If worrying is keeping you from homeschooling, I have help for you! We will put five common worries to rest so you can stop worrying and start homeschooling.
Worry #1: I don’t have the patience to homeschool
One of the first things people say when they learn I am a homeschooler is that they would never have the patience for that. It’s a common and understandable worry. I wasn’t a patient mom at all. And homeschooling just my oldest as a preschooler taught me that. It drove me crazy when he didn’t answer questions I knew he knew or when he had his own ideas for what we should be doing. I often lost my temper and even when I didn’t, I was practically jumping out of my skin while waiting on him. I knew that I wasn’t the best teacher for my child because of my impatience. But I didn’t quit.
I eventually came to understand that patient mothers don’t homeschool. Instead, homeschooling mothers learn patience. They learn it, not from dealing with obedient, cherubic children, but from the aggravating, tiring, and difficult sort. If I had not homeschooled, I believe I may have stayed the same impatient woman I was 19 years ago. I would have remained short-tempered and would not enjoy the closer walk with the Lord and my family that I do today.
We tend to want patience right now! There isn’t a shortcut to this fruit of the Spirit, but there is a well-worn path. Homeschooling mothers before us have trod it and you can too. Stop worrying about your impatience and start homeschooling.
Worry #2: I’m not organized enough to homeschool.
The next most common response I get to the announcement that I am a homeschooling mom is that the person speaking isn’t organized enough to homeschool. I have a hard time not laughing in response to that comment. I was a very disorganized person when I started homeschooling to the point that I felt I needed to quit. I would be neglecting my children’s education if I continued. Even though I was only homeschooling a preschooler, I did almost no teaching but also got nothing else done. I didn’t know what the problem was until I met a woman named FLYLady online. Her approach to developing routines and working in 15-minute segments changed my home. I wasn’t born organized, but I have developed routines and an approach that allows me to do everything that God has called me to do.
FLYLady’s approach is the basis behind The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner. I applied the same principles of routines and 15-minute missions to organizing every area of my homeschooling life — prepping curriculum, arranging our homeschool spaces, early preparation for holidays and more. I am not IKEA-organized in my home. Many people assume I am. Instead, I am organized enough that I can homeschool, write curriculum, and run a business. My home is not a disaster. I no longer routinely forget appointments. I even have time left over to enjoy family time and participate in hobbies of scrapbooking and tennis. If I can do that, anyone can.
Worry #3: I won’t be fulfilled by homeschooling
Before I was obedient to God’s call on my life to homeschool, I was worried that homeschooling wouldn’t fulfill me. I had a degree in psychology and I’ve given up that career to stay home with my children while they were little. But I did not want to give up my dream of being a writer and speaker. I assumed there was no way I could do all three. Obviously, I was mistaken. I’m doing all three of those things today. But homeschooling has been the most fulfilling of these callings. I have often said that I would give up everything else before I gave up homeschooling. Teaching my own children has been my greatest joy. The family relationships we enjoy as a result are precious to me and my husband.
Homeschooling has also allowed me to use the talents God has given me and to fulfill my purpose as a teacher. Before I had my first child, I taught psychology at a local university. I absolutely loved it. God knew that teaching would give me the desires of my heart. I have taught my own children, my friend’s children, and now through Grammar Galaxy, children all over the world. My cup overflows. It is possible to homeschool and work or minister within your talents and your passions. I know women who are gifted in computers and engineering who teach courses for homeschooling students, for example. The same with those gifted in the arts. But whatever your passion, I’m proof that you can work or minister part-time while homeschooling and fulfill the other God-given desires of your heart. I did much less writing and speaking when I had babies. God has been faithful to give me just the amount of activity outside of homeschooling for my season. Use the scheduling worksheet in the post linked below to determine how much time you can devote to your passion in this season of your life.
God can fulfill you even as you homeschool. Stop worrying about being fulfilled and start homeschooling.
Worry #4: I’ll choose the wrong curriculum.
