Do you lack confidence as a homeschool mom? A number of moms on the Homeschool Sanity Facebook page have commented that they do. This is The Homeschool Sanity Show, the episode where we discuss how we can have more confidence as homeschool moms this year.
Hey, homeschoolers! Before we dive into the topic of mom confidence, I’d like to thank CTC Math for sponsoring this episode.
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Why We Lack Confidence
Before we can talk about building confidence, let’s talk about why we lack it in our homeschooling.
The first reason is fairly obvious: we haven’t homeschooled before. Even classroom teachers can be intimidated by the prospect of teaching all subjects to multiple students–especially their own. It’s normal to lack confidence without experience.
The second reason we lack confidence is we are aware of our shortcomings. I was keenly aware of my lack of organization–something I’ve written and spoken about extensively, and which troubles many a would-be homeschool mom. And it wasn’t just messiness I was worried about. I’d been excited about a lot of projects in the past that I’d lost interest in. What if I did that with homeschooling?
Many homeschooling moms didn’t get good grades in general or in particular subjects, causing them to worry about their ability to teach their own children.
The third reason we lack confidence is because of messaging from other people. We may have family members or friends who disapprove of homeschooling and tell us about homeschool horror stories. From childhood, we may have heard about our shortcomings repeatedly. Or we were mistreated, causing us to wonder who we are to take on this important responsibility. Finally, other homeschoolers can make us feel less than confident by presenting an unattainable picture of homeschooling. Engineers in your support group who lead a championship robotics team. Homeschoolers who pay for expensive private tutoring and classes to ensure their child’s success. Mothers with supportive family who have lots of time to plan and implement an enriched education. You may feel like you’re not qualified.
How to Homeschool with New Confidence This Year
Inexperience, shortcomings, and others’ messaging can make us feel ill-equipped to homeschool successfully. But here is how we can overcome and take on homeschooling with a new confidence this year.
First, we can begin seeing ourselves as co-learners rather than professors. I learned more about child development and education by homeschooling my kids than I ever did in school or my work as a psychologist. We don’t want to fail in our homeschooling and parenting, but failing is the only way we learn. There are no homeschooling parents who haven’t made mistakes. There are also no classroom teachers who have been perfect.
The only way to grow in confidence as a homeschool mom is to do it. If we are so terrified of making mistakes with our kids that we never try homeschooling or quit at the first sign of challenge, that is the real failure. I’m not saying that everyone is called to homeschool. But if you feel called and you don’t take that call because of fear of messing up your kids, I think you will live to regret it.
These are the things I was afraid of when I began homeschooling: being too disorganized to follow through; having a child who couldn’t read; having an impulsive, immature child who would get hurt; choosing the wrong discipline strategy; having a child behave inappropriately online; having a child who couldn’t write well; having a child rebel; having a child embarrass me. I experienced ALL of these things. And praise God that I did. I’m not afraid of them anymore. The Lord got me through every single one of them.
The second way we can grow in confidence is to focus on our strengths. Organization wasn’t my forte’, but making learning fun and exciting was. As long as our homeschool was reasonably organized, my kids would focus on the fun unit studies, field trips, and co-op activities we did. And that’s what my kids remember.
I disliked gathering the supplies needed to do experiments only to discover that something didn’t work. What I loved doing was teaching literature, writing, and speaking. So my friend and I swapped those responsibilities based on our strengths. She was organized with the labs and I was organized with language arts. Teach your kids from your strengths and share responsibilities with a friend or co-op in your weaker areas.
We also focus on our strengths when we pursue our passions. Teaching world history wasn’t my strength because I had no background in it. But that’s why I was so excited about the topic. I would have read the lessons even without my kids. Even if you’ve struggled with a subject in the past, you can be an exceptional teacher because you’re passionate about learning and teaching it now.
The third way we can grow in confidence is to make the right comparisons. You’ve probably heard that when we feel we are falling short, it’s because we are comparing the inside of our homeschool (and what’s really going on) to the outside of someone else’s homeschool (where it’s carefully curated to present the best image).
But don’t get me wrong. There will be areas that another homeschool mom is further ahead than you are. She’s been doing it longer, has different abilities, has a supportive family, or kids with different strengths. Before you wish you were her, realize that she has made choices that you wouldn’t make. I used to feel inadequate with a mom who was constantly planning fun outings for the kids down to healthy snacks for them to enjoy afterward. But I couldn’t be her and didn’t want to be her. I placed a higher priority on academics and cleaning at home. Yet, what a blessing it was to enjoy her gift for planning activities that my kids enjoyed!
The Bible describes the kinds of comparisons we make as being as foolish as a foot comparing itself to an eye in importance. We are all part of the same body. We can all help one another as homeschoolers so we can achieve our unique goals.
When a friend or family member who doesn’t approve of homeschooling questions your ability to homeschool because of some shortcoming, you can say, “Oh, there are bigger issues than that to prevent me from doing a good job at homeschooling.” You’re likely to surprise a homeschool hater that way.
We can stop worrying about what another mom we know or what a social media influencer is doing because that’s not our role. But we can also stop the comparisons by comparing ourselves to Jesus. Are we as loving and faithful and just as He is? No? Then we should give up. Really. We can stop trying to be great homeschool moms and realize that we can’t do it. Instead, we need Jesus to take over. We need Him to use our unique combination of weaknesses and strengths to be the homeschool mom He planned all along.
Instead of worrying about whether we are going to ruin our kids for life, we can give the responsibility back to Jesus, trusting that He will work everything together for their good and ours. In that sense, we can be confident as homeschool moms because we are confident in Him. What a relief it is for me to know even now that I don’t have to worry about what I did or didn’t do. God had it under control and He still does. Philippians 1:6 is a verse we can hold on to: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
We can grow in confidence this year as we continue to homeschool, focusing on our strengths, and making the right comparisons. Ultimately, we can be confident that we don’t have what it takes to homeschool our children successfully, but Jesus working through us does. Amen?
I pray this episode has been a blessing to you. Thanks again to CTC Math!
Have a happy homeschool week!