I remember when I first started homeschooling, I had so many fears! In fact, we almost didn’t homeschool because of those fears. I thought I might ruin our children, or they might become awkward or ‘different’. I was concerned that I wouldn’t do a good job, or that I might fail somehow.
I’m so thankful the Lord helped me to look past my fears and reminded me to fix my eyes on Him instead of my fears!
What is Fear & Why Do We Have It?
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or problems, or is a threat, something difficult to endure.
But many of us have fears that are NOT actually about something that is dangerous, or that will cause pain, problems or a threat. We fear things that are not actually something to fear at all!
F.E.A.R. is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. There’s no true threat of immediate physical danger, no threat of a loss of someone or something dear to us, actually there’s nothing to fear at all.
My homeschool fears were certainly not unusual, in fact, I often hear parents share the exact same fears that I had back when I was first homeschooling. But many of these homeschooling fears are like the second definition, they are false evidence appearing real!
That’s why I wanted to walk through several of the most common fears that homeschool parents tend to have to help you overcome them.
Four of the Most Common Homeschool Fears and How to Overcome Them
#1 – What if I don’t do a good job teaching my kids?
Many of us don’t feel qualified to teach our kids, we don’t have a teaching degree or maybe we weren’t a good student ourselves. Or possibly we feel we aren’t creative enough or that we don’t have enough patience.
The good news is that you’re NOT doing this homeschooling thing on your own! As you seek the Lord for wisdom, He will be walking right beside you, giving you wisdom and insights as you teach your children. Daily, moment by moment, I encourage you to seek His help. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! God wants to help you!
There are also wonderful curricula out there today to help us in teaching our children.
You can explore curriculum options and find good curriculum to help you teach your children – and you don’t even have to be creative – the curriculum does that for you! Here’s a post on choosing curriculum that will help you figure out what you might want to use as tools for teaching your children: Choosing Curriculum to Fit Your Family. A wonderful resource to learn more about all the curriculum options out there is Cathyduffyreviews.com.
If you weren’t a good student yourself, you will be more able to empathize with your student if they struggle, and also more likely to provide a better way for your children to learn because of your experience.
If you feel like your knowledge is weak in certain subjects, you can purchase curriculum that will do some of the teaching for you. For example, my math skills have never been strong, and so when our children got into upper level math, we bought a video-based curriculum that taught our children math. Plus, my husband is a math-wiz, so he was able to help them in the evening with anything they didn’t understand. God took care of this weakness for me and our children all became good at math, even though it’s not one of my strengths.
A great resource to help make sure you stay on track with all you need to do each year for homeschooling is my book Homeschooling with Confidence.
#2 – What if my kids fall behind other kids their age academically because of homeschooling?
The National Home Education Research Institute has done studies on homeschool students’ academic success. Their studies show that homeschool students’ average score on academic achievement tests is in the 65th-80th percentile. That’s 15-30% higher than the average score for public school students, which is 50%! Check out their information at nheri.org.
However, these statistics are averages and there may be circumstances when a homeschool student does fall behind. For instance, homeschooling tends to be one of the best ways to educate a child with learning struggles. You may have chosen to homeschool because your student is struggling to learn, and if that’s the case, they likely are behind other students their age because of this learning issue. But your homeschooled child will be protected from the bullying and teasing that happens to children with learning struggles in the public school. And you can move along at their pace without anyone criticizing them for being behind. I’ve seen struggling learners do so much better academically when their parents take them home to educate them.
Even if your student is behind a bit academically for whatever reason, if you’re homeschooling them, you can work with them one-on-one and help them catch up to the best of their ability.
Some kids aren’t ready for formal education until they are between the ages of 8-10, and then they catch up quite quickly to their peers as they begin formal learning. (check out Better Late Than Early by Dr. Raymond & Dorothy Moore) and some kids struggle in certain subjects and just need a little extra help. Homeschooling them is one of the best ways to teach them, because you can focus on their weak areas and help them improve.
#3- What if my kids don’t get enough socialization or are ‘different’ because of homeschooling?
Socialization is often a big fear when parents consider homeschooling, and it’s one of the questions you’ll get asked frequently when you say you homeschool!
The crazy thing is, most homeschool children are well socialized. This is one of those fears based on false evidence.
The dictionary defines socialization as the process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to society. Most parents are more than qualified to teach their children how to behave, and in fact, they are MORE qualified to do so than a classroom full of a child’s peers!
There is a LOT of negative socialization that happens in a big classroom – bullying, disrespect, peer pressure to conform to worldly standards, materialism, self-centered behavior, etc.
We can focus on building godly character in our children as we spend our days teaching them. This is the best kind of socialization! In fact, I’d say that if our children turn out different, it typically is for the better, because we can help them to be kind and considerate, responsible and respectful. That kind of ‘different’ is what we want!
We were motivated to homeschool because of the beautiful example we saw in our neighbor’s girls who were home educated. They were respectful, responsible, well-mannered, and able to converse with adults as well as children! They were some of our best babysitters when our children were little because we knew we could trust them.
Check out this YouTube video by Israel Wayne on Socialization to learn more about this much misunderstood concern.
#4 – What if I can’t handle teaching my kids plus all the other responsibilities I have already?
Homeschooling is like having a full-time or a part-time job, so we do need to weigh the cost of time as we decide on homeschooling. We need to determine our priorities and if homeschooling is something God is leading you to do, then He will help you to find the balance you need in your schedule to do it.
We may need to change what we’re currently doing to be able to fit homeschooling into our schedule. Our children’s education is important and if we have too many other responsibilities, we may need to cut out some of those things for a season so we can do a good job teaching our children.
Our children can be a big help to us in keeping up our home and managing meals, etc. In fact, having them help with housekeeping and meal preparation are great ways to teach them to manage their own home someday!
In my planner, The Homeschool Life All-in-One Planner, I have information on how to implement a chore system as well as templates to use for that. I also have a section on meal planning to help you streamline planning and making meals each day. There’s a section on organizing and planning out your school days as well, and lots of resources to help you manage your home and homeschool well! Check our The Homeschool Life All-in-One Planner!
If you’re sensing that homeschooling is for you, or you’re already homeschooling but having lots of doubts, seek the Lord to give you clear direction and peace. Oftentimes our fears are just lies from the enemy, trying to get us to turn away from what God is leading us to do.
Seek the Lord for wisdom as you wrestle with your homeschooling fears. Are they real or are they based on false evidence?
God has many promises for us as we work through our fears:
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28–29
You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”
Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear.
1 John 4:18a
What are your homeschooling fears? Please share them below and any ways that you’ve found to overcome them. I’d be happy to pray for you as you wrestle through your fears as well.