I am a veteran homeschooling mum with two homeschool graduates and there are a few things I wish I had known as we moved through our highschooling homeschool years. One of those things is tackling the fear that comes with homeschooling through high school.
I want to speak about guarding your hearts against allowing fear to steal your homeschooling joy.
Choosing to homeschool our children was the best thing we ever did. We have a plethora of wonderful memories and experiences to take with us for life. I feel blessed to have been able to provide my children with a gentle education and a home where the love of God is felt and they are nutured according to their giftings. Homeschooling has honeslty been the biggest blessing in our lives.
But it is is very easy for our joy to be stolen from us.
What Can Steal Your Homeschooling Joy?
Today I want to talk about something that can steal our joy along our homeschooling journey and that is the gaggle of ‘voices’ that come at us from every side. They are most often voices that mean well, that wish to be encouraging but end up being damning.
Sometimes those voices are our own fears and insecurities that whisper quietly at first but then become an avalanche of doubt that immobilizes us from pursuing God’s best for us and our family.
These are my own ponderings on these two things, perhaps you will read my words and find something that resonates with you, or perhaps you won’t and that’s okay.
The Voices That Mean Well
Who do those voices belong to in your life? In my own experience, these voices can come from the blogs I read, the online groups I belong to, the books I choose to read, or the podcasts I listen to, even fellow Christians whom we love and respect. Sadly I don’t have an actual real-life community where I live. Most homeschoolers with children in their mid to late teens have sent their children back to college or school to tackle their A-Levels. Not all I must stress, but in my vicinity, it is the case.
Perhaps we read the blog of someone who follows the same educational philosophy as we do and that we admire. She seems to have it all together, she has the loveliest blog and shares some amazing things that she does in her homeschool.
Or ‘that’ podcast that everyone seems to be listening to, clearly what they have to say is exactly how I should implement ‘a thing’ because they have such a following and is so popular.
How about that subtle ‘peer pressure’ exerted on us by other well meaning Christians? We’ve all experienced it. Opinions that creep out in conversations that make you feel that if you allow your children to watch ‘that’ program or read ‘those’ stories, then you are not in God’s will or you are somehow not that holy/good/obedient?? (struggling for the right word here).
These voices, if we allow them a platform, drown out the quiet and gentle voice of the Holy Spirit.
The Voice of Fear & Doubt
Oh my, I’ve struggled with this one over the past two years, but interestingly I’ve only struggled with it when I have not been in community with like-minded homeschooling mums.
10 years ago, God spoke to our hearts and called us to homeschool our children. God laid upon our hearts the desire to first and foremost lead our children to know and live for Him, and I feel that by God’s grace we have done and are doing that. However, when you are responsible for the education of your children it is hard to shut out the voices of the world and continue to trust God’s plan for each child, especially if that plan follows a different direction to what the world deems ‘normal’.
When you are in community with others who share that same vision you are able to encourage one another, bounce ideas off each other, talk through things you are thinking about, concerned about etc. Pray together. You are less likely to fall prey to fear and doubt when you are with others who have walked or are walking the same path. You are less likely to make decisions based on fear and conforming to the ‘norm’ if you have others to encourage you.
Dont Let Fear Steal Your Homeschooling Joy
Here’s my own real-life example. My daughter is about to start her AS levels this year – she is 17 years old now which means by the time she finishes her A levels she would have just turned 19. For some reason, I just freaked out about this because everyone else finishes at 18. Why I let this dominate my thoughts I really do not know for I have never been one to see age as forming anything of importance with regards to education. In fact, a friend of mine who is a high school English teacher told me that it is NOT unusual for some children to complete their A levels at 19 because often children will change their course after the first year if they are not coping or change their minds etc meaning they get their certification at 19.
But this was like a huge boulder that had been placed in my path. I worried and stressed and then worried some more. I questioned, ‘how would we fulfil certain university requirements as a home educator’. Then I wallowed a little more in the pit of stress and worry.
Then God in his mercy spoke to my heart through a very simple conversation I had with a friend from up north. She and her family were down in Devon where they attend an annual home educators camp. I was visiting another mutual friend at this same camp. As we were eating lunch we fell into conversation about what we were planning with our teens and the directions each of us was taking. She calmly said that her son would be starting his AS levels in September and that they were doing this at home. She was not putting him into 6th-form college, they would simply continue as they were, as God leads them. She told me that her son too would be just about to turn 19 when he finished his A levels.
I questioned her, what about ‘this’ what about ‘that’. She calmly answered all my questions, making valid cases for all my questions. Bearing in mind, this lady has got two homeschool graduates already so she has walked the path before. I came away from that day refreshed and repentant. I prayed and repented of living in fear and not trusting God, and refreshed by the fellowship I had shared with my friends. Just talking to them had reminded me that a) God is in control, and b) I’m not the only one walking this road.
You see, since moving to Devon I have not had much contact with other Christian homeschooling moms with teens. I do know a few families but we live far apart and it never crossed my mind to make the effort, perhaps I didn’t think it was necessary to meet with these mums regularly. But this conversation convinced me that it is very necessary. Being able to talk to someone else in the same stage of the homeschooling journey is very, very important.
I am pleased to say that I have since contacted the lovely ladies who live within an hour of me and we are all going to meet once a month to just be an encouragement to one another.
Fear and doubt have a very subtle way of creeping in – guard against it by being in communion with the right people who will be an encouragement to God’s calling in your homeschool.
Wishing you all God’s richest blessings today 😘
hi, I home-educate 3 children. My eldest has decided to go to sixth form to do her A-levels, we could have done them at home, but that is what she wanted. I also felt that maybe as I have the boys to teach as well this might be for the best! as it would be a lot to take on, with the boys work too. She is going to sixth at 17 so won't finish until she is 19. I really see no problem with this. The school said lots re-sit the 1st year or change subjects. They also said lots take a gap year or two when completed so don't start uni anywhere up to 23! so really I am quite sure it is no problem and I would guess an advantage.
You had mentioned before about doing the American SATS, have you decided not to do this now and do A levels instead? I would imagine the boys will probably want to do their A levels at home (but again I will let them choose!) So I am interested in how you are doing them. Are you just getting course books and working through? or you have course to follow or tutors to help? I want to start thinking it about it now so I can be prepared for whatever they decide 🙂 We did all her iGCSE at home so I am quite use to the planning.
I am certain you have made the right choice, nothing to worry about I am sure.
I really do not know why had such a stumbling block with the age thing – it's so not like me! I think that it was stuck in my head that we had to finish by then because coming from South Africa our children usually finish school the year they turn 18. I have to admit to struggling to understand the British schooling system but thankfully I was able to have a good long chat with a lovely, Godly, British mum who knows about these things LOL.
You are right, we were going to do the SATS but my daughter really wants to rather do A levels so I'm happy to let her do that. She's chosen to do English Lit, Psychology, Law and History with the possibility of dropping either Law or History after the first year. She really wants to do History but is concerned about how she will cope with the dates etc whereas having done Psychology GCSE at least she knows what to expect. So we shall see how that all goes.
I'm just going to buy the course books and work through. I MAY end up going through Northstar Worldwide for the English Lit though as I'm a tad worried about being able to prepare her well enough for that. Literature can be quite ambiguous at times. If we run into any difficulties on a subject I will probably get a tutor via TutorOnline but I'm fairly confident that we can tackle the A levels on our own.
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