Any other parents terrified of this school year?
To some, terrified may sound melodramatic, but it’s not. I really am scared. By choosing to homeschool, I’m taking my child’s academic future into my own hands. If this fails, I’ll have no one else to blame and a permanent resident in my basement.
I’m scared that I won’t be enough, do enough, or teach her enough. Will she be behind her peers? Enjoy learning from me? Get enough time with kids to whom she isn’t related?
But to tell you the truth, even though I have worries (many more than I’ve listed above), I’m feeling excited more than anything else. I always envisioned my daughter starting kindergarten with a cute little backpack and a tour of her classroom, not a trip to the basement and her teacher perpetually disheveled, in pajamas, and juggling two baby boys.
Now I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve chosen to homeschool for a couple of reasons:
1. I want my kids to enjoy learning.
I enjoyed the social aspect of school (most of the time), but I really can’t say that it nurtured a love of learning within me. I went to Blue Ribbon schools, graduated with honors, by all appearances one could safely assume I loved learning! In reality, I couldn’t wait to get out. I was able to successfully jump through the hoops, but it wasn’t until I finally left school that I realized how much fun learning could actually be.
I believe people have an innate thirst for knowledge. Hang out with any toddler or preschooler for five minutes, and see how many questions you’re asked. They want to know things. Sadly, I think sometimes schooling suffocates those flames instead of fanning them. Not all schools or in all instances, of course, but sometimes all it takes is one bad teacher at just the wrong time to snuff out the flame completely. School then becomes a tedious task that one has to suffer through before they can finally enter the real world.
I’m hoping to create an environment for my kids that turns their flickers into raging infernos. Exactly how I’m going to do that, I’m not quite sure. I am at the beginning of this journey, after all, but I think being able to follow their interests and not just have to do what everyone else is doing is a good place to start, which brings me to point number two…
2) Scream it Braveheart style, “Freedom!”
I love the idea of creating our own family schedule. There are so many advantages: vacations in the off season, no frantic “run to catch the bus” routines, and being able to delve into subjects to our hearts’ content are just a few.
I can remember being disappointed in school when I’d be really into a project or the class was having a great discussion only to have to stop because a bell rang. Sure, we could start again the next time we met, but it was never the same. You can’t recreate genuine enthusiasm. I hope our homeschooling will help our kids have more of those moments. I did make a homeschool planner, and I definitely have an idea of what we’ll be covering when, but if my daughter in enthralled with butterflies, I want to be able to take extra time so she can learn as much about them as she wants.
Unfortunately, this freedom doesn’t really exist in schools where deadlines have to be met and certain subjects must routinely be taught, and I get it. I went to school and had planned on being a high school language arts teacher. A large class can’t function well if everyone is off doing his or her own thing, but thankfully, a homeschool can function perfectly this way.
3) In the words of Steven Tyler, “I don’t wanna miss a thaaaang!”
I recently read a post from one of my favorite bloggers, and my heart broke for her. She’s preparing to send her first kiddo off to all day kindergarten, and she said she got upset thinking about what firsts of his she may miss while he’s at school. I completely understand.
I think there’s something strange about the phenomenon of sending children off to spend the majority of their waking hours in care of strangers. (Because, let’s face it, teachers, bus drivers, and the various other adults kids come in contact with during the school day are, more often than not, complete strangers to us.) Sending kids to school seems normal to us today (not doing so seems strange to many. Trust me, say you’re thinking about homeschooling, and you’ll hear all sorts of comments!), but compulsory schooling is a fairly new idea in the grand scheme of things. Children used to be educated by their families, and I can’t help but feel that that’s the way it’s supposed to be, for our family at least.
Before people attack me or accuse me of judging others, I know not everyone can homeschool. I was a latchkey kid raised by a single mom. I get it, trust me. I also know that homeschooling may not be best for every child. I’m planning on homeschooling our little ones, but my oldest son (for a couple different reasons) will still attend a public charter school. My hope is to one day be able to educate him at home too, but that may not be in the cards. I get that too.
