Don’t Do It!

b9970858z.1_20130811222255_000_g9m1vmr7.1-1Normally, I don’t write anti-school blogposts. Many wonderful families who love their children use the school system and many more see school as their ticket to the American Dream. That’s fine. I’m usually perfectly okay with people making decisions that differ from mine.

But this time of year, I have twinge that doesn’t want to go away. It persists for about a month or so. I’m sure it’s exacerbated by all of the hoopla surrounding all the Back-to-School sales. Something in me wants to step into those shopping aisles, turn to those moms with their supply lists, and say, “Don’t do it.”

I know the reactions that would get. The raised eyebrows. The defensive posturing. I hear those mothers who loudly announce to each other, “Only four more days…” With their kids within earshot, we all know the rest of that statement, “…until they go back to school and get out of my life.”

I also know there have to be mothers in those stores who don’t agree. Something is tugging at them to maybe explore something else for their child. They are mothers who want more time with their sons and daughters. Mothers who see their own family as the most important unit, and not their child’s homeroom teacher and class. And these are the mothers I want to lean over to and say, “Don’t do it.”

For years, these mothers have been conditioned to stop questioning the status quo, get back in line and ignore their gut about keeping their kids home. Quickly they rationalize that sending them to school is The Right Thing To Do. All of the pro-school marketing comes flooding back into their heads.

They think, “But they’ll have fun at school.” 
Have you forgotten the boredom? The frustration with canceled field trips (only 2-3/year)? The staring at the clock waiting for the bell to ring? Sure, you can probably remember some fun times. But were there really that many? As compared to when you were out of school in the afternoons or in the summer?

Or they think, “They learn so much in school!”
That’s not even true compared to the thousands of hours they actually spend there over the child’s lifetime. Studies show that children really only receive about 75 minutes of instruction time per day – that’s not even an hour and a half!  With so much time shuffling to classrooms, waiting for class to settle down, bureaucracy and busywork, collecting and passing out paperwork, going to assemblies, lunch, recess, not to mention that the instruction is aimed at the center of the bell curve and is obsessed with test prep, it’s pretty clear that not a lot of learning is happening.

Others argue, “They love being with their friends.”
They might – but not AT school. They have only three minutes to get from class to class, and a brief lunch period to hang out together IF they are lucky enough to have the same lunch periods. And, really, how many other kids did you hang out with after school? My school day was spent making plans  for how we would eventually get together in off-school hours or weekends. But it wasn’t that fun hanging out with them during class time. And what about the bullying so many kids have to endure? They end up creating all kinds of maladaptive coping mechanisms, learn that no one will rescue them and are forced to be in these situations for most of their waking hours.

Maybe the worry is: But I couldn’t homeschool – I’m not a teacher!
It’s not necessary! Most of the education they received in school to become teachers has to be shelved because of the way the system is set up. Even if teachers are good, most of their time is spent on crowd control and test prep and creating lesson plans for the entire class. It isn’t individualized  the way you could with your own child. 

Still I want to tell them, “Don’t do it.” And if they didn’t roll their eyes and push their shopping cart away from me, I would add a few more things.Unknown

  • Life is short. Spend as many hours with your kids as possible. As I look back at the years my kids were living at home – it really did fly by!
  • Life is an adventure. Real life waits outside those school doors. Parents can have the incredible opportunity to become tour guides joining the kids on these adventures and learning alongside them.
  • Learning is everywhere. Learning happens everyday all the time. It doesn’t have to divided up and parceled out in boring, dull, disconnected ways.
  • You’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of kids are homeschooling. They are all discovering that schools do not have a corner on that market of learning. They are living in a way that allows them to pursue their interests, practice personal responsibility, learn on their own or in groups, make friends, and create entire communities out in the real world.
  • You really can do this. Resources abound!
    Books, homeschooing magazines, articles, blogposts, Facebook groups, Pinterest boards – even coaches – are out there to give you the support you need.

So, if you’re wondering if some option exists that could work for your family…or you have that uneasy feeling that you’re trying to ignore, maybe it’s time to make a change. 

If you’re hesitating about whether or not to send your kid off to school, imagine me, leaning over, whispering to you:

                               “Don’t do it.”

Related Blogposts:
That Time of Year Again (create some new Not-Back-To-School traditions)
What Really Matters     
More Unschooling Blogposts                                      

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168 thoughts on “Don’t Do It!

  1. Interesting Article, thank you. !
    One thing that has always bothered me is how home schooled kids make friends. If all the kids go to school , make plans on how to have fun after school, how do I make sure my kids have the ‘fun’ experience. ?

    Thoughts.?

    • I was homeschooled and I had plenty of friends. Here are the things I did off the top of my head: Art classes at craft store. Homeschool classes. Homeschool co-ops. Volunteered at a museum. Went to church. Went to VBS. Went to summers camps. Was a Girl Scout. Was in a Father/daughter camping group. Was on a swimming tea. Took gymnastics. Was in a book club. Was in community theatre…

        • Naturomommy2, more than have of what she listed here are free! Most people can find a way to scrounge up money for a few things your kids would like to pursue.

        • Not only are many of these activities free, but there are plenty of things that parents who send their kids to school have to pay for. School supplies, field trips and MOST OF ALL: back to school clothes or uniforms. That in and of itself adds up to enough money to last us the year of extracurricular activities (a girlfriend of mine just spent $450 on uniforms and school supplies for her daughter’s Kindergarten year). And what do my kids wear, you ask? Since they don’t have to wear new clothes everyday, they have a few outfits that have been handed down to us or given as gifts and they often wear costumes during the day. We rarely spend any money at all on new clothing. Our craft supplies? Because we don’t have a strict list of needs, we are able to find things to buy when they are on sale and that’s always great. But most of the time, we ask for these things as gifts from family members on Christmas or birthdays. Because we are homeschoolers, they are usually happy to oblige as we stress the need for these tools in our home. I really can’t see how I spend more money than any parent who sends their child to school.

          • Thanks for sharing, Kelli! It really is so much better when you can buy things because you NEED them, and not because it’s August and Target says it’s time to buy NOW!

            Instinctualmama, thanks for commenting too. I appreciate the additional insights!

            • Join meetup- lots of groups there are free and I have found some great mom connections. If you have a smart phone, there’s an app for it. Otherwise there’s a website- it lists groups in your areas for people who want to make connections. Check for facebook groups for homeschooling/stay at home moms in your area and start asking around. Follow some homeschool facebook groups- they usually have amazing ideas for free.
              These are all groups in NW indiana who provide homeschooling resources http://www.home-school.com/groups/IN.html

              • Rachel!! So sorry I didn’t see this response back in August!! Thanks for taking the time to comment and give helpful tips!

            • Mama Stewy, those were just a few things off the top of her head, you don’t have to do them. The first thing I always tell new homeschoolers to do is find a local support group–parkdays are pretty much always free and full of other homeschoolers to give you more ideas for your area. Just a quick google search for “northwest indiana homeschool” yielded this in the 3rd or 4th non-ad result: http://www.ihen.org/content/support/counties/lake.htm

              Good luck–“You can DO it!” 🙂

            • Take a deep breath. There’s no need to panic. She probably didn’t do all of these things at the same time, that would be an awfully busy schedule. As you get more acquainted with the homeschooling community you will find that a shortage of time is usually a bigger issue than a shortage of money. Not to say money is not an issue, it has at times been for me, but it’s much less than you think ,and here’s why: Because we are available during school hours, homeschoolers get all kinds of discounts from places like martial arts and dance studios, tours and museums. Homeschooling parents tend to be frugal and resourceful. By pooling our resources, sharing information, and negotiating together, we get to do all kinds of things I would have never thought possible before I started. Lots of things are free or nearly free. Just Google free museum days in your area. Get out there and meet other homeschoolers. They have already done most of the work for you, and are usually happy to share what they know. Welcome to the adventure!

            • I am in a co-op that was put together by friends. It is $10 a year. The kids eat lunch together do a story on character building, usually a craft and then PE. We do Trail Life which is like scouts and that is I believe $52 a year. We have not had to buy the uniform yet and not sure if they are going with the uniform yet. I am in a few fb homeschool groups for my area so you can plan events or go to already planned events. Vacation Bible school has normally been free. My son attended 2 this year. Last year we did free curriculum and no extras but Trail life. This year with me working part time we have some extra money so we bought curriculum and have now put our son in two classes; band and a stomp class. Don’t freak out just build up to this. You will be on a learning curve and that is okay. Not sure what your state laws are but in Tx we can do what we want it is very relaxed. No hard stop rule on hours. The say Reading, writing and math plus character building. But you don’t have to follow the school districts on 180 days a year. Go with the flow, don’t stress out. Get out and meet other moms they will guide you. Facebook is my bff for homeschooling newbie.

          • Lol they don’t NEeD new clothes sure public school kids buy as much clothes as homeschoolers some buy a lot and some don’t. School supplies- I spend way more as a homeschoolers than I ever did w my public school kids. There are pros and cons for both but let’s not exaggerate.

      • The library is free! I’m the local youth services librarian, and I constantly see home schoolers making connections (completely unplanned) as they find themselves perusing the same shelves in the middle of a school day.

        • When we first started homeschooling in the 1990’s, Janie Levine used to write a really encouraging newsletter. She was known for saying that all homeschoolers really need is a bus pass and a library card. 🙂
          Of course that was pre-Internet days… but the libraries are still available and FREE. Homeschooling does not require a lot of money and there are all kinds of ways to meet other kids.
          Thanks for commenting, Ami!

        • Yes! And our county library is starting to have homeschool events/programs during the day. Some are led by homeschool moms, some by the librarians, but regardless…”free”.

    • There are plenty of homeschool groups out there. Parks, community and recreational activities. Homeschooled kids don’t have to be shut-ins.

      • I can’t believe homeschoolers still have to defend themselves against this myth. It’s so ridiculous. Do these people know of no other places for kids to socialize outside of school? Do they not take their kids to parks, church, or do any type of recreational activities? Do they not let them play with other kids in the neighborhood? I feel bad for any child whose only interaction with other children is in a classroom setting.

        • I don’t think that’s the case at all. But they’re so bent on defending their decision, that’s their big point to make. I agree – ridiculous!
          Thanks for commenting!! 🙂

      • Agreed! And we do swapping…I’ll teach science, you teach art. Kids go to different houses, interact with children of all ages AND adults…true real-world socialization. No dividing up into strict grade/age levels. The swapping makes it “free” or close-to-it.

    • We have weekly park days on Fridays where my kids play with their friends. We do field trips together and have frequent play dates. I have three boys so they have built in fun but we also have neighbors who homeschool. You definitely have to be outgoing and make an effort to reach out to others. But it can be as simple as asking your group to meet you at the skate park at 12pm.

