Have you thought about homeschooling your children but find that you’re filled with fear and self-doubt? In fact, have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking, “I’m not brave enough to homeschool!”? If so, you’re in the right place!
I remember the first time I had someone tell me I was brave to choose homeschooling.
I had just finished teaching a yoga class and was chatting with a few of my students afterward. The topic turned to education and one woman asked me why my husband and I had decided to homeschool our daughter.
Now at the time, my daughter was in Kindergarten, my son was three, and we had been homeschooling for less than a year. Clearly, we were still very new to this lifestyle and I was very aware of how people responded when they learned that we homeschooled.
Let’s just say I was a little bit sensitive.
After chatting for a few minutes and filling her in on our decision making process, she let out a small sigh and said,
“You’re so brave to homeschool. I could never do it.”
I immediately felt at a loss for words and had no idea how to respond.
I probably mumbled something about not being that brave or maybe I laughed it off before we went our separate ways, I honestly don’t remember. But I do remember her comment staying with me. Even all of these years later, that moment is crystal clear in my mind.
“You’re so brave to homeschool. I could never do it.”
And that was it.
I was left wondering what her true feelings were behind this simple statement.
Did she really think I was brave, or did she think I was foolish for making the decision to homeschool?
Was she intending to give me a compliment or was this a vague and cryptic way of expressing disapproval?
And what exactly did she mean by “brave” anyway?
It was shortly after this conversation
when I realized that being fearless and being brave are not interchangeable.
This may seem quite obvious to you but I spent most of my life believing they were the same thing.
I thought that fearless people were brave and that brave people were fearless.
Except that they aren’t the same thing. Not at all!
Here is the definition of BRAVE, according to Merriam-Webster:
“Brave: having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty: having or showing courage.“
But fearlessness means being WITHOUT fear.
NOT the same thing after all!
I never identified as being brave because I thought it meant that I needed to be fearless, (and I was absolutely NOT fearless!) But turns out there were plenty of times in my life when I had been brave.
Owning instances of my own bravery began to feel legitimate after all.
This is where things get a little more complicated but full of a lot more potential!
Because being brave is a choice we make, despite any fears we’re having.
So what does this have to do with the comment made about homeschooling?
Turns out, a lot!
My husband and I didn’t make the decision to homeschool because we were fearless.
Not at all!
We made the decision after an initial gut reaction we both had which then led to lots of research and information gathering. From there we weighed the pros and cons and then armed with our gut reaction and research, we took a big leap of faith.
Our decision to homeschool has required a willingness to tweak things as we’ve continued on.
It has involved revisiting what is and isn’t working, depending on the season of life we find ourselves in.
It also means that we are allowed to change our minds in the future if we discover that homeschooling is no longer serving our family well.
We haven’t been fearless but we HAVE been brave.
If you’ve ever told yourself “I’m not brave enough to homeschool!” I want to offer some encouragement and reassurance.
I’m going to break this down into a series of simple steps:
1. Check in with Your Gut
I want you to get a little woo-woo with me for a moment.
Abandon any logical, practical thoughts and simply check in with your gut. Is homeschooling something that you’re drawn to? Are you curious about whether it would work for your family? Do you find yourself thinking about it as a possibility when you consider all of the educational options available?
Get honest with how you’re feeling and check in with your gut.
2. Identify your fears
After checking in with your gut, if you are, in fact, feeling drawn to homeschooling, identify your specific fears.
Many fears I’ve heard (or had myself!) over the years include…
- Concern about socialization
- Worry over finding community and feeling isolated
- Balancing homeschooling with all other responsibilities
- Wondering how to teach everything
- Possible financial stress
- Worry over lack of time for self-care and interests
You may have some of the same concerns and you may have plenty of unique worries. But whatever your fears are, make sure you identify them.
3. Research and gather information
Once you’ve identified your specific fears, it’s time to research and gather information.
I’ve written lots of content on getting started with homeschooling so I’d encourage you to check out some of the following blog posts:
These posts are full of information that will help you as you research and gather information related to your specific fears.
4. weigh the pros and cons
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to weigh the pros and cons.
And YES, I highly encourage you to write down a good ol’ fashioned pros and cons list. There’s something really powerful about seeing pros and cons listed out side by side.
List every single thing you can think of!
And here are a couple more posts you might find helpful:
There is power in a simple pros and cons list so don’t skip this step!
5. take a leap of faith
Whether you decide to give homeschooling your best shot, or opt for a traditional school model, either one will require a leap of faith.
Parenting is the toughest job I’ve ever had and I’ve got a hunch you might agree with me!
Parenting has required countless moments of checking in with my gut, identifying my fears, researching and gathering information, weighing the pros and cons, and finally taking a leap of faith.
Over and over again.
Regardless of the decision you make, remember the following:
- Keep things as simple as possible
- Practice self-care to the best of your ability
- Prioritize the important relationships in your life
- Ask for help when you need it
- Remember that you are not alone!
- You are also allowed to change your mind
Being brave is not the same thing as being fearless.
Being brave means that you’ve got plenty of worries and insecurities, but you’ve decided to face those fears head-on.
Being brave means eventually, you’ve got to take that leap of faith.
If you’re struggling with other homeschooling related insecurities, be sure to check out my other posts in this series:
In fact, if you have a fear or insecurity related to homeschooling that isn’t covered in one of these posts, please let me know and I’ll do my best to cover the topic in a future post!