Jessica’s Biggest Homeschooling Mistake

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

I have a big head. Seriously.

I have a bigger hat size than my husband. We call it “the Getskow head” after my maiden name. Some of my kids have the Getskow head. Others don’t. We laugh good-naturedly when the seven year old wears a larger bike helmet than his big brothers. He has a Getskow head.

I also have the corresponding confidence problem.

My attitude often matches my hat size. BIG. My husband and I can, thankfully, laugh on both counts.

Being confident can make me a go-getter. It makes me willing to take risks and to try things I’ve never done. It has enabled me to move away from home for college, live a year overseas on my own at twenty, marry young, move cross-country twice — and have six kids. See what an adventurer I am?

Confidence is a good thing in many ways. Confidence in my abilities allowed me to jump head first into homeschooling nine years ago. Me. From a family of public school teachers doing something crazy and wacky like homeschooling. Yeah, confidence, baby.

My Big Head

The downside of confidence, however, is pride. And a resistance to consider other opinions and ways of doing things. See me in my younger days, our first year of homeschooling?

I knew it all.

The culture at the time was at war over truth and relativism. It probably still is. But back then, I took it as my personal vendetta.

There was right. There was wrong. And we needed — and still need — to acknowledge that fact.

But I took my passion for the Truth a little farther than was good for me — or those around me. In my young mind, there was one way to worship, one way to parent, one way to diaper, and of course, one way to homeschool.

Unfortunately, in my efforts to combat relativism, I went to extremes and completely disregarded a world of thought and opinion. (In my defense, I wasn’t as uptight as some!)

But still, I didn’t have a very open mind to different methods of education besides my own. Not only did this limit my resources, but it also narrowed my field of vision.

For a time, I didn’t dream very big or hope very graciously.

Now it’s possible that I might not have chosen different curriculum way back when. In fact, nine years later, I’m still using many of the same books I bought in the old days. However, my unwillingness to consider opinions other than my own prevented me from learning from others, from the world around me, even from my own mistakes.

“Knowing it all” is a lonely place to be.

I still believe in absolutes. I still believe in right and wrong. And I’ll tell you so if we get into a discussion about it. As my husband says, I definitely don’t have a self-confidence problem. (He jokes that he married Mrs. Always M. Right.)

At the same time, I’ve discovered that I can learn from people I don’t always agree with. My thought process goes something like this when I encounter a new idea or approach that makes me go, “Hmmm.”

  1. Does this conflict with what I know to be true (ie the Bible)?
  2. Does this go against my conscience?
  3. Is this simply a question of personal preference?
  4. Is there goodness and truth here that I can adapt and apply to my own life, family, and homeschool?

Whether it’s an approach to teaching reading or the idea of letting my son direct our nature study, I can learn a lot about the world and homeschooling by realizing that I don’t know it all.

Have you ever struggled with pride and “knowing it all”?

About Jessica

Once a public high school teacher, Jessica now homeschools her six children, covering preschool through 10th grade. When she's not changing diapers, washing mountains of laundry, or chasing down the wayward math student who's steathily playing video games in the closet, she shares parenting and homekeeping tips on Life as MOM as well as "delicious ways to act your wage" at Good Cheap Eats.

Comments

  1. I’m not quite the antithesis of Jessica, but it’s interesting that I feel that my problem is the opposite.

    I want to be better at being willing to share my passion about motherhood and education.

    Perhaps I don’t because I am afraid that I cannot do it diplomatically enough. I am too concerned about causing offense.

    But I’m getting better. Yay! Aren’t we all? That’s the good news :-)
    Karina Palmer’s latest post: My New Understanding of Greatness

    • That’s wonderful that you are intentional about the words that you use. It’s a fine balance between silence, speaking your mind, and being overbearing. Be bold, but tactful.

  2. Oh Jessica….YES! I struggle with pride and know-it-all-ness like cuh-razy. Homeschooling is teaching me as much as it’s teaching my children. I know that to be true.
    Dwija {House Unseen}’s latest post: Something Goes Wrong (history, volume 2)

  3. That is a very honest post. Thank you for sharing. I think sometimes I have the opposite problem. I so want to look at everything and think that there’s worth in every way of doing things. I think sometimes that gets in my way of just laying down what I believe and not caring what others think. But I’m working on it.
    Shelli’s latest post: Music Appreciation with Beethoven

  4. This is good Jessica. I can kind of relate to the big head and confidence (I think that’s just part of our personality type) but there is nothing like the parenting and the homeschool journey to teach me I definitely don’t know it all.