      • And now with email lists and Facebook groups, it’s SOO easy to find other families! When we first started, we set up regular activities on Fridays. We had our core group of families that always came and then depending on the activity, other families joined us. Before we knew it, we had created a support group!
        Thanks for sharing here, Kim!

    • Thanks for asking, anandhs12781! My kids had SOO much fun! And when one decided to go to high school, she ended up leaving after a year and a half because it was so boring compared to what she was used to. 😉

      So… how do you make it fun? What do they want to do? Do it! Go exploring in the community. Create fun “field trips.” Invite kids to join you. Get involved in the local homeschooling/unschooling groups. Go to a conference that’s not too far from you – or go to one that IS far (like the Adventures in Homeschooling in San Jose next year! http://www.hscconference.com ) because it’s worth it to see so many happy families all converging in the same place.

      Here are some other blogposts that might help you visualize this:
      Following Passions… https://suepatterson.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/following-a-passion/
      Out and About….https://suepatterson.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/out-and-about/

      There really are thousands and thousands of kids not using the school system. And they’re out enjoying the community – and each other! It’s just all kind of under the mainstream radar. A quick look online should help you find connections in your community. Then the adventures begin!!

    • The “socialization” question is one homeschooling parents get a lot and it’s also one that confuses us more than any other, I’d wager. Let me just put it this way: my daughter just had a birthday and she wanted to have a party. She’s never been to school a day in her life. We made out a list of girls (just girls–there are even more if you count the boys) to invite and she had 13 girls on her list. I had to make her pick her best 5 and that was a HUGE struggle for her. Opportunities for making friends abound.

    • There are a lot of places to make friends…churches, parks, gymnastics, girl or boycouts.
      If you want to meet other homeeschoolers, most areas have homeschool support groups for the student and parents/teachers.
      1. Research on the internet for local groups.
      2. Call your local libraries and ask if they know of any homeschool support programs. Many times your librarian can tell you who to contact.
      3. Strike up a conversation with parents and school age kids you run into at the store, library, or restraunt. This is a great way to make new homeschool friends and to learn about new programs.

    • Honestly, Socialization is a worn out argument against homeschooling. I was homeschooled, and we are homeschooling our children. We, personally, give our children plenty of exposure to all age groups. They are in Sunday School and youth activitities (peers), church-wide activities (all age groups), family settings (all age groups), and outreach ministries (all age groups). You are right to be concerned that your children make good friends. But place the importance on “good” and “likeminded” (whatever that may be for you) rather than the number. There are loads of opportunities if you get creative and look around. 🙂 Homeschooling is a lifestyle, more than an educational description. And….we think it’s a blast!! 🙂

      • I agree, Danielle!!
        I love hearing from the grown homeschoolers! Even better to hear how you’re part of this second generation of homeschoolers. Love it!!!
        Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • My kids have ‘friends’ of all ages. Interacting is important but my kids get real world interaction in real situations. Being able to have a brain tingling conversation with the librarian is just as important as being able to communicate to their peers at the park. I am lucky my kids consider so make different people their friends and how they can seamlessly interact with people of all ages.

    • In our case we live on a street with lots of kids that go to school, my kids play with them after school, weekends and summers… well to be honest they usually have to wait for their friends to finish their homework right after school. We also join homeschooling groups where we meet other homeschooled kids. We plan field trips together and other outings.

    • All kids DON’T go to school the Homeschooling community is so much bigger than you realize. My six year old has science class, and gymnastics class and a coop with other kids every week. So not only do they spend time with other kiddos – they make friends who live in the same world. Meaning “Hey school is finished at noon, wanna come over? Sure!” Its actually A LOT easier to make friends when you HSing because your day isn’t 6-8 hrs of sit down and hush ❤

    • This is our third year of homeschooling and we love it. My kids have no lack of friends even though we moved to a new state when we began homeschooling. They play with all the neighborhood kids and grandkids up and down the block, socialize with others at church, made friends in community soccer teams and baseball/softball, joined the local 4H club, made new friends when I met other homeschool families and we took joint field trips or playdates at the local park, etc. We have no lack of experiences. My oldest who got to experience both traditional school and homeschool now prefers homeschool. She likes being able to get her work done at her speed and then having extra time for her personal interests whether music, art, or woodworking. I love being able to personalize the teaching for each kid, letting them work at their speed on the individual concepts.

  2. “Even if teachers are good, most of their time is spent on crowd control and test prep and creating lesson plans for the entire class.”
    How do you know this? How many classrooms have you been in on which to base this statement? How did you collect your data?

    • Well, LeeAnn, I went to school for 12 years (not counting college and graduate school). Multiple classroom changes in multiple grades. My son went for a couple of years. My step kids went all the way through. My mom was a teacher, and actually, I have many teachers in my family. We have many discussions on the topic. And then more recently, my daughter went to high school for a year and a half.

      So that’s my personal knowledge about it.

      Then there’s the data collection that comes from reading articles in magazines, newspapers, and online about the various problems in the school systems – and since I’m 53 now, I guess I’ve been reading about it for at least 30 years.

      • I went to school for 12 years (not counting college and grad school). I have a daughter graduating from high school this year and one entering high school. I have been teaching for 21 years at the middle school as well as at the university level. I feel like I have substantial personal knowledge as well as experience and my anecdotal data would be contradictory to yours. I know of NO teachers who create lesson plans on the fly in front of their classroom of students. The majority of teachers I have worked with are masters at creating caring classrooms and procedures that allow for the most use of classroom time for instruction. Almost 100% of teachers I know love the work they do and love their students.

        I think homeschooling is a wonderful choice. The students who have ended up in my 8th grade classroom after being homeschooled have been intelligent, polite students. I completely agree that no student in public school can get the kind of differentiation that a homeschooled child receives.

        I could also share (anecdotal) stories of homeschool situations that didn’t go so well, but I would NEVER make a generalization about homeschooling, or homeschoolers, based on the small percentage of stories I know.

        Public schools are a haven and a savior to many students in our country. While I love that we live in a country where you have the absolute right to choose to educate your child as you wish, I sure do dislike when it it feels like it is made into an “us vs. them” situation. That’s the feeling I get when I read a title like “Don’t Do It!” or statements that begin, “Even if teachers are good…” These words feel like a negating of the fact that many public school teachers and districts do amazing things with and for our children.

        My advice to parents would be, if you are interested in homeschooling, learn all you can about it and make the decision that is best for your family. If that choice is public education, get involved. The teachers want to work with you to make the most of the time your child is with them.

        • LeeAnn, that’s great that you live in a place where teachers love their jobs and, for the most part, everyone is happy. But that really isn’t everyone’s experience. You clearly have a vested interest in schools. I felt the same way until we stepped away from it.

          And as I said, I don’t normally devote a lot of time or posts to any anti-school position. Except this time if year, the pro-school climate just bugs me. So I wrote my blogpost.
          I agree with you that schools can be safe havens for a lot of people. But I believe it can also be incredibly limiting. And sometimes you can’t see that clearly unless you step away from it.

          • I’d also like to add to this that the climate is changing due to the rigorous testing these VERY YOUNG children are being forced to endure. This is not the same school system that we utilized years ago. The stressors on these children is through the roof. If ever there was a good time to realize that teachers (much as they may love their jobs) are not getting to do the part of the job that they love due to these tests, it’s now. This is a dark time in our school systems.

        • LeeAnn, that’s interesting. You must teach in an amazing school district. My dad and step-mom were elementary school teachers and I won’t repeat the awful stuff they said about their students and the students’ parents at home, not to mention the under-the-breath mumbling when a student spotted them outside of school and ran to them to say hi.

          Then there are the experiences I had and both of my kids had: not good. I’m thankful every single day that my mom took me out of public school and found a way to pay for private school for me. It very likely saved my life. One teacher insisted my 6 year old had ADHD and said she couldn’t teach him anything unless he was medicated (he didn’t like reading while sitting in a chair). My other son was driven out of school by bullies: his teachers. I have heard these kinds of nightmare stories from just about every parent I’ve ever met – including those who are still taking the public school route.

          I guess we hear what we want to hear.

          • I guess it’s a good thing your parents WERE teachers then. I love running into students both current and former. I just spent three days with other teachers across the state getting excited and ready about welcoming our students back. And yes, I can give you instances of parents who are difficult, parents who are abusive, parents who are neglectful…which to me only proves the point that homeschooling isn’t the best answer for every student and family.

            I’m thankful as well that your parents found the best educational choices for you. If we hear what we want to hear, I’m glad I’ve learned to hear the positive.

            • I appreciate the kind way you share your opinion, even though it differs with others commenting. You seem like a very thoughtful person, and I’m glad you’re able to make an impact in your school and community. 🙂 Thank you for not pointing fingers or being negative. There can be dissenting opinions without ugliness!

            • LeeAnn–you sound like a great teacher and a very balanced person. I agree with you–everyone should make the best choice for their family and understand that there isn’t just ONE “best” choice for all. Obviously many children are very successful in public schools–and many aren’t. Same with homeschooling–many are very successful, and many aren’t. I’m guessing it’s the same with private schools though the students that don’t do well there tend to just get kicked out. Anyway, thanks for your perspective. It’s similar to mine–I’m not a teacher but what you said about teaching is similar to what I see as a very involved parent in my kids’ schools. There are lots of fabulous teachers out there. Thank you for being one of them!

        • Traditional public school is obsolete and an artificial, hostile environment that has very little benefit to anyone there other than the old union teachers who never have to worry about actually teaching the kids being their job is union and therefore secure. The young, enthusiastic, caring teachers either burn out and leave the profession or get pushed out for absolutely ridiculous things like a missing credential.

          My husband was against homeschooling originally. What changed his mind was working with the general public and realizing he did not want his children around these people for the majority of day for most of the week. He had a much more positive public school experience than I did but still dealt with idiot teachers, bullies, and utter boredom for the great part of the day during the school year. He was in affluent area, I was in a poor area, both small rural towns, my graduating class was 98 people, his was 30 people. I have a friend who’s graduating class was around a thousand. She grew up in a city. Still the same-story-more crappy teachers than good, lots of bullying, boredom, useless knowledge promptly forgotten in real life, the artificial constructs of division by age that doesn’t happen anywhere else in life.

          I am really against public school. Would my children ever at ten public school? Possibly, but it will always be my last choice.

          Interestingly enough, in my group of friends, each of us have gone a different route with the majority not in public school (majority are in private schools, including the public school teacher child’s). Two of us are homeschooling through charter (so technically in public school doing independent studies but our charter does not dictate curriculum), two are traditional public school, the rest are private school so six kids in different private schools. I found it interesting how many different choices in schooling there has been in just my small circle. Everyone has their own reason for their choice. Socialization is rarely mentioned by the mom’s with kids in school as their reason for going with institutionalized education but rather they “need the break” from their kids. My one friend was very disappointed with how little time her child had for socializing in school last year (kindergarten) as she is a very social outgoing person herself though she did think her child’s stringent classroom would be less likely to have bullying than the other teacher’s chaotic classroom. Her child and one of the other kindergarteners are repeating K this year, the two of them being the youngest of the circle of kids. Both had negatives personality changes after being in school for a short time. The one is already turning into one of the “mean girls” you always find in schools while the other has become withdrawn and even sullen after previous to school being a vivacious bubbly strong personality.

