The Truth About Homeschooling: An Encouragement for Moms who are Trying
I have all the answers.
I’m a homeschooler, and I’m proud of it. However, I’m going to admit something to you that I try not to say aloud on a regular basis. Especially when I am around people who are question my homeschooling abilities, I try to keep this fact to myself. When others are asking me why I homeschool, how I homeschool and when I homeschool, I put on a brave face. We, as homeschoolers, face questions from skeptics and critics constantly. If you homeschool, you know the questions I’m talking about….
“What about socialization?” (I have an answer for that.)
“How do you know they are learning?” (I’ve got that covered.)
“Are they getting enough for school?” (Well, of course they are.)
“Why do you homeschool?” (Because I’m supermom, of course.)
Our School Days Never Look Like This
My Secret Confession
But, here’s what I’m going to admit to you:
Much of the time, I’m scared to death.
I don’t always know my kids are learning what they are supposed to.
I don’t always think my kids are getting enough.
I doubt myself and my ability to teach each and every day.
There are many days I wonder why in the world I decided to homeschool.
I try not to say these things to non-homeschoolers, because I’m afraid they’ll agree with me.
Non-Schoolers. That's Us.
I have been homeschooling for 12 years, and I still don’t know how my older child learns. I still have not found a curriculum that works for my kids. I look at other moms who have it so together, and I wonder where I failed. I wonder why I couldn’t figure out how to “do” homeschooling.
I guess, since I can’t seem to settle on anything as a curriculum, we would be categorized more as “unschoolers.” Sometimes, my kids and I joke that we are “non-schoolers.” Sadly, there are days and even weeks when that is true. Those are the times when I panic and I wonder how my kids will ever learn and ever grow. I wonder how they will ever function in the “real” world.
Whooo Needs to Know Everything?
Maybe I Haven't Done So Badly
Then, I step back and realize they ARE functioning in the “real” world. My son successfully volunteered in a mechanic’s garage for two years. My daughter, at age 12, has already taught and fully handled a Sunday school class of 5 kids, some of whom had special needs. They are functioning, and they are doing just fine.
In the moments I begin to panic about our homeschool, I try to take a step back and remember my goal in homeschooling. From the very beginning, I said my goal was not to teach my children everything they ever possibly needed to know. I knew I didn’t know nearly enough for that. Instead, my goal was to teach them how to find and learn what they needed when they needed it. And, in that way, I have succeeded. My kids know how to use the library, they know how to use a calculator and they know how to use the internet. What more do they need to know?
What About You?
Think about it, what do you remember from your high school chemistry class? Unless that was a topic that deeply interested you, chances are, you don’t remember much. The same is true of probably every class you ever took. Unless it was something that meant something to you, you learned the information long enough to answer questions on a test. Then, you purged it from your brain.
This is where homeschoolers have an advantage of traditionally schooled kids. If they are not forced to learn useless information, they are left with time to learn what they want about what interests them. A broad and general “education” can be replaced with a specialty. My 16 year old son can change the brake pads on a car. What are your kids able to do that they wouldn't learn in school?
What kind of homeschool do you have?
So, if you are a homeschooler, and you are panicking like I usually am, stop it. Take a deep breath and step back and watch your kids. They are learning. They are growing. They are developing. Even if math didn’t get done today and the history book has been lost in your car for 2 weeks, it’s okay. Just breathe. They will learn.