A fourth worry homeschoolers often have is choosing the wrong curriculum. We worry that our friends’ kids will get full-ride scholarships to Ivy League schools while our kids will and up being ditch diggers. And all because we chose one math curriculum over another. This fear can lead to curriculum addiction and such a collection of resources that our child is overwhelmed and stressed. An overwhelmed child is more likely to fail academically than one who is using a curriculum that isn’t the best of the best.
I used to have this fear. For example, I listened to people who said if you didn’t use more than one math or science curriculum, your student wouldn’t get into college. That wasn’t true. And while I do think there’s some truth to the notion that using the same math curriculum each year is a good idea, I’ve violated that policy and my kids have still done well. The fact is you teach your children. Curriculum is just a tool you use to teach your children. That is especially true if you tailor that curriculum to your child’s learning style and particular needs. You may need to add other resources and even tutoring, but nearly any curriculum will do when it comes to providing an education for your child.
Many of us worry about gaps in our children’s education when we choose a particular curriculum or even a particular approach to teaching the subject. I had that concern about history when I was using a unit study approach to teaching my kids. We weren’t studying history chronologically, so I was concerned my kids weren’t going to master it. I’ve now used both approaches and saw no difference in my kids’ understanding of history. Gaps in a child’s education is not worthy of our worry. I direct you to the episode I did with Charlene Notgrass on the topic. I can tell you that most homeschool curriculum is far superior to that used in public and private school. A wrong homeschool choice is likely better than a traditional curriculum. Stop worrying about choosing the wrong curriculum and start homeschooling.
Worry #5: My child won’t be able to master a subject.
A fifth worry homeschoolers have is that their child won’t be able to master a subject. I was afraid I would not be able to teach my child to read. That fear stemmed from two sources. First, potty training had been a real struggle for me. I couldn’t teach my child that most basic of social skills, so I worried that reading would be a real struggle. The second source of fear was the fact that I didn’t know how to teach a child to read. No high school student is given a course in teaching reading. I wasn’t an education major, so I had no background in it whatsoever. I purchased an expensive phonics curriculum and hoped for the best. My oldest child, and advanced learner, took to reading at an early age. But just as with potty training, he wasn’t interested in it. I was so shellshocked from my potty training experience with him that I let it go. Lo and behold, he was interested in reading in his own time. My second and third kids learned to read on a later but average timetable. My fears that I would not be able to teach my kids were relieved once they knew how to read.
But then along came boy number four. I taught him using the same materials and the same approach I used with my older three boys, but no matter how many little tricks I added to my approach, he wasn’t getting it. That old fear reemerged. When our kids struggle to master a subject, we can worry that homeschooling isn’t best for our kids. While it is true that your child may need assistance with a learning disability, we should not worry about homeschooling a child with special needs. Here’s why. If your child were in public school, you would have to be your child’s advocate. I know many parents who have gone to great lengths to ensure that their children are receiving the special services they need to succeed in public school. In public school, your child is one of dozens of children. You will have to be your child’s advocate no matter which educational approach you use with your child. Homeschoolers can find the best professionals to assist them for their kids without dependence on a particular teacher or aide in a public school, who may not be the best fit for your child. Special needs children have the opportunity to flourish in an educational environment that supports their self-esteem and enables them to learn using the modality that is the best fit for them. With my son’s difficulty in reading, I consulted my neighbor who is a reading specialist. She explained that my son sounded like he needed to learn to read using whole language, which is another way of saying that he struggled to read phonetically. He wanted to memorize the words. I also consulted an expert at a homeschooling conference about my son’s approach to reading and was reassured that he would not have undue difficulty in reading using that approach. The expert has been proven correct. My son is an excellent reader, despite not learning to read phonetically as his brothers did. No one cares more about your child’s education than you. You’ll do whatever it takes to teach them. Stop worrying about your child not mastering a subject and start homeschooling.
I hope I’ve laid to rest five homeschool worries for you: lack of patience, organization, and fulfillment and fears of choosing the wrong curriculum or your child not mastering a subject. God doesn’t want us to worry. He wants us to get on with the business of homeschooling He’s called us to. I hope you’ll subscribe below to be notified of five more worries we can put to rest.