When the Homeschool Doubts Set in
Serious confession time: I had a period of real doubt about my decision to homeschool… just a couple of weeks ago.
A homeschooling friend of mine told me that she nearly put all her kids in school (for the first time!) this past year because the school work had become so challenging. She said, “I can’t teach this. They need a real teacher for this stuff.”
I about fell out on the floor right there! This woman is someone I look up to and she has been homeschooling much longer than I have. As I walked away, I felt like my ears were ringing and the ground was moving underneath me.
If she was struggling…what hope is there for me when I get to that point? Are we all just kidding ourselves that we can actually educate our children at home? Should I just stop now before I screw them up too much?
I kept thinking, “I BLOG about homeschooling for goodness sake! How can I be doubting that I can do this!!”
Have you started to doubt why you stepped on this train to Crazy Town we all call homeschooling? Did your husband make a comment you didn’t appreciate? Did your neighbor raise an eyebrow when your kid said something that wasn’t in perfect English? Did your family come right out and say they disapprove? Did one of your friends make a comment about how their kid is excelling in public school? Did you have an argument with one of your kids about a challenging assignment? Do you feel exhausted and wonder if the kids are even learning anything at all?
6 Steps For When You Doubt Your Decision to Homeschool
1. Admit and Identify the Doubt
The first step is to admit to yourself this is even happening.
I certainly didn’t want to do that. I put my doubt in a little box on a shelf in my brain and tried to ignore it. I kind of just hoped it would go away, but that little talk with my friend really shook me.
You may be able to keep your doubts in a box and forget about them for a time, but it will come back if you don’t fully deal with the issues that are concerning you.
When you do decide to admit that you are doubting, be sure to be specific. What is your doubt exactly?
Is it that you’re a capable teacher? That you are effectively teaching ALL of your kids? That your kids are learning anything? That your kids will get into college? That you can maintain your current pace?
What is making you doubt that you can homeschool your kids?
2. Go Back to Your List
If you don’t already have an exhaustive list of reasons you are homeschooling and the long-term goals you have for your kids – stop reading this post and go write them down right now. It’s that important.
As we slug through the hard days, it gets very easy to forget what in the world we are doing and why we are doing it.
Reading through that list can give you so much comfort and focus when you really need it. It will remind you why you are sacrificing all this time and effort for your kids’ education.
And it will hopefully recharge you to keep pressing on for the goals you set.
3. Take a Good Look at Your Kids
As I was grappling with my own doubt, I stopped and really looked at them. I tried to focus on their strengths, accomplishments, and areas they have grown.
It was so encouraging to spend time thinking about what is going well! And not worrying about what might happen in the future. It helped so much to shift my focus and perspective.
How about you?
What do you see when you really look objectively at your kids? What are the areas where homeschooling has brought out their strengths? How have relationships in your house been improved? What areas have your kids improved in? What have you taught well? What lessons did you make fun and memorable by putting your own touch on it?
Take some time to give yourself credit!
If it helps, keep a list of these things too! Write down your successes – big and small – so that when the periods of doubt set in, you can remind yourself!
4. Do Some Research
Ever heard the saying that whatever is the most personal is universal? It is true!
Whatever your doubt is – someone else has had it long before you! And has probably written many blog posts (like this one!) and threads about it.
Once you have identified the source of your doubt and fear, go online (you probably got here through Pinterest, so start there) and search for answers, tips, and information.
It would be greatly encouraging to read about how others have dealt with and conquered what you’re going through or what you’re afraid of.
I’ll even cut out the middleman and shamelessly start you off with some of my posts that might be helpful:
Flexible Structure for Your Homeschool that Your Kids will Thrive On
How to Reset Your Homeschool Day
The Simple Plan to Motivate Your Homeschooler to Get That Work Done
How to Homeschool with Younger Siblings and Not Lose Your Mind
5. Admit Your Doubt to Someone Else
This feeling of doubt is something that you shouldn’t keep to yourself. You need to bounce it off somebody who can give you perspective, encouragement, tough love, and wisdom.
I know that admitting you are second-guessing homeschooling can be as shocking as saying you stopped believing in God – you may receive gasps, clutched pearls, arched eyebrows, and all kinds of head tilts from your homeschooling friends.
I first talked to my husband. I told him the story about my friend and told him how much it shocked me and made me wonder about what homeschooling would look like down the road. Just saying it out loud helped immensely.
I also chatted with another seasoned homeschool mom I knew and found a way to share what I was thinking and feeling. It felt soooooo good to listen to her perspective and encouragement on the issue.
Who can you go to for support and encouragement? Your husband? Best friend? Neighbor? Other homeschooling friends? Family?
If you are sighing right now because the answer to that is NOBODY – I would strongly encourage you to look up some of the amazing homeschooling Facebook communities out there. There are literally thousands of homeschoolers on national Facebook group pages with tons of resources and support! I have been very blessed by these groups! Just search Homeschool Groups on FB and many options will come up.
I saved the best tip for last – but in reality, prayer should be your first line of defense when doubt and fear come knocking.
If you are struggling with your current homeschool situation or fearful of what is down the road, turn to God and ask for His matchless wisdom and guidance.
I believe God put a deep conviction on my heart to homeschool my kids. When I was feeling the doubts creep in about whether or not I am capable to homeschool, I had to remind myself that I am not capable.
But with God leading me, I can and will accomplish what He has called me to.
Take your heart before God and tell Him what is going on. Ask for help and He will hear you. He will see you. And He will answer you. He did not bring you this far on the homeschool journey to watch you crumble.
Recap When You Doubt Your Decision to Homeschool
Even though my friend’s comments shook me, I was comforted to know that even long-time homeschoolers like her experience doubt that they can pull this homeschooling thing off.
So if you are struggling with your decision to homeschool – you are in really good company!
And just so you know, my friend told me how she was able to work through her doubts and continue homeschooling this year – despite her fear of the advanced subjects she had to teach. She said she had to stop and take time to remember why she is homeschooling and what her goals are for her kids. She said with a smile, “I thought ‘What am I doing?!’ And so here we are still homeschooling.”
She pushed through her fear by remembering why she is doing all of this. She also did some research and found some local support for some of the more challenging subjects.
My thoughts of doubt were lifted by spending time talking with others, remembering the things that are going well, and praying. I am still a little leary of the future, but I am confident that God will prepare me for what is ahead.
What do you need to do today to start addressing your doubts? Take a look again at the tips above and try to pick one or two that you think apply to your situation and will be helpful. Take steps to deal with your doubts and you will conquer them.
If you are looking for encouragement on the path of homeschooling, join The Simple Homeschooler Community!
Want to remember these tips for later or share with someone you know? Just pin this to your favorite Pinterest Board and share with your homeschooling friends and followers!
Thank you so much for this! I really needed it. I started homeschooling last week for the first time and let me tell you, I wanted to throw the towel the first day. All I kept thinking to myself was “what did I get myself into?!”, Haha! Thankfully, the following couple of days were a little smoother. I began reminding myself why I started homeschooling in the first place and coupled that with prayer.