With homeschooling on the rise, more and more parents are assuming a direct responsibility for their children's education. No matter how committed we are or in it for the long haul, however, there are times when all homeschooling parents experience a crises of confidence.
While there are many practical ways we can prepare ourselves to teach our own children, sometimes the hardest hurdle we face is developing a trust in our own abilities. We are often our own worst enemy -- comparing our shortcomings to others' strengths -- and this does nothing to improve either the quality of our relationship with our kids, or the quality of education they receive.
So, assuming you are a loving parent who is working hard in your efforts with parent-directed education, and you're STILL feeling stressed out and/or worried from time to time, here are five common concerns you may be sharing with other homeschooling parents, and the reality checks that will help you overcome them and develop a liberating self-confidence.
1) We fear our kids will have learning gaps -- Sometimes we forget that in this age of information, when the bank of knowledge is growing at such an astronomical rate, every child will have gaps of some sort. What children need to know is how to find information. Encourage them to nurture a desire to learn, and they will never be thwarted by gaps. Reality check:
2) We think they might not be prepared for the future -- Children are resilient, and we have no way to foresee how or what will be coming down the pike. Focus on developing small skills at a steady rate, and their abilities will grow strong. Reality check:
3) We question that we might be focusing on the wrong things-- Academics can only get any of us so far. If this is even on your radar, you probably are focusing on the right things: ethics, values, and morals. Keep the lines of communication open and every activity, every event, every situation you find yourselves in will become a learning opportunity. Reality check:
4) We suspect they may be missing out on learning opportunities -- Suffering from the "grass is always greener" syndrome? Stop and think for a moment about all the things they have been able to participate in because of your flexible schedule. Think especially about volunteering or inter-generational experiences or travel or family activities or leadership roles they've been able to enjoy. Reality check:
5) We struggle with balancing parent vs. teacher roles -- In terms of time management, receive the same grace for yourself as you'd be willing to offer others. Consider your struggle a learning opportunity for both parent/teacher and child. Rather than fret, watch how this shared growth deepens your relationship with your kids as you overcome these challenges together! In terms of the roles of parent and teacher, at the end of the day, let the parent win, because that is with whom your child's heart lies. Reality check:
Strengthen your child's heart, which is the spring of true learning. And if you do this today, they will come to you tomorrow when they truly need your wisdom.
So relax, mom and dad, and remember this last reality check:
Your children's future is not dependent upon your lesson plans.
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