          • Interesting insights, Michelle. Thanks for sharing!
            And, my apologies for missing this comment back in August. It was sitting in the queue awaiting approval all this time! :/

            Do you have a blog?

        • Leeann, I appreciate your thoughts. I didn’t appreciate the generalization of school teachers. I know a great deal of classroom teachers that pour a lot of time & love into children who don’t otherwise receive that from home. Thank you for addressing that point.

          • Very little is written in this piece about school teachers. One sentence of generalized ideas about crowd control and lesson plans – out of the whole blog post! It’s interesting to me how people need to defend their choices.

      • Yes I am one of those teachers! My oldest is starting Kindergarten this year…. with me at home. I stopped teaching when he was born and what I saw in even a private school setting was unsettling and left me wanting something different for my kids.

      • I taught for ten years, and my husband was on the local school board. I feel like I get to do more actual teaching now as the youth services librarian. We have home schooled our seven kids at various junctures – even during my husband’s school board term! My younger children go to the local elementary school right now, because it has around two dozen kids TOTAL for grades K-5. Plenty of individualized instruction from fantastic teachers. We are still weighing our options for middle school.

      • My husband and I are both former classroom teachers and homeschooling parents. Some days we got to teach quite a bit, but there were also many, many days disrupted by testing, test prep, emergency drills, assemblies, pep rallies, bomb threats, substitutes, etc. The idea that any of those activities is the most important thing our kids could be doing with their precious days seems absurd to me. And profoundly disrespectful.

        • I forgot about all those other things that eat up a class day. It *is* absurd. But that’s what happens when something becomes so institutionalized. (preaching to the choir, I’m sure!) Thanks for the reminder though, Laura M.

    • I am of the same opinion. I just graduated with my BA to be a teacher and with my observations and student teaching I experienced it first hand, plus I have several friends that are teachers in the public school system and many of them have the same complaints: that they barely use anything they learned in school because the principle and school board want things done a certain way so they have to do it that way, they have pre-packaged curriculum their forced to use, and the list goes on and on about how much they wish they could do but can’t. I wish the system were better because there are so many teachers out there qualified to make a difference, a REAL difference, but the classroom is accountability focused and that removes a lot of the creative opportunities that teachers wish they had. It might not be this way everywhere, but in our community it is very much this way. I don’t know any teachers out of area, so I can’t speak for other places.

      • Thanks for sharing this, Kerri. Of course, my blogpost has ruffled some teacher feathers! So it’s nice to have confirmation from from another teacher that it isn’t always as pleasant as some would lead us to believe. I agree, that the problem is the system. It seems to crush the creativity of the good teachers.

        Again, thank you for commenting!

  3. Join a homeschool group. They may have park days, or offer enrichment classes and friends are made there. You will be surprised at how many kids don’t go to an organized institutional school, so you will find that not “all the kids” in your area are in school.

    • That’s what we did too, Robin. And if the group wasn’t a good fit, we ended up creating our own.
      The Fall issue of The Homeschooler magazine http://www.HomeschoolerMagazine.com features a section on Tapping Into the Community. The PDF version will be available online for sale very soon! (only $5)

  4. Thank you for this. My twins are in preschool and I am wrestling with homeschool vs public school our situation is more unique given that both my twins have Down syndrome and I want them to have the best education possible. I don’t think they could ever get the same attention at school as I could give them at home. Who has more interest in their success than me and their father? But as I said, I’m wrestling with it because I feel unqualified and because I am scared to make the wrong choice. Parenting is hard when all you want is to do the very best thing for the precious souls that you live and breathe for! This post was helpful. Thank you.

    • Meghan, I know it’s tough deciding on situations like this. But I would tell you, because now my kids are grown, kids are very resilient. If you chose to read up on it, connect with other special needs homeschoolers (online or in person), you could try it and see how it goes. I think you might surprise yourself at what you’re capable of. You know your circumstances best… but if it’s just fear, maybe pushing through it is best?

  5. I completely agree. I feel exactly the same way when I hear people talking about finally getting rid of their kids to the public school system. My stomach aches and my heart hurts for those kids. I wish I could reach out to each of the parents who have that little thought, maybe I should check into homeschooling. Yes! Do it! Please! Give your children a fighting chance at seeing how much you love them and miss them while they are away from you. Bring them home. Teach them. Love them. Cherish every day. You aren’t promised tomorrow with them. Spend as much time as you can giving of yourself so they have a confidence that can’t be shaken by the world and it’s wolves. They will be out there soon enough. Not yet! Don’t send them off to be indoctrinated and turned into assembly line workers. They have so much more potential than that.

    • You see to be implying that those who send their kids to public school don’t love or cherish their kids. Please understand that homeschooling is “a” choice, not “the” choice for everyone. Glad it works for you and I hope you’re glad that public schooling works for my family.

  6. You say you’re not anti-school, but then you list all the reasons why homeschooling is superior to school. “My way is the best way”, essentially.

    We’re beginning our homeschooling journey after five years at our neighborhood public school. We had to make a change because of bullying. Our many friends from the school have been unwaveringly supportive of our decision.

    So, I guess I just have to say that this post rubs me the wrong way. Let’s ALL support each other and refrain from judging.

    • I guess what I meant was that I typically don’t BLOG about anti-school topics. But of course I think homeschooling is superior to school – that’s what we chose for our family! And we DID try school and saw first-hand that it wasn’t what we wanted. Why wouldn’t I write about it? I’m not going to write supportive things about going to school when I don’t think it’s the best way to learn or the best option for families… just so we can all get along.

      • Fair enough.

        Just curious… do you have friends who don’t homeschool? Do you tell them to their faces that you feel their choice is inferior?

        • Why does a difference in choice have to be antagonistic? I feel living in the mountains, as I choose to do, is vastly superior to living in the desert, as many of my friends do. Some live there by choice, some out of necessity. We find no need to be nasty to each other because we choose differently. We are grown-ups.

        • I do have a lot of friends who don’t homeschool. They probably know that I think that about their choice.

          Over the years, they would often ask me questions that made it clear that they didn’t like my homeschooling choice either. It didn’t end our friendships to have differing opinions. And when they had times they didn’t like their school system or their child was struggling, I would often interject (as softly as possible) that the option to homeschool was still out there.

          Why do you ask? Do you only have friends that make all the same choices you do? I doubt it. I write about homeschooling and parenting. And I have opinions. And now that I have grown kids, my opinions aren’t just theoretical anymore. So I write about that. If I were afraid to say what I think, what kind of world would this be? How many struggling families would just stay in bad situations? I don’t think I wrote in a way that was unkind or unfair. But yes, it was opinionated. It’s a blog.

          • (Amy K. and Kangham are one in the same, logged in through hubby’s account on phone by accident 🙂

            Yes, of course I have friends with different opinions regarding schooling and loads of other topics, of course. So many of our friends chose private schools over public. Wasn’t our choice, but I don’t judge them. I’m not Catholic and I have personal reservations about some aspects of the Catholic Church but I don’t judge for a nanosecond my friends and family who chose parochial education for their kids.

            The school my kids were at stopped being the right choice for us. My son was being bullied; it was awful. As I said, our friends there were incredibly loving and supportive through a tough time. Their kids all head back next week and ours don’t. It just feels strange to me that I would turn to these wonderful people and say hey, we’re homeschooling now so you should too! I just think it’s not my place to judge another person’s choice. If someone tells me “we’re happy with our school”, I’m happy for them. I refuse to make a blanket statement about all schools just because it’s not the right choice for us. I’m thrilled to pieces to have the privilege of homeschooling.

            Sorry if I sound antagonistic–that’s not who I am. I’m sure you’re lovely and we’d get along great in real life. As a new homeschooler and veteran public schooler, your post just tapped in to some of my deepest fears about homeschooling–that the moms I’m going to meet are judgmental about public school, not just for themselves, but for all.

            • I think we’d probably get along fine too! Sometimes it’s good to tap into those worries and shed a little light on them, Amy. When we first started homeschooling, I probably didn’t encourage others to do it too. I really only did that if they were having trouble. I wanted to be sure they knew they had an option. My kids are now 20, 23, 25, so we’re talking about a lot of years of parenting. This blogpost was really for those who are on the fence… those who think they don’t have any options. I just want families to be happy and have choices. And the choice to homeschool is often misrepresented.
              I’d love to invite you to join our Facebook group UnschoolingMom2Mom. It’s kind of like an online parkday. People are nice, sharing what worked and what didn’t. I remember when we started out, I had friends who used a structured curriculum. They would always say, “I love being friends with unschoolers because they have such a creative fun way of looking at learning!” They didn’t switch to become unschoolers, but they loosened up on some of their ideas and added a lot more fun into their learning lives. So, regardless of what method you’re deciding on, maybe it would help to talk to veteran unschooling moms. Most didn’t start out unschooling either. 😉
              https://www.facebook.com/groups/UnschoolingMom2Mom/

            • I find homeschool parents far less pushy and judgmental about their opinions to homeschool then every non home school person whether they have children or not is about those who homeschool. This was so even when I had my eldest in public school. I have never been so judged without them having any knowledge past we do not go to school as I am by pro school people.

              Course if you are homeschooling then there is no reason to fear other homeschoolers feeling you should home school. You will, however, constantly have to deal with pro school people who will judge you and take it upon themselves to quiz your children to see if you are up to their personal standards. Perhaps you are projecting such things onto homeschooling parents?

    • I’m kinda right with you on this topic Amy. I have my foot in both worlds and I think both options can be the right choice for a student or family. I homeschool one child because it is the best choice for her, and I have my other child in the same Charter school both my children once attended, because it is the best choice for him. I also work off and on in the local school system. I know the benefits of homeschooling, but I also know the schools work well for some as well. As for PS parents wanting to get rid of their kids when summer ends, I just rarely hear this from PS parents. It is a comment I hear about from homeschooling parents talking about PS parents. Yes, I know a couple PS parents that make similar comments, but not many. Are they excited for another new year, ready for a break? Yeah, but it’s not something where they just want to get rid of their kids, not usually. I know, I’ve been there. I mean, I was frequently at the school with them volunteering, or working at the school, but most of the parents from the school were doing this as well. I’ve also complained that I wish summer could continue on, same with my kids. I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder, but each method of education has it’s place with benefits and draw backs. We should all just want each family to be able to make the best choice for their individual situations, without claiming the other to be a poor choice.

