I am not a linear-brained person. You might even call me a type b mama. I’ve heard that this type of brain fosters creativity and good relationships. I’ve seen it create chaos and fear if left unchecked.

In college it caused me to become behind in just about every class I ever took. I became distracted which lead to procrastination which lead me to be unprepared which eventually caused a paralyzing fear of failure. I fumbled through those four years thinking that everyone existed like this and no one talked about it. 

Then I got married and got to know my very linear, very thorough husband. Turns out I’m a freak. (Coincidentally I didn’t know that I had double jointed fingers and toes until he pointed them out, either.) And now this freak is embarking on the education of her own children which, until I actually began the process, brought back a lot of those old fears.

I mean really – we are responsible for the entire education of our children. And now I have been given the task of executing that education. Turns out God is teaching me more about myself in this process than I could ever teach my boys about reading, writing, and arithmetic.

I recently listened to this sermon and have been pondering the hows and whys of my own fears. My fear of homeschooling has never been about whether or not it is the right thing to do or is beneficial to my children or can be done by every parent, regardless of their own education. I have known for a while now that the question of whether a child gets enough socialization when homeschooled is fairly ridiculous given that people and relationships actually do exist outside of public schools.

No, my fear has been a product of my own lack of discipline. When I procrastinate doing a task I become fearful of the outcome. When I am diligent in my duties, however, I am reminded that obedience is mine and the outcome is God’s alone.

Now I am finding that with a bit of discipline and preparation we can find a balance of rhythm and flexibility that work well for our family. So, here I go… praying and planning my way into homeschooling. Two things I have not done enough of lately.

{top photo credit}

 

27 Responses to Getting over my (self-imposed) fear of homeschooling

  1. Shannon, I had some of those same fears. The key really is diligence. Just DOING it. Sticking with it. Praying through it. It is not always easy or fun, but it is what is RIGHT for us!

    Good luck!

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    Shannon Reply:

    @Christi {Jealous Hands}, Thank you. I think you understood me exactly.

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  2. I think everyone who homeschools faces similar fears. Everyone wonders if they’re going to be capable. It’s difficult to take on the responsibility of being the sole provider of your children’s education.

    My problem is actually the opposite. I was very good at the school system’s game of test-taking and categorized learning schedules. I was homeschooled myself during the last half of my schooling and could actually be trusted to make my own schedule and grade my own schoolwork (yes, I was that weird and anal).

    But the more I’ve learned about the faults in the school system, the more I want to break away from the entire school system’s philosophy. We’re unschooling. So my adeptness at taking tests and making the grade doesn’t end up coming in handy at all! In fact, I’ve really had to come to accept that the children can and do learn on their own without a traditional school setting. This still baffles me, but it’s been very true so far.

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    Shannon Reply:

    @Elizabeth Walling, Everyone is so different, aren’t they? I think what is going to work for us is a combination of scheduled “school work” every day combined with a much higher percentage of real-life learning. I want more for my children than just the regurgitation that goes on in public schools in college and the lifestyle that we desire for our children is not one of main stream academia.

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    Lori Reply:

    @Elizabeth Walling,
    Elizabeth,
    I homeschooled for 17 years (my youngest is now ‘graduated’ from our homeschool) and I can tell you that you are on the right path. We were very electic and did what felt right at the time, with each kid, and no that all are grown, we’ve seen the results and we are happy with those results.
    We did not replicate the public school system. We did not want to repeat what we were escaping, nor what we knew was a failure. Kids learn what interests them, so we geared our ‘curriculum’ around their interests. Also around my interests and what I wanted the kids to know. Life skills was at the top of the list. I’ve no regretted this.
    Every family needs to find what works for them, that is the joy and freedom of home education. Some kids need and desire more structure, and some kids need more freedom to play, to dream, to create, and to read. Each person is an individual and needs to be respected as thus.
    I learned to do this through the bible. No where in the bible are children sent off to schools to ‘learn’. Sent to a priest to be dedicated into the service of God, but not sent to school. Yes, times have changed, but the wisdom of God has not.
    There were some days when the kids were young that we *did* school kinds of things (I bought the kids cheap work books they enjoyed doing), but otherwise, we read orally, made things, went about our business, and learned things as we lived life. It is amazing how much kids learn in this manner. It is called ‘free range learning’ in the secular world and it works. My kids are living proof of this.
    I have eight kids, four who attended public school, and four who were homeschooled (more like unschooled), and my only regret is that I did not get to keep all of them home! It took years for my husband to finally agree to keep kids home, and by that time, older kids were aghast at the idea of staying home. I am much closer to kids who stayed home, and they are much more independent than older kids.
    My kids range in age from almost 36 down to almost 19, so I have seen major changes in education since my son entered kindergarten in 1980. These changes are not good. I am ever grateful for the years I spent living and learning with my youngest four children.
    There are some great books out there if you’d like some recommendations. No, they are not ‘christian’, but you weed through the chaff and you find the wheat. That is what I have done over the years.
    Email me if you’d like more info.
    Lori
    homeschoolmom42@hotmail.com

