8 Reasons Not to Homeschool
I am a huge advocate of homeschooling. I homeschooled both of my children and I loved it! However, I think there are some times when you should not homeschool. In fact, I think there are some children that would be at a disadvantage by being homeschooled instead of educated in a different setting. Today I am going to share 8 reasons not to homeschool.
Why Not to Homeschool
To shelter the child from bad things
Bad things happen. They happen everywhere you go. If you are homeschooling to keep your child from seeing or experiencing bad things you are in for a surprise. Being a homeschool family means doing life with your kid 24/7. Unless you put them in a bubble they are going to see things and they will experience pain. The only difference with homeschooling is that you will be there with them to help them process it.
** There is an exception to this rule. Things like immunity related issues such a coronavirus or other sicknesses that respond wrong to a sickness might be a good reason to choose a homeschool or distance learning approach.
My friends are doing it
That’s good. I am sure there is an old saying about a bridge and jumping that ties in well with this. Just because homeschooling is the right decision for your friend doesn’t mean it is the right decision for your family or your child. A decision to homeschool based only on keeping up with others is wrong. Look at what works best for your family instead.
Does this choice fit your child’s learning style? Do you have what you need in order to successfully homeschool this child? Is there time for you to do what your child really needs? Take some time to answer these questions before making a choice your friend might be making.
Homeschoolers say it’s the only option
Ok, some homeschoolers can be big bullies. They think that the only way every child should learn is at home. This is not always the best option. Please ignore them. There are many options for educating your child. Take the time to look at the options and decide what is best for your situation and for your child. (Homeschoolers, back off of people. It’s not fair to the mom who believes she is doing right for you to attack her parenting choice.)
You are over-committed
You can’t afford it
Your child has special needs
You are doing it for you
Homeschooling is to give your child the best education you can. I am not looking down on you at all. For some these feelings can be dealt with and the parent may still want to homeschool. Homeschooling with the proper motives can be a joy. I don’t want you to miss it.
You and your spouse disagree
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Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing this, I think we often forget the decision whether or not to homeschool isn't about "us."
I love this! My little brothers (who are not so little) are homeschooled and it's great for them. However, my husband and I debate about the issue all of the time–and I think that it's because of the fact that the homeschoolers he has encountered were homeschooled with some of the motives above. Love your perspective. 🙂
– Brooke –
Its refreshing to hear a homeschool mom frame the conversation in such an unbiased way. I am guilty myself of only writing about why one should homeschool – there are lots of reasons not to! Great post.
Definitely an interesting read. Have you encountered many bully homeschoolers? I honestly had not realized that it was a problem. Such a shame that any of us would feel so upset by what *other* families do, isn't it?
It will be interesting to see what percent of homeschooled children choose homeschooling or private/public school system in 20-30 years. I have a lot of respect for people who can homeschool, but it's not for us! We sent our kids to a small Christian private school that is parent run.
I homeschool and I do it reasons that are good for my family. I must say however that these are really good reasons not to homeschool. Homeschooling is a very serious thing that needs to be done for the good of the child and not just because. Interesting post!
Really excellent article!!! If I can add another one (two?)…
Medical or emotional issues on the parent’s part are important to consider. I homeschooled for at LEAST 6 month longer that I “should have”, diabled by depression. My kids missed out on important schooling (and I, on healing) because I thought homeschooling is what I was “supposed to” do.
We have been public schooling for almost 3 years now, and my kids and I are MUCH better because of it. Not only did it give me time to work with my illness, but also to diagnose and treat one of my kids’ mental illness? Do we love and support homeschooling? YES! But we also recognize now that it’s not for everyone, for every year. And, amazingly, we’ve learned that public schools are not the devil. 😉
Thank you so much for sharing. It really is hard to make that choice when you are weighing out all the options. I have often gone back and forth on what is best. For now, we are still homeschooling but I check often to see that we are not heading in the wrong direction just because we “have to homeschool.”