I don’t write any of this as a prescription for all families. I do, however, think there are a lot of people out there who would love to homeschool but doubt their abilities, feel awkward about it because of stereotypes or because they don’t know anyone else who does it (I sometimes struggle with this one, to be honest), and I just want to say to those parents, you can do this. I have no doubt that you can do this. Seriously, if I can do it, you can do it.
I’ve read enough posts on various homeschooling sites to know that not every day will be easy or fun, but the fruit of this season will be magnificent. I’m certain I will (probably in the not-too-distant-future) have days where I feel overwhelmed, unappreciated, and like I’ve made a huge mistake, but ultimately, I believe nothing worthwhile is ever easy.
I love being at home, but I’ll be honest, I’m not thrilled with the idea of giving up the seven hours of freedom school would’ve afforded me. Sometimes I long for the freedom of jumping in the car without a Babies R Us store’s worth of supplies, and for years kindergarten has been my oasis in the desert. I may have had years to wait, but I could see it faintly glimmering in the distance. All I had to do was get there.
I’m mourning that time a little bit: lunches with friends, shopping alone, and quiet time spent reading in the house, all of which now will never be (or at least not as easy to come by). I could have used that time wisely, but when I’m honest, I can’t imagine a better way to spent my time than nurturing my children and instilling in them a love of learning.
So here’s to our new adventure! May we sleep well and dream of large women. No, wait. Wrong adventure. May we sleep well and dream of large books.
Chelsea @ The Contented Wife
I love your reasons for homeschooling! My sister sends her daughter to a private Christian school two a weeks and the rest of the week they are home schooled. I think that is a perfect mix! I don’t know what my husband and I will decide for our family just yet, but one day I was talking with my sister about how I didn’t think I would be good enough or smart enough to home school. She told me this, and I hope it helps you too! She told me to “think back to college and think of all of the education majors we went to college with…Did they seem THAT MUCH smarter than you?” I mean no disrespect to public educators, but really, when given the right tools, why can’t parents teach their kids just as well as those who majored in education? Good luck in your school year, and make lots of memories!
I absolutely believe parents can teach their children. I’d even argue that they may be able to do it better than anyone else for one simple reason, they love their kids more than anyone else ever could. No one will be as invested in my children’s success as my husband and I are. Good luck with your decision! 🙂
I have both a BA and an MEd, but that is what makes me qualified to teach other people’s children. What makes me qualified to teach my own us that I am their mom! I know intuitively what is best for them!
Oh my goodness, I just said this the other day. Some of the comments I’ve gotten from my teacher friends is that I don’t have their education to be able to school my own kids and this is exactly what my answer is! I am loving this blog! Thank you for writing so much great truth!
I’m so excited for you!! You will do great…..my biggest piece of advice (and one that I still struggle with) is don’t make school at home look like school school! Make it hands on and fun and most all read and explore and play!! You will treasure the time with the little ones and it is so worth it! Good luck!
I think that will be one of my struggles too since “school school” is all I’ve ever known. We will have a homeschool room, but I’m probably going to use it more for storage and organization than a “This is where we will do all of our learning” place. I’m trying to really embrace the freedoms we’ll have, but it’s kind of strange because it’s all so new. I’m excited to officially get started though, five days and counting!
You’ll do fine. I remember one of my son’s teammate’s mom telling me how she taught him fractions – by eating pizza! Simple! Something kids love anyway! Then she went on to explain that even making the pizza was a lesson in fractions – 1/2 cup of this, 1/4 cup of that. Let me tell you, that kid had the concept down long before most of his peers did! Also, she was able to take her kids on field trips – to the aquarium for science class, to a ghost town for a history lesson, and to the grocery store for a math lesson (he held the calculator and she also showed him the tags on the shelf that showed price per ounce, so they could figure out which was the best buy). He took Karate and played little league baseball for PE. That was quite a few years ago. This kid is now in high school (yes, he is in public school for high school) but is in all of the advanced placement classes, has a black belt in Karate, and is one of the best players on the baseball team! His mom had a high school education. So, you see, you CAN do it, and you will do it very well!
