Why I finally pulled my kid from public school and started homeschooling
It took me a long time to transition from being a registered nurse in a fast-paced Emergency Room to being a stay at home mom. When I say a long time, I mean like years.
I definitely did not have any plans or thoughts to homeschool.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids! …but the change of pace and purpose of my day was so dramatically different that I really struggled.
I remember exactly where I was standing when someone mentioned something to me about my oldest being old enough for preschool the following year. I remember thinking, “What?! Preschool?? My kid?? Already?!”
I was tired, regularly using a lot of dry shampoo for my hair, finding stains on my clothes when I was already standing in the grocery store, and eager for a break – so I began to get really excited about the prospect of preschool coming up.
Two mornings a week preschool was a hit! Oldest loved her teacher, the other students, and the structure it gave to our week. I had Middle at home with me, but it was still a bit of a break. I liked the idea of Oldest and I having time away from each other so we could miss each other.
Three mornings a week Pre-K was next and the whole family loved it! I had Middle and Youngest at home with me at this point. It was a bit of a challenge to get out the door for drop off and pick up, but we made it work.
The next year was the much anticipated Kindergarten! Oldest would be at school for about 6.5 hours a day – 5 days a week. Real school had started! I will admit that I did not cry a single tear. I was proud of her and knew she was off to conquer the world.
We lucked out and she got one of the best teachers in the school. Oldest looked forward to going to school every day and she was learning a lot.
So…Why did I pull her from public school? Why did I start homeschooling for 1st grade?
I’ll be honest and say it was not any one individual thing. We are not a single issue homeschooling family. It was a slow trickle of concerns that just got bigger and bigger and I could no longer avoid it.
The more those trickles started to add up, I realized with shock and horror that the idea of homeschooling had taken hold of me and would not let go. I didn’t want to homeschool! But why couldn’t I get it out of my mind?!
Why I Started Homeschooling
1. What does she do all day???
When Kindergarten started, Oldest was suddenly spending more time away from our family than with our family. When I asked her what she did all day or how things went – I got a lot of one-word answers. I suddenly realized that I didn’t know who was in her class, what they were doing at recess, what she was learning, or anything else about that huge block of time.
I started to become uncomfortable with that. I also started to really miss her. Hadn’t I waited all those years for Kindergarten to start?? What was happening??? For the first time, I really considered homeschooling as an option.
2. Lost Influence
I also started to notice that Oldest greatly respected her teacher. This is a good thing – something we encouraged – but I started to notice that Ms. Hamilton had significant influence over my daughter.
I don’t know Ms. Hamilton at all. And she now seemed to carry more weight with my child than I did. I didn’t know how I felt about handing my daughter over to a total stranger and allowing them to become a greater influence than me. Somebody else was now shaping my daughter. Something just didn’t seem right about that.
3. Mean Girls and Bullying
Yes, there were mean kids when I was growing up. Yes, I got bullied here and there a bit. I have always said it made me a stronger and more compassionate person.
Kids these days are different. I continue to be shocked when I read the news and see how much of a problem bullying – physical, verbal, and cyber – has become. I was stunned when my sister texted me the other day to let me know that my teenage niece had witnessed a pregnant teenager as she was drug down the school hallway by her hair and punched in the face till her jaw was broken – by a group of girls! A horrible thing for my niece to have to witness. My sister took her to the hospital to visit the girl and reach out to her family. The family told my sister that this was their second high school already due to previous bullying.
When I was a kid, some boys said I was fat and it really hurt my feelings, but kids these days are taking bullying to shocking and dangerously new levels.
My little kindergartener had already starting to have problems with other girls excluding her from play and telling her that her picture day dress was “ugly.” The same girl who said that also said that when she grows up she’s going to kill my daughter. I contacted the teacher and the school counselor got involved with the little girl. I began to wonder what lay ahead in the coming years if this is just kindergarten. I definitely began to think this was not the group of peers I wanted socializing my child.
4. School Shootings
I remember where I was when I heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Oldest was not even 2 years old then, but I remember feeling so sick, sad, and helpless about the state of our culture and nation.
