Encouragement Homeschooling

An Open Letter to the Homeschool Mom from the Certified Teacher

Dear Homeschool Mom, I just need to share something… it’s long but I hope it’s encouraging.

I taught in public school for ten years. I have a MAEd and am a nationally board certified teacher. I’m not trying to impress you. I promise. Keep reading.

Recently after a homeschool group meeting, I stayed behind to chat with a really close friend about her son who is struggling with reading and also has speech issues. She asked for advice from her friend {me} and I offered it. She teared up and thanked me for helping her work through it and for making her feel better. I’m sure most of us have been there, done that–helped a discouraged friend feel better and assisted her in working through her feelings and frustrations and what not.

But here’s the thing. Whether a friend asks for my “expert” teaching advice or just wants reassurance from a friend, my brain is always filled with the good stuff I learned as a teacher. Always. Just like a nurse and her knowledge of the human body. Even if she stopped working outside the home, she still has her nursing knowledge every day. In all that she does. Always. So even though I don’t teach school anymore and haven’t for a decade, my personal knowledge of HOW to teach and WHAT to do always shapes my decisions in our homeschool.

Some of my homeschool friends think this is a downfall of mine, but no matter your view on public school or teachers, one thing is for sure. I have a confidence in what I do that I had long before I even had a baby. So, long before I was pregnant, I already knew how to teach my son to read. I entered homeschooling with an ease and a confidence that most people don’t have.

Of course, my degrees and experience do not serve me in all areas of homeschooling by any means. I’ve always understood that. And, my friends are right, it has interfered with some of my homeschooling decisions. But, there has never been a day. A single day. Or even a moment that I have doubted that I can teach my own kid. Ever. Because I was trained to do so. And, honestly, I was a super classroom teacher. So, I knew I could do it.


And this is what I wanted to share with you….I admire each of you more now than I ever realized before this moment. My friend, with her forgotten dream of being a professional chef, four kids at home and a husband who travels a lot for work stood before me and asked for help because she has twins who are grade levels apart in reading, a seven year old who struggles with confidence issues, and a boy who has major speech concerns. She needed help. And as I stood there in the parking lot, watching her tear up over these things, it dawned on me how very very brave she is. She is taking all of this on…the education of her four kids, the issues with speech for one and the major discrepancies between her twins…she’s taking this all on herself, and she’s armed with no education of her own, no teaching experience, no hours and hours of IEP meetings…nothing but a fierce love for her kids and a conviction that she is doing God’s will in raising her kids the way He commands.


I’m proud to be a homeschooling mom. I’ll admit that I’ve fallen victim to the “I’m holier than thou” attitude at times when wondering why some people don’t homeschool. I think. No, I KNOW, that what we do as homechoolers is amazing. Amazingly hard. Amazingly time consuming. Amazingly fun and rewarding and special. But, until tonight, I never realized how amazingly scary it must be for some people. But you do it anyway. You doubt your skills. You doubt your abilities. You might even doubt your decision on some days. BUT YOU KEEP ON! You find a faith, a drive, a friend, a group, a masseuse or maybe a favorite form of chocolate to help you persevere. And you keep going at it. Even though you’re scared. And confused. And full of doubts.

I admire you so much. I have always tried to say that, yes, I’m a teacher by training but I’m a homeschool mom just like you.

But, I’m not. You’re much more. You are braver and stronger than me. You are all truly amazing. I don’t even know you, but I know that. And, here’s something else I know: you all CAN do it. Ignore what the grocery clerk implies as she checks you out with five kids in tow at noon on a Monday. Let the double-edged “Oh, I could never do that!” comments from your girlfriends slide off your aching back. Forget what your mother-in-law flat-out states over pot roast at Sunday dinner. Stop reading the public school/homeschool debates on Facebook. Believe in that mama-gut that we all have. It won’t always be easy. Some days are filled with more trails of tears than shouts of joy. The public will, heck, your own family might accuse you of ruining your kids’ futures. It will be downright scary at times. But, you can do it. You are brave. You are fierce. You are amazing and I stand in awe.

