Troll the blogs and you’ll “meet” many moms who say that they want to homeschool—but they are unsure that they can really do it. They ask all their friends and family to give them opinions: “Should I homeschool Johnny? I think I’d like to, but I don’t know if I can really do it…” My heart goes out to these Moms, because many of them are genuinely afraid. They are afraid:
~That they aren’t smart enough
~That they aren’t “educated” enough
~That it will cost too much money
~That they aren’t self-disciplined enough, or patient enough
~That their families will object
~That their children won’t be “normal”.
~They will ruin their children for life.
Sometimes fear can be paralyzing. Let me reassure you; you can do it! There’s no need to be afraid.
~Do you think you’re not smart enough to homeschool?! Worried that you’ll need a college degree? Here’s the truth: Studies have shown that homeschoolers outscore their government-schooled counterparts, no matter the educational level of their parents. The individualized attention your children can receive at home makes the difference—as does your love and concern for your children. You know your children better than anyone else—so who better to teach them?
Another thing to consider: I have several homeschooling friends who are credentialed teachers. They tell me that their education has NOT helped them homeschool their children. To the contrary, it has been a hindrance. They have had to “unlearn” many things…especially their attitudes about education (what it is, how it is to be carried out, and so on.) Homeschooling is totally different than teaching in a classroom setting.
If you have decided to homeschool, but a part of you is still worried that you aren’t smart enough to teach your children, be sure to remember these tips:
*Don’t look at the big picture. Don’t worry about high school when your children are in Kindergarten. Instead, plan for one year—or one month—or one unit at a time. Remember the way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
*Remember that homeschooling is a team effort. If you have an area of weakness academically, you can delegate that subject to your spouse, another family member, or a friend; alternately, you could cover it via a co-op class or a computerized curriculum. We hired an exchange student to tutor my high school aged daughter in foreign language. I’m proud to say that while she still has lots of vocabulary to learn, she can now read, write, and speak Japanese—something I never could have taught her.
*Remember that you will read along and learn along with your children. As your children grow older, all you have to do is stay one lesson ahead of them. Just one lesson ahead.
Many moms are amazed at all they learn. You’ll discover history/science again but from a Christian perspective. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn (and how much you didn’t learn in public school.) I sometimes brag that my handwriting has improved…and I can figure out fractions now! Yahoo! In short, I think you’ll discover that homeschooling will rekindle your love for learning, as well as your children’s.
*Don’t be ashamed to let your children know that you don’t know the answers to everything…no one can know it all. If you don’t know the answer, be honest about it, and say, “I don’t know…but I know how to find out. Let’s look-up the answer up together.”
*Don’t forget that as children grow older, things begin to get easier…they can do more of their school work independently. Also remember that, as a homeschool mom, you won’t be giving lectures like a classroom teacher; you’ll support their learning via reading aloud, discussion, follow-through, etc.
*Do you worry that it will cost too much money to homeschool? Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive. If you want to, you can homeschool using only the internet and a library card. There are many wonderful resources online such as Project Gutenberg, An Old Fashioned Education, the Baldwin Online Children’s Literature Project, Google Books, and more. Some of the most desirable, “living book” style history texts can be found on these sites (many are being reprinted by Yesterday’s Classics, but you can also find them online for FREE.) An especially important online freebie is Anna Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study; you can find free lessons to go with the Handbook of Nature Study HERE.
Other ways to save money: I’ve built a huge library over the years…mostly from thrift stores, yard sales, and library sales. You can, too! You can often find books, texts, (the few that we use) and other educational supplies at thrift stores, dollar stores, yard sales, and used curriculum sales for pennies on the dollar.
~Are you worried that you won’t be self-disciplined enough to homeschool? Do you think homeschooling will try your patience? Well, you’re partially right. Homeschooling is too hard to do—in your own strength, —and it will try your patience. But in the power of Christ, all things are possible. You’ll need to pray a lot, and keep in the Word. You’ll need to lean on the support of friends, family, and your local homeschool support group.
Homeschooling forces us to “grow up”, and do the things we know we need to do. Sometimes I really struggle with elements of this and I have to admit to myself that 1) I need to grow (oh boy, oh boy do I need to grow); 2) I need to choose to daily surrender to God’s will for me, 3) I need to consciously choose to be self-disciplined and to have a good attitude about it (so hard!), and that 4) I need to be consistent and develop habits for me and my children that will help us achieve our goals. The Lord has really been laying this on my heart lately. After all these years of homeschooling, you’d think I’d have it all together, but nope…I still fail a lot. But God always gives me the Grace to keep going. More than that, I need to remember that God does not call us to a task without equipping us for it.
Sometimes God uses our weakness for His own Glory. When things are tough—when we struggle—we learn to rely on Him, draw close to Him, and give Him the Glory for pulling us through. Others can see what God is doing in our lives, and be blessed by it, too.
Be assured that the struggle is worth the effort. You will reap benefits beyond what you can imagine right now. Some of the best benefits for you and your children include:
-Seeing our children grow in the Lord
-Seeing our children develop spiritual strength and discernment
-Helping our children grow in moral clarity/discernment
-The protection of your children’s innocence
-Family togetherness and closeness
~Do you worry that your family or friends might not support your decision to homeschool? You’re right—some might not. My mother didn’t think homeschooling was a good idea at first. But I just kept going, and I passed along positive articles/statistics about homeschooling as I found them.
One relative, when informed of our decision, thought we were crazy (“why in the world would anyone want to do that?!) We did not have a pleasant conversation about it. They ended the conversation by saying, “well…we’ll be watching you.” Brrr.
Over the years though, as they watched my children mature, learn and grow, things changed. My Mom became my biggest fan, and soon started passing articles about homeschooling on to me—just to encourage me. Our other relatives, while still not understanding our decision, they have accepted it (although I’ve noticed that my children still get “grilled” about what they have learned from time to time. <Sigh>)
~Do you wonder if your children will grow up to be normal? Perhaps you’ll ruin them for life. Normal? Who decides what or who is normal? And is normal really good enough? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children to grow up to fit in with the “normal” youth culture of America. I want them to be a part of our family’s culture. No, I don’t want them to be “normal”; I want them to be different! After all, we are Christians. We are called to be “in the world, but not of it”; we are called to be lights. If we are living the way we should, we will look “weird” to those who are not living for the Lord…we will look different. And that’s O.K.
So don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith. Homeschooling is nothing to fear. Through His strength, you can do it….the Bible says so. (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!)
Not Everyone Thinks You’re Wonderful Because You Homeschool… (but we do!)
Why Be Different
Anti-Homeschooling Excuses…Are They Valid?
© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.