If you are asking yourself whether you’re doing the right thing homeschooling your kids, I assume the reason is because you’re not a confident homeschool mom.
And I get that, because I have been there. And to be perfectly honest, there are days when I still second guess myself because that’s just what moms do.
We want what’s best for our kids because we love them. And because we love them, we are always questioning ourselves and our decisions. We wonder if we are doing the right thing or making a huge mistake going on this path.
Homeschooling is one of the best decisions we have made as a family and I really enjoy it (at least most times), but I’d be lying if I said it was easy.
Successful homeschooling takes a lot of planning, organization,motivation and faith to make it work.
When I first decided to homeschool my children back in 2008, my first child was two and I didn’t have a second one yet.
I thought my college degree and academic smarts would make homeschooling a breeze, but boy was I wrong!
I didn’t start homeschooling until 2014 (by then I had added a second degree and a second child), but those two degrees didn’t make me any more confident. Quite the opposite really.
So if you’re questioning your abilities because you don’t have a college or teaching degree, rest assured that you don’t need one to become a confident homeschool mom.
None of that matters.
What matters is your heart,conviction and your willingness to adapt and learn the things you need to help your kids. Those are the things that will make the biggest difference in your lives.
Okay with all that said, before I dive into the five things you can do to gain confidence, let me touch on some of the reasons homeschool moms struggle with confidence. See if you can identify with any of them.
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Reasons homeschool moms struggle with confidence
- Personal confidence issues unrelated to homeschooling. This may include body image issues, low self esteem etc.
- Fear that you will mess up. Fear that you’re not enough, that you’re failing your children.
- Fear that your kids will end up behind their peers. Or that they won’t learn everything they need to.
- Fear that you’re not doing enough or that you’re not doing as much as other moms.
- Fear that you are not providing enough opportunities for your kids to socialize, or fear that you’re not providing enough educational or extra-curricular opportunities.
- Fear that your kids may end up hating you if they turn out to be inadequate or unprepared to face the real world.
- Fear that you don’t have all the answers and you will be exposed as a fraud.
Do you notice a common theme? Pretty much everything is based on fear. Fear of one thing or the other.
Can you identify with any of these fears? I bet you can because lots of homeschool moms have these same fears.
Any mom who has homeschooled for a minute knows that these fears are real. Some of these fears have kept me up at night.
I am constantly asking myself if I am being selfish homeschooling my kids. Just yesterday I asked myself this very question, and I know this isn’t the last time that question will arise.
So how do you develop confidence with so much fear and uncertainty? How do you know that you’re on the right path.
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees and there’s is no way to predict the future. All we can do is to use our best judgement and do the best that we can in love.
In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to equip yourself as a homeschool mom to help you become more confident.
Now let’s take a look at what those things are.
HOW DO YOU BECOME A CONFIDENT HOMESCHOOL MOM?
1. Recognize your limits
One reason many moms suffer from lack of confidence is because of past failures.
When you fail a few times, there’s a possibility that you could start doubting yourself. And we all know that self doubt can easily make you feel less confident.
That’s why it’s very important for you to know your limits. Know how much you can handle. What subjects can you teach? How much can you handle as a mom, wife, homemaker and homeschool mom?
How much responsibility can you you take on and still be a productive homeschool mom?
When you accept your limitations, then you can focus on your strengths and figure out where you need help.
When you do this, things become easier and you’re more likely to succeed and achieve your homeschooling and family goals.
Cultivate a humble heart. Accept that you don’t know everything and that you can’t be everything. This is an important step if you want to become a more confident homeschool mom.
2. Identify your homeschool priorities
Once upon a time, I used to think that I could have it all and that I could do it all.I have since changed my mind about that. Nothing like falling flat on your face a few times to make you reassess your beliefs.
Some of us moms are overly ambitious. We think we are supermoms (or at least we pretend that we are). Nothing wrong with being ambitious as long as you’re a bit realistic with your expectations.
If you’re struggling with confidence in your homeschool, I encourage you to identify your homeschool priorities. The best time to do this is when you’re preparing for a new homeschool year.
However, you can do this at any time during the school year. If you’re floundering and don’t know which direction to take, now is a good time to identify your priorities.
Know the important things that are essential for your homeschool success.
Start by asking yourself “When all is said and done what are the outcomes I want to see?”
This question should be front and center in your mind. This is basically another way of saying “Why do you homeschool?”