Katie loved her decade-long career as a classroom teacher, but the second she became a mom, she quit the classroom to stay home and never looked back. {Seriously, she birthed that baby in December and gladly turned her classroom over to a long-term sub!} Now as a stay-at-home mom, she is able to enjoy the best of both her favorite worlds, teaching and mothering, by homeschooling her only child. In her spare time, she uses her experience and education as a teacher coupled with a “cheap” mind {that would rather make it herself than buy it}, to create products for her homeschool co-op and her own kid. You can find them in her TpT store. She currently lives in Kansas with her little family of one husband, one kid, one ancient dog, four glow fish, and a menagerie of caterpillars in various stages of metamorphosis.

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51 Comments

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  • Wow! I really needed to hear this today (as I’m crying into my coffee cup, hiding behind the computer so my child won’t see me). Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Thanks for such a beautiful article! It was very encouraging and you are one of a kind. I ended to hear this. I have one child, a precious daughter, and some days I fel like this is all crazy but God keeps me going. I am also tears eyed st present. God bless you.

  • Thanks for the kind words. I have known other teachers who have privately expressed positive sentiments about homeschooling but it wouldn’t be PC for them to make those sentiments known. I saw one of them at the public library the year after our family started homeschooling, and she pulled me aside to tell me that I was doing the right thing, and she had FIVE in her classroom that would benefit greatly from homeschooling. She was very frustrated at all these extra-hyper children who had caused her to have to rearrange her entire classroom and how her instructional time was reorganized to accommodate their inattentiveness and distractibility. I could tell she was doing her best to give them what they needed, but it was never going to be enough, and of course she couldn’t tell the families (as she did me) that each family’s child would be better off working one-on-one at home. It would be nice to live in a world where teachers actively still in that career could openly acknowledge that some children do great in a classroom environment–and I was one of them–but others don’t fit that mold and may require something different.

  • And when your child is mostly through her PHd and you only went to 2nd year high school ie: Grade9. You can really feel good. That’s me!

  • Thank you for these sweet words. Yesterday I decided after 5 months of homeschooling my ddaughter that I couldn’t take the arguing and the stress anymore. But then my daughter told me she loved homeschool and begged me to let her stay. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and no teaching experience, I may not have a clue what I am doing most days. But I will keep on trying my best to do what is best for my girl.

  • Oh my gosh! I can so relate to the author of this letter. I also taught for years in public school, have a masters in educational administration and was so passionate about my career. However, the minute I became pregnant with my first child, a son, I knew I would only spend my days with him .. and not in a classroom. Fast forward 8 years, we now have 2 children and instead of going back to teach like I had always planned once the kids were school age, I found myself homeschooling. It’s been a whirlwind but I love it!!

  • Thank you for writing this! It is just what I needed this morning. I’m not a mother with any any degrees and struggle sometimes. I know this is what the Lord instructed us to do for our family. It’s not easy! We are seeing the fruit of our labor. I think we have all felt like throwing in the towel at times. I have been very discouraged lately. This article is just what I needed to push me forward. Thank you!

  • Thank you very much for your kind words of wisdom I’m a new mom to home schooling for 3 foster kiddies out of 3 back grounds an not one coping very well with normal school streams so I decides to go for home schooling just into my third day . Not sure what to do but I trust in the Lord an keep praying I know he will lead the way will be glad to have you as a home school friend (mom)

  • What an encouragement!! This article was just so perfect for me today. I never really thought about being brave, I just always knew I was following the Lord’s calling in my life. Why I never saw that as bravery I don’t know, but you are right. So many Moms who lay aside their own plans/desires/wants to spend years and years teaching their kids-yes, they are brave.
    Thank you!!

  • Thank you so very much for your post!!! I needed this!!! I am new to home school. This is my first year. It is very scary and so rewarding at the same time!!! Thank you so much for your honesty and encouragement!

  • Thank you so much for this! May the Holy Spirit continue giving you such words of wisdom to encourage so many moms/dads in our homeschooling community.

