3 reasons I’m not qualified to write a homeschool blog

3 things I've learned about homeschooling

Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

The past few days have taken me on a little stroll down memory lane. You see, last week marked the third anniversary of the start of this blog.

In that time Simple Homeschool has grown radically, and I’ve been incredibly blessed to be along for the ride. Some of you have been reading from the beginning, and I’m thankful for your encouragement and loyalty as readers.

Way back when Tsh of Simple Mom offered me this position, though, I wasn’t sure I was the right fit. “Are you sure you want me?” I remember asking.

There were a multitude of reasons why I didn’t seem qualified–isn’t that always the way we feel when we step into new things? Like homeschooling, for example!

And though not all of you are bloggers, you may still relate to my reasons of why I felt unqualified and what I’ve learned in the past three years:

1. My kids are too young–I lack experience.

reasons1

When this blog started my three sweet kiddos were six-, five-, and four-years-old. (See them above at that age? They decided to be the “red team” that day. Sooo cute.) Mere babes indeed.

They now hold their own at nine, eight, and seven. Still young, yes. Oh the stuff we’ve discovered together, about life and learning, in the past three years.

But here’s why my lack of experience, or yours, doesn’t matter too much:

Homeschooling can be hard, yes. But it’s not as hard as it looks.

Things tend to look harder, often impossible, before you decide to jump in and do them. When the idea first pops into our minds to consider this type of education for our family, it overwhelms us. Inadequacies abound.

But once you commit to it–once a year (or three!) passes–you find your stride. So when people say, as they often do, “I could never do that!” you know that yes, they could.

I had plenty of theories about education three years ago, but actually living has equipped me more as a homeschooler, and a blogger, than any books I ever read. I have fewer theories now, but I am much more confident.

2. I don’t really know what I’m doing.

reasons2

Three years ago I had plenty of questions without answers–about both blogging and homeschooling. How do I grow a loyal readership? How do I balance work and family? How will the kids learn to read?  What activities should I enroll them in?

Here’s the realization I’ve stumbled upon:

We find what we need as we need it.

In this beautiful life when the student is ready, the teacher appears. When my kids have been ready for certain things, I’ve found exactly the right resource. At the time they needed it, I found the perfect class for them to enroll in.

The idea for baking lessons came to me during a season when I felt my kids were ready for greater independence. My two oldest children now read confidently, in spite of all those early worries, and my youngest is following in his siblings’ footsteps to join them.

I’ve seen this principle in action so many times that I now choose to focus on what is in this moment, knowing what we need in the future will be provided when we get there.

This takes huge burdens off a homeschooling mama’s shoulders. I don’t have to know all the answers ahead of time, and neither do you.

3. There have been times when I’ve wanted to quit homeschooling.

reasons

Sometimes, over the past three years, I wasn’t sure we could or should continue this lifestyle of learning long-term. It had little to do with the quality of the kids’ educations, but more to do with mama’s burnout, dealing with tantrums and character issues, and other challenges I hadn’t realized might go along with the territory.

I love the season we are in right now, but we had to go through a few years of homeschooling “growing pains” in order to get here. I’m so glad we stuck with it and didn’t give up.

No doubt this blog will change over the next three years as my own family continues to evolve. I’m so thankful to all of you who read here and find a bit of inspiration in these words.

Let’s keep learning about homeschooling together. Isn’t it freeing to know we don’t have to be qualified experts to enjoy the journey?

Do you ever feel that you’re not qualified to homeschool?

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.

Comments

  1. As someone who is really just starting out homeschooling, I definitely feel that way. But, then I remember that my husband and I do have the best interests of our children in mind. While there is a learning curve, I think we have the opportunity to really dig deeper into what works for our kids. We might flounder a bit in the beginning, but our goal is to give our kids a deep desire to learn and learn along with them, so floundering isn’t so bad :-)
    Heather’s latest post: snow! snow! snow!

  2. The humility of your blog is one of the reasons it is the first one I read. My children are 9,7,5,3 and 1 and I have homeschooled since the beginning, but when I sit down to read your blog I do not feel that you or I “know” more than the other. Your blog is inspiring and I’m thankful you take the time to write it!
    Annette’s latest post: on why I’m too busy to blog

  3. Jamie,
    I enjoy this blog so much – I echo Annette ‘s sentiments – – your approach is gentle. Every time I read one of your posts I feel edified and like pieces of thought in my mind have fallen into place. Thanks for expressing so well the myriad of feelings homeschooling moms can experience.

