family life / homeschooling / parenting

doubt in your homeschool choice

DOUBT.

That five letter word that occupies all that choose a less than conventional educational route for our children, and less than conventional lifestyle choice for our family, is all too familiar.

Really though, you have a child = you have doubts.

You sign up for doubts and fears when you hold that little one in your hands for the first time. A world of fearful possibilities enter your mental space when you become a parent. Doubt exists in every choice, whether we homeschool or not.

Conversations on doubt are a constant friend when chatting with new homeschooling mothers, because they want the more senior of us to show them the ropes, reveal our certainties, and quell the fears of the uninitiated.

Not following the grain of the culture would naturally make anyone question themselves. You don’t need to have a constant stream of questions on homeschool socialization and academics to encourage your own uncertainties. (Although, a constant dribble of outsider worries manifested in ‘helpful questions’ does assist in fueling the doubt.) Be surrounded by 99.7 out of a 100 people that are doing something different than you (those are the stats for registered homeschooling families in the province where we live in 2012), and even the most fearless would surely wonder at some point.

I once heard a homeschooling mama express her uncertainty in the choice of her child’s educational path, despite her child’s attendance in a high school level science class (he’s twelve), gobbling up books galore, some on renaissance art, the history of science, memorizing the elements of the periodic table, learning to play the trumpet that impress a national judge. This child loves adult conversation, can easily engage anyone, can even eclipse adults in academic discussions, and yet happily plays child based games in his backyard.

We need to put word to our fears in order to address the source. A necessary question to clarify our thoughts: What is the source of our doubt?

Doubt can represent all sorts of thoughts. I don’t know how to teach my child to read. I don’t feel strong enough in my math skills to teach my children. My kiddo is introverted: should she be in a class of twenty five to expand her horizons? I don’t feel organized on the best of days; how do I plan an education? Should I trust unschooling to serve my child’s academic needs? Should I choose this curriculum or that one? This homeschooling philosophy or that one? What if my child doesn’t meet his peer academic levels? How should I think about the gaps in my child’s education?

Some of our doubts we can quell simply by acknowledging them. Take a deep breath and allow them to pass, again. Some doubts, we need to address full on, research our reasons, find our answer, and own our choices.

There’s so many ways to parent, passionate declarations in all sorts of books and courses and magazine articles and blogs 😉

You’ve chosen the homeschooling path.

So…

  1. Accept Reality: There is no way not to doubt your choices. Doubt is a human experience. We experience doubt in all sorts of realms.
  2. Parenting perfection isn’t a thing, no matter what choices we make. We weren’t designed to play God for our children. We were intended to lead, guide and direct, love, nurture and provide. But perfect parenting isn’t a possibility–that’d be as possible as countering gravity in our Ea

Doubt: that five letter word that occasionally occupies parents that choose a less than conventional educational route for their children.

Really though, you don’t have to be a homeschool parent to have parenting doubts. 

Have a child? Have doubts.

Am I giving him what he needs? Am I influencing him in the right direction? When she acts unpleasantly, is it a reflection of how I’m engaging her? Is she getting enough of an academic challenge? Am I helping him connect with others effectively? 

Sign up for parenting, sign up for doubts.

When you hold that little one in your hands for the first time, you also hold a world of uncertain potentials. Will she survive the night in her crib? The first time she eats solids, will she choke? Should I immunize or will I induce harm? Should I leave her to cry it out or baby carry until my English-speaking baby tells me otherwise, in French?

Doubt exists in every choice we make as parents. It comes with the territory. We feel the serious responsibility of imprinting a human, teaching her what she needs to know about morality, about people, about purpose, addressing feelings, following interests, and developing aptitudes. All this and we’re trying to just keep them alive through the toddler and teenage years. 

Choose the less than conventional lifestyle of homeschooling, and we are guaranteed to hear others’ express their doubts.

The homeschool lifestyle introduces a whole new series of doubts. Conversations on doubt are a constant friend when chatting with new homeschooling mothers. Often new homeschool mamas want to be shown the ropes so they can quell their fears.

Not following the grain of the culture naturally makes people question themselves. Having a constant stream of questions on homeschool socialization and academics encourages our uncertainties. There’s a constant dribble of outsider worries manifesting in ‘helpful questions’, like ‘what if your child misses something’, ‘what if they want to go back into school’, ‘are they comparable to other similar grade kids?’ There’s always a ‘helpful question’.

Be surrounded by 99.7 out of a 100 families of schoolchildren that are doing something different than you (those are the stats for registered homeschooling families in the province where we live in 2012), and even the most fearless would surely doubt themselves at some point.

I know a homeschooling mama express her uncertainty in the choice of her child’s educational path, despite her child’s faithful attendance in a high school level science class (he’s twelve), gobbling up university level books on Aristotle or Renaissance art, or memorizing the periodic table elements, learning to play the trumpet that impresses a national judge. But his mom is still concerned she isn’t providing an adequate education.

We start to address our doubts when we begin to put words to our doubts. What is the reason behind our doubt? Usually there’s a doubt behind the doubt.

Doubt arises in all sorts of homeschool forms:

  • I don’t know how to teach my child to read.
  • I don’t feel strong enough in my math skills to teach my children.
  • My kiddo is introverted: should she be in a class of twenty five to expand her horizons?
  • I don’t feel organized on the best of days; how do I plan an education?
  • Should I trust unschooling to serve my child’s academic needs?
  • The local public school is bringing an aquarium program, or a robotics program, or a program you can’t afford to bring into your home or visit in another city.
  • Should I choose the curriculum I have or the one everyone else is talking about?
  • Charlotte Mason or Susan Wise Bauer?
  • What if my child doesn’t meet his peer academic levels?
  • Oh no! I see gaps in my kids’ education.
  • My kiddo says he hates homeschool.

Some of our doubts can be quelled simply by acknowledging them. Saying them out loud. Some need a little more effort.

Deep breathe. Take a deep breath and allow that feeling to pass, again. Sometimes there is nothing we can do to make the uncertainty go away. We need to accept that not knowing is part of the human experience. We can not determine everything.

You’ve grappled with this before, we’ve reasoned through this before, we’ve determined how we will act with this uncertainty, and now we must render that feeling again. Some doubts we need to address head on, research our reasons, find our answer, own our choices, choose to do the right thing instead of hoping to feel what we want to feel.

You’ve chosen the homeschooling path, because you want to. So you get to practice being confident in your choice.

  1. Accept the human experience: There is no way not to doubt your choices. Doubt is a human experience. We experience the feeling of doubt in all sorts of realms. 
  2. Parenting perfection isn’t a thing, no matter what choices we make. We weren’t designed to play God for our children. We were intended to lead, guide and direct, love, nurture and provide. But perfect parenting isn’t a possibility–that’d be as possible as countering gravity in our Earthly existence. Do what you can with what you know. When you know to do better, do better. Thank you Maya Angelou.
  3. Parenting is a process that enables us to take a close look at ourselves. Our children are one of our mirrors in life that help us see ourselves more clearly. Just as we were placed specifically in our children’s lives, our children were placed in our lives to teach us something too. What we see will not always be pleasant, but when we set ourselves on a path of growth, we will grow. We will never have it all figured.
  4. Ask ourselves why we first made a choice to homeschool. What compelled that decision? What did we expect were the positive benefits? What were you hoping you would gain from homeschooling? Answer those questions. Remind yourself of the answers.
  5. Then refine your answers. Sometimes the reasons we start aren’t the reasons we continue. We may have tripped into homeschooling because we saw something lacking in the conventional path or something that our children needed that we saw was missing. In the first week, we saw a transformation in our child, and we didn’t want to return to convention because we are simply more at ease. Perhaps we see our overall family harmony increase (no, not perfect family harmony, just more harmony). Or we identify the interesting education we’re gaining, as well as our children. Or we recognize the increased time we gain in snippets throughout our weeks, both in our schedule and in our children’s. Or we realize that our children are more confident and secure. Or we see the endless memories we create together that we didn’t have when they were in school.
  6. Don’t doubt yourself because others doubt you. If it weren’t enough that we doubt ourselves, we also take on the doubts of everyone around us. Too easy to fall into that trap in many areas of life. If we judge ourselves through the eyes of judgmental others, we will always find something to question ourselves. Be stationery (and most people don’t actually care about our choices as much as we might think). This has been one of the most freedom creating practices I have instilled my life, learning to set mental boundaries with what other people think, and recognizing that there is far too much energy expended caring about what other people think.
  7. Meditate and pray. Be still. Listen to the still, small voice. Speak to the one who made you, speak to the one who planted this particular purpose inside you, and listen to the one who is leading you still. This step right here will cement certainty beyond anything else.
  8. So get on with what you’re doing. You will continuously fine tune what you’re doing the longer you’re doing it. You’ll also fine tune why you’re doing it. So just get on with doing it. And try to focus on enjoy it! For all the efforts you put into your family, enjoy the process, enjoy watching the moments of connection between your children and absorb the moments of connection with them, enjoy watching your child explore new areas of life, and relish in all the activities of your homeschool world.  

In the end, it is these younger people that have been placed in your world, these smiles, the experience of the every day, that you were hoping for when you first started this homeschooling journey.

So enjoy your journey, enjoy your path, enjoy your kiddos… rid

  1. rthly existence.
  2. Parenting is a process that enables us to take a close look at ourselves. They’re one of our mirrors in life that help us see ourselves a little more clearly. Just as God placed us specifically in our children’s lives, our children were placed in our lives to teach us something too. What we see will not always be pleasant.
  3. Ask yourself why you first made a choice to homeschool. What compelled you? Was there something that drew you to it? Or something conventional that you resisted? Answer that question. Then regularly remind yourself of the answer.
  4. And refine your answer. Sometimes the reasons we start aren’t the reasons we continue. We may have tripped into homeschooling because we saw something lacking in the conventional path, something that our children needed that we saw was missing. Perhaps we need to focus on the things that are working better in our homes, than the conventional path.
  5. Don’t doubt yourself because others doubt you. Too easy to fall into that trap in all sorts of areas. A life trap, really. If we judged ourselves through the eyes of others, we would only ever judge ourselves wanting, doubt ourselves and be stationery (and most people don’t actually care about our choices as much as we might think). The only one we need to see ourselves through is the one who made us.
  6. Meditate and pray. Speak to the one who made you, speak to the one who planted this particular purpose inside you, and listen to the one who is leading you still. This step right here will cement certainty beyond anything else.
  7. So get on with what you’re doing. Continuously fine tune what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and then do it, and enjoy it! For all the efforts you put into your family, enjoy the process, enjoy the moments of connections between your children and moments of connection with them, enjoy watching your child explore new areas of life, and relish in all the activities of your homeschool world.

In the end, it is these younger people that have been placed in your world, these smiles, the experience of the every day, that you were hoping for when you first started this homeschooling journey. So enjoy the journey, enjoy your path, enjoy your kiddos…

2 thoughts on “doubt in your homeschool choice

  1. Pingback: top 10 charmed blogs 2017 | capturing the charmed life

  2. Pingback: happy new year & charmed top ten 2018 posts | capturing the charmed life

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