How am I going to do this?
How do I start? What do I do?
What if I fail, and I screw up my kids?
You can feel tension balling up in your gut. You’re overwhelmed by all of the options, all the information out there. And you’re paralyzed, like that proverbial deer in the headlights.
The good news? Everyone thinking about homeschooling and everyone who takes the leap of faith into homeschooling has those sorts of fears.
The even better news? They subside over time as you keep moving forward with your homeschooling, making choices about what to do and how to do it.
The best news? There are three beliefs many people have that make achieving success with anything, including homeschooling, very difficult, and with a little work, you can rid yourself of them.
If your children’s other parent is fully on board with homeschooling...if your extended family and your friends are supportive of your decision to homeschool, consider yourself lucky.
Most of the homeschoolers I know started homeschooling against at least a little resistance initially. Some of the homeschoolers I know started homeschooling against some severe resistance. Those homeschoolers were bombarded with messages questioning their judgment and their competence.
In the end, though, someone else’s approval isn’t necessary. The only thing here that matters to your success is your own deep personal conviction that homeschooling is the right choice for your family.
Your actions, not the opinions of others - even those close to you - are what will determine how successful you will be as a homeschooler.
That overwhelm you’re undoubtedly feeling? That panic that you might fail your kid? Those are the sort of emotions that have the power to freeze you in place.
You think you need all the answers and a solid plan in order to calm that overwhelm and stave off that panic.
The problem? It’s a lie. Ain’t never gonna happen.
Your carefully crafted plan? It’s gonna fall to sh*t, and probably sooner rather than later. Life’s going to get in the way. Something isn’t going to work. You’re going to have to adapt and improvise along the way.
The homeschooler you’ll be just starting out isn’t the homeschooler you’ll be next year, in five years, or in ten. Life will mold and shape you as your family’s wants and needs change. You don’t need a plan for next year, five years from now, or ten. You need to be able to trust in your ability to figure things out along the way.
What you do need is to...just start. Start with the easy stuff. You can read to your kids. You can play games with them. You can look up answers to their questions on the internet.
Lemme be fully transparent here: my first year of homeschooling was a disaster.
Never before had I felt so incompetent or inept. For most of that year, I was convinced I was an utter failure as a homeschooling mom and that unless I figured out a different way to do things, my son was going to be going to school the following school year.
The odds are good your first year of homeschooling is going to suck. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but don’t shoot the messenger!
It’s going to challenge you and frustrate you in ways you’d never been able to conceive of being challenged and frustrated before.
You can’t be afraid to fail here.
So my advice is to fail big and fail quickly. Have that disaster, and don’t be afraid of it. There are valuable lessons to be learned from failure.
You’ll figure out what works for you and your kids faster when you learn to quickly evaluate and make changes when something isn’t working.
Now, three things:
I'm a married, homeschooling mama of three who is passionate about self-directed learning.
2 Things to Do When No One Supports Your Decision to Homeschool
3 Relationships Every Homeschooling Parent Needs
How 4 Emotional Enemies In Your Mind Are Destroying Your Homeschool…And What To Do About It
4 Tips for Starting a Successful Homeschool
5 Signs You Have What It Takes To Be A Successful Homeschooler
5 Ways to Prevent Fear of Failure from Sabotaging Your Homeschool
7 Tips for Homeschoolers to Guard Your Time
What 5 Gurus in Personal Development and Entrepreneurship Can Teach Homeschoolers
Before you buy this booklet, you need to know that I am an unabashed proponent of self-directed learning and that will be reflected in everything I share about my own experiences as a homeschooler.
I’m giving this disclaimer so you aren’t surprised by the clear bias I have toward unschooling.
I want you to know, upfront, what you’re getting and what to expect from me. The advice I give and the questions I ask you to ask yourself are all valuable and valid no matter what style of homeschooling you ultimately embrace, though.
About the Author
Becky Ogden has been homeschooling since 2003, and graduated her oldest in the spring of 2017. In her early years of homeschooling, she too struggled with feeling overwhelmed and inept. In trying to do right by her children, Becky found herself embroiled in battle after battle with them over their schoolwork. Until…
Until she found a better way. One that empowered her children to self-direct their own educations. One that respected their autonomy. One based in “right on time” rather than “just in case” learning.
Without many veteran homeschoolers around to serve as mentors, Becky had to muddle through it on her own. She spent hours of time in research and reflection.
In the years since then, helping other homeschoolers find their own way and solve their problems has become a source of great joy for her.
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org