Monday, March 1, 2010

Confessions of a Homeschool Masochist

This is our third year homeschooling, and I'm beginning to notice a trend with me.  Around this time of year, I start reading over my various homeschooling manuals, curriculum catalogs, and other such material in my library, with the panicky feeling that I have made several grievous errors in selection and judgment and everything, and that I am indeed ruining my children.  Just as I suspected.

I wonder if I am alone in this.

Part of my problem is that there are just too many choices available.  If I only had, say, three options, I might feel more comfortable with my decision.  But when I have dozens of options, far more than I could possibly evaluate personally, then how can I know I've selected the right books, resources, curricula?

I know that many homeschooling mothers have husbands who help make these decisions and take a strong interest in any selections made.  Himself is not like this; he leaves the vast majority of education decisions up to me.  This is because he trusts my judgment (my friends tell me), and it must be true, because, frankly, he's quite the opinionated guy.  Also, he majored in business.  (Sorry -- I couldn't resist.  Yes, I know business majors work hard, those are legitimate degrees, et cetera.  Please don't send me any hate mail.)

Anyway, Himself leaves homeschooling decisions up to me.  On the positive side, I get to make all the decisions.  On the negative side, I get to make all the decisions.

All of this to say: at least once a year I torture myself with vacillations.  Was I right to do (fill in the blank)?  Are we okay doing that?  Miss Priss will be in fifth grade next year -- that's a big year.  We'll need to up the ante.  But what will that look like in full-color reality?

Honestly, I really don't think I'm alone in this.

And then it hits me.  I'm not alone in this.  God has blessed our home education efforts from the beginning, and He will continue to bless us.  He will be faithful to complete the good work He began.  Although I have never experienced any eye-popping epiphanies, I have felt stirrings inside, nudging me toward one philosophy and away from another.  And when I don't feel much one way or the other, I have always chosen whichever seemed best at the time.  I've made a couple of miscalculations, but those have always been almost immediately apparent to me -- more nudgings.

So we move forward, a little at a time, with me learning to trust more and torture myself less.  Like anything, it's slow going.  But maybe that's the best way to learn.


  1. This is my first year of homeschooling and I already feel that pressure at this time. I have been told by many wonderful mentors and veteran homeschoolers that this time of year is when you start questioning everything.

    I also make all the main decisions on homeschooling.

    We are in this together. We can make it.

  2. No Ellen, you are NOT alone. I've just posted on this, from the Spanish blog

    This is burn out season, and like you, we all struggle over so many choices, we all are hard with ourselves, it's the nature of the beast.

    I call it the virus that floats in the air, the second post was called the virus has mutated, does anyone have the new vaccine? when we think we are cured it hits you with new strength. The vaccine is FAITH as you say, rendering to God, and understanding that no, we are not damaging them, life, their lives, and their education are something stronger and it resides in His hands. How could you, an invested an responsible mother, with all her shortcomings and all her virtues as well be less than sufficient?
    I admire you and I'm sure your girls love their mom an teacher.

    BTW, I struggle with the same, I talk to my husband but as wonderful as he is I'm alone in this. He is an engineer and leaves most of this to me, with its pros and the burden of the solitude. But if they trust us, it might be they know we'll be fine, the kids will be fine, they know we are equipped to make the choices and most likely their faith is strong most of the time. We in the front line have more of our 'crisis moments'. Keep on keeping on, you all are excellent, not just fine.

  3. Hi from Spain Ellen :D

    I came from the blog of Silvia and this post is great!! :D my english is soooo bad, so I hope you can understand and don't seem a litle silly :P

    Your are not alone, I am with you!! I could write this post!

    Hugss and no, you're not alone :)

    meni ^-^

  4. I think your post may actually be a 'nudging' for some readers! It certainly is very encouraging for me!

  5. Thanks for this post and no, you are not alone. This is just our second year homeschooling. This past year we tweaked a lot trying to find our way. I think we are finally finding our rhythm, but it is near the end of term 3. I am also starting to peek about next year and I get nervous. With all the options out there, it can overwhelming, especially to a new homeschooling family. I know God called our family to homeschool. Thank you for reminding me of this. Many blessings.
    I have enjoyed reading your blog.

  6. Hi, Blessed Mommy, and thanks for commenting! You are spot-on when you say that the options can be overwhelming. I've found that if I stick to a basic philosophy (for us, that's a literary-based education), I can filter out curricula that don't meet my criteria. And finding a rhythm for your family is important, too, as you pointed out.



I love reading comments! And I appreciate the time you take to leave them. Thanks!