My number one fear in homeschooling is becoming that immovable homeschool family who is so committed to homeschooling that they are unable to step back and make objective educational decisions for their children. So, the night before I started homeschooling Elijah I was still questioning if I was making the right decision. Still questioning myself: “Do I really believe this is the best educational decision for him? Is this the best educational decision for him? What were the reasons I felt this was the right path for now?”
Every time I cycled through this conversation with myself, I was assured once again that for this season this is the best decision for Elijah and for our family as a whole. I also remind myself that just by asking these questions, I am in fact open to changing our educational plan if/when it no longer is the best decision for Elijah and/or for our family as a whole.
These conversations with myself help a great deal.
Once I settle that fear, I am always faced with my second greatest fear about homeschooling my kids: What if I fail them…what if I don’t do a good enough job teaching them at home? This thought has haunted me throughout this whole process toward homeschooling. That fear of failure is real…
Even though I had been homeschooled myself…all the way through high school.
Even though I have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
Even though I taught first grade for four years at an amazing public school.
In the end, the truth is that I will fail them. Even when I taught school, there were times that I failed my students. No person, no teacher, no mom is ever going to get anything 100% right all the time. The truth is that I will make mistakes. But the hope is that I will own my failures and recognize my mistakes. The hope is that when something isn’t working, I will change our plans or my approach or the curriculum . . . just like I did when I taught public school. The goal isn’t to be flawless in educating my children…the goal is to be willing to recognize the flaws and adjust accordingly. Only in this will there be any success.
Homeschooling is terrifying. But it is only as terrifying as the power I give it. If I hold to it so strongly that we can never make an alternative educational choice for our family, then homeschooling becomes a terrifying “god” to worship. If I think that I must get homeschooling “right” and never fail my children, then homeschooling becomes a burdensome reality that is no longer about learning and growing together as a family but only about me performing perfectly as the homeschool mom. As I release the power of these two things, homeschooling becomes less terrifying and becomes more of a comfortable, life-giving rhythm for our family.
And so far, we are all thriving in this new rhythm of learning and growing together.