As I talk with my fellow homeschooling friends and peers, there is one common fear that continues to pop up on an almost daily basis – “Am I doing enough?”
When you make the decision (never lightly) to take on the full-time responsibility of educating your child at home, there is an almost immediate cloud of worry that begins to follow you around. It’s there when you’re trying to fall asleep at night – “Did I really make sure he understood that lesson today? Will he remember it all tomorrow?” It’s there when you’re talking with other parents – “Will my child have friends? Susie is reading… should my son be reading already too?” It’s even there when you’re learning with your child – “Did I set this up right? I barely made it through high school math; should I really be teaching it to my child?”
If you’re shaking your head in agreement right now, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Not only are you already bombarded with the constant daily concerns of keeping your child safe, healthy, and happy as their parent, but now you have taken on the responsibility of being their teacher as well! It’s nerve-wracking to say the least.
But. You know what? You really are more cut out for this than you think. It is because of that constant feeling of inadequacy that makes you the absolute BEST teacher for your child. Here’s why:
No one knows your child better than you. Ain’t that the truth? No matter how much time someone spends with your child, no one will ever know them like you. You know their likes, their dislikes, their interests, their secret interests, their hobbies, their emotional triggers, their learning style, and the subtle nuances that let you know there’s about to be a mood shift. By knowing all of these intricate details about your child, you are able to tailor their learning experiences to suit their unique needs! That is a personal experience that even the best schools will never be able to provide.
You have the freedom to learn and teach without expectations. You’re the teacher, the parent, and the principal. By having this complete freedom, you can create an enriching environment for your child that is completely set up to benefit them alone. You are free to explore outside of your home without permission slips. Free to investigate your child’s interests further without concern about whether it will suit the curriculum timeline. You’re free to take the day off when you know that your child is in need of a break without needing to worry about catch-up work. Perhaps best of all, you’re able to teach whatever you feel is of the most interest to your child, free from the data/testing/benchmarks/assessments that are enveloping our public schools these days.
You can work through unknowns together. Remember that cloud of worry about your “bad” subject? It’s ok for your child to see that you don’t always know the answer. No teacher has all of the answers, no parent has all of the answers, no PERSON has all of the answers! The best part about being your child’s parent and teacher? You can figure these things out together, and the bonding experience that comes along with that is something you both will always remember!
You get to witness the beautiful learning moments. The one thing that I miss from working in the classroom is being able to see those amazing “Aha!” moments that shined across a child’s face when they finally made sense of a problem. But now, as a parent that is homeschooling my sons, being able to witness that moment on my own child’s face? Wow… it’s priceless. Though the days may seem long and the stress or worry may seem overwhelming at times, those moments where worlds collide and stars align and everything makes perfect sense and you lock eyes with your child as they are overcome with the joy of understanding something so new and exciting? It’s just exhilarating, isn’t it?
So, mamas and papas, you’ve got this. I’m here to tell you as a fellow parent and a fellow teacher… you are absolutely doing enough. You are providing your child with a completely personalized and tailored learning environment, where they are free to make mistakes, free to explore their interests, and free to work at their own pace. Keep up the great work!
Looking for more specific information on how to homeschool? Have burning questions about the process? Check out this Homeschooling 101 ecourse!