Your homeschool priorities can be broken down into short term (weekly, monthly, yearly) or long term (five years, when you graduate your kids etc).
Your priorities are unique and important to you and your family. That’s the only thing you should consider when deciding what your priorities should be.
For me, some of my homeschool priorities include teaching my kids life skills and focusing on character building, and not just their academics.
Ultimately, I want to raise children who put their trust in the Lord Jesus and are a blessing to everyone they come across.
3. Know how to make smart decisions
When you’re a homeschool mom, you have to make a lot of decisions. Knowing how to make those important decisions will help you to feel more confident.
As a homeschool mom, I have to make lots of decisions including:
- Which curriculum to use, which books to preread,how to create lesson plans and how to organize our homeschool year.
- Whether to join a homeschool co-op or not.
- What to teach,how to teach and when to teach.
- How many days a week to homeschool.
- Whether to attend a homeschool convention or fair
- Which homeschool books to read
- Whether to homeschool year round or not.
- How many extra-curricular activities we can manage
- Which tools and resources we need to organize our homeschool
And the list goes on and on.
Let’s not forget all the other decisions that has to be made as well like: financial decisions, budgeting, home management etc.
It’s enough for someone to question themselves all the time!
But do not despair. The best way to make smart decisions is to do some research.
If you’re unsure about something, take some time to research it. You can pretty much find information about anything.
You can also ask for recommendations from trusted friends, family members and other homeschool moms.
I usually feel more confident about my decisions when I have taken the time to do proper research, and learn all I can about a particular subject.
I know finding the time in your busy schedule can be hard, but trust me when I say the time you invest learning about stuff is definitely time well spent.
4. Know how to plan for the unexpected
The truth is, no matter how hard we plan our homeschool schedule and year, sometimes things happen that will throw a spanner in the works.
Life is messy and try as we might, we can’t always control everything or keep things neat and tidy. That’s why it’s a good idea to have an emergency plan for the unexpected.
My motto is “Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.”
What happens if you, a child or family member gets sick and homeschooling has to be put in the back burner?
What can you do to ensure your kids don’t fall too far behind?
There are many unexpected events that could happen so make sure you have a plan for when things come up (including financial emergencies).
This way you can minimize the effect of any emergency and can get back on track without too much difficulty.
This also applies to those days when you wake up and everyone feels blah. Kids are uncooperative, your home is a disaster and there’s chaos everywhere.
When days like this happens, you may feel like a failure and blame yourself. But if you have a plan in place for dealing with the blah days, then you won’t feel too overwhelmed or out of control.
Here are some suggestions for when those unexpected (or expected) events happen:
Depending on the ages of your children you can give them more responsibility for their school work, join a Co-op with other kids and families, switch to a less-teacher dependent curriculum, take the day off etc.
Of course what action you need to take depends on the situation and how long it would last.
What’s important is for you to have an idea/plan for the unexpected and chaotic days.
As a homeschooling mom, it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. Instead of comparing yourself to other moms, focus on the progress you’re making.
Don’t compare yourself to others or wait for others to affirm you. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice when people notice and appreciate your hard work but that shouldn’t make or break you.
Instead recognize what you’re doing right and revel in that. You’re an awesome mom and you don’t need a medal or any kind of recognition from anyone.
Put your blinders on and ignore those competitive homeschool moms. Don’t measure your progress using other people’s standards and expectations. Measure your progress by how well you are achieving your goals.
You cannot gain confidence if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others. Some moms are further along in their homeschool journey than you, so comparing yourself to them is futile.
If you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, or comparing your kids to other children, you’re going to have a hard tme of things.
Something I find helpful is to avoid people and places that make me feel inadequate. That includes online forums, groups etc.
Don’t get me wrong. Some of these places are really helpful and you can learn a ton but you have to know how to use them.
I am not telling you to become a recluse or anything like that, but you may need to take a break from things, people and places that make you doubt yourself or make you feel inadequate.
If you have a minute, check out this post How to be More Self-Confident for some more tips.
IT’S POSSIBLE TO BECOME A CONFIDENT HOMESCHOOL MOM
Don’t let fear and self-doubt derail you. Take confidence from the fact that you know your children better than anyone else.
You know their strengths, weaknesses and struggles. Draw confidence from the fact that even if you don’t know the answers, you know where to find them and you’re committed to finding answers.
Remember your kids trust you. They love you and they know that you’re doing the best that you can, so stop beating yourself up and go rock your homeschool you awesome mom.
I am cheering for you!