Dear Doubting Mama:
Thank you for being honest with me about how you feel! I know you have probably heard this from other homeschooling mamas you know, but TRUST ME when I say that I do know how you feel. I do! I know what it’s like to have so many doubts, and how it feels to second-guess yourself a thousand times even before you start! Even though I am a homeschooled mama and not only survived being homeschooled myself, but ended up homeschooling my own three daughters, I know EXACTLY how you feel — because I felt the same way.
In fact, even though I was a successfully homeschooled mama, I didn’t homeschool from the start.
I was a doubting mama just like you, and in hindsight, I realized that my biggest doubt was trusting that God was calling me to homeschool. I wasn’t convinced that homeschooling was “the answer” for my family, as my parents had decided it was for me when I was two years shy of graduating public high school.
Let me save you from the mental tug-of-war: Homeschooling isn’t the answer.
True, homeschooling is an impressive contender in the battle between all of your schooling options as a concerned parent. Notable statistics and the fact that many universities are now actively recruiting homeschoolers may be convincing you. Well-meaning friends who share their homeschooling highlights are probably tipping the scales. And that family down the street with children who are really struggling in school, with situations that are escalating into a parent’s nightmare, are probably strengthening your case, too. They’re even writing positively about homeschooling in the mainstream media now — it must be a credible option!
However, don’t expect your doubts to be dispelled overnight by a few impressive case studies and good intentions. Don’t think for a second that an ideal schedule, customized teaching method, fool-proof curriculum, and well-thought-out plan are going to clarify whether or not homeschooling is the answer for your family. Things aren’t going to simply fall into place the minute you cross that last homeschooling question off your “should I or shouldn’t I” list.
The question isn’t whether or not homeschooling is the answer for your family, but whether you TRUST GOD is showing you the answer for your family — especially when it means walking with Him on the road less traveled.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
I was a doubting mama, and the good news is that I got over my doubts and decided to trust God enough to take the plunge. My husband and I knew we were being called to homeschool. Now we just needed to trust God to help us homeschool. For me, homeschooling was just the beginning of a new trust relationship with God that would strengthen my faith like never before.
If you’re a doubting mama, let me help release some of the burden. I always tell prospective homeschooling mamas that the worst case scenario is that you decide to homeschool now and put your children back in school at any point in the future that it becomes necessary — if ever. My biggest piece of advice for prospective homeschooling mamas is to give it a TRY. You don’t have to make a 14-year decision right now. Take it one year at a time!
The second thing I do is burst the bubble a bit: You’re not going to get everything right, and you’re not going to guarantee that your children grow up to be everything you want them to be! Even if you do homeschool all the way through, and you find great curriculum, an ideal teaching method, and a harmonious schedule, and your family absolutely LOVES it, you can’t guarantee the results.
Only God can draw the hearts of your children to Him. And it’s up to your children to trust in Him and learn from you. However, you can do your part, which is to teach your children diligently (Deut. 6:5-7), train them in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6), and pray for them. There’s no perfect curriculum, homeschooling method, schedule, etc. — but there is a perfect God who knows what your children need and has placed them in your family under your supervision for a reason.
My advice as a former doubting mama is to TRY & TRUST: Give homeschooling a good try, and trust that God will equip you for the journey that He is calling you to. I’ll be praying for you!
As for my family, we have grown leaps and bounds since we began homeschooling in 2010. My three girls (now 12, 10, and 6) probably love it more than I do — actually, I’m pretty sure they do! Although our journey has had its fair share of ups and downs, and I’ve made changes every year, I’ve learn to let go and keep trusting God — knowing that He will work all things for His purposes (Romans 8:28). We hope to keep homeschooling until they all graduate, God willing!
Do you relate to any of these fears? Are you still unsure about the decision to homeschool? Or are you a new homeschooler feeling overwhelmed and full of self-doubt? You’re not alone! What concerns do you struggle with about homeschooling?