I can still remember the day that I quit homeschooling.
I was on our cordless phone (this is an old story), pacing in my dining room. I was talking to the woman at the nice Montessori-esque school, and she was walking me through how to enroll my son to start in January.
And I’m going to tell you, in that minute, it didn’t feel like giving up. It felt like such relief. It felt like getting good news from the doctor.
If we’d had any extra money then, I might have celebrated.
Because I had tried homeschooling for an entire semester, and I couldn’t hack it. But in a few weeks, all the responsibility wouldn’t be on me anymore.
Hi there, Doubt
Our homeschool story doesn’t end there, of course.
My son attended the Montessori school for 5 months, and it was great, but the next year, they wanted to move him into the 6-9 year-old classroom because he was an early reader. We were sent home that summer with instructions to work on handwriting every day.
In turned out that trying to force a kid whose fine motor skills were not ready for handwriting to practice handwriting EVERY DAY was a fairly miserable way to spend a summer, so we gave that up pretty quickly, and in the fall, I registered him for Kindergarten, but then panicked and decided to try homeschooling again.
Now we’ve been at it for almost 12 years, and we love homeschooling, but let me tell you, I have dealt with some doubt.
What’s interesting is that I haven’t doubted my kids.
But I’ve doubted myself A LOT.
When a particular homeschool method didn’t work 100 percent in our home, I blamed myself.
When a certain curriculum wouldn’t work for my kids, I figured I was doing it wrong.
Maybe I wished for a minute that my kids weren’t so wiggly? Or that they didn’t dislike timed tests quite so much?
But again, I saw that as my own failing. Better moms would be better at getting their kids to sit still. They would be better at instilling perseverance!
For so long doubt was my companion in our homeschooling journey.
So what’s changed?
I think things began to shift when I started writing to you.
Of course it helps that I’m actually seeing my children succeeding. At 13 and 16, neither of them have become bank robbers or Mob bosses.
But what really changed things for me was writing here – sharing our struggles and wins, and all the bumps and U-turns.
Because homeschooling is anything but a straight and simple path – but that’s kind of a benefit, isn’t it? We get to chart our own course.
Of course, any time we do something different from the norm, it’s a little scary. So doubt still creeps in for me.
It’s just that now, I know I’m enough.
And I know you are too.
I know because I feel my intense, overwhelming love for my kids, and through talking to all of you, I’ve learned you have that too.
In fact, for so many of us, it’s that intense love for our quirky kids that led us to homeschooling in the first place. It’s that love that keeps us going, even when we hit rocky patches – days, weeks, even months.
But I believe in us and our love for our kids – so much that I wrote a whole book about it.
It’s for all of us who feel scared and overwhelmed sometimes. It’s definitely for all of us who doubt ourselves – for those of us who wonder if our family is cut out for this.
(Can I tell you a secret? The very fact that you worry means that yes – you are equipped to homeschool. Because that worry is just our intense love peeking out.)
I truly believe that you are enough, your family is enough, and your love for your kids is more than enough to homeschool well.
So if you need that reminder right now, I hope you’ll check out my book, available here.
I KNOW that you love your kids endlessly – so how could you possibly fail?