Imposter syndrome is a real thing!
No matter what road you choose in life there will be people constantly questioning your skills. If you homeschool, though? GAH! Betty Joe will quiz your children every time you need a dozen eggs.
Sometimes it will be mild curiosity. Sometimes it will be an overt assumption that you are ruining your children for life. Does your kindergartener even KNOW his letters? But can your first grader add and subtract? If you are incredibly lucky (as I am!!) your family will be secure and understanding... perhaps even proud. But for some of you, every Thanksgiving dinner is an SAT exam and your 6 year old will have to count his gifts for Grams before he is allowed to open them. (True story. Not mine, thank the LORD!)
For those of you who already struggle with self esteem or doubt, such pervasive assumptions can start to attach themselves to your own thoughts. Who am I to try to teach my children? Perhaps Betty is right. Perhaps I should leave it to the professionals.
Let's break that down for a bit.
Who Can Best Observe the Child?
When you "leave it to the professionals" you will have a trained, loving and practiced person there to teach your child. They will do well. BUT they do not have super powered Mom eyes that can see what the rest of us can not.
You know that the twitch in your eldest son's right eye means he has no clue what you are talking about. You know when your youngest is staring into space because his math problem just reminded him of Minecraft. You can, and do, observe your children daily and you know them better than anyone.
This super power is helpful because you know EXACTLY when your child has mastered a concept, and when they need additional support.
How many children fall through the cracks in the public school system because they were well behaved, and their teachers took that to mean they were keeping up with the material?
Who Can Control The Environment?
Teachers spend more of their own money than anyone (except their spouse) realizes to make their space PERFECT. They are the most selfless, charitable people I know.
But on day one, their perfectly prepared rooms are packed full of kids with too many needs and too few chairs. Teachers are miracle workers! We demand miracles from them because we ask the impossible. They simply do not have enough room for that many energetic, differently-abled bodies.
In your home the child who needs absolute silence to finish his reader can snuggle a favorite blanket in his room. The child who needs one-on-one help to avoid melting during math activities can grab the seat right next to mom. Every detail in the environment can be exactly what it needs to be. We do not need to be miracle workers to homeschool!
The power of one-on-one adult help and an individualized environment is so great that public school already capitalizes on this phenomenon with homework!
If you are helping your child with their homework every night YOU ARE ALREADY HOMESCHOOLING. Someone else is just picking your curriculum.
Who Has Time On Their Side?
Ahhh, the recess whistle.
I remember being chastised a time or two back in my teaching days. It seems I didn't blow the whistle fast enough. Recess was 15 minutes, not 20, and I kept pushing my limits.
It wasn't that the administration didn't agree with me! We are simply not meant to sit all day. Our bodies are movement machines. But there is a schedule to keep and these classes needed to make room for the next.
And if we were IN THE ZONE when it was time to go to lunch? Tough cookies.
And if everyone was melting and hungry and ready for lunch thirty minutes early? Tough cookies.
A common complaint against the school system is that they "teach to the test", but I am here to tell you that a far greater tyrant directs every day. The public school system has to "teach to the clock".
A homeschooling child can get a day's worth of math done in ten minutes and then move on to reading. They can snack whenever they need. They can play outside all morning before the heat sets in and then finish their work in the afternoon. They can be sick in the middle of the week and work through the weekend. When we homeschool, time is on our side. We have 18 years to sneak in an education, and we can get to it as we please.
Who Can Learn With The Least Resistance?
Sneaky learning is the unwritten ingredient in homeschool success.
Every year parents agonize over which curriculum is best for their child. Perhaps this one or that one is chosen because the illustration that explained the water cycle really caught Mom's eye. Many a mom has watched a lesson they excitedly anticipated fall flat only to hear a curious voice asking, "What is that coming from the pot?" as the pasta was boiling on the stove.
Children CAN learn anytime. This is why public school teachers can teach a classroom of children with completely different interests and skill levels. But when children are allowed to learn as their interest peaks, their brains act as sponges.
Children allowed to follow their interests cultivate more interests. Children allowed to learn as life uncovers unknown phenomena are allowed the freedom to pursue their own education. When your family lives a life of excited exploration, learning becomes as nourishing as Grandma's cooking, and children will seek out their own fulfillment.
Are there some things public school does better? Sure! I could write an entire article about the things I loved while teaching. As with most choices in life, there really isn't a wrong answer! Your child will get a great education from a loving teacher whether they stay home or attend public school. But if you want to take this journey and are afraid to start, I am here to shout from every roof top that "YOU CAN DO THIS!" Homeschool is not just "school at home". It is a personal choice to make a culture of life long learning and togetherness the focus of your family journey.
Remember! Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic.
Keep your ear to God. Keep your eyes open. Keep your hands busy.
You can do this.
I hope our journey inspires your own,
Buckets & Berries