    • Thanks for your kind words, I’ve been home schooling since last Sept before that I was a mobile technician.. I do believe this is my calling and I thank God always for strength. This journey is fantastic, its tiring but also very rewarding.. And I will say to all of you to press on, some days are hard but God will give you all the strength to cope. He never gives us things we cant handle, and if it is hard he will help you on the way.. He has given us our bundles of blessings to care for, n that’s what we should do and are doing.. Blessings to you all.xx.

  • Thank You for this. I admit my impression of the system is broken. I set out with a plan. I can tell you home schooling was no where in it. But when the one trusted place has lost your child twice and after a year and 3 months the Principal puts her hands on your shoulder in a long IEP meeting after you ask “where are your sons books” and “why does he not get to go to electives” the response is —-> “because he is not capable.” THIS was the brick right after his 8th birthday that hit me on the head that the system is broken and they gave up. I would not give up on my child. That day we left hand in hand and my life did a complete change. My career, life, everything is now my 2 boys. I miss me. But I love my tour guides.

    • Blessings to you. May the Lord honor you and bless you for making that decision. May he put SOMETHING AWESOME in the place of the career that you miss! Lisa McCall

  • I so needed this! I read a beautiful post a friend wrote on FB last night – messages she sent her kids’ teachers this week. It was beautiful and suddenly I had this amazing doubt about my decision to homeschool. Am I ruining my kids? Are they missing out? I had to step away and remind myself of the positive reasons we decided to homeschool. I know I need to be more organized and diligent, but the reasons we homeschool go so far beyond whether or not they learn all their subjects to the best of their abilities. This article came at just the right time!! Thank you!

  • While I can appreciate that encouragement and validation is often needed when starting the homeschool journey, I think it is worth pointing out that partnership with our children isn’t scary, fearful or brave on our part. It’s parental. It’s natural. As parents, we don’t need validation of educators to do this. Yes, going against the status quo is difficult and needs support at times, but seeing our children flourish is validation enough. We don’t really need validation from educators, former educators, scientists, polls, and surveys.

    ” …she’s taking this all on herself, and she’s armed with no education of her own, no teaching experience, no hours and hours of IEP meetings…nothing but a fierce love for her kids and a conviction that she is doing God’s will in raising her kids the way He commands.”

    Not by herself because there are so many examples of great homeschooling, she doesn’t need to be educated to raise learners, she doesn’t need teaching experience or IEP meetings or VALIDATION. From anyone.

    I know this article was not meant to be condescending, but I could not help but notice that the focus was on the scary parts of homeschooling and how parents are alone and uneducated and therefore ‘brave’. That is so far from my own experience and so far from the experience of so many parents I know who are choosing to keep their children home and continue the partnership and relationship they’ve had with their child since day one.

    I would love to see an article from this same author about how children learn outside textbooks, classrooms and how parents aren’t brave despite their lack of education, how they are not scared, but how they are doing what comes naturally since they gave birth, how some days can be a struggle, but overall a partnership with their children isn’t an act of bravery but a natural progression. I would love to hear about how kids learn this way too, how kids learn without effort, fierce, brave and strong parents…how they just learn day to day and it’s easy, fluid and wonderful. Set me up with some links, please, so I can see that other side.

    • To Maria: Keep in mind, the author is not addressing the confident, glowingly successful, encouraged-on-all-sides parents like yourself. They don’t NEED more encouragement (now). She IS encouraging those who are in need (now). Bless her for doing so. You seem to be brimming over with extra confidence, and time to write. I encourage YOU to write the article for which you ask. It will also touch readers who agree with your thoughts. Although, that might mean you would be validating them. Yes, it’s OK for to validate anyone’s feelings, confident or not. We all, at some point in time, have need of it. It is obvious many people needed to hear the words this author has penned. My guess is you will also, at some point in time, when the cares of life catch you unexpectedly.

      To Katie: Thank you for encouraging those who needed it today.

