Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Homeschooling and Doubts

I've been homeschooling for 15 years. I have one graduate and another graduating next month. I have homeschooled boys and girls, all grades and ages. We've used unit studies, classical curriculum, textbooks, and have even relaxed/delight-directed school some years. We've homeschooled through pregnancies, surgeries, a move, dealing with Steve's parents' health problems, and family deaths.

You'd think we were experts by now. But I still have doubts.

I still wonder if I'm doing a good job. I still wonder if my kids are going to be successful. I wonder what gap is going to appear one day and cause a little glitch in their life. I wonder if they're going to hate me for homeschooling them. I wonder if laws are going to change and make it harder for the younger ones to get into college someday.

I worry about getting my boys through the high school years on track and without too much conflict. I worry about whether we should change curriculum again. I worry about making sure each child gets enough extra-curricular activity for their interests. I worry about affording the curriculum I think we need to try next year to motivate that son. I worry about what people think of me, and our kids.

I think every homeschool parent wonders, "Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing a good job?" That isn't a bad thing. It helps us to re-evaluate why we're homeschooling and if the reasons still apply for our family. It also helps us take an honest look at areas where we may need to improve. For instance, I know I need to focus on writing more with my kids, especially my boys. I also need a better system for accountability and checking in their work.

For our family, the main reason we homeschool is to be able to provide a Christian education with a Biblical worldview. That need hasn't changed. We know there are some great Christian teachers in our school system here, and we respect them. But we also want to use a Christian curriculum, so we continue to homeschool.

Okay, so I'm doing the right thing ... but am I doing a good job? It helps me calm my doubts when I look at my older children. My oldest daughter is a sophomore in college. She is on the honor roll. She's responsible and gets herself to class on time (most of the time). She has friends and is respected by her peers and her professors. I guess homeschooling, even with my faults, worked out okay.

My second daughter is a senior in high school, but she has taken all her classes at the community college this year, dual-entry. She's also thrived in that setting and is getting great grades. She's a hard worker and respected at both her jobs. I know she'll be successful in life. At this point, she swears she will never homeschool her kids, but that's fine. I was faithful to my conviction and she will have her own life decisions to make. I don't expect my children to be just like me. I don't expect them all to have large families and homeschool.

Doubts and fears are normal.
When they start to overwhelm you, use them to evaluate how you are doing. Look at the situation objectively, evaluating your children's strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself how your children are doing in other settings: do they keep up in Sunday School, are they reading at the right age, are they well-behaved, able to get along with others? How do other adults view your children? Especially, ask your husband what he thinks. Make a list of what you're doing well. Make a list of things to improve. Journal about why you homeschool.

Most of the time you will be reassured that you're doing just fine, your children are learning and growing. Sometimes you will have to face some areas that need work. That's good, too. Don't be discouraged. Accept the challenge and make some changes.

You can do this homeschool thing! Don't stuff your doubts in the back of your mind to keep nagging at you. Pull them out, examine them, and throw them out. Get a good night's sleep, and then get busy again! You've got too much to do to let those doubts drag you down. When they sneak back in, just read your lists again and be reassured. You're doing a great job!

April E.

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  1. I think doubts come with parenting in general, you always wonder if you are making the best choices for your kids....

  2. I really appreciated this post. At the moment I seem to be doubting everything that I am doing parenting & it's nice to know that these thoughts are normal about homeschooling.
    Thank you for sharing your heart


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