Grappling with Doubt
What can you do?
- Grab your journal.
- Write any areas of discussion that you also have doubts.
- What's at the core of the doubt?
- What's underneath that doubt?
- What are you ultimately afraid will happen?
Let's chat about your doubts in our coaching session.
(ps you can schedule a coaching session with me, and if we have not yet met, I'll waive the fee for that first session).
One of the uncomfortable feelings homeschool mama's have is DOUBT.
That five-letter word occupies every homeschool parent’s mind at some point.
Those who choose less than a conventional educational route for their children and their family are all too familiar with the feeling of doubt.
Really though, you have a child? You have doubts.
You sign up for doubts and fears when you hold that little one in your hands for the first time. A world of fearful possibilities enters your mental space when you become a parent.
Doubt exists in every choice, whether we homeschool or not.
Doubt comes with the homeschool territory.
We feel the serious responsibility of imprinting a human...
- teaching her what she needs to know about morality,
- about people,
- about purpose,
- addressing feelings,
- following interests,
- developing aptitudes.
All this and we’re trying to just keep them alive through the toddler and teenage years.
Not following the grain of the culture naturally makes anyone question themselves.
We don’t need a constant stream of questions on homeschool socialization and academics to encourage our uncertainties. (Although, a constant dribble of outsider worries manifested in helpful questions does fuel the homeschooler's doubt.
I once heard a homeschooling mama express her uncertainty in her homeschool choice...
- despite her child’s attendance in a high school level science class (in middle school),
- despite gobbling up books on renaissance art and Aristotle,
- despite memorizing the elements of the periodic table,
- despite learning to play an instrument that impressed a music judge.
This child relishes adult conversation, can eclipse adults in academic discussions, and yet happily plays child-based games in his backyard. But his mama still doubted.
So what is the source of your doubt?
Grab your journal and write your first thoughts (before you read the common list of doubts).
Doubt arises in all sorts of homeschool forms:
- I don’t know how to teach my child to read.
- I don’t feel strong enough in my math skills to teach my children.
- My kiddo is introverted: should she be in a class of twenty-five to expand her horizons?
- I don’t feel organized on the best of days; how do I plan an education?
- Should I trust the homeschool philosophy that I'm currently using to serve my child’s academic needs?
- The local public school is bringing an aquarium program, or a robotics program, or a program we can’t afford to bring into our home or visit in another city: maybe he should be in school.
- Should I choose the curriculum I have or the one everyone else is talking about?
- What if my child doesn’t meet his peer academic levels?
- Oh no! I see gaps in my kids’ education.
- My kiddo says he hates homeschooling.
Some of our doubts can be quelled simply by acknowledging them.
Just like clouds in the sky, our feelings of doubt can pass quickly if we wait patiently.
We can deep breathe.
Take a deep breath and allow that doubt feeling to pass, again. Sometimes there is nothing we can do to make the uncertainty go away. We need to accept that not knowing is part of the human experience. We can not determine everything.
Some doubts we address head-on, researching our reasons, finding our answer, and owning our choices.
There are so many ways to parent and live the family life, so many passionate declarations in books and courses and magazine articles and TedTx. We need to own our reasons for doing what we do.
Write in your journal the reasons you are choosing this homeschool life.
And asterisk any doubts you can research and learn more.
You've chosen the homeschooling path so you get to practice being confident in your choice.
- Accept the human experience: There is no way not to doubt your choices. Doubt is a human experience. We experience doubt in all sorts of realms.
- Parenting perfection isn’t a thing, no matter what choices we make. We weren’t designed to play God for our children. We were intended to lead, guide and direct, nurture and provide. But perfect parenting isn’t a possibility, because no human is perfect.
- Do what you can with what you know. Sometimes we doubt because we know we're doing everything perfectly. (No one is). But you can always be learning so you can show up on purpose more often.
When you know to do better, do better.
Thank you, Maya Angelou.
- Parenting is a process that enables us to take a closer look at ourselves. Our children are one of our mirrors in life that help us see ourselves more clearly. Just as we were placed specifically in our children’s lives, our children were placed in our lives to teach us something too. What we see will not always be pleasant, but when we set ourselves on a path of growth, we will grow. We will never have it all figured out.
- Ask why we first made a choice to homeschool. What compelled that decision? What did we expect were the positive benefits? What were we hoping we would gain from homeschooling?
- Then refine the answers. Sometimes the reasons we start homeschooling aren’t the reasons we continue. We may have tripped into homeschooling because we saw something lacking in the conventional path or we saw something that our children needed that we saw was missing. In the first week, we saw a transformation in our child, and we didn’t want to return to convention because we were simply more at ease. Perhaps we saw overall family harmony increase (no, not perfect family harmony, just more harmony). Or we identified the interesting education we were gaining, as well as our children. Or we recognized the increased time we gained in snippets throughout our weeks, both in our schedule and in our children’s. Or we realized that our children were more confident and secure. Or we saw the endless memories we created together that we didn’t have when they were in school.
- Practice not doubting yourself because others doubt you. If it weren’t enough that we doubt ourselves, we also take on the doubts of everyone around us. Too easy to fall into that trap in many areas of life. If we judge ourselves through the eyes of others, we will always find something to question. Be still, most people don’t actually care about our choices as much as we might think. This has been one of the most freedom-creating practices I have instilled in my life, learning to set mental boundaries with what other people think, and recognizing that there is far too much energy expended caring about what other people think.
- Meditate and pray. Be still. Listen to the still, small voice. Speak to the one who made you, speak to the one who planted this particular purpose inside you, and listen to the one who is leading you still. This step right here will cement certainty beyond anything else.
- So get on with what you’re doing. You will continuously fine-tune what you’re doing the longer you’re doing it. You’ll also fine-tune why you’re doing it. So just get on with doing it. And try to focus on enjoy it!
For all the efforts you put into your family, enjoy the process, enjoy watching the moments of connection between your children and absorb the moments of connection with them, enjoy watching your child explore new areas of life, and relish in all the activities of your homeschool world.
In the end, these young people have been placed in our world. Each day we enjoy ordinary and extraordinary days.