Hey! What are you afraid of? I’m not talking about spiders or heights or close spaces here, though. Let’s talk about homeschooling and your fears. Sure, you go through each day like you know what you are doing. You discuss homeschooling and reading materials with other homeschool moms. But what about when you are all alone, lying in bed, letting all those “what if” scenarios run through your mind. What are you afraid of then? Are you afraid of homeschooling? Or afraid that you aren’t doing it “right?” Let’s address those fears and keep you moving in the right direction. We aren’t going to let your fears get in the way of you and your kids having a great school year. Let’s conquer your homeschooling fears!
Fear of your Kids Missing Out on Something
What are the fondest memories you have of your school days? Friends? Social experiences? Extracurricular activities? Let me guess, now that you are homeschooling your kids, or even thinking about homeschooling, you are afraid your children will miss out on some of those things. You are afraid that your decision to homeschool will cause them to miss out on valuable and memorable experiences. Or maybe you are worried that they will miss out on taking advanced academic classes.
Let’s look at how you can conquer this homeschooling fear, this fear of missing out. First of all, are your kids worried about missing out on some of these things, or are you just projecting your fears onto them? If they aren’t worried about it, then maybe you don’t need to worry about it either. Secondly, look for ways outside of school for your children to benefit from outside experiences. Check out the following options to conquer this homeschooling fear.
Maybe there is a homeschool co-op near you that might provide advanced academics or music opportunities. Check out your local community theaters, bands, or orchestras to see if those might provide the opportunities you are seeking for your kids. Also, see if park district sports programs might be the answer to your child’s athletic endeavors. Depending on your local school district, homeschooled kids may be allowed to participate in extracurricular school activities. Your church or a local homeschool group may provide outlets for friendship and social activities. You have many options – don’t be afraid to pursue them!
Fear of Not Being Good Enough
I think we all face this fear at some point – the fear of not being good enough. You don’t think you are educated enough. You never studied to become a teacher. How will you ever teach your kids math? You aren’t a good reader. And the self-doubting can go on and on, limiting your ability to see what you CAN do! Do we ever think that we are good enough – at anything? Maybe you have super high self-confidence and feel you are the supermom of all homeschool supermoms. Congrats. But for the rest of us, we are always silently worried that we aren’t good enough. And the self-doubting can go on and on, limiting your ability to see what you CAN do!
Change your focus!
Direct your thoughts from what you cannot do to what you can do. No one is an expert in everything. So, take inventory, see what you can do well, then look for help in the subjects you are not confident with.
- No one loves or cares about your children more than you do.
- There is no one who wants your child to succeed more than you do.
- No one knows your child’s abilities or difficulties more than you do.
Find the help you need!
Where do you look for help with those subjects you are not confident with? How can you conquer this homeschooling fear? Here are some suggestions for you:
- Well-run and organized homeschool co-ops
- Thoroughly study the material along with your child
- Subject related videos
- Library books
- Online teachers and courses
- Online or in-person tutoring
You have options and resources to help you with your homeschooling weakness. Research those options and then, find the ones that will work best for you and your family.
Fear of Not Doing Homeschooling “Right”
Sometimes we look around us, see other homeschooling families and their successes and wonder why we are failing. Our kids aren’t winning awards, acing standardized tests, making the news for their accomplishments, and we wonder why we are failing. We look at ourselves, our efforts, our struggles, and then we think we must be doing this whole homeschool thing wrong. We are sure we are failing our kids, we struggle with comparing ourselves to others, and sometimes we are ready to just quit. STOP!!!!
Stop with the comparisons!
Your kids, your family, your homeschool is not like anyone else’s. One of the many reasons families choose to homeschool is because they don’t like the one-size-fits-all approach of public schools. Don’t fall into that same trap with homeschooling. Your approach, what works best with your kids may be completely different from what others do. And that is OK! You are free to do what works best for your kids, on a timetable or schedule that works best for your family.
Let’s face it – most of our kids are just ordinary kids. Not musical prodigies, not academic geniuses, not with MENSA-level IQs. Just ordinary, unique kids with their own sets of abilities and challenges. Our goal is to encourage them to be the best they can be, not to be better than everyone else! Plan your homeschool work to develop your kids to the best of their abilities. Don’t get sucked into thinking that they must be the best of the best. That thinking will always leave you dissatisfied and feeling like a failure. Conquer this homeschooling fear today and move on!