Thanks, Vickie 🙂 I love real world learning (and pizza) so I may have to borrow that idea.
I can tell you’ve given this a lot of thought, as have I. I was a public elementary school teacher for years, so I know how good public schools can be, BUT I also know that one-on-one time between a child and an adult who truly knows and cares for her has a huge impact on actual learning taking place. And I LOVE that idea of freedom. We’ll give it up in one respect, but have it in a much more beneficial way. Good luck on your journey.
26 and 28 years ago I had the very same fears you have today. I homeschooled my kids from kindergarden to college. Funny enough, they both earned teaching degrees. My son taught fourth grade for a year and hated it because he said he felt like he was babysitting. My daughter did her student teaching in art ed., that was enough for her.She didn’t like the lack of freedom in the curriculum. My son is now managing a restaurant and my daughter runs her own business. It really wouldn’t matter to me what they do as long as they are happydoing it. What is really most important to me is that their takeaway from homeschooling was their ability to be free thinkers and always have that love of learning. I already know that your children will be fine because of the way you feel. You are doing it for all the right reasons. Forget the naysayers and please enjoy what precious little time you have with your children, it’s over in a heartbeat. I promise you, it will be a journey you’ll both never forget.
Thank you, Terri. I vacillate between feeling like it’s going to be over in a heartbeat or take forrrreeeevvveeer. My main goals are those you stated; I want my children to develop a true love of learning so thank you so much for sharing. It’s comforting for me to hear from others who have successfully taken this on and been able to nurture that love in their children.
Thank you so much for this post. I am starting homeschool on Tuesday for the first time, and I am equally terrified and excited. Glad to see there are others in the same boat. 😉
Definitely in the same boat. I’m excited to follow along on your homeschooling journey.
I am in the same boat, I have been stressing out for the last 2.5 years about it but we just started first year of preschool with my 3yo son (and later on his little brother)
Congrats, Chloe! There’s a lot that can be stressed over. Curriculum choices alone left me paralyzed for a while. How’s your first year going?
Thanks for posting. My daughter will start kindergarten next year and this year we are doing a Pre-K “trial year.” We bought some materials, joined a homeschooling co-op type group that meets weekly, and tomorrow I’m having a playdate with some homeschool moms and kids I met online. I’m pleased with the amount my daughter has learned so far and with the nice people we’ve met. But I am TERRIFIED. Your description of mourning the free time you would’ve had with the kids in school hit the nail on the head for me. I didn’t realize that is part of what I’m feeling. I have been obsessed with debating whether or not this is the right decision lately. We scheduled tours at some local private schools. And I am looking into subbing one day per week in our district to thoroughly check it out. This may sound crazy, but my goal at the end is to be super confident in our decision – especially considering all the flack I expect to get from people! 🙂
Hi Sara, I can relate. I like to get as much info as I can about things before making decisions, and even after a couple years of researching, conferences, and asking lots of questions, I still am not 100% certain we’re on the right path. I’d say I’m 95% of the way there, but I have those nagging fears of, “Is she going to hate me for ‘depriving’ her of the school experience? Will she make good friends if I keep her at home? Can I do her justice and a great education? Am I really sure I want to take all of this on? Can I handle it?” They go on and on and on. Honestly, I am at a slight advantage because I have a stepson who is currently in 7th grade. I’ve known him since he was in preschool so I’ve been here for the entire educational journey in school, and it’s been rather dreadful. We’ve been blessed to be able to afford to send him to local private schools, and yet we’ve run into some horrible teachers and difficult situations. He’s also had some great teachers too, but he’s also experienced bullying and the realization that he’s kind of the “different kid.” We went through a lot of painful years, and I now believe those were there to push us towards homeschooling. He’s actually not homeschooled since he now goes to a school that is geared specifically towards children with his challenges, but we’re considering doing so. My daughter’s kindergarten year is kind of our trial year to see if we can handle it. I don’t think I’ll ever have 100% certainty with either decision, but when I make the pros and cons list and remember everything we’ve been through with our son, homeschooling feels like the right choice. It’s scary though. The good news is that you’re obviously on top of things so I’m sure you won’t rush into a decision, and if the decision you make, whatever it is, ends up not working for your family you can always change course. 🙂
I have been homeschooling now for 11 years and i wouldnt change a thing! not that it was easy! It has been a daily walk with the Holy Spirit guiding me….