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  3. Tara says:

    Oh Shannon, I’m TOTALLY a type B mom! I had my first of three kids at barely 20. For 16 years I sent my kids to public school just ‘knowing’ that I wasn’t the type of mom to homeschool. Well things and opinions change. Our youngest son has autism and last year it became quite clear that he needed something other than traditional public school. I was scared to death, but I pulled him out and enrolled him in a public virtual school. So the computer and curriculum was provided for him, but it is up to me to schedule his time and make sure he’s doing all his work. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to hold it all together. I’m happy to say that even though it’s only been a few months I am thrilled with how well it’s working out! He’s learning a ton and I am not only doing it, but actually enjoying it!! I love knowing exactly what he’s learning, I love the flexability of it and I love knowing that he doesn’t hate school anymore. This type B mama is doing just fine! ;)

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    Shannon Reply:

    @Tara, That is great, Tara!

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  4. Apryl says:

    Wow, I could have written that post. The fear of failing is always lurking in the back of my mind. Thanks for reminding me that prayer should be my backbone.

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  5. Sara says:

    I went into homeschooling kicking and screaming. We’re missionaries, though, and with almost four years of deputation (read: traveling) we had to homeschool–there were no other options. Many people homeschool in different ways, and moms like to prepare in different ways, some of which depend on how much money you can spend on homeschooling. My advice is to pick something you think will work, and if it doesn’t, then scrap it and pick something else the next year.

    We started off in video, and it was a dismal failure. My aunt recommended Sonlight, and it has been the perfect fit for us. There is an instructor’s guide, so I don’t have to come up with a schedule. Most subjects do not include tests (at least in the younger years), and lots of awesome books. I encourage you to find something that works for you and for your kids, and don’t be afraid to change it up when something doesn’t work.

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  6. Christine says:

    Be kind to yourself, Shannon. You can do anything you set your mind, and heart, and soul to doing. When I began teaching, having “book smarts” didn’t really mean I knew anything. It wasn’t until I actually had to teach children that I actually learned all that stuff. What a joy it was to learn side-by-side with them! Good luck to you and your family on this most excellent adventure.

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  7. Carla says:

    I love that you blog with such honesty. There aren’t very many blogs out there that aren’t written by Type A personalities, so Ifind you very refreshing. I am a Type B personality also. I love just going with the flow and the pressure of a deadline (usually completed in the wee hours of the night).

    Thank you for speaking about discipline and diligence. It wasn’t until after I married my husband, that I realized that I lacked discipline. I now have a burning desire to instill that into my children, but because I lack it, have no idea where to start. The fear of it all paralyzes me!

    Keep up the good blogging!

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    Shannon Reply:

    @Carla, Thanks so much for the kind words!

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  8. Lee says:

    The beautiful thing about homeschooling is that you have been doing it all along – from the moment you discovered you were going to be a parent you have been preparing. You taught their first steps, first words, first foods. You are well equipped to do the rest! We are in our 5th year of homeschooling and I am looking at subjects like Logic, Algebra and Chemistry. Taking a deep breath I realize I only have to stay one week ahead. :)
    When they are little (and big, too!) life itself is educational. Don’t stress, just continue to be the mommy you have always been. You may be surprised to find your children taking the initiative and keeping you on schedule each day. Some days don’t need schedules – the flexibility of homeschooling means you can do that too!

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    Shannon Reply:

    @Lee, Such great points. I really feel this way as well. If I can guide my children through learning to read, do math, and study history and the scriptures, and know how to do the practical things that I am still learning then I will have succeeded, by God’s grace, in teaching them all they need to know. It’s amazing how if you are a patient parent who involves your children in chores, kitchen duties, and the reading and studying you should be doing yourself then you are already giving them a well-rounded education. Thanks, Lee.

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  9. Kathryn says:

    I’m actually more like Elizabeth. I thrived in the public school system. Although my children are grown now, I still shudder remembering my first year – it was “schooling at home”, complete with a printed schedule. :D Part way through that year a dear friend made me realize I needed to relax, as well as some health issues God sent my way. It is amazing how creative God is in teaching us. So hang in there, relax, and enjoy this time. Kids learn whether you’re doing it “right” or not. It is so good to hear of your journeys. It brings back many great memories. :D

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    Shannon Reply:

    @Kathryn, I actually did well in public schools too, but our school wasn’t exactly college prep. That game of memorization and regurgitation is exactly what I don’t want my child’s education to be.

