Don't doubt it for a second—you CAN homeschool! You don't have to be afraid. You won't ruin your child's future or jeopardize their college chances. You can provide a superior education for your kids that will open doors for them. Your love for your child will ensure success beyond your wildest dreams!
At the same time, don't try to do it alone. Seek companionship and encouragement from others, and walk together. I had a homeschool friend with boys slightly older than mine. We stuck together like glue, and offered each other support when it seemed like the whole universe was aligned against us. I'm telling you, it made all the difference in the world!
Looking back, my friend and I provided each other with four critical ingredients for homeschool success: a willing ear to listen, a gentle voice to correct, a wise word to encourage, and a warm heart to accept. With these critical elements in place, I believe even the most challenging homeschooling experience can succeed through high school graduation. I've seen it in my life and the lives of others. Homeschooling high school is challenging. It is demanding and requires an extraordinary commitment from both the parents and the child to be successful. Every parent experiences discouragement at some point.
I believe that homeschooling discouragement is primarily caused by fear—fear of the unknown, fear of failing, fear of hurting our children's future, and fear of looking foolish. These fears may sneak up on you at a family event, or ambush you at a homeschool convention. You may even be sitting at church and get that overwhelming sense of dread. For me, the fear always seemed to come at night ... in bed ... staring at the ceiling ...
Don't succumb to the temptation to throw in the towel, just when the rewards promise to be so great! Homeschooling through high school is worth the effort! It's one of the best times you'll have with your children before they launch and start their own lives at college or beyond. Stay the course and finish strong. I'm glad I did, and I believe you will be too. Now that my sons are graduated from homeschool high school, my mission is to help encourage other homeschooling parents, and I have a lot of great resources on my website.
What advice would you give to a mom who is considering homeschooling? These are comments from my Facebook friends. What do YOU tell someone who is thinking about homeschooling for the first time?
You don't have to do it all, you don't have to be perfect, and your kids will learn anyway and be better for it. Be kind to yourself, do things that make it enjoyable for you and the kids, not just the "right" stuff. If you don't finish that math book at the end of the year, just put it up, take a break, and finish it off in the fall if you think you need to, but more often there is so much repetition, esp. the early grades, that it is just not a big deal.
As I'm in the middle of "A Home-Designed Form-U-La" I'd say remember that you're not the government school. Pray for the Lord's leading that will prepare them for His calling—not the world's. Although this is a high school book, I wish I'd read it 8 yrs ago. Good thing I have 5 more to go through high school with.
You can always change your mind.
Don't be too hard on your kids. It's all going to be fine. If you are stressed, they'll be stressed.
The first three years are the hardest; adjustment, the character flaws, the wasted money, the ideas you envisioned, three years of culture shock.... You will swear you are ruining your kids, that you are getting behind, or that you are overwhelmed. That is all perfectly normal. It is your learning curve to the blessings of homeschooling. After three years you see the beauty and purpose and freedom of homeschooling! Now the only time it fails and the mom gives up is when she refuses to let go of the public school model. And insists on state standards and does not protect the child's natural love of learning. I am more than confident you will protect your child's love of learning. Homeschooling we be a great experience for you and your child. That is what I tell mothers.
Great words of encouragement! Our family will be starting our very first year this fall!!! I'm very much wanting to make learning fun and maintain the love for learning!!! Public school has shown me what NOT to do!!!!!
Every child is different. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can tailor your methods, your curriculum, and your schedule to best help that child achieve. It's okay to toss out a textbook that doesn't work for your child, and it's okay to experiment.
Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. Each mom has such special gifts and talents which are a great starting point for what to pass on to your kids. Do you love gardening? Are you good at sewing, cooking, or singing? Share it with your kids. Do you love reading, listening to jazz, or puzzles? Do those things together. The time spent together doing what you enjoy will make priceless memories.
Take some time to just enjoy your family and ease into lessons. Spend lots of time at the library, the park, museums, concerts, and on the trampoline looking at the clouds. And listen to more experienced homeschool moms when they tell you not to worry so much. It took me several years to learn that lesson, and now I enjoy my kids more and see that they are learning, too.
1. Don't do "public school" at home. Do "home school" at home.
2. Lead with enthusiasm and excitement, and eventually encourage them to take the lead.
3. Don't let the tough days overshadow the experience. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Do your homework first.
Jump in! The water's fine!
I'm LOVING this practical advice! My Facebook friends are so smart!! What would you add to this list?
Other parents feel the same fear that you do. I have shared my own fears before, and I know I'm not alone. Fear of failure is inherent in parenting. Please read these words and tell me if you have ever had these feelings: overwrought, fear creeps in, meltdown, wonder about my own abilities, doing a lackluster homeschooling job, becoming more and more nervous, need moral support, family is NOT supportive, fear failure and future bitterness from children.
Now it's true, we don't ALL feel this way ALL the time. But I'll bet that MOST of us feel this way SOME of the time. You're not alone. I felt that way and I succeeded. Other parents have had those feelings, and they have succeeded. You may feel that way now, but you can succeed too! Read about Heather's feelings to know that you are not alone.
I've just found you and am trying to be encouraged by your newsletter, etc., but fear creeps in whenever I read success testimonies of homeschooling families and former homeschoolers. I do cheer each of them and even let my kids know about the testimonies, but they also cause me to wonder about my own possibly lackluster homeschooling job. I'm a single mother (of children with no involvement from a father), so I am in it alone. I don't even have a support group. (There's just not one anywhere near me, sadly.)
We even dedicate our school to God and pray for Him to take His rightful place as the head of His homeschool, and still I am more and more nervous about whether I can lead my children—especially my engineering-aspired son—through their college-prep educations. I fear failure and future bitterness from my children.
I know I shouldn't worry, but the time is growing so short. My children are 15-1/2 (10th grade) and 14-1/2 (9th grade), and this is our third year homeschooling. I don't know how to get enough information about "where they are" and "where they should be" to feel confident that I'm at least on the right track. I hope something you've written can help.
Heather in Colorado
Don't worry. The biggest thing I hear from parents when they are done is "Shock and Awe." With a 10th and 9th grader, there is nothing you could have done that would make you "behind." Instead of thinking about everything you could be doing, think about it one step at a time. Read Simple Homeschooling in 7 Easy Steps.
I wrote a post about a mom who was CONVINCED she had messed up, until she saw her homeschool transcript. Renee didn't even think her daughter would get IN to college, must less get ANY scholarships. Read Homeschooler Wins Full Scholarship - Plus Some More! It's not just Renee, either. So many other homeschoolers have also received a full scholarship, that I've been keeping a list Full Tuition Scholarships for Homeschool Students.
I think the thing that will help you avoid panic in the future is learning more about high school. It's the unknown that we tend to fear. If you learn more about high school, you'll be the resource that other parents turn to for encouragement!
The High School Solution is your source for peace and confidence.
I went to my first homeschool convention and listened to your talks. I was hooked. I felt a lot of peace of mind seeing the road and expectations ahead. Since that time, I have read most, if not all, of the books you have out there! I have found your resources inspiring and confidence-building if homeschooling through high school becomes our journey. I have recommended your resources to friends with older children, and they have thanked me profusely.
~ Erin in IN
Take a deep breath. And take it one step at a time.