Every once in awhile, you might get a strange feeling. A twinge that you don’t quite fit in, you aren’t worthy of the job you’ve taken on as a homeschooler who may not have a Master’s Degree in education. The imposter syndrome can sneak up on you and make you feel inadequate as a parent and an educator. However, a little self-preservation can give you the strength you need to feel less like an imposter and more like you’ve got this.
It’s so much easier to handle any type of problem if you can narrow it down to the source of the issue. I’ve been in situations numerous times where other people have looked down on me for homeschooling my kids. The condescending tones, the questions, the eyebrows raised. I usually don’t really care what other people think. But, once in a while, someone’s words strike a tender nerve and cause me to doubt a little if I am cut out for the job. If you find the same people over and over jabbing you here and there for homeschooling, maybe even unintentionally, you have identified a source and can then deal with it appropriately. Are there other situations that leave you feeling singled out or under fire?
Doubts and feelings of inadequacy can jump out of nowhere leaving you completely drained. They lurk in one of the most unexpected of places: your favorite homeschool convention. You show up ready for inspiration and while you find your seat at the perfect workshop there she is, the mom who has it all together, the mom who looks like she works out every day for two hours when you can barely squeeze in a walk around the block with the double stroller, the mom who has great hair, the mom who has seven children who know all the presidents in order and you have an only child who struggles with math, the mom who has the ideal curriculum for you to try out, the mom who has a side-hustle job and just bought that trendy new purse she’s carrying. Boom! Why are you here at this convention? Why are you homeschooling when you wouldn’t even recognize the presidents’ names if someone showed you a list? Be prepared for that convention. Remind yourself that everyone there is just like you: trying to do the best they can. Tell yourself you have your reasons for homeschooling and those reasons are valid and good enough. Yes, go to learn but don’t let anyone make you feel stupid about how you do what you do. If you are new to homeschooling, take a deep breath and remember that it takes time to figure new things out, homeschooling included. You do belong.
The best way for me personally to combat those feelings of not belonging in the homeschool world is to find other moms who are also living out the homeschool lifestyle. They know firsthand what it’s like to stay the course day in day out at home. I can let down my guard, open up, and receive encouragement and also be supportive to others. We are in this thing together! Nobody is an imposter.
One great resource is HomeschoolFacts.com which has a directory of homeschool support groups.
Sarah Brutovski is a homeschool mom of three children. She grew up just down the street from where she and her husband are raising their family now in rural Upstate New York. When she is not teaching her kids, grocery shopping, or drinking coffee you might find her training for a half marathon, escaping for a morning at the beach, or chatting on the phone with one of her four siblings. Sarah loves writing on her blog sarahswritingcafe.blogspot.com and currently teaches creative writing at her kids’ weekly co-op.