Saturday, July 4, 2009

confessions of a homeschool drop-out, a note to homeschoolers

To be a good homeschooler you have to believe in what you're doing. You have to believe the choices you're making are the absolute best for your kids. Homeschooling is hard and requires great sacrifice so if you didn't believe in it you'd quit.

I quit.

Truth be told sometimes I feel nostalgic for the good ol' days of homeschooling. And there were some - good days, that is. But all and all I knew, I KNEW, that homeschooling was no longer the best choice for my family.

Sending my kids to school has not been without cost (tuition for a private school AIN'T cheap folks). But for us it has been a good fit. So to all you homeschoolers out there here are some good reasons to quit, or at least not judge those of us who have chosen differently.

-I was going "head to head" with my daughter daily. It was exhausting - for both of us. Delegating the role of "primary teacher" to someone else has allowed me to step into the role of coach. I am able to walk with my daughter through her struggles and sidestep much of the direct conflict. It's good for our relationship.

-My daughter thrives on predictability. I was unable to provide her the structure she needed to learn the best when I was also trying to manage a toddler.

-It has been a wonderful, wonderful thing to have other godly adults (namely, my kid's teachers) speaking into their lives. They reinforce the truth that we are teaching at home.

-Homeschooling was, partly, a control freak thing for me. I like to be in control of what my kids are learning, how they are learning it, and when they are learning it. It's been good for me to let go of some of that control. Truthfully, I still THINK that some of my ways are better. But God is using other methods, and other people to educate my kids. And sometimes they are doing a much better job than I could. (Homeschoolers - wonder of wonders my kids can SPELL NOW!)

-My son is an extrovert. He needs to be with people, lots of them, for lots of time. It's how he's wired. Homeschooling doesn't necessarily equal poorly socialized kids - not at all. BUT I was unable to meet one of my son's legitimate needs at home. He is happier now.

-Peer pressure combats laziness - we had laziness issues homeschooling. Competition can be good.

-I am a parent to an absent minded kid - a genetic trait he, unfortunately, inherited from me. School has required him to step it up or deal with the consequences. Believe it or not, the kid can and does remember to do his homework, and turn it in. (Most of the time!)

-Even at a small Christian school we run into "people issues". Kids tease. Girls are catty. People get their feelings hurt. My kids are not insulated from those struggles like they were when we were homeschooling. That's a con. It's so painful for me, as a mom, to watch my kids struggle with these things. But it does give me ample chance to coach them through difficult people issues in the relative safety of their home and with their Christian teachers. (This is not to say that I would ever, ever put up with bullying. But that's not what's going on - it's just kid stuff)

-I am emotionally healthier. Eddie and I are ultimately accountable to God for how we parent, but we can delegate. Delegating is good. I DO NOT HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING MYSELF. I am a better mom to my kids when I am not also their teacher.

- Homeschooling rocks, in principle. In reality, it is imperfect. If you homeschool, and you're honest, you know that. For us too many balls were being dropped, and too many needs going unmet. God provided us CCA as a resource to help us as a family. It is clearly where he wants us for this season.

-Who knows, someday we may even send our kids into the trenches of public school. I know parents, parents I admire, who have deliberately chosen public schools for their kids. They didn't choose it because it was easiest; they thought it was the best choice for their family. And it was.

PS - guess what I miss most about homeschooling? Sonlight. I LOVE their literature and their approach. My kids do too! Ironically, CHEC (an organization with whom I take issues) has not allowed Sonlight to be a part of their confrence. May I just express my outrage: OUTRAGE. Don't even get me started on that one....


NLWilliams said...

really loved the honesty and thoughtfulness of this a not-yet-homeschooling-but-considering-it-equally-among-all-education-options mom, it is valuable to read someone's reasons for homeschooling and then quitting...and I don't even know what CHEC is, but I think I would share your outrage...

Dan said...

I was happy to discover your blog today. I found your post about why you no longer homeschool to be refreshing. My wife and I considered homeschooling years ago and concluded that it wasn't the right choice for us. But that's not what I wanted to contact you about. I was unable to find a contact link in your blog. I hope it's OK that I'm contacting you through a public comment. I've developed an educational program for Windows called SpellQuizzer that helps children learn their spelling and vocabulary words without the battle that parents often have getting them to sit down and write them out while the parents dictate to them. The parent enters the child's spelling words into the software making a sound recording of each word. Then the software helps the child practice his or her words. It really helped my children with their weekly spelling lists.

I would appreciate your reviewing SpellQuizzer in Curly Jo's 2 Cents. If you are interested in hosting a giveaway of a SpellQuizzer license I'd be happy to supply a free license to the winner. You can learn more about the program at There's a video demo you can watch at Finally, there's a page targeted to homeschooling families at I'd be happy to send you a complimentary license for the software. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thank you very much!

Dan Hite
TedCo Software