Today's topic is how to overcome homeschool insecurity. It's a topic that I have wanted to address for a long time. I can't wait to share with you but first I would like to invite you to follow me on Facebook. My page is Homeschool Sanity. LISTEN HERE or on ITUNES.
Lately I have been trying to increase the number of steps I get in my day. 10,000 steps is recommended per day and I have discovered from wearing my Apple watch that I don't get nearly enough steps in. I am way too sedentary. Part of the problem has been because of my shoulder injury which I told you about last week. But the other problem is I'm just not walking enough. Still I have been trying to walk while writing. I actually dictated the thoughts for this episode on Dragon anywhere, an app for my iPhone. It allows me to get more steps in. I've also been committed to taking two walks a day. My afternoon walk really helps with the energy slump that I experienced at that time of day. It's a lot better for me than grabbing a sugary snack or even a caffeinated beverage. I highly commend it to you.
Teaching Tip of the Week
Today's teaching tip is Week Plan. I recently discovered this application. It allows you to state a goal for each role in your life. For example, I have goals for myself as a homeschooler, a business owner, and as a homemaker. The goals sit at the bottom of your weekly calendar. The goals could be moved up into the days of the week as tasks for you to complete, but you can also add additional tasks for each day. There is an iPhone app that is very encouraging when you check a task off as complete. I love the visual interface of this app and it makes getting my work done very motivating for me. Give it a try. It's also the kind of great user face that your kids might enjoy using as well.
How to Overcome Homeschool Security
Now on to today's topic how to overcome homeschool insecurity. First of all, what is homeschool insecurity? The definition of insecurity is uncertainty, anxiety about oneself, or a lack of confidence. Because insecurity encompasses anxiety, I recommend that you listen to the episode on anxiety that I did last year. Homeschool insecurity is a very common problem. We are doing something by educating our children at home but is still countercultural. Homeschooling is much more widely accepted than it was when I began homeschooling and it certainly more accepted than it was when the original homeschooler started. But there is still a lot of suspicion surrounding homeschooling and concerns about whether or not we are truly educating our children the best possible way. If you weren't homeschooled yourself, you can definitely experience uncertainty around your ability to teach her own children. It's understandable that you would have some insecurity as a homeschooling mom. Even if you've been at this a while like I have, you can still have some anxiety about your children's future. That's not limited to homeschooling moms.
The problems with insecurity, though, are many. That's why I am doing this episode. If we suffer from insecurity chronically it can lead to problems in our marriage problems with our kids and problems with our friends those problems are not limited to jealousy. When we feel insecure when we lack confidence, it's very tempting to look to those who don't seem to struggle with that insecurity and be jealous. Jealousy as we know can be very evil demotion. Without even realizing it, we can say or do things that attempt to bring others down so that we feel less insecure. When we don't feel secure about our ability to homeschool we may push our kids to do too much. We may push ourselves to do too much we may become workaholics because we are trying to prove ourselves. We may also develop a problem with bragging. Perhaps we have relatives who are supportive of homeschooling and we find ourselves constantly bragging about our kids to counteract her insecurity. Insecurity also creates distance between us and God. We either don't feel that we are worthy to come to him with our problems or we feel like we can handle our insecurities on our own and we don't come to him.
There are three areas where homeschool moms often feel insecure. The first one is educationally. Even though I have a PhD in psychology and many people believed that I was completely confident about my ability to homeschool, the truth is I had no education or training as a teacher. I had never homeschooled before, so I did have some insecurity about my ability to do it. I've talked with many homeschooling moms whose own education was so poor that they felt very insecure about their own ability to teach their children. I have been so inspired by these moms who tell me that they have taken steps to improve their own education even as they are homeschooling. Some of them are simply working on their education has they teach their children, but others are going back to school and thereby diminishing their insecurity. If you are suffering from educational insecurity, you can use this time as a homeschooling mom to improve your own education.
I've shared before that I never had a world history course the whole time I was in school. One of the greatest blessings of homeschooling is that I have been able to learn world history as I teach my children. I believe that my lack of education in that area makes me an even better teacher. I'm so inspired by it, and I'm so interested in it that I become a very enthusiastic teacher. If you are educationally insecure, take the time to learn what you didn't learn when you were in school. Then know that the Lord uses uneducated people to accomplish his work. The disciples were so astonishing to the rulers in Jesus’ day because they were not well-educated.
