Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies. I hope you’re having a nice weekend. A few days ago, I posted a question on my Instagram, asking if you struggle with self-confidence as a homeschool Mom. The result was a staggering 75% YES, and in all honesty, I wasn’t surprised.
Why? Because homeschooling doesn’t come with a manual. It’s a journey that takes time to get comfortable with and even after years of homeschooling that feeling can still pop up from time to time. That’s not always a bad thing; at the end of the day we all want what is best for our children and every concerned parent has moments they need support and reassurance!
So grab your coffee and lets chat about some of the reasons why Homeschool Moms can be hit with bouts of self-doubt and what we can do to help combat these feelings and feel better bi’idhnillah.
The shaky shift in the parenting paradigm
I spoke about this on my Instagram feed recently, and I really do feel its important to highlight. See, our personal life journeys most certainly impact our homeschool journeys because homeschooling and parenting are intrinsically linked. So inevitably our unique backgrounds and circumstances influence our homeschool approaches.
For example, a revert sister, who wasn’t raised a Muslim, will be experiencing many things for the first time with her children.
Most of us weren’t homeschooled! We were largely taught that going to public school was the way to success so the whole idea of homeschooling can challenge those mentalities we ourselves grew up with.
What about interracial marriages, whereby husband and wife have to merge their views of parenting including education together, which is not always easy to do.
And for many of us, the very idea of homeschooling challenges the idea of what it takes to be a successful mother. The criterion of always having a clean home, being able to cook worldly cuisine, ready to entertain company and having everything in order all day every day literally can get turned on its head!
The point I’m making is just you’ve embarked onto the journey of homeschooling, it doesn’t mean to say it will always feel natural. Having said that, it won’t always feel that way either. It may just mean that you need to grow in confidence in your ability as a parent, the atmosphere you want to create in your home, your values, and what you consider to be a priority.
This may be similar to how you were raised, or completely different! However, be rest assured that both can lead to a successful outcome insha’Allah.
Making learning ‘fun’.
Another reason many mamas including myself struggle with self-confidence is setting unrealistic expectations of daily life, namely feeling the need to have fun projects, activities and shelves set up all day every day. Oh, how much I struggled with this when I first began homeschooling as do many newbie homeschool moms.
The reality is, having projects set up all the time isn’t realistic, possible or even necessary. But when our perception of homeschooling becomes ‘project setups’, we are setting ourselves up for failure. And for a mom who has just taken the bold decision to begin homeschooling, not keeping up with daily projects can absolutely lead to a dent in her self confidence.
For sure, homeschooling can include fun projects but doesn’t always have to. In fact, often you’ll find that children, especially young children, only enjoy projects when they are done once in a while as that is what makes them special. So go ahead, and set up a few shelves, but realise they are a bonus. On the day you wake up without having had prepared a sensory bin the night before, it doesn’t mean that learning won’t take place! Reading, playing, outdoor time, and read alouds for younger children are more than enough, alhamdulillah! Because kids can learn colours, numbers, shapes and animal names without flashcards or binders! Remember, learning is already fun; it doesn’t have to always be ‘made fun’.
And as kids get older, absolutely incorporate a variety of learning, but it’s really not the end of the world if you haven’t done a ‘science fair’ project in a while.
Remember, a mother who is happy, present and engaged with her children will teach much better than a frazzled mama with a sensory bin for every day of the week.
The need to ‘glamorise’ your homeschool
As you browse on Instagram, follow on on Facebook, or pen through Pinterest, you will often find beautiful homeschool accounts with beautifully laid tables, candles, a lit fire, a stack of books and all the kiddos looking immaculate eager and ready to learn. Let me stop you right there, that is not how homeschooling looks! I mean, it may be like that for a few minutes until your toddler decides to blow out the candle, the baby rips a few pages of the book and you’ve left the dishes because you’d rather take an impromptu trip to the park to enjoy the weather!
There’s nothing wrong with sharing those beautiful moments, but for a Mama who hasn’t quite found her feet, it can often have a negative impact. Because it doesn’t paint homeschooling in its entirety. Im going to put it out there homeschooling isn’t glamourous. It’s messy, sticky, chaotic and loud; sometimes all at once.
So ensure you browse social media mindfully. Remind yourself that what you see isn’t the full picture but most likely the Mama who took the picture more than likely has an overflowing laundry basket that needs to be sorted. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
Because although homeschooling isn’t always pretty, it is beautiful.
The pressure to produce a child genius
When we make the decision to homeschool, we often subconsciously burden ourself and promote ourselves to advocate its benefits to those around us. Almost like we need to convince others of our choice and that it works. But that’s not all, Mamas can feel the pressure to prove it works by proving that this ‘one to one’ time means that her child/dren have an added advantage and therefore will undeniably be eligible for a place on MENSA.
That is not always true.
Sure, the ratio of homeschool teaching most definitely has its benefits. For some children, this can result in them getting ahead of their peers but for some, it just means going at a pace that may be the same or even a little behind than public schooled children.
One of my daughters is dyslexic and would be considered ‘behind’ and my other daughter is able to grasp concepts that would be considered advanced Allahuma barik; both are fine! Homeschooling allows me to take things slower and give my eldest more help, and also expose my other daughter to more advanced concepts, allowing them to thrive in their own ways. But is my younger daughters journey more valuable than the eldest – absolutely not.
Homeschooling isn’t a wrestle against the public school and neither is it a competition with other homeschoolers to build your child’s CV before the age of ten.
The aim is not to raise child geniuses but happy children who are lifelong learners.
Replicating someone else’s journey
We often as homeschool moms turn to veteran homeschoolers for advice, support and inspiration. That podcast over a cup of tea when your feeling a little jittery can be all you need sometimes. Hearing success stories of other families is so beautiful mashaAllah and really boosts morale.
But remember. When veteran homeschoolers began their journeys they had far less support, and even access to other families compared to now. They had good and bad days too; tears, tantrums doubts and low seasons. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t think that one day their own journeys, and philosophies would one day be a reference point for future homeschool moms.
But what they had in common was confidence in their own ability and decisions. That what they were doing worked for their children, and over time grew in confidence to the point they comfortably share it with others. And that’s what we need to do. Not try and replicate anyone’s journey but make our own journies.
Like I always say, ‘Love your Homeschool, its the only one you have’.
Limiting your success to yourself
This is by far the most important point I’d like to remind myself and you, my fellow Mom. because often that feeling of anxiety and doubt kicks in when we have attributed the success or failure of something entirely to ourselves, forgetting that success lies in the hands of Allah.
As believers, we are reminded to tie our camel and put our trust in Allah. But with the day to day hustle and bustle, we usually remember and implement the tying our camel part but unintentionally forget that Allaah is the Disposer of all affairs, including this affair of teaching our children; may Allah forgive us for our shortcomings.
So let us speak to Him about our worries and doubts. For surely du’a brings a calmness to the heart of a believer, and shows our humility before Allaah Azawajal. It is a tool to help us remain firm and patient, through both difficulties and is ease. So let us utilise this tool, and remind ourselves that should our children grow up to be righteous, that is from Allah azawajals mercy.
“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” Surah Ash-sharh
I hope these tips have helped and reassured you that you are not alone. Do you struggle with self-confidence? Share your experiences below and share this article with a sister who may need a little support.