Overcoming Homeschool Fear

Daffodils in a stryofoam cup with colored pencils laying beside the cup.

One of my biggest struggles this year, my first year to homeschool, has been keeping fear at bay.

Am I doing this right? Are my children learning? Is it okay to stay on one math concept until my child understands or should I plow ahead like they have been used to in public school? Is stepping outside the textbook and digging deeper going to throw us off schedule? Am I smart enough to do this? Are the kids learning?

Starting out this year I thought it would be easier, challenges fewer, and nay-sayers non-existent. What I have learned is the constant faithfulness of the Lord. Sure, there have been days I’ve wanted to send the kids all back to public school. Days when it seemed like no one was progressing in their work and days when I was tired. On balance we’ve had more days when challenging concepts were conquered than not. What began as a slow year has started to move at a steady pace as the kids are beginning to enjoy the learning process and  finding a good routine. To have a self-proclaimed hater of reading beg to go to the library because all her books have been read is just one example of progress.

I’ve learned as much as the kids this year:

1. Give it all to God.
Give Him all the fear, the questions, bad days, and good days. It’s been a year of change for our entire family. It has opened my eyes to weak areas I may not have caught in the busyness of our life prior to homeschooling. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we’re busier now than ever, but I have more one-on-one time with each child. I thank God for allowing me to see areas in need of cultivation in my children’s hearts.

2. In times of transition God’s Word is a source of peace and instruction.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:7 NIV
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 NIV
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22 NIV
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, peace, and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

There will be more challenges, changes, and math problems to conquer in the years ahead. Overcoming fear in homeschooling is no different than any other area of life–total dependance on God and His Word.

yellow spriing daffodils

Comments

  1. Well, I don’t think it is one-size-fits-all. Some kids would do better in pulbic school, some do better homeschooled, some do better in private school. When it comes down to it, so much is going to depend on so many variables, there are never any garauntees.I have seen more success with homeschoolers in my experience. Homeschooled children are not perfect little cherubs by any measure but overall I have just had better experiences with them. They are able to learn at their own pace in an environment that has less pressure and less distractions. You are able to adapt everything to their learning style and daily rhythm for instance, if a child needs more hands- on activities to understand concepts or if a child learns better in the evening than the morning, you can adapt.I think the most striking things about homeschooling for me is attitude. IME kids seem to retain their childhood longer, their innocence and sense of wonder with homeschooling. They are shielded from a lot of negative things that unfortunately seep into the lives of pulbic school kids a lot earlier than they should be exposed to them. By delaying their having to deal with such negative things as violence, drugs, bullying, etc., they seem to emerge with a healthier self esteem and a better resistance to such things. They seem to have a less us-against-them mentality with adults and authority figures. They are more cooperative with adults.Socialization seems to be the big worry everyone has, and in my experience it’s just not a concern. Socialization is something that occurs everywhere from birth to death unless you are a hermit. The microcosm of the pulbic school is not necessarily the most realistic or the healthiest social environment. This microcosm has it’s own rules and own ways that simply don’t exist outside of it. When you think about it in perspective with the rest of the world, it is rather unnatural. Public schoolers may more often get quantity, but it seems homeschoolers get a better quality and more diversity because their socialization occurs outside this microcosm. For the record, even studies with child psychologists observing groups of randomly selected kids could not tell the homeschooled children from the pulbic schooled children apart, despite the anticdotes you hear about shy homeschoolers (as if there aren’t shy, quiet, withdrawn kids in every single pulbic school class).

  2. Education. Homeschoolers tend to outscore secoolhd kids on tests according to research I’ve seen and the kids I’ve seen. They get an individualized, one-on-one education that schools can’t hope to copy. They can take advantage of teachable moments and the child’s interests to maximize learning.Social. Homeschoolers learn social skills from adults (rather than from lots of other kids who know as little as they do). Homeschooled children tend to be equally comfortable around children and adults of all ages rather than just around kids their own age (and real life after school will have them working with people of all ages). They aren’t pulled down by negative peer pressure as much. Freedom. Homeschoolers have the freedom to design an education geared to their specific child. They can take advantage of opportunities that they’d otherwise miss because of school. They can take family vacations when they want and make the most of them as learning opportunities.Health. Homeschoolers tend to be more active and eat healthier meals. They have time to eat rather than inhaling meals before a bell rings and can have drinks snacks when their body needs them. They can get up and run around when needed. When sick, they can take time off without worrying about getting behind.Safety. Homeschoolers don’t have the problems with school violence and bullies that are in the public schools. They can avoid things that trigger allergic reactions and such more easily, too.Morals. Homeschoolers don’t get the message that everything’s okay which tends to lead to a lack of morals and a lot of the school violence and other problems in schools.Fun. Homeschooled kids have less wasted time, as their parents aren’t trying to get 30 students to all do the same thing at the same time. With less wasted time, they are more likely to develop hobbies and have more free time for fun.Family. Homeschoolers tend to have closer-knit families and enjoy each others’ company more.

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