Wondering when is it okay to quit homeschooling?
Well, the purpose of this blog is to help people get STARTED with homeschooling, so writing about reasons to quit homeschooling is a bit uncomfortable for me…but still important.
One of the things that gave me the courage to pull my daughter from public school and start homeschooling, was the fact that I could put her back in public school if I needed to.
The choice to homeschool is not permanent! You are not married to it!
You may homeschool for a year, a couple of years, take a break, and then maybe come back to it!
When I started telling friends and family that I was going to start homeschooling, I made sure to tell people that I would not “go down with the ship.”
What I meant by that is that I would not force it to work. I would not destroy my family in an effort to validate my decision to homeschool.
I am very blessed to say that things went much better than I could have ever hoped for – there are so many benefits of homeschooling!
But I also know there are some reasons that would cause me to quit homeschooling today.
The hope for many of us with homeschooling is to give our children a full, fun educational experience with spiritual grounding.
Of course, every day is not going to be perfect. There will be struggles, attitudes, and drama – that’s normal!
There is a difference though between a child who is grumpy about doing their school work, and a child whose spirit is dying.
Here are some things I’m always watching out for:
Many kids of course have a deep desire to be with other kids. Staying home to do school with mom can absolutely feel like they are missing out.
I have an extroverted daughter, so this was a concern of mine from the beginning.
We are heavily involved in multiple extra curriculars in order to meet her needs. Sports, scouting, church, co-op, and regular time outside at the park or with the neighbor kids is a non-negotiable part of our lives.
That is not because I’m afraid my kids will grow up “weird,” but because I want my kids to know and experience true, solid friendships – just as badly as I want them to excel at math or any other subject.
If for some reason my kids need for social interaction outgrew what I could provide through homeschooling, I would strongly reconsider homeschooling for that child.
If this is your situation right now, I would strongly recommend you consider a few other things before making your decision.
The first thing is that many people pull their kids from school BECAUSE of the bullying and other social issues from school.
Putting your child back in school does not mean they will have instant access to quality friends. The opposite might actually happen.
The second thing I would consider is that kids do not actually get a lot of social interaction during school – as one might think.
When my daughter attended kindergarten, I was so annoyed when she kept coming home and asking me to contact the parents of her friends at school for playdates.
You’re with them all day! Why is that not enough?
Turns out, kids actually have to sit in their desks and work in kindergarten. Talking freely and playing is discouraged – even at lunch time.
Recess is short, so my daughter came home hungry for more social time.
Enrolling your kid in school, depending on their age, may not cure the social problems you have. Putting them on a sports team or in a good co-op would provide just as much social interaction time as school. Maybe more.
One of the first homeschoolers I ever met had just decided it was time to quit homeschooling. She had given it one year and said that it was destroying her relationship with her daughter.
Now that I am homeschooling, I can absolutely see how that is a possibility.
I have also met a number of moms who have one child that is in public school while homeschooling the rest of her kids.
“I can’t teach that child. She needs somebody bedsides me,” and, “We are too much alike,” are reasons I have heard.
I applaud these moms for recognizing the needs of that child and putting it above their pride!
Balancing the Mom and Teacher roles is rough!
If I felt like homeschooling would cause me to lose the heart of my child, I would absolutely look into putting that child back in school.
If this is you, there are so many things to consider before you quit homeschooling.
Here are the top three posts I would recommend to moms who are struggling with their relationship with their kid:
Please read through those articles and implement any of the suggestions/changes you can. The difference could be tremendous for you and your child!
My first year of homeschooling, I bounced out of bed in the morning to start my homeschool day. I loved teaching!
To be honest, time has caused some of that excitement to wear off. But, I still enjoy what I am doing and find it very fulfilling to educate my kids at home.
If for some reason I started to hate what I was doing. Not enjoy it at all. Dread my days. Drag my feet. Resent everyone around me because of what I have to do. Perhaps grapple with anxiety and depression over my life choices. I would reconsider homeschooling.
