7 Things I’ve Stopped Worrying About as a Homeschool Mom
When I started my journey as a homeschooling mom many years ago, I was nervous about a lot of things—which is completely normal when you embark on a new adventure that requires you to swim upstream.
The longer I’ve been a homeschool mom, however, the more I’ve realized my brain was filled with many things I didn’t need to spend my time worrying about!
Here are seven things that I’ve stopped worrying about as a homeschool mom, and I’d encourage you to stop worrying about them, too.
1. I’ve stopped worrying about what my kids are learning and when they are learning it.
Honestly, in the grand scheme of life, it doesn’t matter if your kid learns about the Declaration of Independence when they are in 1st grade or 8th grade. It doesn’t matter if your kid learns about Ancient Aztec civilizations in October or May.
If you want to study Roman mythology four years in a row, who says you can’t?
There is no expiration date on learning. There is no limit on how long you can study something.
We are homeschoolers, right?
2. I’ve stopped worrying when my kids say they don’t want to do something.
This phrase can be intended two different ways—and I’m not going to worry about either of them.
I don’t want to can be a kid’s reply to something that doesn’t interest them. Like dance class or participating on the traveling youth basketball team.
“But, you should take dance! Everyone is taking dance!” we say. Or, “You need to be in something.”
Listen. When your kid is 25, no one is going to care if they took dance or played basketball. No one is even going ask about it. Know how I know? No one has asked me about the single gymnastics class I took or the Community Ed ceramics painting course I attended.
So yes, if your kids are into that and enjoy it (or plan to be a professional in that field) by all means, knock yourself out. But to take dance because all the other kids are taking dance or because they need to be in something?
Gah. Stop. Stop worrying about your kid having no interest in dance. Your kid has an interest in something. Figure out what it is and go with that!
On the other hand, I don’t want to can also mean your kid doesn’t want to fulfill the commitment they made to something. They don’t want to help a family member with a job that starts early in the morning. They don’t want to learn the things that come along as a package deal of a responsibility they’d like to take on.
In this case, I don’t worry about my kids saying they don’t want to. Because it’s a character issue, and believe me, they’re going to fulfill their commitment.
3. I’m no longer worried about the speed at which my kids learn things.
Repeat after me: you do not have to follow the same timeline as the local public school.
This means that you can move faster. You do not have to spend four weeks on something that your kids can cover in two. Your school day does not have to last 7 hours to prove that you’ve accomplished something.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Your #homeschool day doesn’t have to last 7 hours to prove that you’ve accomplished something.” quote=”Your school day does not have to last 7 hours to prove that you’ve accomplished something.”]
The great thing about homeschooling? You can also move more slowly when you need or want to. Your kid needs extra time to pick up their multiplication tables? Take. The. Time.
Your child wants to spend longer digging into the scientific method or the history of airplanes?
Slow down, mama. Take your time. It’s totally okay!
4. I don’t worry anymore about whether or not they’re going to have a million friends.
We can all get caught up in the worry surrounding whether or not our kids are going to get invited to birthday parties or have people to talk to at the park. But is that what having friends means?
As an adult, I know a fair amount of people. I can hang out in a group. And there are lots of people I like. But as far as the adult equivalent of deciding who I’m going to invite to my birthday party or hang out with at the park? I could probably count those people on both hands.
Okay, one hand.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The adult equivalent of deciding who to invite to my bday party? I can count them on one hand.” quote=”As far as the adult equivalent of deciding who I’m going to invite to my birthday party or hang out with at the park? I could probably count those people on both hands.”]
It takes time to form friendships. And just because you only have a couple of close friends doesn’t mean you’re any less fabulous than someone who can be friends with anyone they meet.
Yes, take your kids out and show them the world. Meet people. Hang out. But realize that if your son or daughter isn’t the life of the party that everyone flocks to, it doesn’t mean they’re somehow less awesome than the person who is.
5. I’ve stopped worrying so much about their apparent lack of interest in their future.
Ask a little kid what they want to be when they grow up, and they’ll usually hit you with their main interest of the moment: princess, race car driver, dinosaur trainer.
As kids get older, however, future plans can be overwhelming. It can be stressful to think about—mostly because at some point they realize that even though everyone encouraged them to chase their dreams, dinosaur trainer isn’t really an option.
There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to your future. As parents, we can sometimes get caught up in a belief that our kids aren’t focusing on the future enough. That they aren’t serious enough or that they’re flat out apathetic.
Or—as is sometimes the case—we worry because we feel that as homeschooled kids, they are somehow supposed to have a better grasp on their future.
Listen. There are a trillion and three things to think about as a kid who is growing up. Thoughts about the future will come. Seriously.
Stop worrying and trust your kids. It will happen.
6. I don’t waste time worrying about how they compare to public school kids.
Some people say, “I don’t want to send my kids to public school because I think I can give them a better education at home.”
Want to hear irony? Those same people are stressing out because they are worried their kids won’t stack up to publicly schooled kids.
I’ve heard these two statements from the mouth of fellow homeschool mamas way more times than they would like me to admit.
First of all, y’all, don’t doubt yourself. I’m willing to bet all the chocolate in my secret stash that you’re doing a much better job than you think.
