Bohemian Homeschoolers: The Blog

A supportive and encouraging network of homeschooling parents

What the @#!$%& am I Doing?!

on October 9, 2012

I think every homeschooling parent has asked themselves this question. 

“What am I thinking?”
“What makes me think I can do this?”
“I don’t have a degree!  How am I suppose to teach?”
“Am I going to screw my kids up?”

These questions and doubts about our ability to teach our children come at us from all sides.  Maybe our parents made a comment in conversation.  Maybe you can’t help but compare your kids to your awesome super-mom homeschooling friend’s kids who seem to be completely ready for an Ivy League college at the age of four.  Maybe that kid at the park acted more “normal” than your kid.  Whatever the reason is, there are a lot of them around and they ultimately result in us doubting ourselves.

There are not many things that are predictable about homeschooling, but one thing that is absolute, is the lack of confidence you will have in yourself.  You will never feel like you are doing as good of a job as you could be.  You will lose your temper.  You will question yourself daily.  YOU WILL CRY.

Okay, now that I have sufficiently scared the crap out of all future homeschoolers and buried all of the current homeschoolers in a pile of guilt, let me get to the good part.

YOU ARE NORMAL.  YOU ARE OKAY.  YOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB.

Like I said earlier, every homeschooling parent has questioned themselves.  We’ve all felt doubts, frustration, guilt, and have certainly wanted to throw in the towel from time to time.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  In fact, that’s good.  It means that you care and are concerned for your kids.  That you understand there is always room to grow.  These are signs of a great homeschooler! 

So, how do we combat these feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and guilt?

One, cut yourself some slack.  You are learning just as much as your kid.  You are daily trying to master a system that is daily changing.  Why is it daily changing?  Because your kids are daily changing.  What interested them today may not interest them tomorrow.  The kiddo that was so excited to do school yesterday may have to be dragged to school by his ankles today.  That’s just the way it is.

Two, be flexible and PICK YOUR BATTLES.  If your kid doesn’t want to do math today, don’t make him.  One day without math hasn’t killed anyone and if you try to force it down his throat he will go into “shut down” mode.  And that is a place where things might get done, but nothing is ever learned.  I assure you, just pass on the math.  Now, on the other hand, if they go all week without doing math, you probably need to address the problem.  It could be that the curriculum is boring or not challenging him enough.  It also could be that he doesn’t understand the lesson and is trying to avoid having to push himself or even ask for help.

Three, don’t beat yourself up.  Remember, as long as you are trying, you are doing a good job.  There is no “right” way to homeschool.  Stay involved.  Talk to your kids and find out what they are interested in.  Continually introduce them to new things so that their interests will expand.  And if you feel like something isn’t working, ask your kids what they think.  They will tell what is on their minds.  Listen and figure out new ways to make things work better for them, and you.  And if you have a meltdown in front of your kids, and say go into your bedroom and cry into your pillow like I did last week (Yep, it happens to us all.), talk to your kids about.  Don’t hide this stuff from them.  Explain that this is hard for you too sometimes, and that you all are a team.  That you need them to help you by listening, staying still, losing the attitude, etc.  They will really appreciate your honesty and will respond accordingly.

Homeschool is something that should be experienced, not suffered through.  If you feel this way, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t homeschool.  But it might mean that you need to loosen up a bit and change up your approach, and changing your approach doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong.  It means you’re still learning and growing in this experience.  Homeschool is about focusing on the journey rather than the destination.  Go with the flow and have fun.

Happy Homeschooling!

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