Written by Purva Brown of The Classical Unschooler.
Late one evening, a couple of friends asked me why I had my children memorize things.
“I thought you call yourself an unschooler,” one of them said.
“I am an unschooler. But I’m a classical unschooler,” I said.
“That doesn’t exist,” was the retort.
Not to be the one to allow someone else the last laugh, “Now it does!” I stated emphatically.
The incident came back to me this summer as I was finishing up writing my third book on homeschooling. And it occurred to me as one of the most pivotal moments of my homeschooling career, a turning point.
It was the first time I decided to trust myself – even as a brand new homeschooler. It was the first time I gathered my fledgling thoughts about how to teach my children and decided to put them to practical use.
I was terrified, but I was determined to trust my instincts.
It’s Not About Patience
As a new homeschooler, what scares you the most? Every unofficial survey on social media points to the same two things: fear of missing out on teaching something important and having the patience to get it all done.
But what if I told you that is the wrong focus?
What if, instead of giving a voice to every fear you have about homeschooling, you start to consider all the reasons you are attracted to it in the first place?
My first autumn was the hardest. All those back-to-school posts on social media with mothers heaving sighs of relief that school was back in session wore on me.
As an introvert, my biggest fear about homeschooling was never being left alone. The fear grated on me.
Thank goodness for friends who set me straight! They reminded me that things wouldn’t always be like this and the children wouldn’t need me all the time as they got older.
Today, I know for a fact this is absolutely true. We have learned to spread out, have lovely conversations, spend time together and apart.
We have learned that homeschooling doesn’t mean cramped learning – it means having the time and freedom to pursue our own interests, yes, mine included.
Parents do odd things when it comes to our kids. I’m speaking from experience here. I was terrified and excited to have my first baby and for a while, I had no idea what to do with her. But eventually, I learned.
Day by long day, I learned to listen to my inner voice, to trust my gut instincts. Eventually, I figured out parenting, even once telling my husband quite confidently that my three-year-old daughter wasn’t ready to be potty trained.
“Why?” he asked, surprised.
“Because I know,” I said. “The readiness isn’t there.”
Now, to be fair, just two short days later the readiness manifested, so we got into it anyway. But my point is that parents have these uncanny abilities sometimes to be able to almost read their children’s minds.
Then why do we balk at the idea of homeschooling and have to listen to what the “experts” have to say? Why are we so quick to hand over control?
Find Your Voice
The hardest thing about homeschooling has nothing to do with patience or organization or even ensuring nothing gets left out of the curriculum.
The hardest thing about homeschooling has everything to do with trusting yourself and your children.
Do your best to work on trust and the rest will fall into place.
Tell us in the comments- what do you struggle with most when it comes to homeschooling?
What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!
Your post grabbed my attention. At first I wanted to blow it off but I read further. I’m in the process of deciding wether or not to send 3 kids to school. I currently homeschool 7 kids. It breaks my heart to send my littles to school. It’s not what I want but the stress is taking its toll on me. Your post made me wonder if I’m not trusting my instincts and have given into a worldly way of thinking and approach to schooling. This will be a question I ponder. It’s so hard to know what to do when the going gets tough.
The stress is totally understandable! I ended up sending my youngest 2 boys to preschool so that I could concentrate on my oldest daughter, who is 8. It’s what she and I both needed and the boys were in a wonderful, loving preschool that gave them the best year possible. If they had stayed at home with me, I would have been more overwhelmed and stressed. That’s not good for anyone! Not saying that this is what you need to do, only you know that, but in our case, it’s what was needed for all of us. Now, My middle son will be staying home with us as the school year finished and my youngest will stay in the preschool. I hope this helps!
Thank you! Your comment is helpful. I really need to examine what went wrong. How can it change and can I actually produce the change I want or is a break needed.
Great post. Thankyou and you’re absolutely right. It is about trusting your instincts. But theres something you will not be able to change and that is your home environment which will be the critical factor. Is your husband totally on the same page with you? You need support and encouragement and when you’re not getting that it becomes very difficult. But hey well done! From a veteran mum of 9 kids with 18 yrs of homeschooling under her belt.
Thank you for this post. Recently, I have decided to be the lone homeschooling mom among my homeschooling mom friends to not put her kids in a local homeschooling-catered “private school”. It just didn’t feel right for my kids, but that decision was very isolating. I so needed the reminder to trust my homeschool mom instincts. Everything will indeed work out