  4. Jamie, congratulations on 3 years of editing and writing for this site. Your words have been greatly inspiring to me here, and on your blog. I like your learn-through-living approach. Thank you for all your words.
    Rachel @ 6512 and growing’s latest post: DIY Kitchen: raw chocolate cake

  5. So proud of you, Jamie! xo
    Caroline Starr Rose’s latest post: Soddies: Homes on the Plain

  6. I feel unqualified all the time. But there is a saying that God doesn’t call the prepared, He prepares the called. Congrats on your blogaversary!
    LuAnn Braley’s latest post: What are Your Favorites?

  7. Yes, Jamie, EVERY DAY! I have homeschooled for over a decade, have graduated three . . one to a service academy, another to an honors college, and a third to a budding career in the entertainment industry. Success, yes? And I still feel unqualified as I wake each day to homeschool my 16, 14, & 10 year old sons. The lesson for me is it’s NOT ABOUT ME or my qualifications (or lack thereof). God has HIS plans for my children. My job is to show up, trust Him, and step. I appreciate the way you lift loads off homeschool mom’s shoulders. You keep it simple, and help us ENJOY the gift!

  8. What do you when you burn-out? I am kind of feeling that way right now. We are in the middle of year 2. I want to keep homeschooling but I am really struggling with school from my end ( motivation, energy, creativity, excitement, etc). We do a co-op in addition to our personal school. A friend suggested dropping the co-op to help with burnt out. Thoughts? I would love helpful input in to this burnt-out mama’s life :)
    April Emery’s latest post: The Truth About Sports Drinks (And An Alternative Choice)

  9. We are thinking about homeschooling our young children. This website has been a huge encouragement and has opened up lots of discussion in our home. Thank you for your words.
    Striving for Simple’s latest post: Playdough – Hours of Entertainment

  10. It’s so strange to me how your posts come up exactly when I need them. Today we are studying things I don’t know a whole lot about. It’s like I remember nothing from my school days. lol I am basically learning with my son. There are days I wonder if I am doing him a disservice with my lack of knowledge but I do know if there is something he needs or wants to know I will find the answer. Isn’t that what learning is for all of us anyway? To read, ask question of others, basically seek out the answers. Thank you for helping me to know I am not the only one who feels as I do at times. Knowing this helps me to go on and not give up, though giving up is not really an option in my mind. :)

  11. Last week, I took the week off. Not to enjoy myself but just to heal from burn out. We were dealing with so many behavior issues that I just couldn’t do it all. Something had to go. So we dropped “school” for the week. Instead we spend lots of time with the kids playing and reading (yes that is learning too, but “they” don’t think so!), I cleaned house, read a lot, ate a lot of chocolate and enjoyed long conversations with my husband. So yes, I feel very inadequate…but I don’t think that school teachers are more adequate to raise my kids than me. So it’s up to me and my husband to do it… one step at a time. :)
    tereza crump aka mytreasuredcreations’s latest post: Learning Log of January 2013

  12. Angie Milligan says:

    What a wonderful and inspiring blog post! I’ve struggled in my homeschooling journey also. I have doubted and questioned my abilities, yearned for a break, struggled with balancing being a mom/teacher/wife/housekeeper/cook/Sunday School teacher/Christ-follower, etc… but I always come back to: God called me to homeschool for now…and I will do my best each day (or at least most day). The hardest thing for me is remembering that the way I “envision” my day going is usually NOT the way it’s going to go. And, I have to be willing to accept this. Some days I do…some days I don’t. On the days when I “go with it” I usually have a much more enjoyable day. Also, I used to be a public school teacher (before I had children), and I KNOW how wasteful their days can be. So many days are spent testing, preparing to test, dealing with social issues, behavior issues, learning issues, etc… So, all that to say, I do NOT feel bad when we take a day (or week) off to give ourselves a break, do laundry, deal with family issues, etc… Homeschooling is a gift. It doesn’t have to look the same as anyone else’s homeschool and it definitely doesn’t have to look like public school. I have realized that I’m “not qualified” either… but we’re trucking along any way. :)

  13. I feel inadequate almost every day. Right now I am going through a major paradigm shift with my older child’s education. I see clearly where I’ve failed him in the past few years, his weaknesses academically, and it’s becoming more obvious that the way he learns academic subjects best is not the way I envisioned our schooling. I’m trying hard not to take it personally, but it’s humbling. I have struggled for so long trying to figure him out, feeling like a failure all the time. I trust, though, that we will find our way, and that we’ve done what we needed to do through many difficult times the past few years. Trust and hope are truly a big deal in our lives right now. Thanks for the encouragement of your blog the past 3 years.