First, I would like to highly commend your honesty & openness regarding your depression! That takes mega courage & bravery to do in such a such a public forum, even if cloaked by the anonymousness of only a first name on the internet!!! Mental illness, even in the form of depression, still carries such a negative connotation, even in today’s society. It takes people, like you, speaking out to make the big change in the much needed societal viewpoint. Thank you! Also thank you for adding this to the list. This one really hits home for me!
Now the rest of my comment I address to all readers. While I whole-heartedly agree with Laura that when dealing with an emotional or mental illness (and I’ll add physical illness as well, especially severe, long term, and chronic), there may come a time when you have to say that you’re just not able to homeschool (for now). That’s a very difficult decision to make, BUT it is one that should be made by you and your IMMEDIATE family ONLY!!! This is not a decision to be made by your sister, or your doctor, or your best friend, or your therapist, or your mother (or -in-law), or you get the picture. Sure, these are all people whose opinion you may, or may not, value, but ultimately, this decision needs to be made by you and your spouse (and your child(ren), if you allow for their input at this stage).
Now, a slight turn to the other side. Say you are dealing with something severe, long term, and especially chronic life long, and you DON’T want to give up homeschooling (and for all the right reasons). There are ways to make it work, but it most likely will not look like it did before. You’ll have to get creative in how you come at it. And, if at all possible, ASK for and ACCEPT as much help as you can! Sit down and figure out what someone else who has no idea is going on could just walk in and do that would free you up to do something that no one else can. This can anything from practice spelling words with kid #3 to going over a rough draft of an essay with kid #1 to running an errand to the post office to picking up a list of items at the grocery store to even providing a casserole for that night’s dinner. If you have a list ready, then when someone asks if there’s anything they can do, you can say yes there is, you can xxx. Same for when you ask someone if they could spare some time to help and they agree, now you have a list handy to give them as many items as they care to do! You can and will find ways to make it work; it’ll just work differently than before.
And now for my HUGE request! PLEASE if someone you know is going through something major, and they’re set to continue homeschooling through it, PLEASE be supportive of that! PLEASE don’t suggest, every time you see them, that they “just put them in public school for a little while, just until you feel better”!!! Especially if that someone is dealing with a chronic illness! Then they’re getting hit twice: 1) lack of support to continue homeschooling, and 2) the reminder that they’re never going to “feel better”.
I know this is an extremely long comment, and for that, I apologize. This is a topic that hits the homefront for me. I’m the chronic illness homeschooling momma of two beautiful special needs boys, nonetheless. And sadly I’ve had people make the “put them in school” suggestion right in front of my boys, which sends them into a tizzy! Just the thought of them not being able to learn the way they learn best in a one on one environment terrifies them. That’s precisely what they’ll tell you if you sit them down (That is IF you can actually SIT them down!) and ask them why they don’t want to go to school. And it blew me away the first time I heard that response come out of them, considering they’re 6 & 8! My 8 yo did go 3 quarters in the public school’s pre-K, and so he knows a little how things are done and apparently has shared his experience with the youngest.
Anyway, I could just keep going. Lol! So, the take-away here? 1) Kudos to Laura for the courage to tell her story! 2) Be strong enough to know if homeschooling needs to stop (for now) because of mental, emotional, and/or physical illness, but make sure it’s YOUR decision! 3) If you do have a chronic illness, know that homeschooling doesn’t have to end if you don’t want it to; you just have to change how you do it. (There’s some great resources for that at http://www.hecoa.com and membership is free!) and finally 4) If someone you know has a chronic illness and is homeschooling, rather than suggest they seek other options, please offer support!
And thanks for sticking it out and reading my full mini-novel! 😉
Michelle, thank you so much for chiming in. Depression can definitely be difficult in general but it can be a larger struggle when homeschooling. You have brought up some great points that I think will be valuable for many homeschoolers! I love the idea of making a list. Sometimes when you are crazy overwhelmed it can be hard to pick on thing you really need help with.
