Top 3 Ways to Deal with Homeschool Doubts ~
Written by Kari Patterson
My poor Dutch didn’t know what hit him.
An incoming Sophomore, Dutch was doing well in school, just back from an awesome cross-country road trip with his family, working a couple days a week doing yard-work for a nearby family, practicing driving, and enjoying a summer of swimming and relaxing by the river.
Just the week before, out the blue, he’d said, “I just love this world.” Happy kid.
Enter psycho-mom who suddenly (unbeknownst to him) has become gripped with fear and doubt that we’re not doing enough. I began the cycle of questions in my head.
What if he doesn’t get into college? What if he doesn’t get a scholarship because college is too expensive? Is he getting enough extra-curricular experience?
What if I’m doing it all wrong?
It’s so easy to talk someone else off the ledge. How many times have I sat opposite another mama and reassured her that everything would be fine, encouraged her to trust her mama’s instincts and well-researched choices, to stay the course and trust the process?
Blah blah blah.
All of that goes out the window when the finish line is in sight, this kid is actually going to launch out into this world, and has to make a living. We can’t just watch butterflies and do nature walks all day.
Where is Charlotte Mason when I need her?!!
After tossing an overwhelmingly long list of extra requirements at Dutch, which he managed to dodge, I came to my senses and returned to what I know.
I returned to the things that help me deal with homeschool doubts in a healthy manner. That is what I am sharing with you today.
Top 3 ways to deal with homeschool doubts
1. Sort out your own emotions/fears/anxieties
The reality was, the 6-month mark of my mom’s death hit me surprisingly hard. I was missing her, sad thinking of Dutch growing up and her not seeing the great young man he’s become. She was his biggest cheerleader through all the hard years navigating Aspergers.
This led to sadness about Dutch leaving home, which led to anxiety about a project we’re working on, which led to concerns about finances, which led to worries about paying for college, which led … you get the idea.
I had to sit down and map out exactly what I was feeling. Where was I overwhelmed? Where was I lonely?
Where was I scared? What was I trying to “fix” by heaping more up on my son?
2. Objectively identify any real areas of lack/weakness
I say real because, as always, we have to come back to our core values and not allow the mainstream noise to dictate what matters. My husband was so helpful in this, reminding me that our son’s character is what matters most, and in this we couldn’t be more proud of him.
He is honest, hard-working, selfless, kind, self-controlled, respectful. Rejoice in this!
In addition to this, are there some concrete areas where improvement is necessary? If so, view them as objectively as possible, identify those and tackle one at a time.
Don’t overwhelm the student with all the items. Make a plan for the year that can address the issues in reasonable ways.
3. Take joy in your child
I recently read a book (ok, read part of a book) about joy and the authors explored the idea that joy is primarily relational. We experience joy when someone takes joy in us. When we walk in a room and someone lights up, genuinely happy we are there–that’s joy.
When someone is obviously delighted in who we are and loves being with us–that’s joy.
Homeschool doubts can rob us of enjoying our children. This robs them of joy as well.
Anxieties, worries, fears–they cloud our vision from seeing those delightfully awkward, funny, freckle-faced goofy kids we just adore.
Perhaps the best compliment I have ever received was from a stranger in the store, where I had all my kids in tow. She smiled and said, “I can tell you love being a mom.”
No matter what they score on their SATs, I want my children to be convinced that I loved being their mom and enjoyed the years I had them at home.
So, friends, if you have had days plagued with homeschool doubts, please know you’re not alone. Take these top 3 ways today and use them to navigate yourself through homeschool doubts to a more peaceful place.
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