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Home > Support > Homeschooling > I do not have a college degree and feel that I might not be smart enough to teach my children...
Question: I just purchased your curriculum for third grade for my daughter. I have been praying about the choice to homeschool before my first child was even born. I do not have a college degree and always felt that I might not be smart enough to teach my children (especially with computer technology available to our children at such a young age--which I have very little). My daughter has attended a Catholic school since Pre-K. She is doing wonderful at this school. But I still have this desire or "pull" to want to homeschool her. My family and friends think that I shouldn't bother because she is doing so well where she is. They have even gone so far as to say that I would be "holding her back; how will I be able to teach her when the hard courses come along if I have never taken them myself; I will cause her to rebel as a teenager; she will become anti social," and the list goes on. My husband is reluctant but is willing to give it a try. As she is getting older I have this fear of her attending any school because of peer pressure, drugs, exposure to peers who do not have the moral values that we want to instill. I am so discouraged and unsure about what to do. Do you think it would be wise to try homeschooling her during the summer to see how it goes? I have her registered with her school in the fall just to cover myself. I bought your curriculum for third grade to work on through the summer. Does this sound like a good plan? Should I be so concerned about everyone's thoughts?

Dear Mom,

It is a beautiful witness of your love for your daughter that you have been praying for discernment. A child is a gift from the Lord and it is the Lord who must guide us as we journey through parenthood. There are seasons in parenthood whereby we may not know exactly the path to take however our uncertain feelings do not indicate that the Lord is not able to show us the way. Prayer is the way that we communicate our struggles to a loving Lord Who is eager to help us.

I think that it is an excellent idea to 'test the waters' with a little homeschooling during the summer months. However I would be very careful to go lightly into your efforts. It would be very productive to determine the rhythm of your teaching style as it relates to your daughter's learning style. Make this endeavor a cooperative effort for you and your daughter. Have her go over the curriculum and the text books with you. Let her see the materials that you have ordered and give her an opportunity to express her feelings about the materials. In other words, as this is very new to her, it may help if she is encouraged to express her opinions and her ideas concerning the homeschooling lifestyle. She will have concerns and it is always a wonderful idea to address those concerns as they arise. You may want to have your school time limited to just one hour a day. This gives you sufficient time to see how the two of you will work together as a team. I suspect that your dear little girl is going to enjoy the adventure. She is a bright student and that is a witness of your efforts. My daughter is a 1st grade teacher and she believes wholeheartedly that the 'best students' are those who parents are involved and tuned in to their child's journey with education. She believes that she is merely a support person for the greater contribution of the parents.

Through your prayer, it is clear that the Lord is calling you to homeschool. However it is equally important that we do not follow the Lord's will from a sense of fear. Fear is not an emotion that is of the Lord. God did not give us a spirit of fear. We have a spirit of caution and prudence but fear is an emotion that humans will try to outrun. This is important to keep in mind.The Tempter uses fear to confuse and confound our efforts to follow the Lord's will. For example I think you see the foolishness in marrying a person just because you are afraid that you will never marry. The same holds true with homeschooling. Do not homeschool because you are afraid of the effects of public education on your child. Do not explain your choice to homeschool your child using these explanations. Children have a wonderful sense of ability and courage. They will tell you 'that won't happen to me.' In the same respect we never know when the Lord may call you to return your child to public education. You do not want your child to be afraid of anything. We want our children to have good common sense, prudence and wisdom. Fear limits what we are able to achieve and therefore limits our ability to follow the Lord correctly. It takes courage not  fear to follow the Lord's will.

Do not worry about the 'what ifs'. Today's tasks are enough for today. That is how the Lord instructed us to think about the challenges of the future. Trust in the Lord. He is calling you into this lifestyle and He will empower you through the Holy Spirit to overcome the challenges that He alone allows. Jesus has overcome evil. This means that He has overcome the power of evil in our lives. We must trust in the Lord, stay close to Him in prayer and above all call upon Him when we find ourselves unsettled due to anxiety and fear. This does not mean that we should not exercise right judgment, proper planning, and prudent follow-through with regard to our future. However to be anxious over 'what ifs' is limiting and counterproductive. We all do it and it is truly a human weakness but then our loving Lord understands our human weaknesses with the tenderness and loving attention of a Good Shepherd. When a sense of fear overwhelms you, sit before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration. Let the tender Jesus calm your fears just as He calmed the stormy seas for the Apostles.

Explore the option of getting to know other Catholic homeschooling families in your area. Get involved with these families and encourage your daughter to make friends within this community. This is a wonderful support network that can help you greatly. As far as the subjects that you think you may not be able to teach, many of us, when we are faced with this challenge, hire tutors or find help within homeschool co-op alternatives or tutorials.

When your family begins to question your choice to homeschool, remember to tell them exactly the way you feel. Your letter indicates that you are homeschooling first and foremost from a sense of calling. You believe that the Lord is calling you to this lifestyle. Ask your loving family to pray for you as you venture into what you believe is the Lord's will for you.

You are going to do very well. You have a heart for your child and a desire and longing for the Lord. You are the Lord's precious daughter and He will guide you and lovingly shepherd you through the journey of life on this earth until we are reunited with Him in our Heavenly home.

Jesus, we ask that You send persons into our dear sister's life that will encourage and uplift her as she begins the journey into the homeschooling lifestyle. Lord empower her with the gift of prudence and right judgment as she makes choices which will affect her family. Give her the strength that is of the Lord to go to her husband for support. Let the two of them be a team in this parenting endeavor. Lord we ask that all parents feel empowered and able each day as they nurture and protect the innocence and spiritual health of their children. Amen St. Ann pray for us. St. Angela Merici pray for us.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

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