I Don’t Know If I’m Cut Out For Homeschooling 

I was at a friend date today with three other mothers. None of our children attend public school. We got onto the conversation of schooling our children. One mother said, “I have a great support system, but sometimes my in-laws will make a comment that clearly tells me they aren’t so sure about this whole not-going-to-public-school idea. It allows that doubt to niggle it’s way in and I start questioning myself; whether I’m capable of providing them everything they need, whether it’s enough social interaction, or the right information.” The consensus on this whole homeschooling path was excitement, necessity, and self-doubt.

Reaching further than this physical gathering of friends, we reach out to a wider audience of homeschoolers and the self-doubt is there too. I think that no matter what decisions we make for our children, there will always be doubt.

Am I good enough? 

Can I teach them everything that they need to learn?

Will sending them to public school ruin their creativity? 

Will keeping them home ruin their future?

Will they be awkward and unsocialized?

In the book Creative Thinkering, Michael Michalko touched on a very important point about attending school outside of the home.

“We were all born spontaneous and creative. Every one of us. As children we accepted all things equally. We embraced all kinds of outlandish possibilities for all kinds of things. When we were children, we knew a box was much more than a container. A box could be a fort, a car, a tank, a cave, a house, something to draw on, and even a space helmet. Our imaginations were not structured according to some exisiting concept or category. We did not strive to eliminate possibilities; we strove to expand them. We were all amazingly creative and always filled with the joy of exploring different ways of thinking. And then something happened to us; we went to school. We were not taught how to think; we were taught to reproduce what past thinkers thought. When confronted with a problem, we were taught to analytically select the most promising approach based on history, excluding all other approaches, and then to work logically in a carefully defined direction toward a solution. Instead of being taught to look for possibilities, we were taught to look for ways to exclude them. It’s as if we entered school as a question mark and graduated as a period.”

It’s as if we entered school as a question mark and graduated as a period. 

This stuck with me like nothing else has. This is why we are doing learning at home. I won’t even say “teaching” at home because our children don’t need to be taught to learn. They need to live to learn; to experience; to explore; to test; to fail; to succeed; to follow their hearts and intuition. I don’t ever want my children to lose that natural ability of asking questions; questioning laws, questioning theories, questioning authority, questioning anything and everything.
So to answer those questions of self-doubt.

Yes you can do this.

Yes you are good enough, smart enough, resourceful enough.

When you want to know something as an adult, what do you do? You seek out the information by various means; this is what our children do to. The doubt will always be there, tied in with our fear brain, but overcoming that doubt and pressing on, believing in yourself, and writing out the pros and cons of homeschooling and pinning it to your forehead to read fourteen times a day when the doubt creeps up are some promising steps to getting past the doubt.

Will sending them to public school ruin their creativity?

Not necessarily, but it may get lost until it has the opportunity to be revived. Public school is rigorous, rigid, and stagnant; it rarely fosters creativity.

Will keeping them home ruin their future?

Of course not. It will open their entire childhood up to pursuing anything and everything that brings them joy. It will allow them to be creative and seek new ways to solve problems rather than always following the tried and true route. Imagine how much more confident our young leaders will be as they reach adulthood if they have been actively developing the skills and knowledge that interest them. Most of my public school friends had no idea what they wanted to do after high school. Most of us signed up for college, continuing without our clues, because that’s just what you were “supposed” to do. By homeschooling, children can dabble in limitless areas, find the one that strikes a chord, then pursue it relentlessly, if they so choose.

Will they be awkward and unsocialized?

Socialization seems to be the biggest misconception about homeschoolers, as if we hide away in our basements 24/7 (I don’t even have a basement). I feel like the public school kids are much more awkward and unsocialized. Yes, they are around a ton of same age humans and a few adult ones day in and day out, but they aren’t learning to interact with little kids, bankers, grocery store clerks, the elderly, the post office workers.

Children living and witnessing day to day interactions, and participating when they feel comfortable, are learning to communicate with people of all ages, in a variety of situations. They are learning to budget, to meal plan, to mail letters, to deposit money, to feel empathy.

All we need to do as facilitators of learning is provide a loving environment, model the way to find information, model the way to live a mindful and fulfilling life, then watch them follow and eventually lead. Sure, they stumble at times, but there are a lot of lessons to learn when you fall; for one thing, you get a new perspective.

The next time you think, “I don’t know if I’m cut out for homeschooling,” remember why you have chosen this path in the first place. Look at your little question marks as they ask, explore, create, and learn, and remind yourself that you don’t need to know everything there is to know to homeschool your children, you just need to be open and excited about learning right along with them as you seek out the answers to life’s questions together.