Last week I posted Part 1 of No-Regret Homeschooling. Last week and this week are things I’ve spoken about in interviews I’ve done but haven’t gotten on the site before. Today’s is about after we make the decision to homeschool and stepping into it.
Moving Forward with No Regrets
After we make the decision to homeschool, insecurities start to creep in. Yes, we love our children, but is that enough? I’m not a teacher. I don’t get math. I am already busy. Won’t it cost a lot to do it well? What if I can’t do it? What if what I have to give my child isn’t enough?
Here comes our next step towards no-regret homeschooling. We need to make a decision on how to approach homeschooling. We can’t let panic force us into a wrong choice here. We need to choose with the confidence we built with our choice to homeschool in the first place.
The fear decision would be to imitate what the schools do, the fear being that your child will get behind and not learn what the kids in school are learning. This leads to desks in rows, thick overpriced textbooks, very expensive online schools, intensive all-day online programs, and other such stress-inducing options.
The fear is that what you offer your child might be somehow less than what they would get in school. But, remember, you’ve already decided that what they have to offer in school isn’t what you want for your child. If school is what you wanted for your child, you’d send them there. If you’ve already decided not to send your child to school, why would you want to replicate it?
Then there is the self-doubt, looking at others and comparing them to yourself. These other homeschoolers have their stuff together. Their kids are so accomplished. The fear-based decision would be to just imitate them, hoping to replicate their children’s success. While there’s nothing wrong with gleaning wisdom from those who have gone before, there’s a big problem with just doing what others are doing simply because you don’t want to take responsibility for the decision yourself.
We have to deal with the underlying fear of the responsibility of educating your children. Educating your children is not separate from parenting them. We love them. We do our best to guide them. They ALL will make mistakes because we’re all raising humans. One mistake, one bad decision has ruined some lives, but a loving family doesn’t lose it at that point. A loving parent doesn’t have their identity wrapped up in their children. Their children’s success is a joy to them, and their failures aren’t an embarrassment, but a place to reach out in love to help them back up and on their way. Regardless of whether your child goes to Harvard or community college or skips college altogether, what they do or don’t do is not a reflection of your self-worth.
Love keeps no record of wrong doing. Love doesn’t hold anything your child does against them. Love forgives. Love keeps its arms open. Love doesn’t say, “After all I did for you…” Love says, “I would do it all again.”
So, let’s look at the flip side of deciding how we will approach homeschooling: the love-based decision. You love your child. You know your child best. You know your family. Your decision as to how you will approach homeschooling will be as unique as your child and your family.
I like to say that homeschooling is just an extension of parenting. You have been teaching your child their whole life. You taught them their first words. You taught them what a tree was. You taught them how to use utensils. You’ve been teaching them all along. Why should it stop now? You were made for this.
Each family has its own unique culture. Each family is made up of different people, so each family interacts in different ways. There are some general categories such as those families who run their lives by schedule and enjoy each day being the same, and those who like adventure and flying by the seat of their pants. Some families have movie nights, and some read aloud to each other. Some families are large and have lots of extended family nearby for lots of gatherings, and some are small and spend most of their time by themselves.
We like to categorize everything like that, but the truth is life isn’t that neat and orderly. We’re all a mix of lots of different things. And that mix in each of us as humans mixes with the mix in the other humans we live with, creating our family secret sauce that no one else has.
Your parenting is unique. No one else’s home is just like yours. It can’t be. It’s made up of different people. You may have things in common with them, but you have different families. You have different traditions, customs, not just big things like holidays, but the day-to-day traditions and customs. Do you rise early without an alarm and open the kids’ bedroom doors with a song on your lips to wake and ready them for the day? Do you drag out of bed on the fourth snooze after your kids are already up and cerealed and watching TV?
We all do things differently. My family sits down together for a homemade breakfast each morning, but lunchtime is a free-for-all-survival-style-every-man-for-himself experience. To each his own.
Our families are different. Our parenting is different. Each relationship is unique, so the parents’ relationship with each child is different, even within the same family. People are unique. You are unique. Your kids are unique. Your family is unique. Your parenting is unique to you, and your homeschooling will be unique to you.
That’s the point of all that. Be your own homeschoolers. Just like we don’t want to look to the school and copy that, we don’t want to look to others to copy them. They aren’t you. They will never be you. Their kids are not yours. You don’t want your kids to be their kids. You want your kids to be themselves. Let your kids be themselves and don’t try to push them into someone else’s mold.
I hope you can agree that you want your kids to be raised to be all they can be, not all that someone else has decided they should be, including you. Love your kids enough to want them to grow into who they were created to be, not your idea of who they should be.
We need to be clear on our love motivation. We can’t let selfishness creep in and start looking at ourselves. We need to make sure we’re free of those self-doubts and insecurities that say my kid’s success in the eyes of the world determines my worth.
We need to homeschool out of love. Love is selfless.
We can homeschool without regret because our motivation is love and love never fails.
Want to read more?
Here’s the full pdf to download for FREE, No-Regret Homeschooling.