    • Maria, I do agree with you. It is not scary because we lack teaching credentials. We just deal with the natural stress–and joys–of raising, and teaching our families. And Veteran Mom is also right that you should write the article you described. Really. i do prefer your way of instilling confidence rather than simply being a cheerleader. I kept waiting for the part where she realized that all mom’s are capable and endowed with God-given ability. That a teaching degree is NOT necessary. But we are talking about YOUR article. I will watch for it!

  • Thank you so much have went thru hard year, with triple bypass heart surgery. Eye surgery, and gastrpresis. But we got thru homeschool year and it brought us closer as a family. Your letter was a inspiration. Thanks so much for writing it.

  • Your story reminds me so much of me! I also have an only child, quit teaching when she was born, and never looked back. I went from stay-at-home mom to homeschool mom. I agree with what you said. When my Classical Conversations tutor ladies get together and we discuss what we are doing, it feels just like working with any other teachers, even though most do not have an education background. Their creativity is so inspiring and I’m in awe of what they do. It’s a joy to be a part of it!

  • Thank you for that encouraging post. It helps a lot. May God Bless you more for sharing the joy of having a home school kids. To God be praised & glory forever in everything that we do in our daily lives.

  • Thank you. As tears flow, I felt something I have yet to feel from the beginning of this journey, a sigh of relief. Someone gets it. The achy shoulders, the sore muscles, the visual chaos brought on by the very active almost 5-year-old, the responsibility of the 10-year-old and continuing the guiding during this new phase of life are all worth it. Having a reminder and some encouragement, priceless. I wish more understood this. Who does not need encouragement?! It is a nice change from the opposite.

  • Thank you for your encouraging words. These really made me cry. Im a mother of a 2-yr old and im planning to homeschool my child but yes, i couldn’t agree more on everything you said. Im scared, and in a battle with family who doesnt understand and support you. Thank you again.

  • Wow!! Thank you for this. We homeschool mums need to stick together and continue encouraging each other. Yes there are good days and bad days but nothing beats the overall purpose of being a homeschooling my children, for sure. Definitely I am among the minority where I live and I get those comments like why do it, and the funny looks when we go to library with my 5 year old on a Monday afternoon so he can pick a few books. I’m encouraged, lifted up, happy, and challenged just from reading this. Thank you

  • I am also a homeschool mom that has a teaching degree. This year I decided to homeschool my 10 yr old. Up until now I subbed a lot. Then this fall there were a lot of budget cuts, meaning there were no teaching openings anywhere in my county (since you live in Kansas, you might know of Reno County, northwest of Wichita). In any case, I decided I could still teach, but a school of one student. It has been amazing so far, especially as I still sub (no more than two days a week) because I see how much learning my son would have missed in the day-to-day problems of disruptive children, a highly structured school day, and sub-standard lessons.

  • Thank you. I am having one of those “what was I thinking” moments today as my son was rolling his eyes yet again. I kept thinking am I the best one to teach him? I can’t even get him to clean his room! But this post really helped. I didn’t feel brave and it is scary and your cyber ‘pat on the back’ was exactly what I needed.
    You rock

  • I am a Wife, a Mother and a Founding Minister of a growing Ministry that travels; moved to tears this morning and am thankful to God and you for this encouraging post this morning….What a blessing you are to many that needed to hear from you today and did not even know it! You are a Leader indeed….maybe a blog could fit into you schedule?! Blessing to you in Jesus name…

  • Former classroom teacher and corporate trainer here. I could cry and cheer at this. Cry because even with my training, I feel overwhelmed. Cheer because you are so RIGHT – mamas who take on home schooling, regardless of their background, are BRAVE WARRIORS! I am home schooling one with dysgraphia/dyscalculia and one with Down syndrome. I once read that if you’re not on your knees at the cross while home schooling, you’re not doing it right. This experience has shaped me as much or more than my children. May God’s grace cover my shortfalls.

  • I am raising and homeschooling my granddaughter. Every day that I wake up I question whether I’ve made the right decision; whether I am trying to overcompensate for the poor job I feel I did as a parent. I gave up my newly earned bachelor’s degree and promising career to give her what I feel is the best beginning. This letter was so very encouraging. I have a deep respect and admiration for anyone who makes caring for children their life, so being included in the group of people that she is referring to…wow, thank you.

