Second-guessing: Did I make the right decision to homeschool?

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First Day of School
Maybe you've hit some bumps since your first day of school...

You're two months in. Maybe your son is throwing a fit, your daughter is crying over a math problem, the dishes are piling up, and you feel in over your head.

At times like this, you wonder: Did I make the right decision to homeschool?

As you second-guess yourself, do you sometimes feel like a homeschool failure?

Let me encourage you: I know you can do this.

I challenge you to think of yourself not as a failure, but as a learner. That's how you want your kids to think when they face a challenge, right? You don't expect them to get everything right the first time.

When things don't go well in your homeschool, it's not that you've failed. The struggles just give you and your children an opportunity to grow. You can step back and say, "Well that didn't go very well, what could we do differently in the future?"

If you have that conversation with yourself or the children ten times in one day, that's not failure. That's modeling to them how to grow. It's modeling that we can evaluate what we're doing and figure out how to do it better.

I encourage you do drill down and identify what's making you feel like a failure. Is it that you lose your temper with your children sometimes? I hear that from guilt-ridden moms often. So what can you do to move in the right direction in that regard? Maybe you need to learn to apologize to your children when that happens. Maybe you need to start the morning with a calming praise song. Maybe you need more protein for breakfast. Maybe you need to make a plan of what to do when you notice yourself getting riled up.

Do you feel like a failure because your kids don't beg for school every day? Maybe you need to give them some grace, too. I've heard that kids new to homeschooling need at least one week of homeschooling for every year they were in regular school to adjust. It's a big change for you and them.

Not every day will be homeschool bliss. But if your kids are consistently struggling, perhaps they need more protein and less sugar for breakfast. Maybe they need more sleep. Maybe they need more time to play outside, or a short cuddle with you before school. Maybe you need to switch up your daily schedule. Maybe school will just be hard for them and they will develop perseverance as you kindly but firmly help them learn age-appropriate disciplines.

Whatever the issue, know that you have options. Don't give up! Instead, you could:

  1. Be really honest with your spouse about how you're feeling, and brainstorm solutions to the problems you see.
  2. Call a Sonlight Homeschool Advisor (at no charge) and chat with an experienced homeschooler about ideas you could try.
  3. Talk to fellow homeschoolers and see what's worked for them.
  4. Just try something different and see how it goes.
  5. Pray, pray, pray. If God has called you to this, he will help you on the path.

Homeschooling won't always be smooth sailing. But take those rough seas as learning opportunities. As Thomas Edison supposedly said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Fortunately, you don't have to pioneer homeschooling the way Edison pioneered the light bulb. You have Instructor's Guides, a supportive forum community, Homeschool Advisors, and a complete curriculum to help you out.

Homeschooling gives you the chance to learn from your mistakes every day. Think of how much you will have grown in patience, creativity and academic skills years from now if you stick with this amazing calling!

I've always said that anything worth doing will encounter resistance. And I believe homeschooling to be a high and worthy calling. Struggles probably don't mean that you're wrong to homeschool. They just come with the territory when you set out to do something great.

Please know that you are in my prayers. I count it an honor to pray daily for all Sonlight moms and dads who are working hard to do right by their families. We are in this together!

Blessings to you and yours,

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You'll be encouraged by the words of founder Sarita Holzmann, inspired by real-life stories from other homeschoolers, pick up practical tips for the journey and more.

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  1. Marguerite

    Thanks Sarita,
    This is our third year homeschooling, and for some reason it is the most difficult so far. There are many, many days when I've felt like a failure -- really from about week #2 onward. I know there are some structural changes we can make, but I also feel like the enemy has upped the ante on Christian homeschooling families -- and Christians in general -- as the time grows shorter. We seem to be experiencing an increased level of warfare -- much more than I remember in the last two years. He'll try to use the kids' attitudes to get to me, and try to get mom's frustration to get to them. Almost humorously, the worst battles occur as we begin with prayer! So, yes, pray, pray, pray, and get rid of any stumbling blocks that are aggravating things. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Sarita Sarita

      Marguerite, I’m sorry this year has been so tough. I firmly believe that trying to do anything big for the Kingdom (such as raising and education children) will encounter resistance from the enemy. Praise God that he hears us when we pray and that he helps us as we rely on him. I will pray for you specifically this week. You can do it! ~Sarita