Do you remember those organized desks and huge blackboards from your school days, and do you feel inadequate that you do your school at a kitchen table? Did you use a large, up-to-date microscope in your old biology class but now feel scientifically deficient because you have a child’s version for your little school? Do you imagine professionals teaching daily in your local school—and agonize over the educational experience you are giving your children?
I homeschooled for eighteen years, and there was not one year in which I felt I was totally doing it “right.” I always felt inadequate. On some level I always wondered if my kids could have gotten a better education somewhere else. With logic, I can look back and assure myself that I have given my three children a very good education and a safe and spiritual environment. I was not a slacker: All of my students scored higher than the national average on their SAT scores. My brain pats me on the back and assures me that I ran a good race, but my heart still stumbles with thoughts of inadequacy and failure.
And I did fail in some things. Here are a few.
I failed to expose my children to a closed, strict, demeaning culture that is intolerant of deviations in hair arrangements, clothing fashions, and mental acuity while demanding extreme tolerance for lies, thievery, cruelty, and immorality.
On the other hand . . .
There were no metal detectors on any of my doors; no one in my school ever had to overcome fear for his life or a tormenting bully in order to concentrate on his schoolwork.
I was never surprised or shocked at any of their textbooks or literature books; I had selected them myself. We avoided the “Us vs. Them” mentality because we were all learning and floating around in the same homeschool soup together. We read scores of classics together and understood them. My students—now all young adults—are literate, can function mathematically, and know the good news of the gospel.
My children were not subjected to modern, co-ed sex education classes which teach them how to do it, when to do it, with whom they can do it, how to please a partner, and how to do it safely, nor have they learned that STDs are now STIs because no one wants to be labeled as having a disease when one can simply have an infection. I did not subject my child to having someone watch her as she urinates for her random drug testing in order to be a part of a public school sports program. None of my children ever had their fortune read by the teacher during free time in the class. (I am not making these up; they are all real.)
No one shoved abortion, evolution, or a homosexual lifestyle down my students’ throats by cleverly deriding God’s moral code or by using highly emotionally charged stories to engage their hearts against God; we always looked at these modern problems from a moral, biblical, and scientific point of view.
Each child had personal attention from a teacher who loved them, was available, knew the student’s unique and specific combination of learning styles, and who understood (to a degree) how he or she thought. And often we had fun together!
There is a healthy kind of inadequacy; being aware of the enormity of the task and the limits of personal and emotional resources presses us to run to God often, which is a positive thing.
I have never met a mother who did not feel inadequate for the task of homeschooling. Never.
For those of us who are laboring under a load of guilt, failure, and feelings of inadequacy and incompetence, I pray we will go to Jesus and find comfort and rest from the heaviness we feel. He will speak the truth to us. He will cheer us, no matter how faltering we are, because we are being obedient.
How have you overcome your feelings of inadequacy as a homeschool mom? Leave a comment below.
Yours for a more vibrant homeschool,
Copyright © 2014 by Sharon Watson
Original image copyright (c) alamosbasement / flicker.com, creative commons license
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