  • My name is Julia Venegas I’m from Oklahoma City. I pretty much decided to homeschool my only son. The Public School System here is not good and over crowded. I can give my son the one on one attention and he’ll be able to concentrate and learn and not be distracted. But I’m so scared, nervous, and stressed-out trying to get all the stuff we’re going to need like his school supplies, my teacher supplies, etc; and get everything organized for this school year. I’m not college educated or the smartest person in the world nor have a lot of money… but I know I can do this with all the websites I can print off lessons plans, worksheets, etc and be able to get tips and advice. There’s also so many homeschooling group’s I can join. There is a group that meets on Fridays of parents and homeschool kids. They go on field trips so he will not be antisocial or a loner. But I’m so scared I’m going to mess up or not teach him the right stuff but also exited, anxious, ready to start a hopefully good journey with my son. Definitely do not want to mess up because my family is saying I’m being too over protective and homeschooling is not good … that he needs to he social, be around kids his age Basically saying I need to let my son go to school but I think I know what’s best for my son and it’s not public school. Sorry to post so much. But if anyone has any advice or tips about homeschooling or ideas on lesson planning they could share, it will be greatly appreciated. Thank you ladies!

  • That was an interesting point of view. I would just like to point out that a secular college education (not sure if the author attended a state/secular university or Private/Christian) is detrimental -not helpful- when it comes time to homeschool. Here are my reasons for saying this: the philosophy behind secular teaching schools is based largely on anti-Christian philosophy and an anti-Christian view and value of human life. If your premise in teaching a child is based on the belief in Macro Evolution -that we all evolved from pond scum- that affects every aspect of the teaching methodology. EVERY ASPECT. It is better IMHO to simply be able to read and have a love for truth and for your children than to have a Masters degree in education with that baggage (false premises) affecting the education your child receives from you which YOU received from a secular professor. I attended a secular college for 3 years (towards a Bachelors in education) before transferring to a Christian college and changing my major to business. Most of university level education for future teachers focuses on how to teach LARGE GROUPS of diverse children, how to teach to the upcoming standardized test, how to limit your lessons to 25 minutes and fill out paperwork for the latest NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND or COMMON CORE fiasco …oh, and teach diversity and sex education to kindergartners.

  • Thank you! I really needed to hear your encouraging words as I head into my 15th year of homeschooling. By God’s grace, I will persevere!

  • It was 22 years ago we started our homeschool lifestyle and never looked back. I use to cry at times, but most of the time it was an amazing journey that our kids thank us for still. We are very close and I know that would not have been the case without homeschooling. My daughter is a RN today (who doesn’t owe any student loans since she got a scholarship) and my son is full time military. I wouldn’t trade a moment of the homeschool days!! I am so thankful that I get to help with my grand daughters homeschooling now.

  • Oh my God!!! What can I say? Just a THANK YOU!!! Thanks for the words. It is so refreshing for me and I know for other moms too. God bless!!!

  • You will receive a never-ending string of comments as time progresses (it is now…tick, tock, tick, tock…2017!) as each of us who are questioning everything, at times, stumbles across your letter. This letter will help with the encouragement that many of us need. Thank you so much! I’ve never seen being a former teacher turned homeschool mom as a downfall. I thought it was great to have that background already. Still, each of us comes from different backgrounds (me – a bachelor’s degree and it’s still hard because homeschooling is not just about education, it’s about time – time with God (if you’re a believer), time with our children, time with ourselves, time with our husbands, time with friends and extended family. It challenges who we think we are. It challenges our trust that things will work out, and so much more. I can go on because it can be hard, yet deeply rewarding.). We all share the same purpose, and that is to teach our kids the best way we can – hopefully, with God leading the way. I pray that each of us continues on His journey in the way that He intends and that we reap what He has put into us to sow, which so many homeschooling moms have done already.

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