Over the past three months, I have interacted with several thousand homeschooling moms. These women vary in age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, educational background, and geographic location. However, I have found that most bear three similar educational worries. As a former teacher, my heart aches every time I hear these unfounded anxieties. So, homeschooling mama, if you too bear these common worries, please give me a moment to dispel them.
1. I’m Not Qualified to Teach
If you’re like most homeschooling moms I meet, you probably do not feel qualified to teach. You don’t have a teaching degree. How could you possibly educate your child as well as a trained teacher, right? Wrong. Homeschooling mama, you might not know much about learning theory, brain development, or instructional design, but you do know your child. By the time she turned five, you had spent 1,826 days becoming an expert on her. Classroom teachers have only 180 short days to get to know twenty or more students. Who do you think is better equipped to understand your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning style? When I was in the classroom, parents would tell me nuances about their child in November parent-teacher conferences. Yet I frequently wouldn’t observe these traits until, February, March, or even April! These parents knew their children in ways I never would. The next time you feel unqualified to teach, remember you are the expert on your child. You can always learn more about teaching. But a classroom teacher can never know your child the way you do.
2. Things Would Be Less Crazy in a Classroom Setting
If you’re like most homeschooling moms I meet, you have hectic days. Things do not go as planned. Academic subjects get overlooked. And you quickly fall behind. You start to wonder if your child might learn more in a traditional classroom setting. But guess what? Things get just as crazy in the classroom. When I was teaching, there were times when I had the same spelling lesson plans in my plan book for three straight weeks. I would teach a spelling lesson and the kids wouldn’t get it. So, I would have to repeat the concept next week. Other times another subject would run long, and we’d run out of time for spelling. And other times a discipline issue would arise that required immediate attention. It was a rare week that my class would get through all the lessons in my plan book. Yes, you have crazy days. Yes, it’s important to stay on target. But, homeschooling mama, do not let the crazy days convince you that life in a classroom would have your child cover more academic content.
3. My Child Would Learn Better from Someone Else
Let’s face it. Your child has way less patience with you than he has with other adults. Most homeschooling moms I meet share a common fear that their child would learn more easily with someone else. And, this may be true. We all let our sin show more with those who love us unconditionally. But I ask you, is your ultimate goal for your child smooth sailing or Christ-likeness? When I was in the classroom, parents would share struggles their children had at home that would never show up in the classroom. Did this mean I somehow magically tamed their children in the classroom? No. It meant that my students didn’t have the same trust in my unconditional love that they had in the love of their parents. Daily rubbing up against your child’s sin nature provides countless opportunities to live out the gospel. Yes, this can seem overwhelming in the moment. But you have many more opportunities than classroom teachers to help your child see his sin and point him to the immensity of God’s grace through Jesus.
Homeschool mama, the role to which God has called you is not an easy one. But I beg you to remember truth. You are the expert on your child. Crazy days occur in the classroom as well. And the messiest moments let you point your child toward the Savior. Press on, homeschooling mama! Your work is not in vain.