Have you wondered this? I admit thinking it a few times.
I remember worrying about stinking at it when I first started homeschooling some 20-ish years ago. Not all the time, but it would grab hold of me every once in a while. I wondered about it every now and again for the next few years, too, usually after a particularly bad homeschool day or during our recovery from some period of burnout or exhaustion.
Fear of not doing a good job became an unwelcome visitor for probably the first 6 or 8 years of our homeschooling adventure. It came around when I least wanted it to and, while the thought lasted but a brief moment, it always bothered me just long enough to steal my confidence and sap my kids of the extra joy they might have experienced if I wasn’t so worried about doing everything right that day.
Is it grabbing hold of you right now? Do you worry you may ‘stink at’ homeschooling?
For me, the worry faded after a few years. And though it didn’t concern me nearly as much in the later years as it did at the beginning, truthfully, it probably only entirely disappeared after my oldest student entered college, started studying what he loved, and it was obvious he was happy and alright. Only then were my choices and his efforts validated and rewarded. I suppose it was because our homeschool experiment finally rendered real evidence from its first ‘test-subject’ and erased any remaining fears from my mind forever.
My guess is that most homeschool parents wonder at one time or another if they stink at it. I’ll bet there isn’t a homeschooling mamma or daddy out there who hasn’t wondered at least once if they’ve ruined the children. Or if the kids are actually learning anything. Or if they’ve all possibly gone crazy. Or will ever get a job. Or a crack at college. Or earn money. Or live a ‘normal’ life.
No doubt, it’s the reason lots of parents never take the plunge. Afraid they’ll stink at it, that is. Fear of failure is a deterrent to other enormous life changes — surely fear of stinking at homeschooling must rank right up there.
I didn’t know all of this when I first started. I wish someone had had this conversation with me.
It would have been so reassuring if someone had taken me aside and said, “Listen. You’ll probably worry whether you’re doing a good job every once in a while. We all do at first. But, be patient with yourself. You’ll get over that feeling eventually. Just remember things are never as serious as you think they are. You’re gonna be just fine.”
I wish some sweet homeschool mamma with a half a dozen kids or more had said to me, “You know, there is probably a teeny-tiny little chance you’ll stink at it. But, I have been homeschooling a long time, and I’ve never met anyone who stinks at homeschooling. If they can do it, you can do it, too.”
If only some perceptive homeschool dad had come up to me and said, “You know, my wife and I used to worry about doing a good job homeschooling our kids. But, they’re learning so much and so happy, we know we’re doing the right thing. Even on a bad day they learn so much more than if they’d gone to school.”
Nobody told me any of that stuff. That’s why I’m telling it to you now.
If I started homeschooling all over again, knowing what I know now, I would begin with confidence, clarity, and calmness. I’d be 100% sure it would work, because I now know that it does. I’d never worry about not being good at it, either, since I’d understand that kids learn all the time — even if parents do nothing at all to help them – and even more if they do. I’d know that the end is worth the journey, and that it all works out at the finish line. And I’d never doubt myself, because worry is just a waste of time.
Now that you know what I know, I hope that you will start homeschooling knowing you probably won’t stink at it, either. In fact, you’ll probably do a very good job, too.
To your success,
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