Cornering Fear in Your Decision to Homeschool

Are you making the right decision to homeschool this year?

So many parents speak to me about homeschooling their children this fall due to the new COVID regulations. I love homeschooling and wouldn’t want to educate my kids any other way.

I homeschool my children because I WANT to homeschool them. I believe I am the most qualified, the most invested, the most capable person to guide and supervise their education. It is NOT because I have my MD. So many people say that to me, “Well, you’re qualified to teach your kids. Other people aren’t. They shouldn’t be homeschooling.”

I call that lying. A degree does not denote conscientiousness, concern, or passion. Ever. Any education succeeds when curiosity blossoms, resources (minimal ones needed) are provided, and concern by a leader (parent/guardian/teacher) is manifested and acted on diligently according to the needs of each learner.

I homeschool because I believe in myself and my kids. I believe there is a better way to educate them so they are all-around healthy people, inside and out. Physically and mentally. Spiritually and wordly. I watch them. Enjoy being with them. Enjoy meeting the challenges they dish out to me and themselves head on.

I homeschool from a place of confidence garnered from the belief I can observe my children and see if they’re learning or not and make changes as needed to help them learn.

Many of you will begin homeschooling this fall due to fear. How is FEAR? How does FEAR feel? It freaking sucks.

Many of you are afraid to send your kids to school and you are ALSO afraid to homeschool. This makes you feel STUCK.

You are not stuck. You feel stuck. But you are not. Fear is bringing this about.

You have to let go of one of your fears, either your fear of a COVID school environment or your fear that you won’t do a good job at educating your children. If you don’t ditch one of these fears, you will remain unsatisfied and grumpy, angry at this new world we live in.

If you choose to ditch your homeschooling fear and embrace the fun of helping your kids learn, then best wishes to you! I am happy to share any of our homeschooling stories and experiences. Just comment below.

But whichever choice you make, do it from confidence that this is the right thing and you can make this work. For homeschooling: Think of something you have confidence in. Something you know you can do well. You walked into that arena with the open mind that you could do it. You didn’t start off good at that thing–because none of us do. We all have to develop that “being good at something.” You can have confidence that you can make homeschooling work.

For sending them back to school: Think of someone you have confidence in. Someone you trust well. You walked into that relationship with an open mind that there are people in life to trust. You didn’t start off trusting. Been burned too many times for that. But you developed trust and confidence eventually in the person. You can have confidence that the administrators are trying hard to do what’s best for your kids. That they’ll make this work.

Which place do you want to place your confidence? That’s for you to decide. But, somehow, you have to come to the 2020-2021 education table with confidence and not fear.

6 thoughts on “Cornering Fear in Your Decision to Homeschool

  1. agmorze

    This is a breath of fresh air, thank you!! What resources would you recommend to a newbie homeschooler of a kindergartner and 4th grader? I need to work on the confidence part. I’m thinking I might need a cookie cutter program for this year as our family learns and grows together in this homeschooling journey. However, I also don’t prefer primarily computer based learning for them.
    Thank you!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Good morning! How are you? 🙂 I always remind myself that many brilliant minds throughout history created and forged many brilliant ideas with simply curiosity and available resources. Then, I breathe and smile and determine, if nothing else, to focus on the three Rs for elementary students (not for my kindergartner, more below):

      READING–easy if the library remains open. (I let them pick their topics to read. If there’s something I want them to read that they’re not interested in, I will use this as a read aloud and read it to them (poetry, cute science books, fun books on history, etc.). Being well-read is beyond important, in my mind. Vocabulary. New experiences. Sticking through to the finish of a book. So much learned in simply choosing, reading, and finishing a book. Or listening to a book. Really helps attention.)

      So recommended resource for reading: Student-selected books from the library with supplemental books selected and read aloud periodically by adult. (I usually steered toward poetry, age appropriate history books, age appropriate cultural books, age appropriate science. Just a gamut and not always in any particular order.)

      WRITING– Keeping it simple with fun journal prompts, letters, step-wise instructions on how to do something kids know how to do, summaries of the books being read. With my first child, I marked her writing up like crazy with suggestions and corrections. BIG mistake. Don’t do it. Just let them write. Let them write. Sometimes, it won’t be long enough; then, I specify the number or words or sentences or paragraphs. Or if I keep seeing a repeated grammar mistake, I’ll give some extra practice on that topic. Sometimes they don’t answer a prompt the way you’d want/expect. One daughter I have is super imaginative and playful. Sometimes, I never know what I’m going to get as a response to a prompt. Which is fun and great, but a little unnerving because I’m like, “This would never fly as an answer to this prompt in school…” Let it go, I tell myself. Work her there eventually. Let her voice shine, and then cultivate it over the next 5-8 years. (Which is an advantage I have. I KNOW I’m sticking with this homeschooling. I have a long term vision and can slowly move my kids toward the goal. I don’t have to get them writing excellent paragraphs in 4th grade. I can allow their creativity to shine and know that I can work on grammar in 5th, 6th, 7th grade–when they’re more receptive to grammar and more tedious type thought.)

