It happens while visiting the doctor’s office, chatting with another mom at the park, talking with someone at church, mingling at a family gathering, or really anywhere and sounds something like this–
“But have you actually been trained to be a teacher? Are you qualified to homeschool? Don’t you think your kids would be better off if they went to public school?”
Are you with me? We’ve all been there. People question our ability to successfully teach our children. They wonder, are we really able to make sure our children learn all that children in public school learn? Are we qualified to homeschool?
And, most likely, we have each come up with our own response. It could be anything from, “Honestly, I’m not sure I’d want my children to learn everything that is learned in public school”, to simply responding with a pleasant smile. And, I know (believe me, I know!) how hard it can be to keep a pleasant attitude inside while trying to portray one outside.
Homeschooling seems to be one of those areas where people feel like they can (and maybe even should) share their opinion, or imply their disapproval.
Or maybe even put our children on the spot to “quiz” them and see for themselves just how well we are doing. Some people are genuinely curious but many seem to be quick to share their doubt that we are up to the task.
Why is that? While it is gaining popularity, homeschooling still isn’t “the norm”.
And, while I have a quick answer to others’ questions, sometimes my mind fills with the same question, “Am I qualified to homeschool my kids? Am I the best teacher?” And the questions will go on and on for as long as I let them. Maybe it’s the same with you?
“Am I qualified to homeschool
my kids? Am I the best teacher?”
I think, perhaps, we all have something we struggle with about our own personal ability to teach our children at home. Maybe we didn’t do the best in school when we went, maybe we feel we are undereducated or underqualified, or maybe it’s something else.
I’m going to get personal here. My biggest doubt stems from the knowledge that I don’t have a college degree. I don’t mean that I don’t have a degree in the education field, I mean I didn’t finish college.
I always planned to finish college. To make a long story short, I found myself in a rough situation my junior year on an internship in the Dominican Republic and I ended up coming back early. My internship advisor suggested that I take the rest of the year off to recover and refresh and then decide what to do the next year.
So many things happened in my life during that semester off–I made life long friends and learned so much at the church I was attending at the time (especially about prayer)–that when the time was up, after a lot of prayer and discussion with the advisor, I knew I needed to stay right where I was at. So, I never finished college. (Side note: I also met my husband through connections I made during that time.)
So, if I could go back and be faced with that same decision again, I would make the same one. In a heartbeat! Even though that means here I stand with no college degree. And I am surrounded by other moms who homeschool, nearly all of them with degrees. That simple fact can be my weakness and send me into hours of self-doubt about my ability to teach my children. (And these are kind women who never say or imply anything about my not having a degree, by the way.)
Your “something” may be completely different, but maybe you have one or more areas that make you start to second guess yourself and worry that maybe you made the wrong choice. Or that maybe your kids would be better off with a different education choice.
A little side note here: almost all of the women I have spoken to or read about online who actually do have a college degree in teaching and now homeschool their children have shared that their degree has not helped them at all with homeschooling. The two ways of educating are set up very differently, and usually have quite different philosophies. So, take heart, if you are like me without a teaching degree, there are MANY resources and different curriculum types out there that will make it possible for you to succeed at homeschooling if it is the right choice for your family.
It’s easy to land here; to second guess ourselves. But, let’s not stay here. Let’s use a strategy to move forward.
1. Consider why you started homeschooling in the first place.
Thinking about why we chose to homeschool in the first place can remind us of what is important and it usually isn’t what we worry most about.
I can’t answer why you started homeschooling, but for
Growing up, I was pretty much a straight A, Honor Roll student throughout school (public school) but I really don’t feel that I retained a lot of what I learned. I just learned how to beat the system–study in order to pass a test. But I failed to really learn. I want more than dry textbooks and tests/
2. Realize that you care much more about your child and their success than a random teacher ever could.
In one of the teacher’s
He remembers times public school teachers would complain about or make fun of students causing problems in their classes. Or ignore parents’ efforts to become more involved in their child’s education.
In contrast, he writes he was moved by teacher mothers who approached him in tears feeling like they couldn’t give their children all of the educational experience they needed. They cared so deeply about the education of their “students” they were moved to tears.
And he thanks homeschool parents for teaching him so much about the importance of love in the education experience. And closes by saying it is a gift to work with parents of children who are loved.
Side note: I should inject here that he did not write in a way that bashed public school teachers, nor do I care to do so. I have friends who are teachers and they are very dedicated to their students. And I believe most teachers do the best they are able, given the guidelines they must follow and the class sizes they carry. If you are a public school teacher–blessings to you!
What the author wrote has impacted the way I see homeschool parents. Yes, we can get very frustrated and impatient at times educating out children amongst the many other hats we wear, however, is there anyone in the world who loves and cares about them more than we do?
Your love for your child and desire to see them succeed and learn and flourish is a gift no one else is able to give them.
3. Consider who has the final say about you.
This is the most important part to remember. Who has the final say about you? About your worth? Your abilities? Your calling? Is it those people in the public or even your own family who decide your value or ability to complete a task? No. God has the final say. If we remember to look to Him to complete us and give us our worth than we can confidently move forward on whatever path He has for us.
We are all in this together. If you want to share your doubts or worries with someone, please e-mail me. I’d be honored to listen and pray for you. We can encourage each other. I find that often the first step to overcoming our doubts and fear is simply sharing them with another.