      • It is not just homeschoolers saying it about PS parents. I hear parents saying near constantly that they can’t wait till the holidays are over. They splash it all over their facebooks and they say it almost as soon as the holidays starts. On top of that is every bus driver, supermarket checkout staff even doctor says to me I bet you can’t wait for the holidays to end. Or “only two more weeks to go”

        It is common to hear it but that is why I’m glad there are public schools because if someone can’t stand their kids being around them then their kids are better off in school!

      • “As for PS parents wanting to get rid of their kids when summer ends, I just rarely hear this from PS parents. It is a comment I hear about from homeschooling parents talking about PS parents.”

        I don’t hear this in real life either, Venus. I do know that many parents struggle with childcare/camps over the summer. The expense, the week-to-week planning, the commuting. Rare is the one-income family where I live, and not because families insist on fancy things. The cost of living in my part of CA is high and most families, whether there is one parent or two, work outside the home.

        As for homeschooling one and schooling another, I’ve met lots of families like that! Parents know their children. My brother and his wife sent their son to the local public school and their daughter to a small parochial school several towns away. The schools had different schedules, and they had to be on two separate PTAs, etc. Not to mention the extra expense of parochial. But they did so happily because they were confident that that was the best choice for their individual children.

        • Parents say this ALL THE TIME about being annoyed and ready to shed themselves of their children and so do teachers, about their students. Hearing how parents and teachers talk about kids (and in fairness, how many kids talk about their parents and their teachers) is so disheartening to someone who loves learning, loved her teachers, loved her parents, loves her kids and has absolutely loved unschooling even with a doctorate and a couple of decades’ experience in public education. It’s hard to fathom anyone trashing others for trashing others, especially in the name of not trashing others — c’mon now, you all KNOW that’s ridiculous! 😉

          • Well, I guess we hear different things. Maybe things are different in different places. Could be that I prefer to focus on the positives, unless I notice someone that really needs help. Still, I try to be pretty observant, and I really don’t hear a lot of these overtly negative comments of happiness to rid themselves of their children. I have plenty of Facebook friends with kids in PS and I still am not seeing the posts like this. The negativity I do hear is concerning the cost of supplies, trying to find all the supplies, why the schools aren’t providing those supplies, testing testing testing, bullying, exceptional needs accommodations not being met, dissatisfaction with schoolwork or curriculum, communication problems, and I hear general excitement to be starting a new year but that is not really negative. That’s what I have noticed, from where I am. Maybe things are different for others. Maybe some focus on all the stress and strain that some parents do express concerning any number of stressful issues, and the same can be said for stressed out teachers, and students. Yes, there are some dead peat parents, and teachers, but mostly people are just trying to deal with the struggles they have, whatever they may be.

  7. I have a son who has unschooled for 5 years, since 3rd grade, and now he wants to go to public school! I was not happy to be among those moms in the school supplies aisle. 😦 He’s been able to do so many amazing things in the years we’ve been free, but his older brother (also unschooled) has started college and the grass is always greener. I want this to be his choice, and I think it will be a true education for him to see how public school and crowd control works. His stateside and overseas trips and film studio internships and sleeping in and everything else will all be waiting for him if he changes his mind. 🙂

    • One of my biggest parenting lessons was that nothing stays the same!! I would really get worked up about some decision and then :::poof:::: something would change. And the situation would be better. My youngest wanted to try high school (grass is greener thing too!) and she went for a year and half. She made the drill team, proved to herself that she WAS smart enough to succeed there. And then she left and returned to unschooling. But she felt supported by her parents and we did what we could to help her have the experience she wanted. In the end, it was nothing like Lizzy Maguire, so she chose to leave. I HATED it, but being able to see how life was her own choice – that was huge for her.
      Good luck, Lisa. Just be there without judgement (no “I told ya so’s”) and it’s unlikely he’ll want to give up freedom for that. He just has to check it out, maybe. Or maybe he’ll go back and forth.

      Parenting – now THERE’s the adventure!!!! 😉

      • Seems like a very healthy way to respond to your kids’ choices. I will bite my tongue at the appropriate moments. 🙂 Yes, parenting – A Grand Adventure!

      • This attitude is what makes unschooling so special, whoever is doing it and whatever it’s called. Without this attitude it is not, imo, unschooling at all.

  8. As a teacher I am offended. The ways children learn to work in groups, problem solve, learn social skills, get exposed to other ways of thinking and other strategies to approach a problem… Not sure how they can learn those at home with a parent. I have seen first hand the residual negative effects that home schooling has had on students when they enter into highschool after 7 years at home. To imply that just anyone can do it- and do it right- is dangerous and wrong.

    I form relationships with each and every student I have, and my education is not “shelved.” Is the author an experienced teacher to back up her claims? Is she suggesting home schooling for k-12 or just k-5? It comes off she is suggesting you home school your kids so you can selfishly spend more time with them. I have nothing against home schooling as long as the parent has good reasons- this article does not supply those.

    • and you are one teacher. There are plenty of toxic teachers in the school systems and the way the schools are set up – you can’t get them out. it’s impossible. and how much time and energy will a parent devote to that? instead of devoting my time and energy to fighting the schools for every little thing, I’m devoting my energies to positive things, like ensuring my kids are educated without the public schools.
      And yes, even in the gifted school (and in our district ‘gifted’ means 99th percentile – my child was COMPLETELY bored in his classroom. He hated going and doing NOTHING. Or learning something he already knew.
      And yes, ANYONE *can* homeschool. Not everyone WANTS TO. There are plenty of things I *could* do that I choose not to as well.
      but just because you can show one teacher (you) who is doing a great job – there are plenty who are barely phoning it in. And my kids have been to the ‘best’ schools.

    • Then why bother to write, Jen? The She you refer to is me… you’re on my blog.
      Do you not read the papers? Did you miss that schools, by and large, are NOT serving kids well?

      You’re wrong about your impression of homeschooling. I don’t feel offended though, because I’m used to that kind of mischaracterization. My kids are grown now – happily unschooled for most of their lives. 20, 23, and 25. We unschooled in multiple states, and so many opportunities in various communities. None of them were home with me, alone, day-in day-out. It’s just not how it works.

      It’s neither wrong nor dangerous for parents to take responsibility for raising and educating their own children. It’s so unfortunate that people want to promote that kind of thinking.

    • Jen, it sounds like you are a great teacher! My three children are all in public or private school. I think homeschooling would have been better, but it hasn’t been possible under our circumstances. I have hopes for next year for my youngest one, but for now, my kids are in the hands of “professionals.”

      My answer to your question of how do children “learn to work in groups, problem solve, learn social skills, get exposed to other ways of thinking and learning and other strategies to approach a problem” is to help you to understand that most children who are homeschooled are not chained to a desk all day, interacting with just their parent. I am sure SOME people might do that, just like SOME public or private school teachers do things against the norm.

      Most children I know who are homeschooled get these experiences you ask aboutl, naturally, in their daily life. Your family and community are “groups” and if you get out of your house and participate in church, sports, clubs, other community activities, or even just get to know your neighbors, these are all things that are done naturally as part of life. Every person I know does things differently or thinks differently or approaches problems differently in some way than I do. We are ALL different! Even within the same family!

      My children get more experience with a more diverse group of people OUTSIDE of school than inside.I think that is probably true of most families who live in urban or suburban areas. Maybe in isolated, rural areas, schooling is more important, especially if a child has no siblings or close neighbors or extended family members.

      I thank God that we live in a country where we have so many educational options. It is up to every family to determine what the best option is for their family. But if it weren’t for homeschooling families speaking up and sharing (not shaming, as some homeschoolers have been known to do), then fewer families would be enjoying awesome homeschool experiences.

      I doubt that many young children would think their parents are selfish for wanting to give more to give them more of their time and attention. Mine never complained until there were teenagers.

      • An example i was part of recently: A couple weeks ago, I was part of a JAKES event – basically a camping trip for kids of all ages that teaches everything from firearm safety to wilderness ID. On the last day I had a station with marshmallows and toothpicks, and the kids – who were in randomly assigned groups, not with friends – had to build structures with them. Absolutely no instruction was given, but just by interacting and experimenting, they learned to work with complete strangers and figure out things like cross-supports, foundations, basic geometry and construction techniques, as well as cooperation, speaking up to share your idea, taking turns, etc. They were being home schooled, they just didn’t know it:)

    • Jenna, David Albert used to write and speak about it years ago. I will see if I can find some specifics for you.

    • Still looking for the David Albert info. But in the meantime, here’s something my friend Robin sent me:

      “According to the research, less than half the time in a day’s work is actually given to instruction. Teachers spend just over three hours each day performing non-teaching related activities, including behavioral management; speaking to students about a personal or family-related problem; communicating with parents; sorting data; setting up or taking down classrooms; and in meetings with administrators and planning with colleagues.”
      http://news.illinois.edu/news/12/0409CPSworkload_RobertBruno.html

      or…
      Robin added: In reference to adding 90 minutes to the school day:

      “For the teachers, the problem isn’t the length of the day,” he said. “The bigger question is, what are you actually going to do with the content of the day? A certain percentage of that is going to go toward behavioral management, emotional needs, handling data and paperwork. What are you going to end up with? Another 15 minutes of instruction? That’s not going to get you anywhere. You wouldn’t get a higher performance in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects unless you dealt with things like the children’s emotional needs and behavioral management issues.”

      So if one extrapolates – 90 minutes = 15 minutes of actual instruction (1/6), then 1/6 of 5 hours, 45 minutes is 57.5 minutes.

  9. What if you did what was best for you and you let other parents do what’s best for them without getting on a soapbox and attempting to shoot down other people’s choices so you can feel better about your own? You sound incredibly narrow-minded, judgmental. You even addressed the entire post to mothers. How awesome of you to police the choices and lives of other women while you sit comfortably in your own life. We don’t get enough of that from men.

    Got a secret for you: not every household has 2 parents. Most people have to work all day.

    • So glad you stopped by to provide such insights, Adriana. If you feel judged, that’s on you. Maybe you should look at why you’re so defensive.

      I did do what was best for my family, and now I’m happy to let people know how it went. There are PLENTY of other blogs out there that will support your decision to send your kids to school. You are in the majority! I’m just one little voice on my own blog sharing that if someone thinks school isn’t working for them, I want them to know there’s another option.

      • kangham asked:
        “Do you tell them to their faces that you feel their choice is inferior?”

        Reply
        sue patterson August 15, 2014 at 11:40 am
        “I do have a lot of friends who don’t homeschool. They probably know that I think that about their choice.”
        and
        “If you feel judged, that’s on you.”

        I agree that how someone deals with judgment of others is all up to them. However, If I’m not mistaken, feeling someone’s choice is inferior and letting them know what you think about their choice most definitely fits the definition of judgmental: having or displaying an excessively critical point of view. And so “feeling judged” is not “on” someone else. How they handle the judgment is “on” them.

