Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Killing the Monster

If you’ve homeschooled for any length of time at all, you’ve had a scary visit from the Doubt Monster. Sometimes it sneaks in the door with family and friends. Sometimes it roars with the voice of a fellow mom telling about her youngster’s many accomplishments. It never took much for me to panic. The neighbor’s kids are already speaking fluent Spanish? My fourth grader can’t point out Australia on a globe for grandma? Yikes! Had I made a huge mistake with this whole homeschooling thing?

There are weapons that will kill that nasty beast. Here are some you should have in your arsenal.
• Your spouse. My husband wasn’t home all day witnessing what a failure I was as a teacher. He was great at pointing out the great things the kids were doing.
• A homeschool support mom. Nothing shrinks the size of the Doubt Monster faster than knowing he is spreading himself very thin out there. We often believe he lives only in our houses. It always helped to know I wasn’t the only one questioning myself. This special person will also be the one who knows what a great job you’re doing and can remind you of this. If you don’t have a close homeschool friend, find one as soon as you can!
• Prayer. God called you to this job. Where God guides, God provides. Let Him help you see that you can do what He led you to do.
• Collect some Bible verses. There are lots of passages in Scripture that focus on God’s faithfulness. Hold onto the ones that speak to your heart.
• The big picture. Lots of times doubt comes in because of a tiny lack we see in ourselves or our children. I worried constantly about my kids’ weakness in spelling. My daughter has impeccable grammar, and my son has an incredible imagination, but sometimes all I could see was the misspelled word instead of the more important aspects of the stories they wrote. (And thanks to spell check, they hardly ever misspell a word anymore!)
• Journal. Record why you are homeschooling. What experiences influenced your decision? What benefits have you seen in your children and your family life? What encouragement have you heard? Write it all down, so you can remember when you are struggling.

Remember, Teri and I have had every doubt you’ve had (maybe more), so feel free to share your struggles with us. Maybe we can help—or know someone who can!

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