It’s Time to Kick Your Inferiority Complex

You’re more qualified to teach your kids than you think you are.

I had lunch with a friend the other day, and it wasn’t long before our conversation drifted to her role as a homeschool mom. In essence, she was frustrated and overwhelmed, convinced that she was doing a terrible job teaching her children, and desperately wondering if she should put them in a traditional classroom.

“Well, I wouldn’t put them in a public school – on an academics basis alone,” I said, working my way through lunch. Being an education researcher has its perks, because when she asked what I meant, I started citing the proficiency statistics for a public school district near her own. “Did you know that only 23 percent of kids in that district can read proficiently?” I asked. “Think your kids can do better than that?”

“Oh,” came her response, and as a hint of a smile played at her lips, I knew she’d suddenly realized that maybe her kids were doing way better than she thought.

This was not the first homeschool mom I’d seen who doubted her ability to give her children a good education. In fact, I’ve seen inadequacy fears plague many wonderful homeschool moms over the years, so much so that I’ve decided it’s time for some straight talk: Homeschool moms, it’s time to kick your inferiority complex.

I get it. I really do. You’re a mom. You have a full plate. You want the best for your children, and you want to see them excel. But at the same time, you also know you’re not a professional educator, and you may even feel that you didn’t have the best education experience yourself because you daydreamed in class, or didn’t go to college, or you recognize that your own education has tons of holes in it.

I’m here today to tell you that it’s time to stop fearing your inadequacy. Here’s why.

~ Your Kids Are Likely Creaming Students in the Public Schools ~

I live in Minnesota, a state often considered to be one where “the women are strong and the kids are above average,” to paraphrase former radio host Garrison Keillor.

My research into the state’s public education system has shown that phrase to be an utter myth. I’ve seen so many horrific statistics from my state’s Department of Education that I now consider a school district to be pretty good if half of its students are proficient in reading. My own school district is a perfect example – only 33 percent of its students are reading proficiently.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that my state is alone in these horrible statistics. If you doubt it, just start digging into your own state’s Department of Education. You may be shocked by what you find.

Homeschool moms, can your student read proficiently? Is he at least an average student in math or science? If so, congratulations. Your child is likely doing better than most kids in public school – and you’re the one who taught him.

~ Everyone Has Holes in Their Education ~

Years ago, a friend of mine who happened to have a doctorate told me something I have never forgotten. “Annie,” he said, “it doesn’t matter if you went to public school, private school, or homeschool. We all have holes in our education.” The important thing, he went on to explain, is whether a person’s education has taught him how to fill those holes as he goes through life. As the late author Dorothy Sayers said, “The sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.”

Many homeschool moms look at public school scope and sequences and have panic attacks, realizing that their children are ahead in one area but behind in another, or maybe they haven’t even touched a third subject area yet. You know what? That doesn’t really matter.

Have you taught your child to read? Have you encouraged your child to love learning? Is he learning to think for himself and seek out information on his own? If so, then congratulations. Your child has the basic building blocks of education – a foundation upon which he can expand for years to come, building a mansion of wisdom and knowledge – and you are the one who instilled those building blocks in him.

~ Homeschool Moms Get a 2nd Chance at Education ~

Perhaps you are a homeschool mom who feels like you’re not qualified enough because you see all of the holes in your own educational experience. If so, I’ve got good news for you: Homeschooling gives you a second chance.

As author and classical education expert Martin Cothran recently wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Many people miss one of homeschooling’s chief educational benefits: the education of homeschool parents, who at some point realize that they’re getting the real education they themselves never got in schools.”

I’ve seen this truth play out before my own eyes. For example, I know one homeschool mom who hated history when she went through school, but when she homeschooled, history quickly became her favorite subject as she delved into it with her children. The experience left her wondering where on earth she was during all her elementary and high school years!

In essence, if you don’t feel like you’re smart enough or knowledgeable enough to teach your children, then that just might be a signal that you should jump right into homeschooling. After all, teaching is the best way to learn. And as you humbly allow yourself to soak in the content you missed during your first round of school, you will grow excited as light bulbs come on and connections are made – and that enthusiasm for learning will be contagious and passed on to your children.

~ Take It From a Homeschooled Kid ~

I don’t mention it often, but I was homeschooled as a child.

Did I have a perfect education? No.

Did I come away from it with educational holes? Absolutely!

Am I a loser of a U.S. citizen because of my educational background? Well, OK … I’m sure someone somewhere might say that I am, but in general, that’s not the vibe I get from people! In fact, the friend I sat across from at lunch was comparing herself to me, thinking that she couldn’t measure up.

Such comparison brings us to the heart of this inferiority complex. The fact is, we all compare ourselves to one another. We all sit there and tell ourselves we’re not good enough to do the jobs we’ve been given or to fill the shoes we’ve been placed in, and in doing so, we convince ourselves that we can’t do that job, we can’t measure up, we can’t succeed, and, in fact, we fear that we might even cause others to fail.

That’s silly. Each of us has been placed in the situation we’re in by the hand of providence. We may not know what we’re doing, but God does. That is true for me as an education researcher and writer, and it’s true for the homeschool moms who populate our nation, doing yeoman’s work unseen in the trenches.

So take heart, homeschool moms! It’s time to abandon that inferiority complex and embrace the role that God has given you. After all, you’re the one who not only teaches your children but also rocks their cradles. And, as we all know, “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”

Written by Annie Holmquist and published by Epoch Times ~ April 10, 2024

~ The Author ~
Annie is a longtime contributor to Intellectual Takeout.

Annie received a B.A. in Biblical Studies from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. She also brings 20+ years of experience as a music educator and a volunteer teacher – particularly with inner city children – to the table in her research and writing.

In her spare time Annie enjoys the outdoors, gardening, reading, and events with family and friends.

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