It was this time last year that my stomach was tied in what I believed would be a permanent knot. I felt constantly on the verge of tears, and I vacillated between extreme confidence, and despairing self-doubt…sometimes within the same minute.
My husband and I were discussing the possibility of bringing two of our children home so that I could homeschool them. Deep down I knew this was the right thing to do, but I was scared – terrified might be the better word.
What if I screwed them up?
What if they resented us for taking them away from their friends at school?
What if I had them tested at the end of the school year and found that they’d actually learned nothing under my tutelage?!
After much waffling back and forth, my husband finally sat me down. He looked me straight in the eye, and he said six short words.
“I know you can do this.”
My tangled emotions bubbled over, and I poured out every single fear, all of which he listened to patiently. I listed the pros and the cons, why I felt like we needed to make this step, and why I felt like we didn’t. When I finally exhausted all my words, he waited for a moment before responding.
“I can’t make this decision for you because I understand that the ramifications of this decision rest mainly upon you. This will be your sacrifice, and you’ll shoulder most of the responsibility. But I can tell you that I think it’s the right thing to do, and that I have full confidence in you. I know you can do this.”
We’re at the tail end of this homeschooling year, staring summer in the face, and I can say with 100% confidence – we made the right choice.
Turns out my husband was right: I can do this. And if homeschooling is something you’re considering, then can I pass along this wisdom to you?
I know you can do this.
There’s no doubt that homeschooling requires a great deal of sacrifice. I’ve given up free time and exchanged it for long division, reading comprehension, and critical thinking. I’ve given up quiet for constant noise.
But can I tell you what I’ve gained?
Confidence, a deeper understanding of my children’s strengths and weaknesses, and a great deal of satisfaction at the end of each long day.
My children have learned many things this year. They’ve mastered long division and advanced multiplication. They know all their states and capitals. They know that the month of July is named after Julius Caesar, and August is named after his grandnephew Augustus Caesar.
They’ve learned that the Phoenicians invented glass blowing, and they’ve fallen in love with good books like Anne of Green Gables, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles, to name a few. They can both now read and write in Russian, and they’ve collectively agreed that they would like to travel the world someday because it’s such a grand place to live.
Let me be clear: I do not consider myself a scholarly person. I don’t have an upper level degree, nor do I have a teacher’s certificate. I am simply a mom who likes to read a good book now and then. What I’ve realized, though, is that I don’t need to be perfect to teach my kids.
I just need to be willing.
I sought help where help was needed (math!), and I also recognized that homeschooling wasn’t right for all my children. One of my kids thrives in a school environment, so he heads off to middle school each day while the rest of us hit the books at home. This is what worked best for our family in our particular circumstance.
I’m not going to offer you the line that “no one else can teach your child better than you can,” because I think that’s a bogus claim. There are plenty of other people who could teach my children better than me – but it turns out I’m doing a pretty good job on my own.
Are you considering homeschooling but finding yourself filled with doubt and perhaps a little fear? Can I offer you a bit of encouragement?
If this is something you feel strongly about, and you’re willing to make the necessary sacrifices, then I know that you can do this.