Toni’s Biggest Homeschooling Mistake: Doubt

Written by contributor Toni Anderson of The Happy Housewife

I had been homeschooling for less than a year when I found out I was pregnant with our fourth child. I was overwhelmed at the thought of homeschooling my third and first grader while managing a baby and a toddler.

I didn’t think it was possible to homeschool and have a baby.

These doubts grew until I finally decided (before the baby was born) to enroll my kids in school.

The problem with this was that I hadn’t actually tried to homeschool my two children with a baby and a toddler.

I just assumed it would be impossible.

After six weeks in school I brought them home and have been homeschooling ever since.

I share this not to make those who have chosen public school feel guilty. Every family needs to make their own choices.

I share this because I doubted my ability before I even tried. Throughout my homeschooling journey I’ve met people who make educational decisions based on assumptions like these…

  • I could never homeschool through high school.
  • I could never homeschool my child with learning disabilities.
  • I could never homeschool with a new baby.
  • I could never homeschool more than two kids.

They believe these things even though they haven’t even tried.

Don’t just assume you can’t do something. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have believed I’d be looking at colleges with one child while teaching another to read, but I am.

I didn’t think I could teach two children with dyslexia to read, but I did.

I didn’t think I could teach calculus, and I couldn’t. But others can and I got help when I needed it.

When in doubt ask for help, and before you make a decision based on doubts consider how far you have come in your homeschooling journey.

While my homeschool journey has not been without bumps and roadblocks, I’ve never again doubted my ability to do something before I’ve tried it.

Have you ever doubted your ability to homeschool your kids?

About Toni

Toni is a military wife and stay at home(schooling) mom to seven amazing kids. In her free time she enjoys writing about cooking, saving money, homeschooling, DIY projects and more on The Happy Housewife.


  1. Ahh, I totally needed this post today! Thanks!
    Kelly B

  2. This is a breath of fresh air – thank you! How often do I see only obstacles when I have not even tried! Just the antidote I needed today!
    Corli’s latest post: summer birthdays

  3. I use to doubt everytime someone asked me if I had a college degree. It makes me giggle a little now to say it out loud, what would college have taught me about knowing my children? I know my children and what they need inspite of all that I had “learned” before jumping in this endevor! To me I think the best way to overcome doubts is to be around and learn from experienced homeschooling moms & families!!

  4. Thanks for this. 🙂 Doubt tends to rear its ugly head at me every now and again, so reading this was definitely helpful. 🙂
    e-Expeditions’s latest post: 9 Ways to Stay Busy Indoors

  5. I doubted that I would be able to teach my girls who had ADD, and then my last daughter had a processing issue that made math very difficult. I just kept looking for help, and different curriculum and teaching styles to help her to get it. Even though it was hard, I would have probably had to push thru many of the same things had she been in public school.
    Even with learning challenges and disabilities, WE as MOMS are the best ones to teach our children. Sure we may need help from some “professionals” but we know and understand and love them the best.
    Note- I know that not all parents can do this and some special needs you must have help for, just don’t assume that first thing.
    Living the Balanced Life’s latest post: Depression is a Sneaky Little Liar

  6. I currently doubt my ability to homeschool, care for our home, and create a quality blog. I’m still trying to figure out how each piece fits together.
    Stephanie’s Mommy Brain’s latest post: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy

  7. Sometimes it takes someone to say it outloud. Now, more than ever, I’m finding moms of p.s. children are saying those doubts to me when I tell them I homeschool. My son does town sports and I’m hearing, “I could never do that”…”I’m not smart enough”…”I don’t have enough patience”…”I need MY space”, etc. Now when moms confess their own doubts I have a response, instead of the silent, compassionate, tilted-head nod followed by awkward silence.
    Oh, and I doubt myself all the time, by the way. I know my boys will be okay and I can do this, but I get these spurts of unknowing along the way. I just have to try to remember that they know what they need and they’ll ask me for it, as they always have.
    erica’s latest post: Painting with Your Feet…

  8. I doubted what we were doing several times through out our home school time. Were the kids getting all they needed. Were they being socialized enough. Were they spending too much time unsupervised. My husband and I both worked full time. But the SAT scores kept improving and the children were happy. Today they are all professionals doing exactly what they wanted to do. They are independent and will stand up when needed. Do not doubt what you are doing!!! The proof will come in the years ahead. Relax and enjoy!
    Chris Shaw’s latest post: Education or Learning What do you Want?

  9. English is my second language and I am still struggling with it as I homeschool my three children. I do lots of studying by myself before I teach my children and we have so much fun together.

