Some of our doubt feelings need a little more analysis. Deep breathing isn’t enough to change the negative thought train in our minds.
We’ve spoken our doubts out loud. Or we’ve written them down. And we recognize them. They look familiar. We’ve doubted these doubts before.
We’ve grappled with them, perhaps even reasoned through them before. We’ve determined how we will respond, and now we must render those doubts again.
Or maybe we haven’t grappled and reasoned and wrestled and surrendered them.
Delve into the WHY. So many doubts, so much time. Some doubts need to be addressed head on. We need to research our reasons, find our answers, then own our choices.
- Read how children learn to read and write. Is it always at age five? With a phonetic approach? Listen to other families’ stories. Research the progression of reading and writing in children. Everyone is not learning at five. But most children do indeed learn to read and write.
- Learn your child’s math curriculum as they’re learning it. Or before they’re learning it. If you haven’t conquered math concepts, get a tutor or delve into Khan Academy. Find games to learn together, bake together, teach them guesstimations, calculations and percentages when you grocery shop. Learn about math literacy and how people learn math.
- Worried that your child doesn’t get enough social interaction?
Learn the difference between socialization and social opportunity. Talk with schooled families to determine if their children are making meaningful connections in their school day. Determine how many activities with others fill up your child’s cup. Determine if interpersonal learning is happening in your home and with your social connections. What activities would best serve that purpose?
- Determine how much organization you want, if you have unrealistic expectations, or if you’re just comparing yourself to a perceived ideal, a Pinterest Perfect, Instagram Enviable world. (We homeschool Instagram, Pinterest photographing mamas know that we push clutter to the side and would never dream of bringing out cameras when the kids are grouchy). But if you want more organization, do a little research and incorporate a few practices.
- Decide if you want a season of unschooling, if you need to deschool temporarily, or your child would benefit from unschooling entirely. Sometimes our families need a season of scheduled neglect.
- FOMO in classroom opportunities? If an aquatic or robotic program is visiting your school, ask if you can be part of a school program. Or determine to save towards that visit yourself. (But ask your children if they actually want those experiences. It might just be you wanting them for your kids.)
- Try new curriculum for enough years to determine that new curriculum is a cure-all for nothing. (Or don’t, and take my word on it. Instead put your money into a savings account and that lame interest will still benefit you more.) There is no perfect curriculum. And if you find it, it will surely not be perfect for the next child. A library card is an inexpensive alternative.
- Decide what the best educational approach for your child is right now. Sample all the homeschool philosophies if they intrigue you, then watch how your child engages, determine how you will proceed for a season, then do it, until you need to change again.
- Accept that what you want in your homeschool, and what your child wants, aren’t always the same thing. Dang, this one is hard. But adolescence will teach you this is true. And if you don’t learn it during adolescence, you will learn it in early adulthood. Those little ones that you nurtured in your belly, in your arms with lullabies, in your bed in the middle of the night will grow up to be different people, wanting different things. Maybe they won’t even want to homeschool. That doesn’t mean you have to stop. Or maybe it does. Delve into the whys of that child’s wants. Maybe a challenge, more responsibilities or an adventure is needed outside your generous offerings.
We’ve chosen the homeschool path because we want to. So we need to practice being confident in our choices.
- 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 many realms of life. It doesn’t go away because we put our kids in school.
- 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, direct, love, nurture and provide. But perfect parenting isn’t a possibility either. That would be as possible as countering gravity in our earthly existence, because we parents aren’t perfect. ‘Do what you can with what you know. When you know to do better, do better.’ (Thank you Maya Angelou.)
- 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 too. What we see will not always be pleasant, but when we choose a path towards growth, we will grow.
- Ask ourselves why we first made the choice to homeschool. What compelled that decision? What did we see as the positive benefits? What were we hoping we’d gain from homeschooling? Answer those questions. Remind ourselves of the answers.
- Then refine our 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 saw something that our children needed that we knew we could offer. In the first week, we saw a transformation in our child, and we didn’t want to return to convention because we were more at ease. Perhaps we saw our overall family harmony increase. Or we identified the interesting education we were gaining, as well as our children. Or we recognized the increased time we gained in snippets of our family’s schedules. Or we realized that our children were more confident and secure. Or we saw the exponentiated memories we create together.
- Don’t doubt yourself because others doubt you. If it weren’t enough that we doubt ourselves, we also take on doubts of others. Too easy to fall into that trap in every area of life. If we judge ourselves through the eyes of judgmental others, we will always find something to question. Be stationary (most people don’t actually care about our choices as much as we might think). Far too much energy is expended in caring what other people think, so learn to set mental boundaries and enjoy your freedom. Do what you want to do.
- 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.
- 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. And for all the efforts you put into your family, you should definitely be enjoying the process, enjoying the moments of connection amongst your children and absorbing the moments of connection with them, watching your child explore new things, and relishing in all the activities of your homeschool world.
In the end, it is these people that have been placed in your world, these smiles, the experience of your every day that you were hoping for when you first started this homeschooling journey.
So enjoy your journey, enjoy your path, enjoy your kiddos.