Do You Have What It Takes?

Many is the time when I have questioned myself and worried through a sleepless night.  Am I doing enough? Are we using the right curriculum?  Did we hit all they need to learn?  Are they missing out on anything?  What about all the opportunities out there – we can’t fit it all in?  I’m sure I should be doing more.

If you are in this adventure of homeschooling, you have probably had some similar feelings yourself.

Before you start to pre-doubt your choices for next year, here’s some encouragement for today written by Virginia Vagt; a writer, speaker, editor, and 13-year veteran homeschooling mom.

Brave Mom?
By Virginia Vagt

Are we brave? We love our kids and look forward to becoming a mom. So we tend not to think of the word “bravery” when we think of ourselves.

Courageous? Maybe we connect to the word ‘courage’ more easily. Giving birth and enduring the long heart-rending process of adoption both take lots of courage.

But bravery? Is bravery the same thing as courage? And if so, how does it apply to us?

Courage comes from the French (coeur for heart). Courage and bravery both come from Italian and Spanish words: bravo (bold), braveria and coraggio (boldness of heart).

Yes, courage and bravery are synonyms. Their meanings have to do with fearlessness, boldness, heroism, facing danger and difficulty, pluck, nerve, spunk, and having all these wonderful qualities surge up from our hearts.

Maybe we don’t claim these words because we go through mothering and homeschooling with tremendous hand wringing! Can we really be courageous or brave while being so doubtful, we wonder?

Last fall, at a homeschool conference, a mother poured out to me all her worries about the way she is homeschooling. Most of her worries had to do with doubting the choices she has made this year, and pre-doubting the choices she will make next year. It’s not that she sees problems in her current curriculum. She just worries that she might be missing the best for her kids. Is there something better – out there – that she doesn’t know about yet?

My answer to her was to look at her kids.

“There’s where you’ll find your answer,” I said smiling. “Because you love them, you are making your choices with them in mind. You keep observing how they’re doing. While it’s good to keep your ear to the ground for new opportunities, it’s how they fit your kids, and how they help your kids learn, that confirm your choices.”

In other words, we can’t pre-know whether what we choose for our kids, or what they choose, is the best. There’s no way to know that ahead of time. The way parenting and homeschooling both work is to strike out on a path. Have kids. Choose a curriculum. Do something. Then watch and observe. Are your kids bored? Are they thriving? Are they learning? Maybe what worked last year fits a little less well this year. You can make adjustments. You can add and subtract.

Maybe this is where bravery comes in. We can’t really know ahead of time how it will all work. And because we are choosing something that most others do not, we don’t have the affirmation of the crowd. Bravery is needed for us to choose, stand, wait, and watch.

The courageous and the brave move out into the unknown with lots of heart and try. That’s what it takes to be a mother; that’s what it takes to be a homeschool mother.

And that’s what you have – both bravery and courage. You are brave! Own it!

Click here to read selections from Vagt’s Be Encouraged column or, for additional resources, visit


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