        How you feel about my choices has no impact on those choices or how I feel about them. But let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?

        • OK, seems a little hair-splitting to me and incredibly off-topic.
          What I think is missing from this conversation is the fact that you just don’t like what I have to say. Now that my kids are grown and I have the benefit of hindsight, I looked back and came to some conclusions. And it doesn’t fit the mainstream way of thinking.
          But I’m on my own blog, giving my own opinions. How is that such a problem to so many people? I’m just one little voice in a sea of voices that completely supports YOUR way of thinking. Why do you feel like I need to shut up, talk a little more nicely, or stop sharing my opinion?

          • I am truly amazed at how offended people are getting. Every parent believes the choices they make are the best, or why would we make those choices? Why should we get offended when other parents express their opinions? I believe small children shouldn’t watch TV or play video games. They shouldn’t have sodas except as a very rare treat. It’s okay for them to shoot guns under supervision. Many of my friends disagree with some or all of those statements, and that’s okay. I think they are wrong, but hey, they think I am wrong, and guess what? We’re still friends! We still hang out and let our kids hang out! It’s all good!

            • It’s presumptuous to somehow know what is best for other people’s children, beyond obvious safety. Homeschooling is great for so many people, and believe me, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity. But to say its therefore best for everyone is just icky. I found this blogpost via Facebook, from the “Class Dismissed” unschooling movie page. A dissenting commenter there was herself homeschooled K-12… And guess what? She and her family have found that public school is right for them.

              I love the quotes from Jen Hatmaker in the sidebar about cherishing the moment. I love Jen Hatmaker period… So funny and inspiring. She has written eloquently on her blog about why public school is right for her family and why she doesn’t homeschool.

              • But, she makes it very clear in her fourth paragraph that she is directing her comments towards those parents who aren’t happy with the whole public school thing. I cannot find the paragraph where she says absolutely everyone should home school regardless of their circumstances. I cannot see where she says or even implies that parents who choose public school (and, this year, I am one of those) are unfit parents. Again, why the vitriol and defensiveness from some of the posters? Yes, she believes home schooling is best. So do I, even though I’m not doing it right now. Why does having a strong opinion and expressing it have to be seen as being judgmental?

                • Thanks, Ami.
                  You’re right, I never said everyone should homeschool. I’m not sure where that comes from.

                • I am seeing the defensiveness coming from both sides. That’s the way these back and forth reactions tend to go. Each side wants to point out their side, their point of view, their perception from where they sit, then the other sides wants to counter with their side. This just results in the downward spiral that is occurring, and the defensiveness each side is taking. If this is really that disconcerting and upsetting then maybe considering the other person’s side in a more positive light and just acknowledging they may have a point, could possibly be a more positive direction to take. Yes, each person has a right to their own views, and yes, each blogger has a right to blog those views. However, each time those views are posted in the original blog or a reply they are open to viewing and reply from a variety of people that could have any number of ideas on the subject. It’s something you open yourself up to by posting where diverse people will be an audience. I don’t think asking for consideration of both sides, or asking a person to be a little kinder is a bad thing, but I also think it is up to each person to choose how they will react to language or ideas they feel are offensive. We’re all adults here, and we should be able to handle diverse back and forth comments and viewpoints.

          • I never said giving your opinions was a problem. I don’t believe I ever even insinuated that you should shut up or stop sharing. I don’t even think I said you should talk a little more nicely. If anything, I’m guilty of asking for a little thoughtful honesty.

            Though I wrote in defense of public education, I don’t think I did it in a way that negated the benefits of homeschooling. I just don’t understand why some people (and tbh honest, it seems mostly women) allow themselves to get so divided by choices. If you really view them as choices and not as there being only one way to do things, words like “inferior” wouldn’t show up. I would hazard a guess that all the moms who have commented here are simply doing the best that they can for their families and children. I don’t know why we have to divide ourselves with statements like:
            “Give your children a fighting chance at seeing how much you love them and miss them while they are away from you.” (Really–a fighting chance to know how much I love them? I can guarantee, with no hesitation, that my girls are incredibly aware of how much I love them AND how much I miss them when they are away from me, be that when they are at school, at work, at a friend’s house, at their grandparents’ house, at summer camp, etc.)
            OR
            “The ways children learn to work in groups, problem solve, learn social skills, get exposed to other ways of thinking and other strategies to approach a problem… Not sure how they can learn those at home with a parent.” (Seriously? Even as a public school teacher, I know that kids have a multitude of opportunities to learn these skills outside of school.)

            It IS your blog. I assumed that most bloggers welcomed differing thoughts and opinions. If you can point out anywhere in my comments that I negated or criticized your choices, I will profusely apologize. Perhaps you should add a disclaimer that only people who agree with you need comment.

            • I may have attributed some of the other comments to you, LeeAnn. But you did say I was being judgmental and that *I* was creating the us vs. them environment. I didn’t use the word *inferior*… so I don’t know where that comes from. You say you want thoughtful honesty, and that’s what I thought my blogpost was. I was simply sharing what I wish I could say to those who are not comfortable with their decision to send their children to school. It’s not written for those who are happy with their decisions. But some moms aren’t even really aware they have options. Good options. That was my point.

              I am not looking for an apology from you. Saying I need a disclaimer so that only people who agree with me can comment is ridiculous. I approved all of your comments – and here they are, being considered and addressed.

              • You’re right, you didn’t use the word inferior. Another commentor asked if your friends knew you found their choice inferior. You replied that, yes, they probably knew that. I took that as affirmation that you did find their choice inferior. And while I can see and even appreciate that you find it inferior FOR YOUR FAMILY (sorry, I’d rather use italics!), just saying inferior gives a judgment.

                My issue stems not from your (or anyone else’s choices) but rather from the fact that so many of the reasons you point out for choosing homeschooling are reasons that denigrate public school. And you make the problems plaguing public ed sound so pernicious that it would amount to child abuse to leave them in (yes, completely my words and my feelings about what you say.) I am not saying that public education is without its problems. And I think those problems can make for really good reasons for choosing homeschooling. But as someone who believes profoundly in the promise of public education for so many students, I feel a responsibility to offer a different look: schools and teachers that work hard, that truly love kids, that want to foster a love of learning. You can see that it would be important for me to defend it, right? Not in order to change your mind but to make sure others know that public education is not a snake pit .

                What bothers me is that as members of a civil, hopefully civic-minded society, we should all be railing against those problems rather than turning our backs to them. So if you really feel like public school is such a danger, and knowing that not all students can choose another option, and knowing that your children (maybe grandchildren now that yours are mostly grown) will have to share the same world as those publicly educated students, what are you doing to make it better? Because it feels to me like that is a job for all of society, whether we have kids in school or not or even whether we have kids at all.

                And yes, I realize that seems to take us far afield of where your post started…except that it stems back to the advice you would give to parents…you would tell parents who are worried about public education to think about homeschooling. I wouldn’t ever want to close that option/choice, but I’d also want them to know what they can do to help solve the problems, not just run away from them. Sometimes (and maybe I am completely in the wrong) I feel like homeschoolers take the adage “It takes a village…” but forget that public school kids are part of the village and that means that what public education looks like should be important to all of us.

              • I’m the one that used the word “inferior”, not Sue. But Sue clearly said that she believes homeschooling to be the superior way of educating your children, so inferiority of other methods is inferred.

                Sue, I know I’m splitting hairs semantically and otherwise, but I think you would have gotten no criticism at all if you’d simply said “homeschooling (or unschooling) has been the best choice *for my family*, and left it at that.

                Yes, it’s a stretch for me to say that you think all families should homeschool, but I’m getting that from your comment further up in the comments that “I’m not going to write supportive things about going to school when I don’t think it’s the best way to learn or the best option for families… just so we can all get along.” Again, you imply inferiority of school without knowing each individual families’ very personal circumstances. For instance, a friend of my parents homeschooled for two years but realized the excellent local school was better cut out to handle his son’s severe dyslexia. In that instance, school was the BEST option for the family.

  10. Very well written…it did remind me just a year back I was at a school- waiting for the bell to ring and when the school day shall end. I too am writing on my blog-my journey. Do read it and give a feed back. shahensworld.blogspot.in
    That’s the sight posted under How I lwarnt learning…
    Your blog was very refreshing and an inspiration for me and many others. I am sure I shall whisper in one of their ears don’t do it!
    And also a good message that U r not alone….I was skeptical when I began but now its been a lovely journey so far!!!

  11. Hi, excited to find your blog and Facebook group! We are just beginning our homeschooling journey and I remember our big concern was the whole socialization thing. I think the reason this issue persists is because the kid who weren’t homeschooled with social opportunities tend to stand out. And because they stand out people assume that’s what a normal homeschool situation looks like, but I’ve come to realize socialization is a choice!
    When I talk to the awkward homeschooled kid about what his school years were like, I find out they didn’t go to the zoo, go camping, play a sport, volunteer, or even frequent the library! They sat at home, did the curriculum, and then sat at home. Their parents, for whatever reason” did not choose to make social opportunities part of their learning experience.
    That was a big “game changer” for my hubby especially, who was not open to the idea of homeschooling.
    Anyway since I’m new to your blog you may already have something about this question on here somewhere. But how do you go about telling loved ones “we aren’t doing it!”? My in-laws are wonderful people, not big fans of homeschooling, they are constantly asking if we’ve gotten our oldest enrolled in pre k yet cause he is so social he needs to be in school, etc. We haven’t told them he’s not going yet, and are dreading it a bit. We know it’s our choice but also don’t want to be disrespectful!
    Anyway thanks and love your post!

    • Hi Kmboffey! So glad you made your way over here.
      I felt the same way about socialization when we started. And my kids had loads of opportunities to interact with kids of all ages and adults too.
      As for the in-laws… I’d take it slowly. Tell them you’re just trying this out. Tell them that if it doesn’t work, schools will be there and you’ll send them on over. Tell them that there are few things you want to do with the kids before they go off to school. Keep that idea that the door to school is open, and you’re just doing this *for now.*. As you start to have fabulous experiences with the kids, you can share those. Plus, by hedging a little, it will buy you some time to get more confident.

      I will tell you that sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. My mom was against homeschooling for most of my kids’ childhoods. Definitely not a fan of unschooling. It finally came to a point where she was asking them if they’d like to go and all kinds of comments that undermined the decision to homeschool. I had to give her an ultimatum – the comments must stop or the contact will. She’s done her parenting, now it’s our turn. She gets no vote. Harsh, I know. But it stopped. I told her she could make her comment to me, but never the kids. She understood. It was just her anxiety about our decision.

      • Thanks,
        That makes alot of sense to say “for now” especially since he’s just at the pre k stage and school isn’t actually required at this age. Hopefully the in-laws will get past it. They are really great to me but I definitely feel like I’m racking up reasons for them to dislike me, cause most of these “crazy ideas” are things their son would never have done on his own. I’m ruining him 🙂 lol
        Thanks for the help!