I can’t imagine I could have an attitude like that and effectively teach my children.
If this is you right now and you are saying, “Yes! That’s me! I’m miserable!” It very well may be time to stop homeschooling.
But maybe not.
If you are feeling this way, it could have a lot to do with self care.
If you are not prioritizing yourself and just fully sacrificing yourself as a homeschool mom martyr…it’s understandable that you are burned out.
The very first thing you should do is stop homeschooling for as long as it takes you to read, “Teaching from Rest” by Sarah Mackenzie. I bought the audible version and listen to it while I’m doing stuff around the house or getting ready in the morning – amazing!
This book will soothe your tired and burned out heart and calm your fears. It is a must read for all homeschooling moms.
After that, take some time for yourself to think about what makes you feel alive.
Is it writing (like this blog), dancing, working out, crafting, reading great novels, or talking with a close friend?
Has it been so long that you can’t even begin to come up with an answer to that question?
That’s a big flag!
Find something for yourself and begin to make that a priority. In the same way that you make your kids’ lessons a priority. It’s important!
If for whatever reason, the stress of homeschooling began to take a toll on my marriage, I would without question put my kids back in school.
If you and your spouse have sharp disagreements over homeschooling, you are too exhausted at the end of your day to put time into your marriage, or homeschooling is causing tremendous financial stress…it might be time to quit homeschooling.
I have said many times that homeschooling is a gift that I am privileged to give my children. There is an even better gift than homeschooling though – a home with a solid, unshakeable marriage!
As mentioned above, sending your kids back to school can cause many other stresses in your home. If your marriage is struggling, make sure to pin point the difficulty before taking drastic steps.
Strongly consider counseling. Many churches offer marriage counseling as a free ministry to members.
As a side note, “The Respect Dare” by Nina Roesner completely changed me as a wife and had a huge impact on my marriage. I cannot recommend it strongly enough!
If for whatever reason, I found that I am no longer able to keep up with teaching my three kids and their education starts to suffer, I would strongly consider putting them back in school.
If one of my kids started to take off and I reached the end of what I could teach them, I would strongly consider putting them back in school.
My decision to homeschool was meant to broaden opportunities for my kids, not limit them.
When I say that I would quit homeschooling if my kids’ education was suffering, I am not talking about when there is an overly stressful season of life. I am not talking about when I slow down the curriculum to fit the pace of my child.
I mean that their education is beneath their potential and it is ongoing. A theme. The common denominator of my homeschool. And I find myself incapable of bringing it up to their level.
If this is you right now, and you desperately want to keep homeschooling your kids, there are MANY resources to help you out!
Whatever your struggle is – organization, curriculum, younger siblings, unmotivated students – there is a blog (like this one:), book, or podcast to help you out.
Start being real with yourself about your struggles and start researching for real solutions.
If you are not in a co-op, get in one! Lean on other moms and let them help you, comfort you, and encourage you!
As for having a gifted student, there are many options in my area for gifted homeschoolers.
I have been told of after school programs for gifted kids that a homeschooler could attend for free. Many co-ops offer advanced math, science, and writing taught by professional teachers.
There are even opportunities to enroll your student in local community college classes. The book “The Brainy Bunch” is the incredible story of a homeschool family who had all 9 of their students enrolled in college classes by age 12. Unbelievable!
If none of these options are available to you, there is no shame in quitting homeschooling and enrolling your child in a school that can fan the flame of your kid’s potential.
If your child is miserable, you are miserable, your marriage is miserable, or your child is not being taught at their potential, it is okay to stop homeschooling.
You are not a bad parent. You are not a bad Christian. You are not a homeschool failure.
Your choice to put your child back in school may very well be the most loving thing you could do.
Again, I would strongly recommend going over the links and books that I have recommended before making any decisions.
And keep in mind that in the same way that homeschooling is not permanent – going to back to public school does not have to be permanent.
Maybe it is just what your family needs for the season they are in.