We’re just starting our 15th year of homeschooling and I’m completely in love with this way of life. I love being able to spend so much time with my sons and to experience all of their firsts. I love being there for their light bulb moments. I love learning right along with them! But one thing I don’t love is the constant, nagging fear that my boys won’t succeed in life because of me.
This post is going to be different from most of the things I write.
One of the biggest reasons I have a blog is so that I can encourage other homeschool moms who are coming up behind me. Because of this, I don’t often write about my own struggles until after they have been resolved and I can share the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
However, today, I decided I would share something I’m currently dealing with because I believe there are lots of other moms who are also dealing with this fear. Especially moms who are homeschooling older children.
It’s easier to be relaxed about homeschooling when our children are young. But as they approach the end of the high school years, it can be extremely stressful for us moms.
We torture ourselves with these questions:
Did I do enough?
Was our homeschool rigorous enough?
Am I failing my children?
Like I said, I suffer from these same fears. It comes from a desire to want to do the best that I can by my boys and not to hold them back in any way. Unfortunately, these concerns won’t fully go away until my boys have launched into the world, are following God, are able to support themselves, and have settled down with the right girl.
Fortunately, as I ponder my fears, God has brought me a lot of comfort by bringing the following thoughts to mind. I hope these thoughts bring peace to you as well.
Here are 7 Thoughts Which Encourage Me:
1 – We Aren’t Alone
We aren’t doing this alone. Something which has always encouraged me is a story I heard Todd Wilson, the family man, say at a homeschool conference. His son became a biologist without his wife ever teaching him biology! Todd said that if you plant a pumpkin seed, a pumpkin will come up. And if you plant a watermelon seed, a watermelon seed will come up. You never plant a zucchini seed only to have a tomato plant come up.
Our kids are who they are. God has made them who they are for a very specific purpose. No matter what we do or don’t teach them, they will become that person. No matter what experiences they do or don’t have, they will become that person.
2 – Positive Track Record
Homeschooling has a positive track record. Home educated kids generally score higher on standardized tests than do kids who are publicly schooled. They are above average on interacting with their peers, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem. And I hear regularly from homeschooling moms whose graduated children are doing well in life. There’s every reason to believe that my boys will also do well once they leave our home.
3 – No Guarantees
There are no guarantees from any type of school. Only 83% of students in the U.S. even graduate from high school. And only 59% of students have graduated from college after 6 years. So, even if our kids graduate from the local high school, that doesn’t make them any more likely to end up with a college degree. In fact, according to U.S. News and World Report, “Students coming from a home school graduated college at a higher rate than their peers—66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent—and earned higher grade point averages along the way, according to a study that compared students at one doctoral university from 2004-2009.”
4 – How You Define Success
How should we even be defining success? Graduating from high school? From college? Getting a high-paying job? These are the types of things we often think of as being successful but isn’t having a good relationship with God and with others even more important?
Because we homeschool, we are able to talk about God as much as we want throughout the day. My boys are able to prioritize devotions and church over homework or extra-curricular activities. When you look at what’s really important in life, homeschooling is setting our kids up for true success.
5 – There Will Be Gaps
There will be gaps in any education, no matter how well-rounded. Our goal needs to be to give our kids a love of learning and teach them how to learn so that they can fill those gaps as needed wherever life takes them. Homeschooling is helping us to do this as well because we’re able to give our kids opportunities to spend time exploring things they are passionate about as well as having a say in what they’re studying and how they’re spending their time in order to complete their schoolwork.
6 – They Will Mature
I haven’t fully experienced this yet since my boys are only 15 and 16, however, parents of grown children have told me that our kids mature a lot between the ages of 14 and 18. In fact, more than one person has assured me that they will change as much during that time period as they did from birth to age 4. Think about that! That’s a lot of changing and growing.
Already, I’ve seen my boys grow into amazing young men. The tween years were difficult, but since then, I’ve seen what strong, mature people my boys are becoming. I can only imagine what they will be like once they are men – but from what I’ve seen so far, I’m encouraged.
7 – No Finish Line
Who says that ALL kids need to attend college starting at age 18? Or that if they aren’t ready for college immediately after graduating from our homeschool, that they can never go. There isn’t a finish line to learning. People can and should continue learning even after they would have traditionally graduated from high school.
Our goal should be to help our kids to love learning and to be able to continue training themselves for whatever God has in store for them during their life.
As quickly as technology changes, they will probably need to be prepared to hold jobs that involve things that haven’t even been invented yet.
The fear that we’ve failed our children won’t fully go away until they have launched. However, with the above thoughts in mind, I hope that we can all rest in the knowledge that God loves our children even more than we do and that He will be the one to make sure they receive the information and experiences that they need to accomplish the purpose He has given to them. Our job is to listen to His leading, to obey to the best of our ability, and to enjoy the journey.
How do YOU define success? Do you struggle with wondering whether you are holding your kids back in some way? Or that your weaknesses might create difficulties for your kids? Please leave a comment below.