  12. Bazillions of back-to-school posts are everywhere. That’s the whole point of this one post imo, as a mom-whisperer to the small, still voice inside some relatively few parents and to encourage and affirm that they can do it differently without price, that is is possible and legal and can work out beautifully for everyone.

  13. I disagree with you. I was just one of those parents buying school supplies and I was not thinking either of the two things that you say moms are thinking. I was not excited to get my kindergartener out of my hair. I was also not wondering if I was doing the right thing. I was raised in a home that did both homeschool and public school. I then went on to get my masters in classroom teaching and I taught elementary school for seven years before becoming a stay at home mom to my three (almost four, we are in the process of adopting from China) children. I have spent the last year trying to figure out whether or not I should homeschool. I have lots of friends who homeschool their children here where I live…that I truly love and respect. I have spent time talking with them about it. I also spent a lot of time praying and searching for direction from our Heavenly Father. My husband and I have made the decision to send our son to the elementary school where I previously taught and have good relationships with the administration and teachers. I know without a shadow of a doubt that we are doing the right thing! I am sending my son (whom I love more than life) to imperfect, public school…because we live in an imperfect world. He is going to learn so much from his amazing, caring, Christian teachers. But he is also going to learn a lot about life. My husband and I are going to be with him every step of the way and we are going to teach him how to live in this broken world from a young age rather than hide him from it until he becomes an adult. We are going to teach him how to let his light shine and give him the opportunity to let it shine. By the way, he is going have a lot of fun too. (I was a student in a public elementary school once. I was a teacher in the public elementary school once too…I know what I am talking about.)

    I respect moms who homeschool. I think that for some families it is the right thing to do. I just think that you do not fully understand all that you are talking about here…and you are not being very respectful to teachers and parents who have chosen to send their children to school.

    • Ashley, I’m glad you commented but you misread it. I didn’t say that all moms buying school supplies have to fall into those two categories. I was speaking to the moms who ARE unsure about their decision. Clearly, you are not. There’s no need to defend your decision to use the school system. Most of America supports you.
      You are incorrect when you say that I don’t fully understand. Your child is five? A kindergartener. My children are grown. They spent time in school and homeschooled. I know the layout of this land VERY well. My dissenting opinion was not disrespectful, it was simply my opinion. On my blog. A tiny little voice compared to the onslaught of pro-school marketing that we endure all year long, but loudest in August/September.

    • I’m a little concerned that people are now waxing poetic about the lovely Christian teachers that public school offers. Religion should have nothing to do with public school. It was, however, one of the reasons we took our kids out of the ps here…too much religion.

      • I am a Christian and I am not ashamed of that fact. When I say that I appreciate the fact that there are Christian teachers at my son’s public school, that’s not because I want them to teach religion or Christian values at school. As a matter fact, they are not allowed to do that and I am sorry if you have had a bad experience with teachers pushing religion at your children’s public school. As a Christ follower, I am just very thankful that my son’s teacher has God’s love in her life and that she personaly shares the same values as me. That’s all. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my personal feelings on the matter though.

  14. On local homeschooling online communities, the one thing you hear over and over by new homeschooling parents is that their child was miserable, so miserable that they just didn’t know what to do anymore and had never for a single moment EVER considered doing something so insane as to take their child out of school, to homeschool. Yet, that’s what it came to, their child’s sheer misery caused them to drastically alter the course of their family’s life. I’ve yet to read of a parent who regretted that decision.

    This article wasn’t for those that are happy with their school choice. It really was written for the parent of that child, the one who doesn’t fit. The square peg that doesn’t fit the round hole. It’s for the mom who sees their child stop eating from dread of being bullied, it’s for the mom who spends hours watching their child cry in frustration from piles of homework, it’s for the mom who’s kid was once normal and bright and is now being labeled and diagnosed, it’s for the parent who’s kid throws up or suddenly having toileting issues at 8 because the testing is too much stress. Those are all things that I’ve read parents say. I’ve heard it many times.

    As long as the average parent, like many of my neighbors, are shocked when they find that homeschooling is legal, and yes, totally doable, people like Sue, should definitely keep writing those ideas.

  15. I am a single mom who has to work and I have no family near me, I would love to home school but can’t. It hurts me to have to send my child to school every day and especially when she doesn’t want to go. I live in a small town and there are not a lot of options.

    • Hi Kathy, I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time. Hopefully resources (people!) will surface that can help you or work with you. Your relationship with your daughter is the most important thing. As long as you know that and she knows that, even the hardest circumstances will be bearable.
      {{{{Hugs}}}}

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  17. Good article! My 9-year-old starts school soon, and I know I am going to miss her so much. Back to school is getting closer and closer. I’ve been researching homeschooling and talking about it for the past 1-2 years. However, she’s in 4th grade and she LIKES her school. (It’s the same school I went to for elementary, so I do understand why. It’s a great school). I have come to a compromise of sorts with her, that she can finish out elementary school but after that it’s homeschool for the middle school years. We were just looking at an online program together a few days ago, and she was excited about it. (For high school, there is actually a school that is part of the local public school system that focuses on sciences, and it takes place outside in a local state park/forest that borders the ocean!)
    I feel her and I have worked out a great compromise, but I’m still going to miss her so much. Don’t know what to do about that… =\

    • Thanks for leaving a comment, LL. I hope this past month has gone well for both of you. Please consider reading up on unschooling, as I think it might be a fantastic opportunity for you daughter when you do decide to bring her home to learn. Read more about unschooling here, and feel free to ask questions. Sometimes we gravitate to these online programs because they’re what familiar to us. The whole world is out there though!! Enjoy the freedom!! 🙂

      Soon, I will have another website up: http://www.UnschoolingMom2Mom.com
      For now, we’re answering questions at the Facebook page, but great articles specifically about this are coming soon! 😉

  18. I work full time as a faculty member at a local community college. I’m curious about home schooling parents and their work outside the home. How do you manage that and home school your kids? My spouse has been unemployed for 8 of the last 10 years, during which time he started his own business. My teaching job has supplied the majority of the income, not to mention the health care benefits etc.
    I can’t imagine my situation is all that unique, though. So how to HS families fit paid work into the HSing environment? THanks

    • My husband works full time and I have been in and out of the workforce since the kids were born. We only started homeschooling last year, when my son was 11. My 9 YO will be home with me starting this year.
      I will be teaching a few classes at the local homeschool ‘school’ this fall. It will not be much but will be something. It is definitely not what my ‘career’ was up til now. I know different families figure out different ways to make things work. Many families do without a lot. It just depends on the family situation. For one family, the mom wasn’t working and the dad works from home. I asked the mom — why didn’t you put the kids in private school? Her answer was that she would have had to go back to work and they didn’t want that strain on the family — there was a reason she was a stay at home mom. And she loves that they homeschool because they have so much flexibility that way.

    • I know that some families “shopschool”–i.e. run some kind of store and do schooling from that store or small business. Other families have parents with split shifts so someone is always home to help with the schooling while the other parent is at work.

      We just started homeschooling. I had to leave my job as a preschool teacher to do it. We are able to swing it but it means not really saving appropriately for college, retirement and other expenses. So, I have no idea how long we will be homeschooling. Where I live, rare is the family with a full-on SAHP after the toddler years… the cost of living is high and two incomes are needed to cover the basics.

      • Amy K., I hear ya! Sometimes we get locked into that 2-income environment and it’s TOUGH to break free. But we decided to scale back on a LOT of our living expenses, my husband changed career fields, I took on part-time jobs. It’s about where your priorities are. I don’t mean that to sound judgmental, it’s just what it boils down to.

        Good luck! I hope you find a way to continue to homeschool.

        • Hi Sue, We’re enjoying homeschooling so far… mostly. Less stress, more family time. Learning together is great. BUT… I find it terribly isolating. Haven’t clicked with other homeschoolers yet. And I’m all about that. I had such a wonderful support group at our public school. I’m not sure what the problem is. We’ve been to a few park days. It’s not that people are unfriendly. I just don’t feel a strong connection and I feel terribly shy.

          One of my kids is thriving. He plays with neighbors and a few old friends from school and that’s all he needs. The other is lonely and wanting some new friends that we haven’t found yet. I’m resourceful some I’m sure we’ll figure it out but so far homeschooling feels relaxing but lonely.

          • You’ve looked online for all the different local groups? Joined a few group field trips? I ended up connecting with the moms my kids enjoyed playing with. I’d have them back over to the house after park day, or plan another outing with just a couple of families that seemed to get along.
            The other thing to think about is to look for ways for YOU to find friends outside the homeschool community. Maybe hobbies you’re interested in? Same for your child who feels lonely. Homeschooled kids (and moms!) don’t have to only associate with other homeschoolers. Maybe she could join some team sport, hobby group, or co-op class?

            • Yes, my kids do a variety of activities. I did meet one mom that I connected with at a homeschooling PE class. Her boys and my boys are of similar age and I could totally see hanging out. BUT… I drive 45 minutes to the class from the west, she 45 minutes from the east. We’ve laughed about how we shouldn’t like each other too much, the distance is too great! Also, my son broke his arm at the class yesterday so we won’t be going back :(. I don’t even have her info even if I could spend that $$ on gas.

              We do Cub Scouts, which is great for putting fun events on the calendar. But the boys there mostly come from the same school and are already closer friends, and more importantly, they’re scheduled to the hilt! No time for hanging out. That’s a big reason why I’m seeking HS friends for my kids–the similar relaxed schedule. My son does a basketball league in winter but it’s just not social like baseball is. You go, you play, you leave.

              Anyway, it’s early in the journey still. We will persevere :). But, it is lonely.

              • Good luck to you! I’m sure new things will pop up. SO sorry to hear about your son’s broken arm AND your loss of the mom-friend. Life just twists and turns, doesn’t it?

                Anyway, I wish you well!!

    • Ca, I worked part-time at various points of time while my children were growing up. It’s a juggling act, for sure!

      But it can be done.

      Alternating work hours, finding family or friends support, tapping into the community for fun activities, using mothers-helpers or sitters that align with your philosophy about learning and parenting – these are all some ways to make it work.

  19. First, I would like to say that I appreciate your point of view and, as a teacher, understand that there are plenty of bad teachers and schools in the world. In fact, I have worked with several of them. I don’t have children of my own, and I’m neither pro-homeschooling nor anti-homeschooling..

    That being said, I think it’s important to remain cautious about giving the advice you provide in this blog to every parent. As you stated in the comments, you have a degree and are definitely able to teach your children. However, I have had children come to me (a middle school teacher) after being homeschooled for several years, and they are sometimes very behind. The parents realize too late that they aren’t equipped to teach their children because they don’t have a higher education, their children have learning disabilities that they can’t cope with, they have a different learning style, or the parent just lacks the skills to teach.

