Homeschooling’s Greatest Enemy

What do you think about when you hear this title, “Homeschooling’s Greatest Enemy”? Is it the government, the socialization myth, common core, standardized testing, or maybe skeptical family members and friends?


In my opinion, homeschooling’s greatest enemy is fear – fear that you’re not doing enough, that your children will never read fluently, won’t graduate, or that they will never make it into college. Most of all, it is the fear that you will somehow miss something they need, and in so doing cripple their future. You’re afraid because of how much you love and care for your children. You want them to have the absolute best that this life can offer them.

There can be a problem though, if you let your fears direct you, or if you allow them to make your decisions, and especially if you transfer those fears to the very children you’re trying to protect. Fear will encourage you to put pressure on your child. It will drive you to pull out the red pen and correct every error before you’ve had a chance to see what was done right.

During a conversation I had with a concerned mom, I encountered this familiar and skillful thief. She was struggling with the overwhelming amount of curriculum choices available. When I asked about her son’s learning style, she could tell me exactly what he enjoyed about school, what motivated him, and what helped him learn best. Between the two curriculum choices she had narrowed it down to, it was obvious which one would work best for her son. So why the struggle you might ask? Because she was afraid. Most of the other homeschool moms used one of the options and recommended it highly. She knew that it would be a well respected choice among her friends. She also knew that her son would not enjoy it. It did not fit his style of learning and would most likely make him feel inadequate. She made the right choice in the end, but the thief was almost victorious.

Fear will make you bring the routines and traditions of school home to an environment that could be free of its limitations. It will cause you to test more than teach. It might even persuade you to tell your child he’s behind in order to prod him forward.

Don’t Let Fear Rob Your family. The truth is that you’re homeschooling journey has already been planned out. Just the right students were selected, and even if you might wonder at times, the ideal teacher for the job was chosen. Conformity can be comforting, but enabling your child, and your homeschool, to be what God has ordained, is far more valuable. In an article that my mom shared on this very site, entitled The Frustration of Perfectionism, she said:

“I believe God made children to be developmental beings. They grow and develop in different areas at different times and rates but all children have a perfect timetable from God. They are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and my job is to get in synch with the Author of that timetable. One of the blessings of parenting and homeschooling is the freedom to trust and rest in that timetable and plan.” – Debbie Strayer

Trust and rest in the Author of your plan, and don’t let fear rob you.


AshelyBio  Ashley Wiggers – Encouragement

Ashley Wiggers grew up in the early days of the homeschooling movement. She was taught by her late mother, Debbie Strayer, who was an educator, speaker and the author of numerous homeschooling materials. It was through Debbie’s encouragement and love that Ashley learned the value of being homeschooled. Currently, Ashley is the Editor-in-Chief of Homeschooling Today magazine, Public Relations Director for Geography Matters and the author of the Profiles from History series. Ashley makes her home in Somerset, KY, with her husband, Alex, and their faithful Golden Retriever, Mandy.

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5 thoughts on “Homeschooling’s Greatest Enemy

  1. Well, I do believe that there is a thief out for the home school and mine is one of them. We’ve been in it from the beginning and it has been 5 hard years. This last year has been easier because I’ve been more consistent and my son is older. But he still says he hates school and that it is boring. That is one of the reasons I chose to homeschool, because I went to a school building and was bored –I was a daydreamer and liked art but they only had art until 3rd grade.
    Keep in mind I one of those that has tried from the ridged to the very laid back. He is an artist, he likes to build with clay and if I could work around that with every thing we have to learn I would. He enjoys making paper toys. I have to also go with trying to keep him or get him up to grade level for my husband, I on the other hand want to go with my sons pace. My son wants to be outside but his eyes and mind wonders when we do school outside, does anyone have suggestions. What questions am I not asking myself about his learning style. A good thing I found this winter is that he enjoyed focusing on one subject for a long period of time–we read all about the civil war this winter. So I think I found what best fits us. I purchased already “Paths of Exploration” because I know it covers all subjects except math but all is laid out for me and it focuses on one subject for 6 weeks and he can make paper toys to go with it. I know i can’t know the answer until we get started and going but the older he gets the more afraid I am that I can’t do this and I know the Lord put this on mine and my husbands heart to do with our children but the older they get the more I think I can’t do it.

  2. Ashley,

    This is a tremendous article! So excited to see what God is laying on your heart. Just got my copy of Homeschooling Today! So excited to see its growth and to see all of those who are contributing. LOVED it and continue to read it. Hope all of our HOTM readers will subscribe if they haven’t already. Well worth the investment. Job well done! : )

    Lori Lane
    HOTMonline Editor

  3. Have you considered a small break (15 minutes or so) outside in between subjects so he can run around? Check out the book “How Am I Smart” by Dr. Kathy Koch. It will help you determine your child’s learning style. :)

  4. Jessica, your frustrations are certainly understandable. Believe me, you are not the only one who has struggled with this. I would recommend focussing on the things that he enjoys right now. Read something he’s interested in aloud to him (while letting him play with clay), play games that involve some strategy, let him be creative and play outside. You’d be surprised how much brain power he uses when building forts or acting out a story from his imagination. With Spring almost upon us, maybe a simple nature study is in order. You might even consider taking a small break from school if everyone needs it. Yes, you will still need to do the things that he does’t like, but at least for a little while, I would change things up a bit. My mom used to always remind parents who feel called to homeschool of this scripture, 1st Thessalonians 5:24: “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” The thing is, He will do it. It’s not all on your shoulders. This truth doesn’t change as your children get older. Here is an article written by my dear mom that I think will encourage you:

    Hang in there! You have no idea the kind of pain you’re saving your son from. If he has a hard time homeschooling, imagine how much he would suffer sitting still in a classroom all day. You are called and God will be faithful!

  5. Michele, thank you for the book title, I will see about getting that at my library.

    Ashley, thank you for the encouragement, I need it along with so many others I know. I need to write that scripture down and put in front of me often. The wispers from God reminding me to look to him and yes, I think often about what things could have been like at a school and things will be fine. I need to keep focus –that is what can be even harder is when I get off focus. I am going to read the article now-that your mother wrote.