At first I was skeptical about reading this article but I’m glad I did. As a new homeschool mom, I can tell you, many people ask me right off the bat as to why I homeschool. Now, not to make it a racial thing, but I think it’s because I am African American and you don’t find too many African American people where I live that homeschool. We homeschool because we want to instill a more biblical perspective in our children. Our Christianity isn’t something we say; it’s something we live by and we find it important that our children understand the knowledge behind our Christian faith. I was surprised that I agree with every explanation you proposed as to why some parents shouldn’t homeschool. It takes a lot of patience, time, energy, and dedication; and it’s not for everyone.
I appreciate your honesty. I know sometimes we see a title like this one and think the homeschool community is going to be attacked. However, I think for the sake of our children we need to take an honest look at why we homeschool. It does take patience, time, energy, and dedication but isn’t it beautiful?
It can be beautiful—but it can be mediocre, boring or even bad, too. Just like any school. I am keeping this in mind as we keep a variety of school options on the table for our kids year to year. This article is such a balanced take on this issue, and I appreciate it. My parents took care to send us to only well run, happy public schools and pulled us out when those were not available to us. I missed public school so much when we were pulled out after moving to a high poverty area, and one of the happiest days of my little life was returning to public school in fourth grade after a final move. Every mom does things differently, and some can’t afford the enrichment that others can. I can tell you that a mom winging it with two kids, workbooks, no technology and a few trips to the park or library not only made learning a bore, I was behind in math when I went back—by a lot. I’m so glad my parents took it year by year and welcomed the opportunities that a happy public school afforded us. We did very well there! Depending on the needs of our kids, a happy elementary experience is a great memory of mine that I would like them to have. We’ll see as they get older.
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Hi I am a 36 yr old single Mother of a 7 yr old who got way out of control after her last shots. I live in Michigan where homeschool laws aren’t real strict at all. We can school as we please with what we feel we need too.. now had my old perverted boss paid me then I woulda had a curriculum and not been so pissed off and stressed out with life which has caused her a lot of stress… I don’t agree with public school teachings and a lot of other things and honestly it’s more expensive to send her to public school if I wanted too. Problem I have is being so stressed and her not listening or paying attention and deliberately breaking things or ruining them or doing something just to make me mad and I need a break… I can’t get a real job and was working for an old perverted boss and made no money while I made him 3-4 businesses and millions of dollars and 2 homes while I’ve lost everything and working on losing what we have left. We live in a 1 bedroom apt and I’m evicted at the moment and I have not a cent to my name or a vehicle or a place to move to or no where to put anything we own… there has been no table.. I keep questioning myself day after day cuz she needs to learn, I can’t force her too and I don’t know what to do.. everyone’s solution is public school where everything is done on computers and tablets and tv. My solution is book work and make her listen but it’s hard when my friends let her do what she wants or sits her in front of the tv for hours on end. And when she watches that crap, her attitude just gets worse… they don’t get it and I’m the one who has to deal with the terrorist(haha). That’s the way it feels sometimes. I have no family. All we have is each other. Yeah be asked to join numerous groups and asked for help from church but as always, I’m not qualified enuf for their standards cuz I’m a single mother with no home and have no money so I don’t meet their standards. It’s wrong. And frankly as I see these 5th and 6th graders not knowing what a dozen is or half a dozen is or even knowing how to read or write and even adults I know who graduated somehow not knowing how to read or write and even the mother of the 6th grader who has a diploma from Toledo Ohio doesn’t know what a dozen is or half of it!!!! And they go to public school?!?!??!!! I mean what the hell are those kids even learning??? At least my child can catch up if she wants to. I’m afraid it’s to late. She was better at 2 then she is now. I’m stuck… what would be your suggestion?? I’m looking for school curriculums. I have a lot of odds and ends and dollar tree stuff. Don’t agree with common core math and I need to teach her cursive which they don’t teach. Right now been focused on cleaning all the time. She makes the messes faster then I can clean them and all I do is the same thing over and over again.. I wanna know what’s the best way to teach her in this situation and get her to read. She read at 2 and 3 but won’t now. Did not understand. I swear it was her last shots. She has no fear or shame or emotions (unless it’s about a dead animal..) or nothing…
Can I recommend a neuropsych evaluation? I had one for my daughter and it was helpful to see what the underlying learning issues were.