Choosing to homeschool feels risky. I wonder if I am going to wreck my child. Academically, emotionally, socially — am I going to cause more harm than good?
This is a common question in even the most experienced of homeschooling moms and dads. We all love our kids and want what’s best for them. Choosing to homeschool puts a lot more responsibility on our shoulders to make sure the ‘best’ happens. When we send our kids to school, they (and we) are in the hands of the school board, the classroom teacher, and the classmates, and even with a high-level of parent involvement in the school, there is only so much we can do to help our kids get the best. Bringing them home is more work, but we can also be more flexible in giving our kids what they need to thrive.
But that isn’t really the heart of the question. Whether we mean to homeschool through highschool or we hope to survive a one-year necessity, we want to make sure that we don’t do irreparable damage to our kids. That is an overly dramatic way of saying it, perhaps, but it is in the heart of many parents. But be honest with yourself: if your child had a ‘bad teacher’ one year in school, would you blame them for ruining your child’s life forever? Not likely. You may have frustrations with the teaching method or the lack of relational connection they had with your child, but you surely wouldn’t say that that one year wrecked it all.
So give yourself some grace. You won’t get it perfect immediately (or ever!). But you have the flexibility at home to figure this out with your child. Take time. Ask lots of questions and be willing to answer just as many. Have open conversations about what your child liked about going to school and what they are afraid they will miss. Study your child to discover how they learn, what they are interested in, and where they struggle and where they thrive. Take it one year at a time by taking every day one at a time. You can’t wreck them forever, but you could actually do a world of good for your whole family.