10 Big Fat Homeschool Fears (& How to Conquer Them)

Ask any veteran homeschool mom whose kids have already graduated from high school, and she will reassure you:

  • She had the same fears you have now.
  • She realizes now how pointless most of those fears were.

What a difference 10-15 years of hindsight makes! But you don't have to wait that long. Let's look right now at ten of the biggest and most common homeschool fears so you can face—and more importantly, conquer—them.

1. What if I fail to prepare my child for the real world?

Whether a family homeschools or not, parents may still fail to prepare their children for adult life. (The good news is that young adults can learn those adulting skills when they are required!)

Choosing to homeschool doesn't make parenting any easier. However, having unhurried time at home to model good habits, to correct thinking, and to guide each child individually gives a homeschool family an enormous advantage in this arena.

The valuable, real-life experiences homeschoolers have can prepare them well for adult life if we maximize every opportunity:

  • community volunteer service projects
  • public speaking
  • competitive music
  • collaborating in co-op projects
  • ballroom dancing

2. What if I don’t have what it takes to inspire my children every day?

It’s unrealistic to think you’ll keep the same enthusiasm for homeschooling every day. What you can do is plan for those days when you can’t muster the inner drive to motivate your kids. Use plan B days and couch days when the learning is more low-key or stealthy. 

Here's more good news. It's not solely your responsibility to inspire your kids. When you build upon your child's natural curiosity with great living books and by following rabbit trails of interest, your child's own motivation to learn will blossom. Then the two of you can work together to keep the enthusiasm high. 

Like us, kids want choices; they want autonomy to move through the day, choosing the times when they prefer to learn, exercise, and relax. When our tweens and teens learn to be independent managers of their time and their education, they continue to learn even when we aren't feeling so perky.

3. What if I get angry?

Homeschooling is a humbling process. Patience is a skill learned while on the job. You probably are going to blow your top as a homeschool parent. Make allowances for bad days, and recognize that some days you will lose it—momentarily. You’re building rigorous academic habits and life skills for the long run; mistakes are part of the process.

4. What if I get ill?

Homeschool parents face the same sicknesses and accidents other families do:

  • bedrest for pregnancy
  • caring for a relative who is in the hospital or recuperating at home
  • coping with a spouse's sudden medical crisis

When these situations happen, assess how best to homeschool based on the circumstances as they are (not what we wish they were). Focus on what you can accomplish with the limitations of an illness instead of what you can't.  

You may need to cut back academics to only the basics of math and language arts. School may take place in waiting rooms or at the hospital. If you are using a boxed curriculum, you will be able to rely on the laid out lesson plans that require no intensive planning on your part. And at other stressful times, you need to simply take a break from school altogether until life becomes more normal.

Teaching your children about the the fragility of life and the priority of family are important lessons, too.

5. What if my child doesn't measure up?

Becoming a seasoned homeschool teacher means you know that learning is an ebb and flow. Your child will leap ahead at times and lag behind at others. The great thing about homeschooling is that we don't have to evaluate our kids according to arbitrary scales determined by school boards. As long as our children are moving forward, it doesn't matter that they don't know the value of coins when other school kids learn it or don't yet know how to write in cursive even though other kids their age do.

Trust that the learning is happening—different facts and skills—possibly on a different timetable, but happening nevertheless.

6. I'm too unorganized to do this well.

10 Big Fat Homeschool Fears (& How to Conquer Them)

While organizing is an essential component of homeschooling, that doesn't mean a homeschool mom has to mimic a public school setting with a fancy schoolroom and elaborate record keeping. As long as you can research curriculum, make a choice, consistently teach your children, and submit any paperwork your state requires, you can do this! 

7. How can I be sure that I cover everything?

Choose a thoroughly researched curriculum that you can trust to guide you through the major goalposts of an education.

Then accept the fact that you will not cover everything. And neither do public schools. How did we ever come to adopt an impossible standard of covering everything? (And who defines everything, anyway?)

Instead of being scared that you won’t teach them everything, overcome fear by giving your children the tools and skills to learn anything. Research skills, reading for meaning, and technical ability set your children up for success in this modern age.

8. Will my kids be socialized?

Creating opportunities for socialization is a responsibility of a homeschool parent. Resolve to meet the needs of your children in this area, whatever it takes. It may mean joining or starting a co-op. It will certainly mean driving across town or hosting playdates. 

But don't go to the extreme of over scheduling your children out of fear of being weird, unsocialized homeschoolers. Talk to your kids about their needs for socialization. Introverts will want less time than extroverts. Watch their behavior, and work on any social skills that you see are deficient. But rest assured that there are plenty of awkward kids in every educational sphere. Homeschooling doesn't necessitate that your kids will become reclusive freaks.

9. I'm afraid my worst school subjects will become my kids’ worst subjects.

Yes, your worst subjects could be your kids' weaknesses, but the inverse is equally as likely. Your strengths could become your kids' strong suits.

It is possible not to negatively influence your child about subjects you don’t like. For example, your children can become math lovers as long as you don't pass your math anxiety to them.

Using a boxed curriculum, hiring a tutor, using a DVD supplement, joining a homeschool co-op, or trading out teaching time with another homeschool mom are just a few options to compensate for your own personal academic soft spots.

10. I’m not cut out to be with my kids all day long.

Sometimes, being with the kids all day is no picnic. Homeschooling is a selfless act not for the faint of heart. But that does not mean we have to offer up our sanity and health on the altar of homeschooling. It's okay to take breaks. In fact, you need to have time away from your kids—guilt free.

How do you refresh? Do you like to head out alone and browse the yarn shop or meet a friend for dinner out? Or do you prefer for dad to take the kids out so you can stay home alone in peace and quiet? Whatever it is, make it a priority.

Being successful in homeschooling means coming face to face with your biggest fears.  Second-guessing is normal, but don’t allow fear to dominate your thinking. When feeling weak, I remember what Nelson Mandela said, "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

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