    I’m not sure if you believe that everyone can and should homeschool, but I think it is irresponsible to suggest that anyone can do it. Every parent has the right to do what they think is best for their kids, but it is unfair to the kids who end up behind because they are being taught by parents who lack the skills. I’m not trying to be argumentative; I just thought it was important to point out that not everyone can teach (contrary to popular belief).

    • I don’t like how you said moms who say “4 more days” are excited to get their kids out of their lives. I am ‘that mom’ who celebrates going back to school with statements like that and it by no means should imply that I want to get rid of my kids. I am excited for him to go to school and form a bond with his teacher, learn new things, and gain some independence away from our family. That is of course not to say you don’t provide those same experiences for your child at home. As a previous school teacher… I have learned we all want what’s best for our kids and we all do the best we can. I don’t think it’s fair for you to assume people want to get rid of their kids anymore than someone who does not homeschool assumes that you want to homeschool because you have to spend every waking moment with your child. FYI – I could homeschool if I chose to.. I choose not too though for reasons that are personal to me and my family. I am always intrigued why people choose to homeschool because what I have learned over the years that the choice to homeschool is very personal different for everyone.

      • If your reasoning for saying “4 more days” is not about getting your kids out of the house, then obviously that statement doesn’t apply to you, Jennifer. But you and I both know that we’ve heard those moms that I AM talking about. And I stand by my statement. I think it’s unkind and selfish. I think people often make anti-kid statements flippantly with no thought about how that might make a child feel.

        Thanks for commenting though, and giving me an opportunity to clarify.

    • Hi Suzy, thanks for commenting.
      I think if my children had come to you in middle school, they might have appeared VERY behind. They’d be behind in some areas, and advanced in others… somewhat similar to other transfer students who might come to you from a progressive non-traditional private school. We don’t follow the same scope and sequin that public schools follow, so it seems likely even, that students coming to you from homeschooling might appear (and maybe be) “off track.” It doesn’t take long to get them up to speed though. And many times, that’s part of the role of the middle school, right? To get everyone ready to go to high school? Learning disabilities that may have been missed in elementary schools are identified when they come to you?

      As for anyone being able to homeschool… over nearly two decades, I’ve vacillated on this. Sometimes, I feel like anyone can, provided they’re willing to learn, involve themselves in their children’s lives, be resourceful about finding learning opportunities, look for support in their community or online. Then I meet someone who doesn’t do those things, and I wonder what their life is like at home. But is that my place to judge? Maybe the alternative is much worse. I don’t know the right answer. And that’s why I’m ok with letting parents decide for themselves.

      A few years ago I wrote this: Should You Unschool?
      https://suepatterson.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/should-you-unschool/

      It might be interesting to you.

  20. Thank you for this article!! All of these things you mentioned are reasons I feel strongly about not sending my children to public school. Another thing that has always bothered me is how so many parents (from those who are highly educated to those who are not) aren’t ashamed to say that they use public schools as free daycare for their children. They express this out loud! I just can’t respect that.

    • Thanks for commenting, Nerys. 🙂
      I know what you mean, about the people who openly speak negatively about where they send their kids. It’s a weird phenomenon.

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  22. I think your blog is offensive. Most mothers have to work. But what you basically just said is if you send them to school you don’t want to spend time with them. It is fine for you. Maybe you can afford to stay home but most can’t so please keep your opinions to yourself. Also you need to get a few facts straight.

  23. This discussion reminds me of the division in my day between mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies and those who choose formula (still going on today!) and also those who choose to be stay-at-home moms versus those of us who pursued careers (also still going on today!). Do we really need this division which seems like another attempt to entice women to oppose each other? I don’t think that choosing between homeschooling or sending one’s child to public school should turn into an “us versus them” battle. I believe that the choice is an individual decision to be made with love as the driving force. As a public school teacher myself for the better part of thirty years, I know that school was a haven and a savior to many students during that time. I feared for some of these students on the weekends and especially during long holidays and summers. Not all parents are loving, and not all parents are fit to homeschool their children. I was very glad that some students could get away from home and go to school, at least for a few hours of each day and almost half the days of each year, and I know that the children felt that way too. Let us support each other and know that most of us are trying to do the best that we can!

    • Cheryl, you’re the one setting up an us vs. them scenario. Not me. I was writing to those who are unhappy with the school system, but don’t realize they have a viable option.

  24. And there are some of us who would give anything to stay home and homeschool for all the reasons listed above…but we can’t because we are the only source of income for our families. So we cry as our summer ends and we know we will only just survive the next nine months with my 7-5 teaching job and the piles of ridiculous homework that awaits us every day. And we hope that someday we’ll get to teach our own children instead of everyone else’s…but summer is over and I’m really gonna miss my children.

  25. I’ll start out by saying, I am a homeschool mama of 6 children. We have never not homeschooled. I have directed a local homeschool group for three years, and I am headed into our fourth. There are so many reasons parents choose to school one way or another. I think we can all agree that no matter where or how we educate our children, it is the job of the parent to influence our children toward Christ. I don’t think homeschooling is the only way to do that. I don’t think homeschooling is the only to advocate for our children. I don’t think it is wrong to send your kids to public school. There is no scripture against either option. I agree with the quote you chose, but I don’t think it was fair to Jenn Hatmaker for you to quote her in an article clearly not in favor of public schooling. She herself was one of the women in the aisle you speak of. Her 5 children all attend public school and she sees this as a ministry. That quote was not written in an effort to try and keep our babies at home. It was written to remind they grow way to fast and they are a blessing always. It’s all a matter of the heart. There are wrong reasons to public and wrong reasons to homeschool, but God can and does use them both. He is sovereign and faithful. If you are being called to homeschool, ask Him to clarify that, and He’s calling to public ask Him to reveal it. When He does, don’t question. I submit this with humility as the Lord is growing me in this very thing. Let us encourage and edict each other wherever He has us. Life is hard enough.

    • I think the premise you’re starting out with is incorrect. We cannot ALL agree that we’re all here to influence our children toward Christ. That is a huge sweeping inaccuracy. Families homeschool for a variety of reasons – many of whom are not even Christian.

      As for the quote, I do not know Jenn Hatmaker as well as you, apparently. I know nothing of her schooling choices. If she would like her graphic removed from my blog or if she feels that associating with me and my ideas is offensive, all she would have to do is ask and I will remove it. It would be sad if it comes to that, but I would do it as she is the original author.

  26. A friend linked to this article, via Facebook — hence why I’m here, a year after it’s published. And after reading it through twice, and most of the comments (again, going back a year), I would like to share a few thoughts.

    This is coming from a homeschool alum (K-12), who had a fantastic experience and believes responsible homeschooling practices should be fully legal and available for any parent able and willing to take on the monumental task of educating their chil(ren). I have three younger siblings, all of whom over the years THEY were homeschooled sat under my tutoring and instruction, at one point or another.

    It’s also coming from: a college graduate; a single mom for over four years; someone who has held jobs in the public and private sector; and, also directly applicable: someone who has spent over five years working in the field of public/private/charter/and home education policy at the state level. Discussing, debating, drafting, crying, and rejoicing with the parents, the PTAs, the School Boards, the EAs, the think tanks, and, just as importantly, the students.

    And, because it’s probably the most relevant: I have two kids in the public school system. And not only do they love, and I love it: they’re thriving.

    I’m not wandering in here to pick a fight. I don’t know anyone here personally, so my goal is to remain charitable in my assumptions. I do, however, have some thoughts on things that are here, in black and white Internet Lettering:

    1.) Homeschooling is absolutely great…but not absolutely great, for everyone or every student.

    Even the parents who want their children to be home more.
    Even the parents frustrated with the school systems.
    Even the parents who can cut back to one income.

    Individual liberty is crucial, in family-making decisions…but seeing to the well-being (emotionally, mentally, financially, educationally) of the child now, to help prepare them for the rest of their life (as a citizen, an employee/employer, and perhaps parent themselves) is just as important as mother feeling less guilty, or more personally fulfilled, because she gets to see her child in the home more hours than she does not. Particularly since this is a discussion about schooling and education.

    If you’re not able to assist your child in learning the reading, writing, and math skills necessary for them to be able to function in society as a lawfully-adult 18 year old, then that’s not a failure on your part. You’re not a bad parent. It’s not that you don’t love your kids and want the best for your success. But it may mean homeschooling isn’t a good option for your child, or for you.

    And as parents: until that’s the first question we’re posing & answer — “Am I able to do this, as an instructor and assistant to my child’s education?” — then all the others are irrelevant. Full stop.

    2.) When people respond with, “I/we can’t afford to homeschool,” please don’t make the assumption that they’re referring to the actual cost of materials to educate their child(ren).

    It’s great to point out the library, the co-ops, the online resources, the community centers, and the free field trips…but for most families who give that “defensive excuse” (as it was called), what they’re really saying is that they cannot afford to have a parent at home enough reasonable hours in the week to provide a comprehensive, reading/writing/arithmetic-basic education to their child. Period.

    And as parents who homeschool seek to avoid judgment from others, I would admonish them to not pass it on parents who cannot — for their own good reasons — cut back/live off one income/make sacrifices, in order to provide a solid education at home. Just because your family is able, does not mean that another family is as well.

    It’s great that you (generic, not specific) choose not to work. That’s not a choice many others can make…and making that choice, to the possible financial peril or overall well-being of your family — simply to homeschool — will always be far worse than sending them to a classroom five days a week.

    3.) Choosing to send children to public school is not buying the pro-school marketing, and that’s really quite an unkind thing to say.

    If we’re talking about making sacrifices to do what’s best for our kids/students, then we also need to discuss the parents — like myself — who made difficult decisions to work harder, longer hours _outside_ the home (nights, weekends, days the kids were with their dad) in order to responsibly afford relocating to a preferred school district.

    I’ve not met a single public school parent who has not looked into the ratings, the test scores, the demographics, the SOL reports, the gifted programs, etc., for the school to which they send their child to receive an education. Do such uninformed parents exist? No doubt. But I’ve yet to meet one (and, per my bio above: I’ve met several thousand).

    We’re not “getting in line and doing what we’re told” — we’re grown, adult women (and men), making informed, responsible decisions for our children. And that decision is public school.

    Also: the PTA…the mere existence of which is for parental involvement in school life. Though they do market new playgrounds, field trips, after-school activities, enrichment programs, art & science camps, parenting resources, family outing opportunities…and cookies.

    4.) Most moms/dads do say, “I can’t wait for school to start again…” but not because they’re ready to get their kids out of their lives.

    …but because the kids are ready to get back in school. To see their friends (which they, and they do enjoy seeing them). To learn (because they do that as well, so long as the parent is keeping up with their progress & communicating with the teacher).

    And, honestly, the kids are also kind of anxious to be away from the parents by that point, too. And that’s okay. It’s called forming independence and a sense of identity. Good stuff.

