Dear Homeschooling Momma,
Do you feel it?
That pressure to be better? That expectation that whatever you’re doing must be spectacular?
The fear that someone will realize you’re not as together as they assume you must be?
The moment you find yourself declaring with conviction that you and your family will be taking a different road, a far different one from the norm, you feel like you’re under a microscope. It feels like the world is watching and judging your every moment, comparing and picking at the flaws in your choices. It can feel stifling, like a heavy burden far more difficult than those your foresaw presses down on you.
Let’s take a moment to look at why we feel this way and then we’ll lift that weight right off.
It’s EASY … oh, so easy, to get drawn into comparisons and competitions with other families from all walks of life. This, really, is where all of our angst comes from, don’t you think? We do it all the time with nearly every little thing we do.
Mary has allowed her 4 year old to keep using a pacifier?
Well, WE never allowed our children to use them at all. She’s doing something wrong!
Joyce hasn’t gotten her 3 year old potty-trained yet?
Goodness! Our children were all trained before they were 2! What’s wrong with her?
Susan always has a sink full of dirty dishes?
How can she possibly live like that?
Even if you aren’t the one doing the judging, we’re all quick to compare ourselves to others… Perhaps you are the one with the 7 year old who still co-sleeps and you’re afraid others will find out, even though you love it. Maybe you are breastfeeding your child far beyond that 1 year mark.
And maybe… just maybe…
Views about homeschooling from those outside the homeschool community seem to vary from joy to envy to even hatred. I’ve had the chance to meet people who were excited and interested by the idea, guessing that homeschooling is an automatic ticket to getting high achievement out of the kids. Moms who wished they could have made this choice expect that it leads to a closeness and easy they’ll never see. And angry parents sometimes view our choice as a judgment against them for sending their kids to public school. But always, underlying each of these opinions, is the expectation that our kids, our family, our home should be somehow superior (or drastically inferior, but that’s for another post!).
…of perfectly clean, tidy spaces where homeschooled children, wearing dresses and button down shirts, sit peacefully at their little learning table studying or using manipulatives to learn the secrets of the universe.
That’s not MY house and I bet it’s not yours either.
And that’s just fine!
See… when you homeschool and, like us, you also work from home, you are LIVING in that space 24 hours every day. There is something going on all the time. It’s just about impossible, I think, to actually keep your home tidy when everyone is in it constantly. I sometimes envy the moms who send their kids off to school and end up with a nearly empty house for the next few hours. Oh, the laundry I could get done… The vacuuming, sweeping… The dishes!! But for us, it all has to happen with
4 kids 4 kids and a baby and 2 adults milling about, doing their thing. So yeah. The house is a mess.
Okay. Housework aside… Are my kids brilliant? Of course they are! They are MY kids after all! 😉
In all seriousness, I think my kids are pretty smart and I’m always amazed at them. Are they little prodigies that are going to become doctors at the age of 16? Probably not (though I never rule anything out 😉 ). But I’m sure working hard to equip them with everything they’ll need to be successful in whatever direction their life takes them.
Are we a really close knit family in a way that can’t be achieved by sending kids to public school? Well, I think that’s a question I can’t answer. I think there are many families that are very close who send their kids out to school. I think it’s EASIER for us to be close since we are literally on top of each other all the time. But homeschooling isn’t a magic ‘pill’ to gaining your kids trust and affection.
Do those angry parents have a point? Do I keep my kids home as a statement AGAINST their choice to send their kids to PS? Yes. I am that shallow. I live my life, and make choices for my children, just to anger you. All kidding aside, I do not judge another families choice in this area. If you’ve actually given this question of how to educate your children any sort of serious thought, I applaud you. I DO think a lot of parents don’t bother to think about this question enough. I think many families simply send their kids to school because that’s what you are supposed to do. So if it’s a question you’ve not thought through, I hope you look at our family as a call to question. Make the choice that’s right for you. If that choice is public school, go for it! ♥
Allow yourself to understand the unique challenges of your own life and forgive yourself for so-called failings.
It’s all inside YOU.
That pressure that feels like a weight pressing you down? It’s actually coming from inside and pushing you out. YOU are judging. You are either judging others through the lens of your own life, or your judging yourself through the imagined lens of those around you. Instead, refocus on why you do what you do. Allow yourself to understand the unique challenges of your own life and forgive yourself for so-called failings. So your sink is full of dishes. So what? So your child didn’t learn to read until they were 8. So what?
I beg you, dear homeschooling Momma: Don’t be so very hard on yourself. There are 3 things I think we need to make sure our kids grow up really knowing and if you can finish your homeschool career with these 3 things checked off, you can totally count yourself as successful… even if there’s laundry molding in your machine.
Let the weight of all other expectations lift away. You have been entrusted with these sweet little lives and it wasn’t a mistake.
Clean dishes and fresh laundry don’t make a good mother.
You are amazing, Momma.
Let go of all that self-judgment.
Enjoy the journey. ♥
Sandra Modersohn is a devoted wife, mother, and homeschooler. She loves great graphic design and has a passion for creating beautiful and useful printable materials for children. Little Learning Lovies where she shares her creations with the world. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest and, of course, at the Little Learning Lovies Blog and Store.
Make it FUN, Mama!
3 Tips To Successfully Homeschool Multiple Ages
Be Perfect or Give Up (and other lies homeschoolers believe)
Never Underestimate the Power Of Your Smile
Getting Through the Weeds: How to Prioritize Your Day
The WORST Question To Ask This Time Of Year – And What To Ask Instead
How To Actually ENJOY Grocery Shopping With Your Kids!
Too Serious – Being Fun Isn’t Failure
Character Training – 5 Ways To Get It Wrong