The second way in which we can be insecure is in our parenting. I was a Christian psychologist and I had counseled many parents in how to parent their children. I'd also read numerous books on the subject, but that was the problem! I had such high expectations of myself as a parent that it made me insecure about my abilities, especially when I noted my anger and impatience. Many homeschool moms I talk to tell me they are extremely insecure because of ttheir own bad parenting they experienced in childhood. They're afraid that they will become the same kind of bad parent. What I typically tell them is that if they are concerned about the kind of parents they will be, there is very little likelihood that they will be abusive parents. An abusive parent typically does not consider their own behavior to be the problem. They consider their child's behavior to be the problem. So if you are worried about being a good parent, that's already a really good sign that you will not repeat the mistakes your parents made. We know from God's word that the curse can be broken. We can create loving godly homes even if we did not experience them ourselves, in His strength. If you are in that situation where you had very bad parenting and you're really worried about perpetuating that bad parenting in your own homeschool, you may want to consider seeing a therapist. The therapist can help you have some closure and can reassure you that you are doing a good job.
The third area where many homeschoolers feel insecure is the personal area. What I am putting in that category are things like our looks. Many of us have a lot of scars, and I don't mean physical scars, from our childhood. I definitely was ridiculed for my appearance when I was a kid and I know many children were. We can often take that fear of being rejected because of our appearance into adulthood.
Another way we can feel insecure in a personal way is just not feeling special or valuable. Maybe we had a sibling who received more attention than we did. Or maybe we were just average or below average in school or sports and we didn't feel like we had anything about us that made us special.
A third source of personal insecurity is rejection. If you felt rejected by a parent, you may wonder if there’s something about you that is unlovable. You may have been divorced or your marriage has been a struggle. Perhaps you had difficult relationships with friends as you were growing up or even as an adult. All of those experiences can lead us to feel insecure personally.
How can we address personal or any kind of insecurity?
Talk with people you trust. Believe them when they tell you how they see you. Their perceptions are more accurate than our own. If a handful of people have said negative things about you, consider their motivations. Could these negative people be insecure themselves? Are they people of the Word and prayer? If not, the enemy may be using them to discourage you.
The second thing we can do for any kind of insecurity is go to God's word for encouragement. He tells us that He has chosen us. If we just don't feel special, we can read in God's word that He has given us gifts and prepared good works in advance for us to do. All the gifts we see in others have the same source: God. We are part of the body of Christ, no part more valuable than the others. Intelligence, talents, beauty are all qualities of God. You have them, too.
God loves us. He loves us so much that He died for us. We know that we do have an enemy, however. Our enemy tries to tell us that we are ugly, that we don't matter, and that no one loves us. I love this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” The people who think you are a dumb, terrible, ugly homeschooling mother and woman have their own insecurities. God says we are not to work for their approval but for God's.
Perhaps you think my suggestions to this point have been too simplistic. Perhaps you know you have a very serious problem with insecurity and you don't know what to do about it. My best suggestion to you is to do truth journaling. My friend and former homeschooling mom Barb Raveling has written a book on this topic called the Renewing of the Mind Project that has been life-changing for me. What you do is every time you feel insecure, write down what you are thinking. So for example, if your friend’s son just won your local spelling bee, and your son can't spell well at all, you would write down something like “I'm not a good homeschooling mom because my son can't spell well.” Obviously you would tailor that to what you were actually thinking. Then next to that or underneath it, you would write truthful responses that occur to you. I like to imagine what a godly friend would say in response to the lies I’m believing. You could write that not everyone has the gift of spelling, but that your son has other God-given gifts. You could write that God has a plan for my son's life that doesn’t depend on him being a top speller. You could write that you are doing the best you can to teach your son how to spell. When you are done truth journaling, pray. Pray that He would renew your mind with His truth.
In addition to truth journaling, find Scriptures on the source of your insecurity to meditate on. I like to search on BibleGateway.com or check openbible.info on a particular topic. For example, if I were feeling insecure about my appearance, I could meditate on 1 Peter 3:3-4: Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.
Overcoming insecurity is hard work, but worthy work. By all means, if you are struggling, find a Christian counselor who can help you.
Today's Action Steps
Today's action steps are: like Homeschool Sanity on Facebook. Check out weekplan.net and see if it would help you or your students get things done. Start truth journaling for your insecurity. Look up Scriptures to meditate on daily for your particular area of insecurity. Take responsibility for your insecurity and pray for help in overcoming it.
This episode of the Homeschool Sanity show has been brought to you by The Organized Homeschool Life. It's your week-by-week guide to homeschool sanity. Get your copy at organizedHS.com.
Have a happy homeschool week!