This post was written by Danika Cooley of Thinking Kids. Originally published Sept. 2013.
I’m just going to come right out and say it: I’m one of those homeschoolers.
I came out of the school system. I use curriculum — lots of it. I have a schedule — for the day, the week, and the year. (Actually, I have a schedule for all twelve years, but we don’t need to talk about that.) Everyone is up, showered, and dressed for school by 8am and we don’t quit until 3:30pm, Monday through Friday, except for a morning break and a lunch break. We have a school room — and we use it.
But I feel guilty.
I read blog posts and forum discussions about delight-driven learning, schooling at Starbucks, schooling in pajamas, and the learning lifestyle. I read articles bemoaning the loss of the “golden days of homeschooling” when there was no curriculum — there was just a library card and the great outdoors. I see that if my kids know three languages, but don’t have godly character, I’ve failed. I learn that there are children who can manage a home, a business, and the daily meals, too.
And I wonder if I’m doing it all wrong. I wonder if my children aren’t having enough fun. I worry that maybe they’re not exploring enough, researching enough. I fret about whether they’re delighted enough. My kids do know three languages. What if I’m messing up their character? What if their homes fall apart because they can’t cook a five-course meal yet?
Usually, I hit my husband with all of these questions as soon as he’s eating dinner. Because, you know, an anxious (or maybe neurotic) wife is good for digestion. He reminds me that we’ve prayed about our choices. We’ve examined God’s Word, discussed our options, and waited for answers.
We’re not teaching Greek in our homeschool because we want to appear more godly, or because we hope to brag about it. We’re learning Greek (oh, my goodness, my brain is too old and rusty for the Cyrillic alphabet!) because we felt led to teach it. Hours later, our children asked us to teach it. Confirmation? We thought so.
He reminds me that the kids enjoy what they’re learning, they like the hours of read-alouds, they love the Bible, and they spend many delight-driven afternoons and weekends. He maintains that our kids are learning patience, perseverance and Latin. He reminds me it’s all going to be OK.
Why am I sharing all this with you?
I wonder if maybe you feel guilty as well. Maybe your guilt isn’t about classical schooling when everyone you know is unschooling. Maybe you are anxiously weighing phonics versus sight-words. You might be concerned that your children are missing out on friends. Perhaps your chronic illness cuts into your days. Maybe you worry that your math skills will never measure up, that you’ve chosen the wrong curriculum, or that your days aren’t structured enough.
I just want to remind you that a Holy Spirit-led homeschool is the right homeschool for you.
If you are praying, searching His Word, and listening to His direction, you my friend are in the right spot. God knows our kids, He knows our families, and He knows us — the teachers. You know those gifts and talents you have? He gave those to you. Those children you’re worrying over? He gave you those, too.
Here’s one last little secret: God allowed your limitations as well. In His sovereign wisdom, He knows what is best.
I’m a classical homeschooler with a serious Charlotte Mason-ish bent and a focus on the Bible. And I’m OK with it. I’m letting go of the homeschool guilt. At least until dinnertime.