      But speaking of grammar…I really like Easy Grammar Daily Grams for simple, concise grammar practice. And then just focus on correcting grammar mistakes on their writing, picking just one topic (maybe capital letters for a couple of weeks or apostrophes for a few weeks), in a kinds, less-is-best way to reinforce grammar.

      So recommended resource for writing: A lined paper notebook (and assigned prompts such as a summary of a book, instructions on something they know how to do, crazy story prompts, serious-to-them prompts, write a poem, etc). Easy Grammar Daily Grams. And I didn’t mention HANDwriting. I grab a cursive handwriting book that looks fun. I’ve purchased a few different ones. No preference. But I have them work through this.

      Arithmetic–I only use Saxon Math. I pretty much stick to the book and also do lots of timed worksheets for math facts (and lots of flashcards). At 4th grade, I think there’s a 4th grade book that’s consumable. My kids usually started Saxon 5/4 in 4th grade. It is not consumable. We take it as slow as we need to. Or as fast. Always adjusting to mastery. At this book, it’s like the “big kids.” They’ll need to learn how to fold their paper (WHO KNEW!!?? Kids have to be taught to fold papers!!!! 🙂 ), where to write the lesson and date, and how to number down a page and copy math problems. That was quite a lot to learn for mine. Much harder than the math. Ha.

      So resources for math: Saxon Math at appropriate level with extra emphasis on math facts using flashcards.

      I focused on these things. YES. I had tons of other stuff that I wanted to do and added in.

      We did history, art, poetry, Spanish, etc.

      But when life was stressful, THIS is what we did. Then, they’d often go off and do art work. Or sewing. Or running and jumping outside. Or practicing their music.

      If you can have things to keep you accountable to other subjects, like specific music lessons or a Spanish tutor come once a week, great. Do it. But not necessary.

      Resources to keep in house and find a way to MAKE ACCESSIBLE AND ABLE TO BE USED FREELY WITHOUT YOU AND FEAR OF STAINS/ETC: Paints, scissors, glue, markers, lots of kinds of paper, fun craft stuff like feathers, jewels, etc. Tons of craft stuff with free access.

      For my kindergartner: She listens to the read-alouds for my third child. I picked up some workbooks here and there (Office Max, Target, etc.) for her to do. We used lots of plain paper to practice letters and numbers. I have some song CDs with various topics for her to listen to. We worked gently to get her reading. Kindergartners: Some days they’re all over it. Other days they just want to play. I roll with it. I do NOT stress about my kindergartner now-a-days. Some days I get an hour out of her. Some days I get 5 minutes. I love Explode the Code as a resource, but she didn’t seem to be ready for it until the end of the year!!!!! Early in the year, she seemed excited to learn and couldn’t do much! LOL! By the end of the year, she seemed to be able to do so much more–and wasn’t excited to do it. 🙂 I keep lots of pretty picture books around for her to look at–but I have to sit down with her or else she doesn’t look a them. Lots of arts and craft stuff for at-will creativity (yes, it’s a mess). Free access to instruments (piano, guitar, violin with help). I tried to get her some time with other kids at a once weekly co-op.

      If you can find a FUN, creative babysitter, that’s helpful. One beautiful young woman made plays up for mine.

      Well, I’m prattling on. I told myself if I did the three R’s (and for our family: Spanish), then that was what they needed. That and freedom to learn with curiosity. And a warm, happy home (KEY! Don’t overlook this!!!)

      Signing off. Warmest regards to you!!!!!–
      Terri F

      1. Agnieszka

        Thank you so much Terri! This helps so much, in so many ways! Sharing this with lots of friends. We are doing really well, feeling good about our eating habits, health and doing our best to stay mentally healthy and happy through this pandemic. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience, I was so happy when you first posted a few weeks ago! Wishing you and your family healthy and happiness!

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I am so glad to hear that (about doing well through the pandemic). We are too. So many good wishes homeschooling. So many. Homeschooling: It’s fun. It’s hair raising. It’s deflating. It’s euphoric. It’s boring. It’s all this. Bahaha. Just how life should be. 🙂 Pandemics, on the other hand, suck all around. Trying not to wish days away, but I do wish this was behind us. I try to store it in my memory to share with my grandkids. Like the polio survivors share stories with us if we ask them about it. Anyhow, very, very glad to hear from you.

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