Fast forward to kindergarten. Oldest is in the back of the car telling me about some weird occurrence in her school day. She began to describe a game that the teacher played with them where they had to hide and be really quiet even though the principal was walking through the hallways and banging on doors.
She was clearly describing an active shooter drill. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy the school was taking precautions. As I drove down the road though, I felt the blood drain out of my face. I asked myself, “Really, this is the best you can offer your kid for an educational atmosphere?”
5. Teacher Misconduct
Right upfront, I want to say my grandmother was a public school teacher and my mother in law was a public school English teacher. I have great respect for teachers who work so hard for so little pay. Since I homeschool now, I have no idea how they accomplish with 25 kids what I struggle to do with 3! I want to be clear that I highly respect teachers and appreciate all their sacrifices for kids.
Sadly, though there are a growing number of bad apples out there who are eroding the trust we have all placed in teachers. Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct and Exploitation reports that 1 in 10 students in grades K-12 will become victims of educator sexual misconduct.
Go ahead and google “Teacher Sexual Misconduct.” You will likely find many news stories you have not heard about. It doesn’t even make national news anymore! We are no longer shocked by a news story of a teacher taking advantage of our trust.
Thoughts of this floated in my mind as I wondered about just how safe Oldest was at school. I never doubted Ms. Hamilton, but what would next year bring?
Btw, since I pulled my daughter from public school, 2 teachers in our area (not from her former school) have been arrested for sexual misconduct. Again, I highly respect teachers and count several as friends, but I am saddened by how our culture seems to be affecting some in the profession.
6. Hot topic social issues being discussed during school hours
There are a number of hot topics out there today – abortion, sex education, homosexuality, and transgenderism being some of the biggest. These can be uncomfortable for adults to discuss and agree on, but for some reason, the school system has been tasked with laying out curriculum and teaching kids about these very sensitive topics.
When my kindergartener came home one day and explained that she had been told at school that two princesses actually could get married, I realized again that someone else was shaping her. It is my place to have that discussion with her. I want to be the person who explains to her our worldview.
7. Broken Education System
Have you ever had a conversation with someone where this was said, “Oh, I think the U.S. education system is doing great! I am really impressed!” Probably not. It seems to be much more common to hear and read discussion about all the failures of our current system and how badly it needs to be reformed.
I just read that the US now places 27th in the world for education. 27th! We are being outranked by countries such as Greece, Latvia, Estonia, and Belarus. How can that be?! What is even more alarming is that the US was ranked 6th in 1990. There has been a steady decline.
I don’t pretend to understand all the reasons why this has happened. All I know is that there are legitimate facts that point to significant problems in our education system.
As I sent my little kindergartener off to school, this information about our school system made me wonder – could I do better? Could I provide a better education than 27th place??
These thoughts plagued me!
As much as I just wanted to stick my head in the sand and not think about all of the above issues – I could not shake it off. I just wanted to be a “normal” parent and send my kids to school. But I felt like I had a tractor beam on me that would not let up.
I kept looking at my kid and thinking – despite my fear – I have to try. Maybe I will fail, but I have to at least try homeschooling and see if I can give my kids a better shot. Yes, it will be hard, but they deserve my best.
The Reasons to Homeschool Continue…
Now that we are homeschooling the list of reasons to continue homeschooling has only grown larger.
I now see that I have the power to customize her education to her learning style, go at her pace (faster in some areas and slower in other areas), and encourage science and math (something girls can be ridiculed for pursuing). My daughter wears her pajamas to class most days and has no thoughts or distractions in her head of being judged by her peers about her appearance. She is not motivated by grades (not necessary in the elementary school years), instead, we are instilling in her what will hopefully be a life long love of learning!
If you want to know more about “after” we started homeschooling check out – 5 Benefits of Homeschooling I Didn’t See Coming.
What about you?
Have you read this far because you feel the same gnawing on your heart to try homeschooling? Have you been nodding your head and agreeing with all the issues with our culture and schools? Are you now terrified and a bit nauseous because you don’t think you’re capable?