    Homeschooling is helping me with my English, learning many other fun things and most of all teaching me how to be a mother.

    I have doubts on the days I am not close to the spirit but when I am I know I can do my best and that will be just fine.

  10. Thank you I really needed this today! This year we decided to do our state tests just to see how our son is doing. I looked at some of the practice tests that my sister-n-law recieved, because my nieces go to public school, and freaked out! I looked at them and thought, “We haven’t covered this!” or “We are behind/ Take different route with this!” Luckily I have 2 1/2 months before the testing and we will get to what we can and if he is weak in one area we will just have to find a fun way to work on it. I just am thankful that God knows the direction that my son is going to go.

  11. for slightly different reasons
    we went through our own
    6 week public school torture chamber

    but the reason was the same


    thanks for sharing.

    Stuff and Nonsense’s latest post: fridays unfolded #41 and a Shabby Apple giveaway

  12. Yes, doubt is an ugly fear that rears its head in my home a lot! Home schooling for 12 years and it still comes up! The second biggest mistake is COMPARISONS! Moms often compare other home schools and families with and against their own. They do this and they do this! We need to take our thoughts captive and do what the Lord has called us to do. If He calls us to it, He will get us through it!
    Kim’s latest post: 365-313-317 Plus Extra! Day at the Beach!

  13. What a great reminder for us all……don’t give up before you even try! So very true. Thanks for the encouragement!
    Jennifer @ Schooling Three Sisters’s latest post: I’m taking the power of words challenge!

  14. This brought tears to my eyes. I am a 1st year homeschooler for my 4th grader. My other 3 are in PS still. I have teetered bringing home 1 of my kindergartners this year…but I have lots of doubts. My oldest has dyslexic tendancies and I constantly worry I am not helping the best that someone else could. So thanks for this.

  15. This is so true! As a single parent of three many others doubted I could give my children a good education, much less a good foundation for life if I kept them home with me. We live in Israel and since I speak English people assumed my children wouldn’t learn Hebrew or adjust to Israeli society. They were wrong! I knew they were. Today all three of my children have graduated high school and two are in college – their ages are 13,14, and 16. All three have a variety of friends and before they were old enough to use public transportation alone I put around 60,000 kilometers a year on our truck taking them to all their extra-curricular activities. All the doubters are now impressed. I don’t understand why; home school came naturally to us.
    Shoshana’s latest post: What kind of lifestyle do you live?

  16. Lorraine Bennion says:

    So well said! I just found your blog and know we must be kindred spirits…

    Over the years I have been told so many times that the reason why people don’t homeschool their children is because they don’t have “patience.” I think you are more accurate–they doubt themselves. (By the way, patience is something you develop, not have. I am living proof of that.)

    Keep it going, ladies! I have homeschooled my eight children and it is paying off! Two of my sons are in medical school, one in dental school. My daughter danced professionally (ballet) and then taught at a university level–she is now starting to homeschool her family. Two other children are in a major university and I am still working with my youngest two. None had a problem getting into college. We have never had to pay for our children’s education–they have worked and gotten scholarships. I have never had to deal with “rebellious” teenage years. If we had gone the other route? I know for sure that three of them would have been labeled with learning problems (glad they didn’t put that on their med/dental school apps.)

    I mention this, not to brag, because I am not the best homeschooling mother. I lack a lot of discipline! Enough said there…But it is just proof that if I could do it, with my faults, anyone can do it!!! Doubt not. Carry on.

  17. I am currently a public school teacher, but I understand and respect parents that homeschool. Indeed many children may get additional help that they need in a homeschool setting (even if you have 4 children)…I know I have up to 30 students in a classroom and students are still improving so imagine how much you could teach your child when you’re able to work with them one on one!

  18. I so needed this today, I homeschool 1 kindergartener and have a 16 month old and just found out I was prego again. I think my biggest fear is being able to handle it. I am looking for info on how to get through it although I know we will just make it it’s always encouraging to hear about other people who are in the same boat.

  19. JJ MacNeill says:

    I found this blog post today and as many moms have already said, it’s something I needed to hear. I have been trying to decide whether to give this homeschooling thing a try and have been plagued by doubt at every turn. But, it’s true, you’ll never know if you don’t try. Thanks for this!

  20. This was great! We’re getting ready to have our third baby in just a few weeks and I’ve been worrying about this, but I’ll try! 🙂

Share Your Thoughts


CommentLuv badge

Never miss a blog post,
PLUS get Jamie’s FREE ebook: