Overcoming fears about not knowing enough to homeschool

A reader asks the following:

>>I am really struggling right now, b/c I want to homeschool so badly, and my oldest is 5, so this is really where it actually begins (the fall), and I’m so scared of failing him. I feel like I don’t have the Jewish background to give him what he needs and I don’t have the organization skills or patience to give him what he needs. But I so desperately believe in it and want to.

How did you take the plunge and get over your fear? How did you learn what he needed to know, specifically about Jewish subjects? And how did you give that to multiple boys? When I think about teaching my oldest son kindergarten, I can maybe handle it, but when I think about 4 years from now, when all three of my boys are going to be at different levels, it’s sooooo much to wrap my mind around… I get lost. Any advice, I would reallllllly appreciate<<

This question – how do you do what you think is right for your child when you doubt your ability to provide for their needs? – is one that most mothers have at some time, whether they’re homeschooling or not!

If there’s a gap in your Jewish background, then you can learn alongside your child.  Learning to read , daven and share knowledge about the holidays and weekly Torah portion are generally comfortably taught by parents.  If anything on that list is intimidating to you, look for supplemental support.

You’re not on your own.  If you’re living in a Jewish community, there will be resource people you can turn to for specific ideas, suggestions and guidance.  There are also online resources that can help fill in any gaps.  (Readers, please share sites/resources that have been of the most help to you!)

Being organized is a helpful trait in life but being highly organized isn’t the primary quality necessary to effectively home educate your child.  The primary qualities are a dedication to your child’s well-being and a willingness to find resources to help him get what he needs, along with enjoying spending time with him.  Nothing stands in for a passion to do what is best for your child!

Last night I spoke to parents interested in learning about homeschooling and one asked me about how to overcome the fear of making the decision to homeschool.  There’s nothing to do about the fear except act on the basis of your convictions.  My experience was that the hardest thing I did was make the decision to homeschool because I was facing the fear of the unknown and making a choice different from everyone I knew.  That makes everything look much more intimidating and frightening!  But everything after that first decision everything was easier.

Live in the moment.   If right now you can meet your son’s needs, then right now you’re fine.  If you get to a point you can’t meet those needs, you have the option of getting other people involved in your homeschooling life (eg tutor) or sending your child to school.  Don’t feel that the choice you make to homeschool now obligates you to continue to the very end of the educational path – that’s way too much pressure.  As time goes on different factors in your life will change and you may have help later on from sources you can’t anticipate now.

Looking ahead is all well and good but sometimes we can overthink things and the result is we’re afraid to take action today because of the fear of what will happen a few years down the road!


2 thoughts on “Overcoming fears about not knowing enough to homeschool

  1. With homeschooling you can ALSO use tutors. You can download audio files. We used to use $1 Torah Tapes & our kids would go to bed listening to them every night (except shabbath/holidays). This improved their English, listening comprehension & middoth. We had about 100 Torah Tapes’ “Children’s Stories” & “Chassidic Tales.”
    “Children’s Stories” was very, very simple English w/stories about people doing the right thing. “Chassidic Tales” wasn’t “chassidic,” rather it was (is) historical narratives in EXCELLENT English. Last week I found ONLINE the narrators of these two collections w/SOME free downloads. “Chassidic Tales” are by this rav:
    & “Children Stories” are by this rav:

    Sons WILL need someone to teach them gemara.

    Simon Checker

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