The truth about homeschooling is this: it’s scary. Fun, exhilarating, rewarding, enlightening, yes. But scary.
Every summer preceding a new homeschool year, I become fearful. How in the world am I going to do this? I fret. Each year as my kids grow older—and as more of them have reached school age—I face new challenges, new concerns, new levels of responsibility. I am in charge of their education. Confident and capable as I am, I worry.
And then the school year starts.
Each year, without fail, school begins and my fears are abated. The very occasions that I’d been dreading present themselves, and I manage them more smoothly than I’d ever imagined possible.
Sometimes I take a step back and wonder, Just how is it that I am educating four children? Successfully.
I don’t even know. Somehow, I just do it. Just like hundreds of thousands of other homeschooling families are doing it.
Scary and impossible as the challenges seem, we face them and beat them year after year.
My anticipations for this year have been the scariest yet. A third grader, a second grader, and twins entering kindergarten. My first year with all four kids officially in school—and two of them ready to learn to read. Like every summer before, the one leading up to this school year was marked by the threat of added commitment, but now intensified by my uncertainties surrounding the schooling of twins. How will I ever manage?
[Related Article: On Having Twins]
Even going in to the first day of school, I still didn’t know. I had my curriculum and my lesson plans and my four years of homeschooling experience, but I didn’t have the knowledge of exactly how it was going to go. And that was scary.
I say this every year, and every year I’m more grateful to be able to say it: it’s going so much better than I ever expected.
We’re back on a schedule, we’re having fun, we’re learning, we’re bonding, and I dare say we’re working more efficiently through our school days than ever before—even though we have more to accomplish each day.
I don’t know how we’re doing it. We just are.
I struggle with the decided statement I hear so many moms make: “I could never homeschool.”
Though I respond in understanding affirmation, in my heart I don’t agree.
You see, there is nothing special about those of us who homeschool. We aren’t smarter or better organized or more patient. We aren’t anything more than anyone else. We’re just moms with a crazy belief that, yes, we can homeschool.
And the truth is, I think anyone can. I’m not saying you “should” or that you’re doing the wrong thing if you aren’t—not at all. I’m only saying that I believe you are capable.
Good grief, we’re raising kids, aren’t we? Is there anything harder than that? Taking a more hands-on role in the education of our children is just one more piece of an already difficult puzzle.
You, non-homeschooling Mom, may think you can’t homeschool. The truth is, there are days… weeks… months… when we homeschoolers think we can’t homeschool, either. And even while we’re doing it, we’re not sure how. In what strength? By what virtue?
We don’t possess anything special that you don’t have (other than maybe a huge collection of children’s literature and a ridiculous number of binders…).
You who say, “I could never homeschool”—don’t sell yourself short. Sure, you could homeschool. You’re smart, you’re gifted. You’re a teacher and a lifelong learner. After all, you’re a mom, aren’t you?
Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, they say. I’m not here to dispute that. Not every mom is able to, and not every mom desires to.
Each makes the decision she feels best for her family—and, yes, each takes a role in her children’s education.
…Which brings me to another truth about homeschooling: in a sense of the word, you’re doing it, too, even if you’re not “doing” it. Your kids are learning from you. You are teaching them every day. Maybe not presenting math lessons or conducting science experiments (I try to avoid those, too…), but teaching nonetheless.
You see, scary as homeschooling can seem—both to those of us who do it and to those who don’t—it’s really just an extension of what we do every day as moms.
I remember a time—a short-lived time—when I thought somehow “Teacher-Mommy” and “Mommy-Mommy” had to remain distinct and separate. Oh, how mistaken I was. It didn’t take me long to see the truth—that homeschooling is simply another measure of what I, as a mom, am doing… giving… receiving… anyway.
So I hope that before the next time you say, “I could never homeschool,” you stop to consider this: you could if you wanted to. You could if you felt it was the right thing for your family.
I’m in my fifth year of homeschooling, and I still fight a returning feeling that I can’t do it. But I can. And I am. And if you were, you could, too.