Fear of Not Preparing Them Adequately for College
Some day in the not-so-distant future your kids may need to go to college. And you are afraid that they will not be prepared. (I’m not talking about finances here, just academics! Is anyone really prepared for the financial part?!) What if they don’t score high enough to get into their dream college? What if they can’t pass the entrance exams? The colleges will see that my child was homeschooled, and it will put a black mark on homeschooling! It will show me as a failure. Just Stop Worrying!
If you have taught your child to read well, to think critically, and to learn independently, there is no reason he cannot succeed in college. Will every homeschooled child be granted admission to the highest-ranking schools in the country? Probably not. So what? Will your child be offered admittance to some colleges? Most likely. And if they need some extra help for admission, so be it. You have options. ACT/SAT test prep books, tutoring, and training are everywhere. Have them take some online or in-person basic courses at a community college. You can also enroll them in dual-credit courses in high school. Have them study and take CLEP exams while still in high school. All these options will prepare them for the rigors of a full load of college classes.
Fear of Using the Wrong Curriculum or Materials
You did your research, you studied all the options, you read reviews and opinions, maybe you even visited the publisher’s booth at a homeschool convention. You purchased the best curriculum, the best materials, the ones you thought were going to be absolutely perfect. And then you started using them. And the materials were not perfect. In fact, no one liked them. Not you, not your kids. And then you started worrying. My kids are going to fail life because I bought the wrong books. I spent so much money on these, I can’t just trash them and start over. We will have a wasted school year; no one will learn anything. We will be miserable all year. OK – stop there! The first week (or month) of the school year should not doom the entire year!
Adapt, Recover, Keep On!
So you don’t like your curriculum. All is not lost! Adapt! Consider these questions and suggestions to rescue your year from impending doom and disaster:
- Why don’t you like the material?
- Why don’t your kids like the material?
- What are the 5 main things you don’t like about the curriculum?
- What is good about the program?
- Can you salvage anything from the material?
- How can you adapt the program so it works better for you?
- What can you use to supplement to curriculum to make it a better “fit” for your kids?
- Can you sell the materials to recoup your cost?
- What should you look for in new or additional materials? (How can you avoid making the same mistakes?)
Remember, just because all your friends use a certain curriculum does not mean it is right for your kids. Even though all the homeschool experts favor a certain approach does not mean it will work for you. You do homeschool the way it works best for you and your family! Not every approach or curriculum works for every family.
True story time
I loved the idea of a unit-centered approach to homeschooling. I thought it could be so much fun! We could read books together, learn history through reading historical fiction, do projects, all work together on group learning assignments. So I researched, studied, and finally bought a set of unit-based curriculum. It was everything I hoped it would be. It had multiple book suggestions, so many cool project ideas, activities, and assignments at several different levels. The curriculum was set to last for several years. We dove right in, starting (I think) with ancient Egypt. And there was so much fun stuff to do. My kids now joke that we were never going to get out of ancient Egypt!
And then reality hit! Planning and prepping for all the cool stuff took SOOO much time. I think I had 8 kids then, all under 15. Spare time was not a thing in my schedule. And it was so easy to get bogged down in all the books and activities that our rate of progress was slower than a snail’s! Seriously! I think we made it through one year before I gave up completely and looked for another option. Other homeschoolers loved the program, raved about the materials, but it just did not work for us. Moral of the story: do what works best for you. Don’t feel pressured to do what others do, do what works for you!
Conquer Those Fears!
Do you see how you can conquer these common homeschooling fears? Don’t be afraid that your kids will miss out on something. Don’t fear that you aren’t good enough. No need to worry about doing homeschooling the “right” way – there is no “right way. Don’t fret about your kids getting into or succeeding in college. And finally, don’t worry about using the “wrong” curriculum. There are ways to overcome all these issues. Instead of your fears, focus on what you can do to help your child work and learn to the best of his abilities. Look for options for help with your shortcomings, ask others for advice and assistance. You can do this. You can succeed at teaching your child at home!
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