  14. Echoing what some of those that commented earlier – I am on the brink of beginning my and my sons’ homeschooling education, and I feel these same fears/emotions. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have found a blog and group of mothers who feel the same way as I do. I appreciate your honestly and your experience.

  15. Yea, I need to tell you thank you as well, Jamie. Can’t tell you how many of your posts I have forwarded to my hs friends! The ironic thing is that my educational approach is really so different than yours. But, it doesn’t matter. I really love your point of view! I’ve learned so much from listening in on your days. It is with respect and appreciation that I read each post and apply what fits to my world and tweak my schooling as I go if possible. Or just the food for thought keeps me going! So, thanks. May you be encouraged and inspired to keep on.

  16. Jamie,
    Just want to say how much I appreciate Simple Homeschool! Our family has moved three times in four years, the most recent move a few weeks before Christmas 2012. Once my husband and I started to research schools in our new town, I got this strange idea (actually God gave me this idea because I never would decide this on my own) that we should begin to homeschool our kids rather than enroll them in another new school. Moving and unpacking is stressful in itself, but researching a curriculum, starting “school” mid year, organizing and purchasing items for our classroom, and creating some sort of a schedule has been a stretch of my mental and physical strength. This blog has been a source of information, ideas, encouragement and a little laughter (at mysefl). What I appreciate most in your writing is your honesty and transparency. Thank you! Almost daily, I have feelings of doubt ( in my ability) frustration, and just plain old feeling overwhelmed. I love reading your posts because I always walk away feeling encouraged. You’re a real answer to prayers!

  17. Do I ever feel unqualified to homeschool?
    Um, every day. :)
    But where we are weak, he is strong. Thank goodness.
    Charity@TheHomeschoolExperiment’s latest post: { rest }

  18. My husband and I want to homeschool, but I feel completely unqualified. On paper, it looks like it should be no problem: I was homeschooled until eighth grade and my career (before becoming a stay at home mom) was as a high school English Teacher. This should be no problem right? Wrong. I feel utterly terrified of teaching my daughter how to read, I know how to teach a student to write a persausive essay but how to read? I feel inept. And even beyond that I feel burnt out from dealing with the “tantrums and character issues” of my three year old daughter, I imagine trying to teach on top of that and my head is on the verge of exploding. Any start to homeschooling is still two years away, but I’m doubting myself before even beginning. I want homeschooling to be right for our family, but what if it’s not?
    Sarah @RunFarGirl’s latest post: There is No Pain Worse

  19. Hi
    I love this post … I love reading about all home schooling experiences … I love the openness and honesty of the homeschooling community.
    I started to home school nearly 8 years ago. I have a 9 year old, who has never been to school and a nearly 14 year old, who attended school for a few years. I believe that we, the parents, are the only experts on our children. I see home schooing as an extension of the parenting paradigm. We are the only ones who really know our children. Not the state, not other parents, Us! I see the journey of home schooling as providing us with the amazing opportunity of ‘more’ … more time with our children, more intensity, more understanding, more special time, more loving time, more joy, more sharing, more memories! If , on the flip side, it provides me with less ‘me’ time, then I’m gladly prepared to give that up … I don’t want to experience any regrets later on when they’ve grown up, childhood is so short. I’m not prepared to out source my children anywhere.
    Thanks for your message – every homeschooling Mom is fully qualified to write a blog, because I believe we are all experts on our children :-)
    Claire x
    Claire’s latest post: Week 6 – Back into City Life

  20. So true. I’m in a “I have no idea what to do” stage right now. I’m in the read tons of theories and I have so many ideas and thoughts and even opinions. But when it comes down to the day to day I’m just doing the next thing I know is right for my children. It’s stressful sometimes because I know how much I don’t know what I am doing, but I’m trying to remember to trust the process.
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Johanna @ My Home Tableau’s latest post: The gospel and crying

  21. I can totally relate to feeling unqualified. The funny thing is most folks think I am the most qualified to teach my own because I am a credentialed teacher with public school teaching experience. Quite the contrary. Yes, I have knowledge of standards and curriculum but teaching 25-35 students in a classroom is completely different than tutoring one or a few at home. Plus, I have a special needs kiddo who needs the freedom to learn things he’s interested in. We need flexibility, creativity and lots of time. We have that now, but I constantly have to turn off my teacher brain and look at my boy and listen with my heart.
    Wendy’s latest post: Let’s Google it!

  22. As homeschool moms there are and always will be times that we feel inadequete. I homeschool my 4 kids Jacob who is 16, Bethanie who is 9, Issac who is 8 and Rachel who is 7. I have felt inadequete many times but many more times I have felt blessed and overly lucky.

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