Homeschool fears – we all have them at one point or another.
Maybe you’re just now exploring homeschool as an option for your family, but you have some hesitation about diving in that’s keeping you stuck.
Maybe you’ve been homeschooling for years and are suddenly riddled with doubts.
As humans, it’s 100% natural to feel fear about things – especially big decisions like how to make sure your child gets a quality education. So, don’t feel bad about the fact that you’re worrying – it’s normal!
Over the years that I’ve been homeschooling my children and sharing our journey online, I’ve had the chance to engage with hundreds – maybe even thousands of people who are in various stages of their homeschool journey. And, in that time, I’ve realized that there are definitely some fears that are more common than others.
Below, you will find 5 of the most common homeschool fears as well as my personal thoughts on how to combat them.
“I’m not qualified to teach.”
This one is definitely high on the list of not only reasons why people are afraid to homeschool, but reasons why others (let’s call them naysayers and skeptics) will question your decision to homeschool.
As a society (especially in America where the public school system is the status quo), we operate under the idea that only licensed teachers are qualified to teach. While I would never disparage the hard work that goes into becoming and practicing as a licensed teacher, I also think it’s sort of ridiculous that the assumption is that parents are somehow wholly incapable of teaching their children.
As parents, we are able to not only teach what we know (including the things that most of us learned as products of the public school system) – we also have a VAST and seemingly never-ending database of information to teach the things that we either don’t know or have forgotten. That database? The internet!
The internet is full of blogs, websites, videos, images, printables, and even courses that we can use to teach our children. We can buy books, games, toys, manipulatives, and online homeschool curricula to aid us in making sure that our children receive a well-rounded education.
In fact, with the internet at our fingertips, we can use tools and resources that a lot of schools won’t (or can’t) use.
We also have to remember that in most states, it’s not even required for homeschool parents to have a college degree. So, before you get yourself worked up – do a bit of research into what YOUR state says about parent education qualifications. And remember that you have a great deal of educational materials that are only a click away. (P.S. There’s also always the library – one of my favorite places!)
“My kid won’t make friends and will be labeled weird.”
When people think of homeschoolers, they may think of a group of weird, unsocialized kids that don’t know how to make friends or deal with social situations.
Usually, those people don’t know very many homeschoolers.
If they did, then they would know that you can’t paint all homeschoolers with the same brush – just like you can’t do that with everyone in ANY group of people.
Yes, some homeschoolers may be introverts or a bit socially awkward. And others may be social butterflies who have no problem fitting in wherever they go.
It’s called personality! We all have one and yours is likely to be distinctly different than the people around you.
Assuming that the way someone is educated is the sole basis of their personality or social skills is a bit naive. There are a lot of factors that come into play with those things.
But, most importantly, the assumption that homeschoolers don’t even have opportunities to make friends or be social is 110% NOT TRUE.
In fact, it could be argued that homeschoolers (because they are not required to spend 6-8 hours per day in a school building) actually have MORE opportunities to get out in the world, meet all kinds of different people, and pursue social activities that they enjoy.
Between hanging with neighborhood kids, going to the park, attending community events, going to church, going on field trips, being part of homeschool co-ops, and participating in all kinds of extracurricular activities, homeschool life can be rich in social opportunities. It’s really up to each family what their social calendar looks like!
So, if you’re worried that your child needs more socialization – do some research on what is going on in your community (including your homeschool community) and make a point of participating in whatever resonates with your family.
“I can’t afford it.”
I see a lot of people stressing about how expensive homeschooling is.
Yes, homeschooling CAN be expensive – if you’re trying to homeschool the way that someone else is.
In reality, homeschooling is as affordable as you make it.
Some people have big homeschool budgets, so they go all out when investing in materials, curricula, and social activities.
Some people have smaller budgets, so they focus on investing in the basics and using free resources to fill in the gaps.
There are even people who homeschool 100% for FREE by using online resources, checking things out from their library, attending free educational events, enrolling in free extracurricular activities, and snagging free homeschool materials whenever possible.
“I don’t know what I’m doing.”
For some reason, a lot of seem to think that people who have been homeschooling for years have ALWAYS known exactly what to do and how to do it.
I can guarantee you that most of us had no clue what we were doing when we got started. We knew why we wanted to homeschool and we figured it out from there. We did a lot of research. We (if we were lucky) talked to people who were already homeschooling their kids to get advice. We tried things out, made mistakes, and learned from them.
These days, there are soooo many resources out there for people to learn about homeschooling and how to do it – whether your child is in pre-k or in high school. You just have to get out there and use those resources.
Talk to homeschoolers you know and ask questions.
Join homeschool groups and ask questions.
Read homeschool blogs and magazines.
Watch videos on Youtube about homeschooling.
Become active in your local homeschool community.
As Zig Ziglar would say, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”.
Or, if you need some advice that hits closer to home, imagine what you would tell your child if they were starting a new sport and wanted to give up before they started just because they don’t know how to play yet. You’d probably tell them that they will learn how to play and will get better by actually getting out there and doing it. Take your own advice, my friend!
“I’ll get in trouble for homeschooling”
While I don’t see this fear as much as I see the others, I do hear a lot about friends and family telling homeschoolers they will get in trouble. Even going so far as to say that Child Protective Services or the police need to be called because homeschooling is the equivalent of neglect.
You shouldn’t live in fear that the mere decision to homeschool your children is enough to get you handcuffed and thrown under the jail.
However, it is important to note that each state does have its own set of laws and regulations regarding homeschooling. Some states are fairly relaxed, only requiring that you submit an intent to homeschool form by a certain date. Others are more strict, with regulations about parent education level, curriculum requirements, testing, and more.
You should make time to not only learn about the homeschool laws in your state, but that you stay up to date on them each year.
One resource that is highly recommended is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Since 1983, they have taken on the task of providing legal defense for homeschoolers who need it (for about the cost of one hour of consulting with an attorney). They are also a vast resource of information. On their website, you can learn about homeschool laws in your state, homeschooling your kids, homeschool support groups in your area, homeschool news, and so much more!
Remember, you’re not alone!
While there were only 850,000 homeschool students in the U.S. back in 1999, the past 20 years has seen that number growing steadily. There are well over 2.3 million homeschoolers just in the U.S. That means there are a LOT of homeschool parents out there making it work. All of us have struggled with one thing or another in our journey and many of us have shared about those struggles (and how we overcame them). You just have to be willing to reach out and learn.
Get connected with your fellow homeschool families – both virtually and in person. We’re a huge community of people all set on a similar goal – to provide our children with a wonderful education.
I hope that this has helped to alleviate some of your worries and set on a path towards homeschooling with both joy and confidence.