you are doing, but most of the time, it is best just to say, this is what works for us right now, and we love it.
All the opinions
All the opinions can get on your nerves. They can get in your head and even isolate you. As I said, the first year that we officially homeschooled, I tried not to address it. I specifically avoided the conversation when it came to people in the supermarket, and so on. I was scared, scared of the weird eye bulge they would give me, stammering, and then the opinions and criticisms. Many of the views are doubts, doubts about your ability, and decision making like you aren’t going to try to make the very best decision for your family. Their doubts can slowly become your doubts, especially when you are having a hard day or season in your homeschool.
Rely on your resources
Around the holidays and when families are getting together, opinions are rapidly being gifted. What can you do when you are being plagued with opinions? You need to rely on your resources! Trust in yourself and your family. Trust your decision. Remember the reasons behind it. Let those reasons be okay for you. Avoid if you can, all the unsolicited advice. Stick to your commitment. Be on the lookout for new solutions, and rely on your support system.
Sometimes it is hard
Sometimes it is hard; sometimes, it is lonely. But other times, it is incredible, it is magic and wonder-filled. You are building memories as well as human begins, and these memories will last a lifetime. You do know what is best for you and your family. No one knows what is better for you and your family than you. You got this! Don’t let their doubts become yours.
The air around homeschool is changing
In the last couple of years, I have seen a lot more acceptance and support for us homeschoolers. Maybe it is because the world had changed so much from when most of us were younger.
Back in my day, we didn’t have to worry as much or at all about school shootings, adolescent suicide, or even sexual abuse. Also, jobs were a lot different than they are today. The job market was filled with roles that you were trained through school to fulfill for a certain amount of years, which in time you would be building up a pension in which you would retire on. Nowadays, jobs are more creative, life-spans are longer, plus today we are more likely to fulfill more than one role, or more than one career, meaning we need various skills. Skills required for today’s jobs are not only learned through traditional schooling, but they are also taught through experiences.
While school is a solid choice for education, it isn’t the only way. This book isn’t about why homeschooling is superior to traditional schools. Not everyone can homeschool, and not everyone can send their kids to traditional schools. It is kind of like breastfeeding, fed is best, and in this case, education in any form is what is best, and only you can make that decision.
Nowadays, when I share that we homeschool, we are greeted more with support and encouragement. Words like” if I could do it again, or if I was a parent today, I would be doing that,” or “In this day and age, that is the smart thing to do.” Not everyone is pro homeschooling or understanding, but the majority of people are starting to accept it.
Combating these homeschool fears
Combating these homeschool fears no matter what they are is about putting them in perspective. Ask yourself if they are fact or just a perception you are falling into. Take a moment to calm down and reassess what is going on and how to deal with it. Reach out for support and take a moment to fill yourself up. Knowing that you are not alone on this journey. Many of us have been there and are right next to you on the path stumbling along.
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