It’s the MOST wonderful tiiiiiime of the year. Nope, it isn’t Christmas. It’s back to school season. For many families, this is the time of year that feels magical. There is excitement in the air. There are shopping trips. There is preparation. There is buzz and hope and possibility.
It begins with the lure of the school supplies. You see the rows of beautifully organized binders, folders, pens, and pencils pop up in store shelves with more than a month of summer vacation left. Soon the back to school talk is everywhere. Kindergarteners meet their teachers. Older students find out whose class they are in and whether their friends are in the same class. The annual tradition is enough to make the most diehard homeschooler feel the occasional pang of doubt.
Am I doing the right thing?
Will my kids learn everything they need to know?
Will they be happy?
If you want to homeschool and are the type of parent who cares deeply enough about your child or children’s education to ask these questions and read parenting blogs in your spare time, then by any standard measure your kids will turn out great. They will get a good education and become wonderful, productive members of society.
But that’s not enough for you and me, is it, concerned homeschooling parent? We don’t want a “good education” – we want an AMAZING education that will allow our kids to explore, dig deep, be challenged, find their passions, and ignite a spark that will carry them through life, not just through a few weeks of back to school excitement.
On top of that we want physical and emotional safety. The bullying and teasing that run rampant through many schools are a non-issue at home and in most homeschooling groups, where the adult to child ratio is about 10 times higher than you would find in most schools.
We also believe in kids learning at their own pace. We don’t want our math whiz kids to be bored by addition and subtraction while the rest of the class tries to catch on. We don’t want our slower-to-read kids to develop a dislike of books by being forced to read before they are developmentally ready. We don’t want our active kids sitting at a desk for hours a day. We don’t want our curious kids to be squashed into conforming because it isn’t cool to ask too many questions or raise your hand too many times.
We know these things, but sometimes the doubts still surface. To deal with the doubt, try this:
1. Write down your goals for your kids. What do you want for them in the long run?
2. Write down your fears. All of them. Sometimes getting things out on paper is enough to allow your mind to stop re-playing them.
3. Find a source of support. It could be a local community or an online community. Bring up your fears. Talk about them. Ask questions and get new perspectives.
4. Allow yourself to feel uncertain. Wondering how to support our kids in becoming the best possible versions of themselves is part of being a good parent. Embrace it.
Let’s support each other. What are your biggest fears? What are your doubts? And what do you love about homeschooling?