    • I certainly appreciate the time and effort you put into reading through everything and then responding. But I still think you’ve missed the point.

      Some parents are EXACTLY the way I’ve described them and others don’t really think they HAVE the option to homeschool. They really do believe that homeschooling will warp their kids in a way that cannot be repaired. And all I wanted to do was whisper a little bit to them about how that isn’t necessarily true. And encourage them to look at some of the reasons that schools are NOT the best places for learning or making family bonds closer. Does that mean I don’t believe kids in school can have good relationships with their parents? Of course not. Does it mean that I think every family should make the same choice we did? No way.

      But you cannot deny that there is an ENORMOUS push in August to get kids back into school, promoting and celebrating and reuniting… and I’m here to tell you that a lot of parents aren’t that happy about it. And they COULD do better, if they just knew it was a viable option.

  27. Homeschooling is one of many great options available for educating children today. We certainly need more educational options that are affordable to all families and all types of children, homeschooling being one of those option, but also working on reviving where our public school system is lacking and making private educations more affordable and accessible.That being said homeschooling as a whole is not feasible for every family for many practical reasons. Most two-parent households have both parents fully or partially employed, leaving neither with time to be a full time educator as well. There’s also a lot of single parent households, parents who are disabled or have chronic illness, and also parents who love and care for their children but simply aren’t up for the task of educating them in areas they themselves don’t even have experience in.
    You say that there are fantastic homeschooling networks, and there are, but the majority are also through or joined with church related organizations. In fact, nearly 80% homeschool for religious reasons so if I’m not Christian and my children don’t attend all of these youth groups then where’s the socializing for them? And more then 80% are white so if you are a non-Caucasian race and you homeschool, exposing your children to other kids of their own race or exposing your Caucasian kids to other races and cultures may be extremely difficult. So yes, there are fantastic homseschooling networks in America but they’re really only geared towards White Christians.
    There’s also the fact that many children have learning disabilities. I for instance went to a school for LD kids the majority of which had Dyslexia and ADHD but they worked with children from all walks of the learning spectrum, and while a public school certainly could not meet my needs neither could my parents nor any average parent not trained in special education. So you have different parents who can teach these programs, fantastic, but are any of them equipped to teach physics or how to structure a college level essay to a dyslexic individual?
    If you are healthy people who can afford to have a full time stay at home parent to home school with healthy average functioning and learning abled kids, God Bless and more power to you, that is certainly not everyone’s lot in life. Not everybody has that. More so, not everybody who does have all of those things and yet still chooses to send their child to a public or private school is a neglectful parent. I know you didn’t outright say it but several statements of yours contradict your opening paragraph of being okay with other people’s decisions. The implication that public/private school parents don’t like being around their kids or don’t have as strong of family values are clear for anyone who has had a decent education in reading comprehension, regardless of where that education came from.
    So if you’re going to challenge all parents on why they really send their children to public/private school, I would also say you should challenge yourself as to why you really homeschool and why you really view non-homeschooling families the way you do.

    • There are plenty of non christian homeschoolers. More and more every day. Plenty of people of color I have met that are homeschooling also. More and more every day (we’re jewish — it’s not completely accepted by the community either, but we do it because it is the best thing for MY children, and that’s what I am concerned with).
      I know plenty of families with very very little who do not send their kids to school. Not to say that that is the idea for everyone — but they do it. When people are less concerned about living in the ‘right’ area for the schools — when you can live *anywhere* then typically your housing costs decline and you have fewer expenses. It works. Again, I know many who are doing it.

      • Thank you for sharing your experiences, atlmom. It seems that a lot of misconceptions are being tossed around as facts.

    • Hi Colleen,
      thanks for stopping by.
      You wrote:
      Homeschooling is one of many great options available for educating children today. We certainly need more educational options that are affordable to all families and all types of children, homeschooling being one of those option, but also working on reviving where our public school system is lacking and making private educations more affordable and accessible.


      I’m glad you are able to admit that public schooling is not working for many.

      You wrote:
      That being said homeschooling as a whole is not feasible for every family for many practical reasons. Most two-parent households have both parents fully or partially employed, leaving neither with time to be a full time educator as well. There’s also a lot of single parent households, parents who are disabled or have chronic illness, and also parents who love and care for their children but simply aren’t up for the task of educating them in areas they themselves don’t even have experience in.

      I never said homeschooling is for everyone. In this article, I specifically said I wanted to speak to those who felt homeschooling was not a viable option for them. It’s not an easy path, but I know a lot of single parent homeschooling families. They pool resources, ask for help, develop support systems. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

      You wrote:
      You say that there are fantastic homeschooling networks, and there are, but the majority are also through or joined with church related organizations. In fact, nearly 80% homeschool for religious reasons so if I’m not Christian and my children don’t attend all of these youth groups then where’s the socializing for them?


      This is not true. It may have been true at one point, but not anymore.


      You wrote:
      In fact, nearly 80% homeschool for religious reasons so if I’m not Christian and my children don’t attend all of these youth groups then where’s the socializing for them?

      Not a fact at all. If you get your data from a Christian homeschooling organization, it’s not surprising that they inflate their numbers. It’s a political thing we have dealt with for years. But it’s definitely not a fact.

      You wrote:
      And more then 80% are white so if you are a non-Caucasian race and you homeschool, exposing your children to other kids of their own race or exposing your Caucasian kids to other races and cultures may be extremely difficult.

      I guess it depends on where you live. I live in Texas and we see many hispanic families homeschooling. 80% seems on the high side. But I have to admit that I don’t see a lot of African American families.

      You wrote:
      So yes, there are fantastic homseschooling networks in America but they’re really only geared towards White Christians.

      White, maybe. Christian, no.

      You wrote:
      There’s also the fact that many children have learning disabilities. I for instance went to a school for LD kids the majority of which had Dyslexia and ADHD but they worked with children from all walks of the learning spectrum, and while a public school certainly could not meet my needs neither could my parents nor any average parent not trained in special education. So you have different parents who can teach these programs, fantastic, but are any of them equipped to teach physics or how to structure a college level essay to a dyslexic individual?

      I know of a lot of disabilities that are caused by being in a school setting. I know that will irritate a lot of people, but I’ve heard so many families talk about how once their children left the school environment, these disabilities didn’t exist.

      As for teaching physics or structuring college essays, we were unschoolers. My husband and I both have degrees in science and science was incorporated into our lives. But we didn’t teach subjects in the same ways schools do. Two of my three children did go to college, entering through the community college system. They both did very well. I have no experience with the level of special needs intervention you say you needed. I do have friends who simply sought out whatever specialist they needed to help their child succeed. Every parent does not have to be every thing to that child. But you don’t have to go to school to have access to a specialist.

      You wrote:
      If you are healthy people who can afford to have a full time stay at home parent to home school with healthy average functioning and learning abled kids, God Bless and more power to you, that is certainly not everyone’s lot in life. Not everybody has that. More so, not everybody who does have all of those things and yet still chooses to send their child to a public or private school is a neglectful parent.

      A lot more people could homeschool if they made some adjustments in their lives. If they wanted to. I never said it’s for everyone.

      You wrote:
      If you are healthy people who can afford to have a full time stay at home parent to home school with healthy average functioning and learning abled kids, God Bless and more power to you, that is certainly not everyone’s lot in life. Not everybody has that. More so, not everybody who does have all of those things and yet still chooses to send their child to a public or private school is a neglectful parent.

      As a mom of 3 grown unschoolers, it’s obvious that I think I made the right choice for my own children. I don’t really care what choices other people make. But that doesn’t negate the simple fact that by choosing a different path, I OBVIOUSLY think it’s the better path.

      You wrote:
      I know you didn’t outright say it but several statements of yours contradict your opening paragraph of being okay with other people’s decisions. The implication that public/private school parents don’t like being around their kids or don’t have as strong of family values are clear for anyone who has had a decent education in reading comprehension, regardless of where that education came from.

      Are you denying hearing parents talk this way as summer ends and school approaches? I didn’t say all parents act like this, but I’m not going to pretend they don’t exist.

      You wrote:
      So if you’re going to challenge all parents on why they really send their children to public/private school, I would also say you should challenge yourself as to why you really homeschool and why you really view non-homeschooling families the way you do.

      If you will reread the article – maybe with a little less defensiveness – you will see that I didn’t challenge all parents. I was simply speaking to those who are unaware there are some really great options for their kids.

  28. ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS POST! Thank u. I feel all these things inside. I just want to say no please don’t do it! Thank you for writing this. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I want to cherish EVERY MOMENT with my 2 girls. I cannot fathom letting them go for most of the day 5 days a week. I am so thankful that GOD has led us to homeschooling and so thankful for all the community support!!!

  29. Your post lacks self awareness of the privledge you enjoy in that you can even make the decision to homeschool. Additionally, I would like to see reliable and credible evidence to support your suppositions, especially around instructional time and differentiation. Your post is grossly misinformed, inflammatory and wrong.

    • Another defensive comment. If I’ve struck a nerve, then that’s for you to sort out. I’m not writing a research paper here; I’m simply encouraging mothers who don’t want to send their kids to school to find another option. Homeschooling is a good option for those who are unhappy with their school choice. You, Teresa, clearly are happy with your choice. Great. Just because we disagree, does not mean I’m misinformed and wrong. It’s just a difference of opinion.

  30. I was a homeschooler but put my kids in public school. Just like the stereotypes you hear about homeschoolers and their children, you have stereotyped public school children and their families. I adore my children and spend every moment I can with them. They are receiving an excellent education and they truly LOVE school. When you said you don’t post about these things often, you should have stopped there. There are drawbacks and advantages to both homeschool and public school. Neither is better than the other. Are there parents who can’t wait to ship their kids off to school to get them out of their hair? Certainly. Are their homeschoolers who can’t wait to shop their kids off to some activity to get them out of their hair? Certainly.

    Homeschoolers don’t want to be stereotyped, I know first hand. Neither do public schoolers.

    My children learn inside and outside of school. Really, it’s up to us as parents to guide our children’s education inside and outside of school. We are their biggest educators, even if they go to school outside of the home. What WE teach them is the foundation for their entire lives, even if they are taught in a public setting. So instead of wanting to say ” Don’t do it”, you should be saying “Do what is right for your family”, and ” No judgments”.

    • Because of your defensiveness, you missed my point.
      I’d encourage you to write a blogpost about your experiences. I’d read it. I probably wouldn’t tell you where to stop and start talking though, like you have.

      I stand by what I have written.

  31. I love this so much. Homeschooling is my dream. My husband’s infidelity, mental and emotional abuse, then subsequent divorce destroyed that. I’ve been separated for 2 years as of August 12th and will be divorced 2 years in March 2017. I’m hoping and praying by school next year, I’ll be in a place both financially and mentally to have them home with me for school. Thank you for putting into words some of my most common thoughts. 💗💗

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