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    Lori Reply:

    @Shannon,

    Good for you! Most people do not realize just what a game and a joke public education’ really is. It is basically the rotememorization of facts and the regurgitation of ideas, with no room for real growth or actualization that a child may find a deeper or new truth or way of doing things.
    I remember being in 9th grade and getting really bad grades in math in school. I could do the work and get the right answers, but because the way my brain processed the work, I did the problems my own way and came up with the right answers, but because my work was not the ‘right way’ (meaning the teacher’s way) ALL my problems were marked wrong! The answers were right! The teacher would not budge and so my grades that semester were in the basement (if I recall properly, either a D or a D-). The teacher refused to acknowledge that there could be more than one way to come up with an answer. This experience made me hate school more than I already did (and trust me, loathe is not too strong a word for how I’d always felt about school), and it made me distrust the system and see the teachers as puppets and morons. It didn’t matter what class I was in (history, art, English, math), if the work was not done exactly the way the teacher wanted, then your grade was lowered and there was no allowance for individuality or genius to excel.
    I remember telling my dad that if Einstein was in my math class that Einstein would be given a failing grade! At age 14 I saw through the facade of what posed as public education. I used to annoy my dad (I was raised by my dad in the late 60′s, early 70′s) as even at age 10 in the 5th grade I could see the futility of the busy work we were forced to do, and my dad was often flummoxed by my onbservations as he often knew I was right! But back in those days it was not considered normal or acceptable to question the authority of schools, let alone the teachers, and so my dad was often at a loss for words when I would complain about these things. He knew them to be true, he just couldn’t figure out how I’d seen through this at a young age.
    Over the years, my dad and I have had many talks of that time, and he had been very supportive over my decision to home educate my kids.

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  10. Laurie says:

    We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and homeschooling accommodates all of them. My eldest was an “early” learner, my youngest a late reader. I was very good at the “memorize and repeat” of traditional schooling, but am so glad to be able to offer my boys something else. We have all learned so much from our journey, and you will, too. The most important thing is to love your kids – the rest of the details will work out over time.

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  11. Kim says:

    I did not consider when I started this journey 16 years ago that it would be me who grew by leaps and bounds! Homeschooling is an incredibly stretching, growing endeavor.

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    Lee Reply:

    @Kim,
    I know exactly what you mean! I am the one who has learned the most, grown the most, and still need to know the most! LOL!

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  12. Carla says:

    I am an extremely disorganized, chaotic person. We unschooled until this year when we made the family decision to put them in school. It is only as hard as you make it. We did nothing schooly, no school books (other than books read for pleasure), no schedules, no sit down learning but the kids thrived and when they went to school this year, they were well ahead of their classmates academically (other than their atrocious handwriting, lol!). They learned everything they needed to know just by living. Just follow your kids cues as I’m sure you’ve been doing all along and you’ll be just fine!

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  13. Sheila says:

    I’m a type B mom, too, but I try to see at as a strength. Sure, others might see us as “lazy,” “disorganized,” or “not planning enough,” but it can be a really big strength, especially when working with kids, to be able to do things on the fly without over-structuring things.

    Some kids, of course, need more structure, and it can take a lot of discipline to make sure you provide what they need. But in most cases, you can play to your strengths and still have a great homeschool!

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  14. Jan says:

    I homeschooled my 2. They are now grown. Homeschooling does teach the parent far more than the children. I was worried that my lack of diligence would create problems for them later. I had to unlearn how I thought school should be. A speaker at a home school seminar once asked the question, “Are you filling a bucket with facts and info or lighting a fire and showing them how to learn?” That’s when my thinking changed. I’m so thankful that we stuck with it. We enjoy a relationship with our kids that I think would be lacking if they had gone off to school. It will take time to find your rhythm but it will come.

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    Shannon Reply:

    Jan – Great thoughts, thank you.

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  15. I just began homeschooling in September and it has been a huge challenge. I am also a type B personality and I worried that it would affect my son negatively. But, despite the challenges, I am convinced that it has been the right thing to do. I am on schedule with him academically. I think that I was so afraid to get behind that I’ve worked harder than I ever have to make sure that I keep to a schedule!

    You have a wonderful website!

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  16. Lola says:

    I can so relate to this. But we are planning on homeschooling and It’s getting close as I have an almost five year old, a three year old and a six month old.

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  17. Leah says:

    I brought my oldest home after 1st grade public school. I also felt intimidated and overwhelmed at the thought of trying to “public” school them at home (as that was my only grid at the time for how-to) It has now been over 5 years and we have added 3 more blessings to our family. I have enjoyed all the comments to your post and I just wanted to add one thought. My dear (single-mom) neighbor is a tenured public school teacher and she sends her son to a Montessori school 30 minutes away so that he can enjoy the closest thing to homeschooling. They deliberately set up their classrooms to look and feel like “home” for the kids. I also understand that the kids are almost self-led or “unschooled” as such throughout most of their days. They put more emphasis on regular field trips too. Anyway, I believe more and more every day that home really is the best place for children. It is most certainly the best place for mine. :)

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