If you’ve considered teaching your children but you’ve thought to yourself, “I’m not smart enough to homeschool!” it’s important to cover this doubt in detail. Because this common and often deep rooted insecurity can rob families of the very meaningful and rewarding path of homeschooling.
There are lots of reasons people don’t feel qualified to teach their children.
Common Homeschooling Concerns: Not feeling creative, brave, or patient enough, as well as being exhausted or completely scared to the point of feeling paralyzed.
Definitely not insignificant concerns, right?
The decision to homeschool can feel overwhelming and anxiety-producing. It’s normal to feel like such a huge life choice comes with a risk that we’re not sure we’re willing to take. I’ve had more than a few people over the years inquire about homeschooling, then look at me, shake their head, and say,
“I’m not smart enough to homeschool!”
Honestly, this response breaks my heart.
Because I know it’s not true!
There are plenty of reasons why people feel like they aren’t smart enough to homeschool.
Here are a few of the most common reasons I’ve encountered:
- They weren’t a strong student themselves when they were in school
- They don’t have a college degree
- They don’t know how they’re going to teach (fill in the blank) subject
If you find yourself thinking that you’re not smart enough to homeschool, I’d like for you to answer the following questions:
- Do you have access to the internet?
- Do you know how to use a search engine?
- Is there a public library nearby? (Or do you have online access to a public library?)
- Are you willing to learn alongside your children?
Did you answer YES to all of these questions?
Then guess what?
You ARE smart enough to homeschool!
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t feel like a strong student when you were in school.
You can DEFINITELY homeschool effectively without a college degree.
And guess what? You don’t need to know right now, at this very second, how you are going to teach (fill in the blank) subject.
There are many successful homeschooling parents who weren’t super strong academically when they were in school.
I also know quite a few public and private school teachers who had the same experience. But they’re still effective teachers.
A homeschooling friend of mine does not have a college degree. She has also provided her two boys with a rich and rigorous education. Her oldest decided he wanted to attend public school for the first time in 7th grade and he was encouraged by the school’s administrative staff to skip an entire grade level due to his academic abilities. Socially, he meshed well with his classmates and formed a night community of friends without any issues.
And as far as not knowing how in the world you will teach a specific subject(s), well guess what?
You don’t have to!
I’ll go over the details below but basically, outsourcing is an effective and powerful tool!
Here are the ways you’ll be able to homeschool, regardless of how insecure you feel about your own intelligence.
1. Search Engines
That’s right, search engines! Think about all of the ways you already use search engines DAILY to find answers to your questions.
It’s no different with homeschooling!
Whether you’re trying to remember how to use a semi-colon properly, want to know the history of Haiti, or can’t remember what year the French Revolution began, a trusty search engine will give you the answers you need in seconds.
The same goes for finding a local homeschooling co-op, online community, or local vendors.
Search engines are your homeschooling friend.
2. FREE online resources
Just like this blog is full of FREE resources for you, there are countless other websites and blogs packed with FREE information.
Here are some of my favorite homeschooling resources:
FREE Online Resources for Homeschooling
Start here to find fantastic FREE content and suggestions for other FREE resources.
3. The library
If you have a local library and a library card, you are all set!
When I consider all of the incredible resources our local public library offers, it’s pretty mind-blowing.
Books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, magazines, summer reading programs, writing contests, storytimes, guest speakers, e-books, online music, tutoring…
And it’s all FREE!
If for some reason you can’t visit the actual library, don’t underestimate what you can do completely online from the comfort of your own home.
Check out your library services. I guarantee you’ll be able to incorporate so much into your homeschooling.
So much of the homeschooling pressure parents feel is due to feeling like they are the ones that have to teach their child every single thing they need to learn forever and ever, for the rest of their lives.
Talk about pressure!
PLEASE DON’T plan to teach your child everything, OK?
That’s not what homeschooling is all about.
Homeschooling is all about flexibility, relationships, room for exploration and creativity, and individualizing your child’s education so that it meets their needs.
Between homeschooling co-ops, various vendors, and online classes, the opportunities for outsourcing are numerous and easily accessible.
5. Learn along with your children
Want to know one of my favorite things about homeschooling?
All of the things I’ve learned WITH my children.
Not all of the things I knew before homeschooling and then taught my children.
All of the things I’ve learned along WITH my children.
All of the field trips and adventures we’ve had TOGETHER.
Mental math tricks. Ancient history. Museums. Hikes. Travel adventures.
If you are open enough to follow your interests and curiosities, and also nurture these same things in your children, then you’ve got a ton of awesome days ahead of you!
Now, be sure to check out the other posts in this series:
I’m Not Brave Enough to Homeschool!
I’m Not Creative Enough to Homeschool!
I’m Not Patient Enough to Homeschool!
I’m Too Exhausted to Homeschool!
Are there any other specific fears you have about homeschooling? If so, let me know by replying below. I’d love to respond to any of your concerns!
Well, for me it is not about the ability to teach certain subjects, but first, teaching skills such as reading and writing – what if I teach wrong way which could make it difficult later on? And also, I have a special needs child (ASD, poor attention and graph motor skills), and that is a bigger challenge, where internet and library do not help that much.
Sarah Takehara says
I’m so glad that you’ve reached out with this comment. Parenting your precious child who has special needs is an all-consuming and exhausting responsibility. I want to acknowledge how lonely and isolating it can feel when you are doing everything within your power to provide a rich and nurturing educational environment. I can relate so much to your fear of possibly teaching in a way that makes it difficult later on. Since I don’t know how old your child is, and I’m not sure what curriculum/materials/approach you’re using with reading and writing, I can’t make any specific suggestions. But please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to brainstorm other resources for you to explore. I also wonder if you are familiar with Shawna Wingert. She blogs over at Not the Former Things about her homeschooling journey raising her two sons who both have significant special needs. She has a background in Special Education and has authored three books. Her blog has so many great resources related to ADHD, Autism, and Sensory Processing Disorder. I have been following Shawna’s work for years and she provides so many practical resources as well as encouragement and hope for those who are parenting children with special needs. Please know that you are not alone!