A reader shared:
Even though what I'm doing with him isn't hard, (numbers, letters, shapes, etc...) I still can't seem to shake the feeling that I'm not qualified for this! I'll get thoughts like, "What if I'm doing him a great disservice?!" or, "I'm not a good enough mom to be a homeschool mom!!!" It didn't help that I took all my kids to Target today, and an older many stopped us and said, "You kids should be in school!" Do you remember having thoughts like this when you started? How do you defend yourself to people who tell you to send your kids to school?
I can only answer for myself. But I believe insecurities like this come mostly from preconditioning. Investigate where those doubts are originating.
Just what does "a homeschool mom" look like? Answers will vary because people vary in their ideals. I would describe the ideal homeschool mother as God fearing, kind, loving and industrious. She is a woman who adores her family and is committed to pouring her life into them the way the sun drenches a plat with life giving light. A homeschooling mother knows that "schooling" shouldn't interfere with education. Education happens constantly. Children are sponges and her goal is to be the sweetest drink they know.
I always ask myself, which would I rather produce: walking encyclopedias or God fearing children of the Most High? I keep this scripture on the forefront of my mind:
For what shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36
Homeschooling, to me, is less about the accumulation of knowledge, and more about the accumulation of spiritual fruit. I put a lot of energy into pointing my kids to the Lord.
My confidence as a homeschooling mom is not based on whether I think I'm smart enough, good enough or ideal enough to homeschool my kids. It is based on stewardship. God gave me these children and holds me responsible for their outcome. Why would I hand them over to an institution for the majority of the day? Why would I want to miss out on a single aspect of the joy of bringing them up? Do you see?
Homeschooling is mothering. It is parenting. It is natural. Planting this truth into my mind has caused an immune-like response to any doubts about what I'm doing.
Origins of Maternal Insecurities
Did you know that, for centuries women have been having their babies at home, but during a good portion of the twentieth century, the medical industry duped mothers into thinking they weren't qualified to give birth on their own? As a result, women went to hospitals in droves (and still are) to have their babies based on their doctor's "authority". And fathers (who were usually present during the birthing of their children) were exiled to the father's waiting room, separated from the miracle of witnessing their own child's birth.
These same "experts" also purported the idea that breastfeeding was something only practiced by the uneducated and lower classes. It was considered old fashioned and a little disgusting for those who could not afford formula. Why then, in the 1960's did this idea begin to change and women were once again being encouraged to feed their babies naturally?
Think about it. Why do most experts currently (finally) believe that breast milk is the best possible feeding choice for babies?
Because science finally caught up with the truth and the evidence is irrefutable. Facts are stubborn things. Children nourished on breastmilk have superior immune responses, lower incidence of illness and higher intelligence in adolescence. These and many more facts have silenced the "experts".
This illustrates my point about homeschooling. For centuries, a children were educated at home. But in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the "experts" told the public that the education of their children was best left to the professionals. After all, they know what they're doing! But you? Why you're just a mother. What do you know? Our people have degrees! And institutions, textbooks, chalkboards, globes, maps, playgrounds and supplies! What do you commoners have?
In the 1970's, my parents decided that they were going to homeschool. They figured if missionaries could do it, they could do it too. They got their own textbooks, chalkboards, globes, maps, playground and supplies! And they did fine.
As the years went by, and homeschooling grew in popularity and became legal in all 50 states of America, the "experts" found out that all their claims of superiority were completely unfounded. Homeschoolers were smarter, more balanced and out scoring their institutionalized counterparts.
Eventually the "experts" aimed their missiles at socialization - the one thing they figured that families could not manufacture, right? For years they hollered, "Socialization!! Those homeschoolers aren't being socialized!! They have to be with hundreds of other children every day!"
Surprisingly, this made parents cower in uncertainty....for a while. Then they woke up. Have you SEEN the freaks emerging and graduating from public schools? And the gap is closing in private schools now. Homeschoolers are not only better socialized than institutionalized peers who were shut up all day with only kids their ages to contact, they are more mature, creative, contemplative and ready for independence and success.
Homeschoolers are equipped to socialize with anyone regardless of age, position, etc, because their daily environment is life. It's natural. They come in contact with grandparents, other families, and the community on a regular basis. We no longer cower at the shouts for "socialization" from educational institutions because we can plainly see their fruit: violent, irreverent, rebellious, God hating, disrespectful, murderous perverts. It's become rare to see anyone who does not turn out warped from a govt school.
So do you see that the primary reason for homeschooling is really not educational? It is biblical. My children were given to me by God. All public or private educational institutions represent giving up my children.
Therefore it is not a question of whether I am the best teacher in the world, but that God chose me for my children. Therefore I am the best teacher suited for my children. No one loves them as much or knows them better than I do. That is what qualifies me as their best educational option.
Anything that you don't know, you can learn and teach your children the same. Teach them to learn! One of the biggest mistakes a homeschooling parent can make is trying to "teach" her children everything.
Children have a natural capacity to learn and absorb information. It is like putting a small child into shallow water. You do not have to teach them to delight in splashing, swishing around or playing. It's instinctual.
Let me clarify: I'm not saying we should just "leave them to themselves" when it comes to learning. But rather that we guide and provide. As they watch me delighting in the water, they imitate me and experience the same delight. I am like a mirror. It's the same with learning. When they are young, learning is synonymous with playing.
Teaching them numbers, letters, colors, etc is not work. It is fun. Be careful when they are young not to turn it into work. When it's not fun anymore, just stop for the day. Or stop for a while and then do some more later in the day. But when they're little, learning is playing and playing is learning.
Teach them to read, provide them with the right materials and they will naturally learn. But always show your own delight. Delight is more contagious than the common cold.
Now about confrontations. You must throw out any double minded thinking and fear. You are qualified to homeschool by the same person who qualified you to be a mother. God. He opened your womb and blessed you with children. They are your fruit!
Anyone brazen enough to actually say, "You kids should be in school!" I might smile and say,
"Are you from Germany?"
"I've seen what the schools produce and that's why I homeschool."
"They are in school right now. We're learning all the time."
Or I'd simply shake my head and give him a visible look of "For shame. You must be one of the drones!" and keep walking. Now, if you are ever stuck standing in line with someone like that then starting arming yourself with information.
Saturate yourself with the truth! Your insecurities will disappear.