Second of all, it’s not a contest. And when we continue to compare and worry and stress out about is our kid good enough and does our kid know enough in comparison to that kid over there, we’re tossing our kids into a contest that they didn’t even sign up for.
7. I don’t worry myself with the false belief that I need to teach my kids everything.
The older my kids get, the more times we experience this:
Me: So, there is this super cool thing I wanted to tell you about…
Sons: Mom. We already know about that.
Take heart, mama, your kids will figure out how to learn things on their own. And there is a good chance they will figure it out way earlier than you realize they have.
Your kids are growing up in a different era than you. If you went to school before the ease of press-a-button-ask-a-question-get-an-answer internet, it’s absolutely mind-blowing to consider how fast kids can get information now.
While it’s fabulous to be on this journey with our kids—let’s face it, a lot of the stuff we’re doing with them is super awesome!—the majority of kids today do not need a lot of hand-holding to learn something they want to know about. The information is there for the taking.
I mean, seriously. It’s right. there.
If you’re anything like me, you will cruise along homeschooling for a while thinking wow, I’m such a great teacher! (And you are. You’re an awesome teacher!) But let me warn you, you will hit this really amazing (but weird) point where you realize they know stuff that you didn’t teach them.
And guess what? There’s another fantastic point after that where they are teaching you things that you knew nothing about before they brought it up.
Stop worrying. Relax and enjoy the journey!
As I move through these later years of homeschooling, it’s fun to look at some of the ways we’ve grown as a homeschooling family. One of the best ways we’ve improved our experience is to relax and enjoy the journey.
You probably didn’t choose homeschooling so it would freak you out or keep you up at night. If you feel worry creeping in, remember that it is completely normal as a homeschooling mom, but it’s also completely unnecessary.
What are some things you’ve quit worrying about as a homeschooling mom or dad?
We are on our 11th year homeschooling. In the beginning, my biggest fear was math! My daughter was in kindergarten & I was stressing over algrebra-seriously?! Flash forward to 11th grade-she loves math & especially alegrbra. I wasted so much time worrying. I wish I could go back to my former self & tell her to enjoy these young moments-it’s going to be ok. I do get a bit of a do over-youngest sibling is 3 1/2. And guess what? TOTALLY NOT stressed over algebra! 🙌🏼
Sage advice! We homeschool mom’s self-inflict so much pressure & worry– I’m totally guilty. It’s so encouraging to hear from moms like you who are several steps ahead, with older kids.
You don’t HAVE to finish the textbook – I don’t think we ever finished a history book in school. And changing curriculum in the middle of the year is permissible. Love the part about there is no expiration date on learning.
Your kids will still be good writers/readers if they don’t diagram sentences. Nothing against diagramming sentences but either way, they will be okay.
Our oldest just started reading on his own one day when he was about 3 or 4 – I’m not saying that to brag. It was probably b/c he was the firstborn we read to him ALL the time. But I was in a quandary about doing phonics – phonics teaches kids to read but he’s already reading. What do I do now? He graduated last year and I laugh now but at the time this really stressed me out! The next 3 kiddos all read on their own a little later and we did do phonics.
Lastly, college is not for everyone and you’re not less of a homeschooling mom if your child doesn’t go there. It will be okay and they will still lead a productive life. And who says they can’t go to college 10 years down the road?
Thank you for this advice!! These are things that I needed to hear. I also get sick and tired of people judging my child’s age and feeling as if there are things he should know at this age. My child is a special needs child, so when he does finally get, I’m happy about that. Then he brings it back up a year later, when I forgot about it. I’m also tired of the judgment using old curriculum that may have been used in my day. I look at it like this, I use whatever works for my child. I’m learning that everything doesn’t have to be completed, because it will come back to haunt my child in the next grade. : )
I really connected with this article. We are on our second year of homeschooling and the pressure and overwhelming feelings have built and bottled up for some time and are now rising to the surface for me. Just knowing that this article talks about many of the issues I’m dealing with let’s me know I’m not the only one to experience this. While my husband is super supportive he works many hours to support our family and it can get tough and lonely doing this alone. Thanks for the encouraging read!
I am in the exact same boat! I have met so many families that agree with this article. We are not homeschooling to stress about whether or not our kid is “on track”’with the same system we are unwilling to send our children into. However, I do find myself struggling with these feeling often despite and this article was spot on! Thank you 😊
There is a wonderful book by Maya Frost, called “The New Global Student”, in which she talks about FEGO, fear and ego. This is what keeps us worried about our kids not getting/keeping up with/or being excluded from, whatever everyone else is doing. In reality once you step of the merry-go-round of formal education and take the plunge into making your own, you realize, it’s wonderful not the other side!
All at the same time, parents know the school system is flawed yet they are terrified that they will ruin their child by not having their child go through it! Ack! What a dichotomy to live in.
I tell parents on the homeschooling journey—and it is one, make up your own definition of what an education is! You really can’t screw it up if you understand that one is never “done” with being educated. We never stop learning. Even as adults we never stop learning. So if your student has gaps, they will fill them in. Simple as that. Stop worrying they won’t get into college, stop worrying they be ‘unsocialized’. Just stop.
This is my second round of home school, with my step kids and I have these worries still, daily. These two are high school age and it’s taking forever. Ilove your articles to set me back down in reality, the end game is the prize, not the daily hassle. Whew! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!