I recently became a homeschooling mom. It doesn’t surprise me that I landed here, but I also never envisioned myself actually taking the plunge. I was raised in public school and had a wonderful experience. I attended a public university and received a degree to go right back into public schools and teach. I taught at a rural elementary school for four years and adored every second of it. I was a typical kid with a typical upbringing who became a typical teacher who taught a lot of typical kids.
And then I became a mom to a not-so-typical child.
Despite knowing exactly what we needed to do, I think I spent about six months finding every excuse as to why we should not homeschool our daughter. During those six months, I came to believe several lies about what life would be like if we stepped into this world. If you’ve ever considered homeschooling, you may have thrown these lies around in your head too. Once we finally took the plunge into homeschooling, every single one of these lies was proven wrong.
Lie: I cannot do this.
Even though I have a background in education and spent four years teaching seven and eight-year-olds how to read, write, and count, I felt extremely inadequate. My child’s future would be in my hands. I could make or break her. Her ability to function in society would rest on my shoulders and one bad day on my part could mean destruction for her. I didn’t think I had the skills, knowledge, patience, endurance, or even the desire to step into this role.
Truth: I am doing this.
We are a few months into our school year and are trucking right along! Some days are hard and I’m still tempted to believe that I can’t do it. But then I look down and realize that we finished our lessons for the day, my daughter has grown from where she was a few months ago, and we are making progress. We are doing this.
Lie: My kids will drive me crazy.
I knew that if I was going to homeschool, I was willingly giving up a lot of my “me time.” I would no longer have MDO days all to myself, there would no longer be the “light at the end of the tunnel” when all the kids were gone for the day. Translation: I would be spending 24 hours a day with four children and we WOULD drive each other plum crazy.
Truth: I am getting to know my kids in a way that I never knew was possible.
Spending every hour of every day with my kids over the last two months has been— and do not judge me for saying this — shockingly enjoyable. I have gotten to know a side of my daughter that I haven’t seen over the last two years while she has been in school every day. I’m seeing her personality come to life, hearing her thoughts and opinions, and watching her grow up right before my eyes. I have grown to love her and enjoy spending time with her as a person, not just as my child. (P.S.—We do still drive each other crazy sometimes. And that’s okay.)
Lie: My kids won’t learn what they need to learn.
My education background gives me an advantage as a homeschooling parent, but I STILL feared that my children would not learn everything they were “supposed” to learn. I played the comparison game and worried about the outcomes. How will they compare with other kids their age? How will they perform if one day we put them back into public school? How in the world will I prepare them for college?
Truth: My kids are learning exactly what I want them to learn.
I have come to realize that homeschooling my kids is so much more than just teaching them to read and write. It’s teaching them about the world, about other people, about kindness, about their purpose on this planet. I’m getting to teach them the most important lessons they will ever learn. There is no place for comparison here. There is only wide open space to learn whatever we want to learn.
Lie: We will be known as “those” people.
You know exactly who I’m talking about. As soon as we became a homeschooling family, the world would start looking at us like we were aliens from outer space. They would expect us to make our own clothes, dress our kids in matching outfits, stop watching TV, and look down on anyone who wasn’t homeschooling their kids. I did NOT want to be seen as “those” people.
Truth: We have found amazing friendships with “those” people.
Guess what—“those” people are nothing like you think they are. They are normal families who live normal lives and just so happen to homeschool their kids. And they are kind. So kind. I have been shocked at how many homeschool families there are in the metro area and I have learned so much as we have spent time with some of them. They are teaching me how to be more patient, more gracious, less of a drill sergeant, and more of a guide for my kids.
“Those” people are exactly who I needed.