    I have to say I laughed at your intro photo. A donkey or perhaps something else?? (ha, ha!!)
    renee @ FIMBY’s latest post: Knitting ~ Together

  5. My biggest problem stemmed from this pride but also fear. Fear that I didn’t know what I was doing kept me teaching the same way I was taught. Which wasn’t working with our kids and kept me miserable. Having a family full of public school teachers made every gathering like (for the kids) finals day as they would quiz the kids on what we were doing in school.

  6. Thank you, so much, for sharing Jessica. This resonates with me because my husband and I are looking to homeschool our son but want to veer away from a god-centered curriculum (I know this may be an unpopular choice given the Simple Homeschool audience.) In any case, I have been very intentional about looking at secular resources and have turned away from somethings that I now realize may have a great deal of value because they had Christian or other religious undertones. Your post, has humbled me so again, thank you.
    TheActorsWife’s latest post: learning french

  7. My friends and I call our “know it all” years, the “thunder puppy” years. :)

    Thank you for your post… I recognized a lot of my self in it from over the years.

  8. I met some ladies at a church function that all homeschooled. All of my kids are in public school. As I talked to them, it became very obvious that they believed that homeschooling is the only way to school, and couldn’t understand how I could send my children to such an awful place as a public school. I know that not all homeschoolers are like this – I have a few other friends that I interact with that do not have this attitude at all. But I know that even if I do start homeschooling my children, I will not be excited to hang out with those women that “know it all.” My point? You’re not the only one who misses out. You alienate people that could otherwise be your friends. Whatever you have figured out doesn’t get passed on to others that could benefit. These women that I met, I know, have experience that I would love to learn from. But I can’t while being attacked for my current schooling choice.

    • Wow! Thank you so much for your comment. I relate so much with Jessica. Everyone is dealing with their own weaknesses and I love when people kindly point out something we need to improve.

      I hope you give a chance to your homeschool friends. I learned so much from my friends who send their children to school. There is so much we can learned from each other.

  9. I think for me, I suffer from lack of confidence. I am always believing that when I hear that someone is doing better and using something different than I am, I must switch. I hear how a student is doing better than mine in a school, I start pushing my kids and getting frustrated because they are not doing what others are.
    I think that lack of confidence is just as dangerous as overconfidence.
    Martha Artyomenko’s latest post: Setting boundaries with difficult people by Allison Bottke

  10. Jessica,

    I am grateful for your sincerity. Being confident is so important to homeschool. But if someone lacks confidence. Well here is my secret, I started researching about homeschooling and praying. Then I knew I needed to start this wonderful yet busy path.

    Good luck to all.

  11. Oh yes, I have and still do struggle with this. I too have evolved in my thinking over the years! I am much more open-minded and less rigid these days, but I still have my issues. Thanks for this post, I especially love the four questions.
    Mary’s latest post: Giveaway Winners!!!

  12. Mary E.S. says:

    I have the opposite problem from kriswithmany.My husband’s and my family think I have ruined my oldest son by homeschooling him and not sending him to public school.Every time I see any of them they always say”A is still in school isn’t he”? My youngest attends public school which was the best place for him at that time but is no longer working very well.He is autistic and they provided a lot of therapy that we could not afford.He no longer receives any therapy and is being treated as a behavior problem. I know God is nudging me to bring him home too but I’m afraid.I know I should just trust God and do it and ignore what others say and think.Your article poked me in a way that I didn’t expect when I started reading it.

  13. Jessica, I don’t have your confidence, but I have experienced the kind of pride you’re talking about, especially as a younger mom. Back in the day, I too was convinced that there really was only one right way to parent, and that parents who chose differently would probably end up with disconnected kids, relationship problems, etc. God has been faithful to show me, as my kids have grown and we’ve interacted with all kinds of families, how little many of those things really matter. There’s really no “IF you do X with your kids, you are guaranteed Y result.” I’ve learned the hard way not to judge … and perhaps I did, earlier, simply because I wanted validation for the choices I was making.
    Thanks for having the humility to share your experience with us.
    Hannah’s latest post: Homeschooling: The Six-Week Exhale

  14. the longer i am a parent the more i realize i don’t know everything. lol. and i have gotten in lots of trouble with my attitude before too! lol. i thought may way was right and everyone else just didn’t understand yet…lol…but as a parent? WOAH. I learned quickly that i don’t know anything for your child, only mine. and mine are both SO different that what works for one didn’t for the other…so just in our own house i couldn’t pinpoint a ‘right’ way down. my biggest pet peeve now is the harsh judgements of parents among us. most of us are just doing the best we can. thanks for sharing…i can so relate!

    :)
    jen
    http://www.theevolvinghomemaker.com‘s latest post: Modern Homemakers

  15. I think everyone ‘struggles’ with the thought of “everyone is entitled to my opinion” once in a while…but not everyone can see that it can be a problem.
    LuAnn’s latest post: It’s Been a Couple of Weeks

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