Homeschooling is full of challenges from choosing curriculum to planning and managing multiple lesson plans for different ages. One of the biggest obstacles for many homeschool parents is dealing with negative feelings or thoughts about their choices.
There’s reason to take heart, though. Feeling self-doubt as a homeschooling parent can actually be a good sign. Here are four uncomfortable feelings that mean you are actually doing a wonderful job as a homeschool parent.
Feeling #1: Wondering if Public School is Better
Nearly every homeschooling parent goes through this period of wondering, “Should I just put them in public school? Shouldn't a professional teacher do this better than I can?” For some parents, this feeling happens every year, usually around back-to-school shopping season and again during the middle of winter.
Most homeschool parents attended public school themselves, so they still associate going to public school as a right of passage for childhood. Feeling uncertain about the ability to teach children at home is actually very normal. This self-doubt pushes you as a parent to constantly improve as an educator. It makes you willing to question the methods and materials you're using for your children. To constantly research and find the materials and curriculum that work best for your family.
Don't take that self-doubt to mean public school is better in some way, let it be a challenge to constantly strive and offer new and challenging ideas to challenge your kids. Try a co-op class, an online learning session, or a field trip for some variety. Try attending a homeschool convention or reach out to homeschooling support groups to keep your homeschool curriculum fresh and challenging.
Feeling #2: Curriculum Indecision
Many homeschool parents hop from one curriculum to the next and the next, even within the same school year. This jumping around with curriculum can make them feel that they’ll never find the right curriculum approach that works for their children.
The truth is, being a curriculum junkie is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as your children are learning the objectives they need to cover for that year, switching programs can actually keep the homeschooling journey fun and interesting. Of course, once a program truly clicks for you and your child, it’s a good idea to slow down or stop your searches for a new curriculum for a while. You can instead now spend all of that energy savoring the one you have discovered.
Feeling #3: Scheduling Inconsistency
Nearly every homeschool parent started the school year with the perfect homeschool schedule only to abandon it after the first few weeks or so. Creating a daily homeschooling schedule is an easy thing to do in theory. Implementing it, however, brings its own unique challenges.
Life with children is never consistent or easy, so expecting homeschooling lessons to be consistent is a bit unrealistic. If your schedule changes regularly, that’s okay. Homeschooling parents have to learn to adjust their lesson plans to suit the needs of their unique children.
If a child is sick, school might have to be put on hold for a few days or weeks. If a doctor’s appointment is scheduled, you may have to have class in the afternoon instead of the morning. If a child isn’t grasping a topic, you might have to lengthen the number of days or weeks you scheduled for that concept. In these situations, being a little inconsistent may be what’s best for your children. Focus on the long term progress instead of day-to-day consistency.
Feeling #4: Worry That Your Kids Aren’t Learning Enough
No matter how rigorous your schedule or how advanced the curriculum may be, some homeschool parents worry their children are not learning enough. They may worry about covering enough electives for high school to enhance an academic transcript. They might be concerned about teaching foreign languages or a musical instrument, in addition to the core scholastic subjects.
If you feel that your kids can learn more, that’s great! It means that you’ll continue to look for valuable skills and lessons to teach them and enhance their learning experience. They can learn more. They don’t though, have to learn it all at once. Narrow it down to one or two additional topics to cover each year on the weekends or free time in the afternoons. They’ll be able to get that extra exposure without adding pressure to your daily routine.
Whether you’re dealing with one, two, or even all four of these feelings, please don’t give up on your homeschool journey. As you continue, you’ll find ways to deal with these and other feelings of self-doubt, adapt to your children’s needs, and make learning into a fun and lifelong experience for you and your children. The bottom line is that you have these feelings because you love your children and that is all the proof you need that you are doing a great job as a homeschool parent!
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