by Laura Malone
One of the most difficult things about being a new homeschool mom is the fact that most of us dive into these deep waters with absolutely no training. Or so we think. Schools don’t offer degrees in the fine art of homeschooling, yet we live in a world that tells us we must be a professional in order to be taken seriously.
So we doubt. We drive away from playdates deflated because the other moms are using a better curriculum or they’re teaching latin and we didn’t even know it still existed. It’s like they all know something we don’t. They have it all together. They’re calm. Confident. Capable.
I have a secret for you. They struggle too. Maybe not today, but yesterday. Or the day before that. The questions that haunt you, haunt them too from time to time.
“What if I’m not doing enough?”
“What if I push too hard and my kids hate learning?”
“What if they’re weird and have no friends?”
“What if we all hate each other by the time we’re done?”
“What if they learn NOTHING?”
“What if I screw them up for the rest of their lives?”
You are the Professional
I recently heard a homeschool speaker say, “It takes 18K hours to earn a Ph.D. You’ve spent that much time studying your child by the time they’re 3 years old.”
Despite how you feel, you are the professional. You are the expert on your child. No other person knows your child like you. No other person understands why they do the things they do, their hidden motivations, their fears, like you. Your love and determination for your child combined with the momma instincts God has given you, makes you completely qualified.
Professionals don’t know everything, but they know how to find the answers to what they need to know. Enjoy the excitement of learning with your children and go to God because He created all things. He knows things about your children that even YOU don’t know. He knows what plans He has for them and He will guide you on how to develop the gifts He’s given them.
The Power of God
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.Eph 3:20-21
This verse has been a proven truth throughout my life. We don’t need a degree in homeschooling or parenting to be successful. When we hand our two fish over to God, He feeds the five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21). That’s just who He is. Set Him as your lighthouse. He will take what you have, right now, and accomplish immeasurable more than anything you could imagine.
Why? Because this isn’t really all about our strength, our knowledge or our abilities anyway. It’s about Him and His powerful love for us. It’s about how He desires to be a part of this scary journey, not following behind, driving us with his discipline and shouting, but leading the way and walking beside us. Then one day, when we get our head above the water, we’ll look back and see how far we’ve come. And we’ll know Him as Jehovah Ro’i -“the Lord is my Shepherd”- just as David did.
Make a Plan
Self-doubt is something that creeps in and out of our minds no matter how long we’ve been doing this homeschool thing. It does get weaker over time, but in my 11 years of experience, it has never fully gone away.
Our minds are so powerful. They are the steering wheel of this huge homeschooling ship. We have to physically put our hands on the wheel and force it toward the lighthouse. Sometimes, the waves will fight and try to force the ship off its course, but our hands must hold strong. Determination and a plan overcome this tyrant. Here are the steps that help me refocus my mind and get back on course.
Understand who God has made you to be. Understand who God has made your children to be. Study them. What are their strengths, weaknesses? What do they hate? What makes their eyes sparkle? Accept it. Own it. Look for ways to cultivate it. Realize you’re different from the next family and therefore, your homeschool should look different.
Be in constant communication with God. If He’s giving you insight and guiding your decisions, you will be confident in what you’re doing. Trust Him. He doesn’t make mistakes.
3. Learn from others
Once you are anchored by the two steps above, look around you. Learn from others. Do not copy. Their homeschool recipe should taste different because they’re beginning with different ingredients. But, learn what’s working for them. What’s not working? Then snag a couple of ideas here and there that sound like would fit your family and steer you in the direction God has been leading you.
4. Celebrate and Share
Celebrate when you’ve found a resource or routine that’s a great fit. Then share it with others. They will appreciate your ideas. Knowing that your journey is helping others will build your confidence.
God is on our team. And together, we are the professionals. If we are attempting this impossible job alone, we should be doubtful. Our abilities are limited. Our strength runs out. Our vision is weak at times. But if we’re relying on our Father, from whom our abilities, strength and vision come, we should be confident and excited to see what powerful things He can accomplish in our homeschools this year. We’ve got this!
Do you struggle with self-doubt? Let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to encourage a homeschool friend today by sharing this post!