I’m only a year in at this point, but I can already tell I’m going to learn as much through this process as my children do (both academically and in practicing patience! lol)
Homeschooling my kids has become one of my best decisions in my life. It’s not always easy and there have been times when I’ve doubted whether or not I’ve done a good enough job. They always prove to me later on that God has given me the steps I’ve needed to give them what they need.
Thank you for sharing this with us on the #HomeMattersParty. We hope to see you again next week when we open our doors at 12AM EST on Friday.
Thank you, Crystal! That’s really reassuring. I hope you a great year 🙂
Just remember that you care more about your child’s education than anyone else does so ultimately you are the best one to be in charge of it! Best wishes to you this year 🙂
That’s so true, Renee! Thank you for the encouragement. It’s a scary thing to take on, but I do think it’ll be for the best. (I hope!)
I am so glad to know that I’m not alone. I mean, I do know I’m not the only mother going through this, nor the only one terrified. I’m just beginning to homeschool my daughter this year (4th grade), mostly because she seems to be losing that spark. My son is still going to public school, because his personality seems to be a better match for it. I am both horrified and confident about the transition, for my daughter’s and my own sake.
“Both horrified and confident about the transition” I can relate to that! I think it’s fantastic that you’ve recognized she’s losing the spark and homeschooling as a result. It can be hard to change course but very brave to do so. I hope you have a wonderful first year homeschooling!
Hello, I know this is an old post, but I am newly considering homeschooling my 12 year old and would value any insight. My son is dyslexic and we have spent 2 years and an obscene amount of money at a private school in a neighboring state in order onto heal his shame and remediate his reading ( spelling, writing, etc.) We are moving back to our home state this summer and the idea of trying to advocate for him into ignorance about bright kids who learn differently is driving my homeschooling consideration. I want him to feel safe and actually learn, not feel ashamed and always behind the 8 ball. Thank you for any insights!
It sounds like homeschooling would be a great path for you! My oldest struggled in school. He’s an intelligent boy, but not best suited for a classroom environment. I resisted the urge to homeschool for years until it really felt like our only option. My view of education has greatly evolved over the last ten years, and I want to instill a true love of learning in my children. I’m a firm believer that everyone learns at their own pace, and there is no one sized fits all solution or path to becoming educated. I wish you all the best! Homeschooling is an awesome adventure, and you’re more than welcome to e-mail me at [email protected] if you have other questions.
I needed to read this today. Thank you!
You’re welcome! Thanks for reading 🙂
I needed to read this today! Thanks! We start homeschooling our 15 year old granddaughter next week. She just moved in with us and the bus to the nearest school is 2 hours each way. We will be doing grade 11 and 12! Wish me luck and I also am terrified!
I felt scared and overwhelmed when we started, but now I know you’re at the beginning of a fantastic adventure! Congratulations!! Your granddaughter’s lucky to have you 🙂
Hi Emily, thank you so much for your blog! I am loving it. I feel like you jumped in my head and wrote down everything I’m thinking! It is such a comfort to know others feel just like I do. We are 90% decided to homeschool this coming fall (2nd grade and preschool, two boys) and so I’m plunged into full on research and preparation mode! I too am scared and excited all at once but reading your posts are really a comfort.
I’m so happy to hear that Chelsea, thank you!! You’re at the beginning of an awesome adventure!