First stage of homeschooling: Imposter syndrome

When I look back at photos of the beginning of homeschooling, I realize that the first stage of homeschooling is imposter syndrome. It happened to me day after day. For so many days.

Some days I’d have no idea what to do with the kids, so I’d let them do whatever they wanted, and they would go back and forth between playing and fighting all day long. I thought, “There is no way this counts as homeschooling.”

Other days I’d be gung-ho abut teaching tools. I remember one trip to a teacher supply store that ended with my kids learning US geography and I remember thinking, “This is so random. Why am I picking this, of all the things they can spend their time on today? I’m wasting their time.”

I took farm pictures as if we lived this charmed life with the forest and the animals and the vegetable garden and boys running free all day long.

Then I’d catch myself worrying, “We are not learning math. Someone is going to find out, shame the kids, and I’ll feel terrible.”

I’m not sure if imposter syndrome ever ends, not when it comes to homeschooling. Because who knows how this will turn out? As I write this I realize that the surprise about the beginning of homeschooling is the feeling that you might be doing something wrong. You never get that feeling—at least about school—because with school, you give up your kid’s education to someone else to manage.

So that imposter feeling never ends when you take that responsibility. Some days I feel so confident about homeschooling, and sometimes I hope my kids have good insurance for all the therapy they’re going to need to deal with their delusional mother-as-teacher.

I am relieved to read that  imposter syndrome is good for you. It’s a sign of growth. So I am high-fiving myself.

So many times, as homeschooling parents, we wonder if our emphasis on taking care of kids means our own life is stagnating. But imposter syndrome is actually evidence that we’re doing something right: just like our kids, we are trying new things, looking for our passions, and taking risks that feel, at times, absurd.

9 replies
  1. Jhpp
    Jhpp says:

    I feel the same way at least every other day after two years! No one cares when kids graduate school uneducated and so many do! Or unhappy as heck!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      That’s a great point. I never hear high school graduates being quizzed about what they learned. It would be absurd. Even though we know high school education is a crap shoot. I need to not worry when my kids get quizzed by people suspicious of homeschooling. I need to trust that my kids have enough self-confidence to deal with it.


      • Regina
        Regina says:

        It irritates me when my husband’s family “tests” our children. When one of them asks my children what six times six is, I jump in with questions about elemental weights and geographical locations they don’t know the answers to. Try it, and keep a smile on your face. It will quiet the opposition inside AND outside of your soul. Also, my dearest friends are public school teachers and they would never show such disrespect to me or my children. People who love your kids will encourage them to keep learning in any case, those who don’t, only want to shame you.

  2. Karelys
    Karelys says:

    The red picture is my favorite picture.

    And this line is my favorite line: ” Some days I feel so confident about homeschooling, and sometimes I hope my kids have good insurance for all the therapy they’re going to need to deal with their delusional mother-as-teacher.”

  3. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    I think no one quizzes hig school graduates bc everyone knows they had to pass tons of tests to graduate. And if the go to college that’s like walking proof they learned something in high school

  4. Paula Bolyard
    Paula Bolyard says:

    I totally understand the feeling! The good news is, you’ll have to work a lot harder than trips to the teacher supply store to screw your kids up. :)

    One thing that really helped me was explaining to my husband how much I needed to know that he was confident in my ability to teach our kids. When we first started homeschooling, anytime I complained about a bad day he would say, “We should just send them to school.” He was just trying to give me an “out” because he felt like I was under a lot of pressure, not realizing that it was killing my confidence. Once we got that straightened out, things were much better and I started to feel like I really could do it. It’s important to have people in your life who believe in you and who tell you they believe in you.

    Paula, Editor, PJ Media Parenting

  5. Naz
    Naz says:

    I’m so overwhelmed and nervous as I’ll be homeschooling my 6 year old this fall for the first time! I googled online and found this blog, I don’t know where to start and how would it turn out to be as there’s so much information but I guess it’s just the matter of taking the first step! I feel scared at times coz I don’t wana fail my son with his education needs! He’s smart but a shy kid and that’s part of the reason Im deciding to homeschool. I hope I will be able to do a good job and find the support I need to go thru it!

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