I’ve been there! You can do this! If you feel the conviction to homeschool your kids – you owe it to them to give your very best effort.
I started this entire blog site for you. If you want to take the leap, go against the grain, buck the system, choose a different path – I want to help you get started with your homeschool and keep you going. It won’t be easy, but nothing that is really worthwhile ever is.
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Oh and I also forgot to add…where I live apparently it doesn’t matter anymore if the kids get F’s on their report cards, the schools just pass them right on through to the next grade…I remember back in my day if you got F’s you failed, hence what the F stands for…I can’t stand that they pass the kids on without teaching them that there are consequences for your actions…this is another issue my husband just can’t understand.
Wow, Veronica that is so frustrating! 🙁 I so respect you for seeing all of these problems and deciding you are going to do something about it! As for the husband issue, you and I had opposite problems: My husband wanted me to homeschool for years and I said absolutely not. I told everyone who would listen to me that I would never do what I am doing right now – ha! I want to encourage you that as much as I was against it, God moved my heart by showing me all of these issues. If I can change, there is hope for your husband! 🙂 Another woman commented some time ago about her husband being against it, and I’ll tell you what I told her – challenge him to read my post and then do his own honest research. Homeschooling is exploding all over the country for a reason – and its not because the public school system is doing well 🙁
My daughter is in 6th grade and I had wanted to start homeschool this year, however my husband is totally against it so I sent her back to school just so I wouldn’t have to hear his mouth and have constant fights, he can be pretty mean. She hates it, the school is very favoritism oriented, the kids aren’t the nicest to her, we were rear ended one morning on our way to school, it seems like they do more goofing off than really working…I could go on and on. I really would like to homeschool for 7th grade but my closed minded husband I know will not be on board again…how did you get your husband on board and if you say he was all for it I’m going to be very jealous.
I pulled my son out due to bullying and teacher issues. I came to realize the teachers were pushing him through the system, and I had no clue how far behind he was despite multiple attempts to discuss it with them. They put us through taking him to a counsellor, to be told he was a normal little boy. Since pulling, I have found the extra benefits of not having to make school lunches, no fighting to get out the door in time, not having to worry about bus cancellations, being able to work directly with him on the anxiety issues he has because of school, not having to juggle appointment times, knowing exactly where he is at with his education, and being able to work on life skills. He is an only child, so I was worried about that. But we can now control his social interactions so they are positive and more meaningful than he was getting at school, and there are some great homeschooling groups. The library has fantastic programs, and our local YMCA has lots of programs as well for exercise and socialization.
Wow. Great read. I felt the same thing as my oldest approached the end of first grade and my the middle approached the end of kindergarten. And guess what.. I was a PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER!! Going from a full-fledged public school family to
Homeschooling has been the most liberating and incredible decisions my husband and I could have ever made. I also felt like a crazy person because everything about me screamed “I will never homeschool!!” Jokes on me… best thing we’ve ever done!
Loved this! I am having a hard time deciding. I have an education degree and teaching a class of 25 seems less scary than homeschooling! But the reasons you mentioned are so true! It’s going to be a tough choice for me! (I will say that even though the U.S is ranked 27th we are a country that allows everyone to go to school despite performance and special needs. I’m sure we would rank higher if we only tested and allowed the best of the best to have an education like some other places…)
Either way though you are right. We have to ask ourselves if we could do better. I’ll think on this and share these points with my husband and see what he thinks. I’m thankful to have stumbled across this. 🙂
Taylor, Thanks for the comment and I wish you all the best in making your decision about homeschooling!
I appreciate so many things you said, being a homeschooling mom myself. However, I do disagree about bullying and your comment about “kids nowadays are different.” That certainly was not my experience. I’m 42 so I went to public school many years ago. I went to a supposed “christian” school where I was horribly bullied and even verbally abused on a regular basis. I was told frequently that I’m “ugly, stupid, a loser” etc. etc. The girls would stand in circles in the hallway and classroom and deliberately not let me in. Unfortunately, high school was worse, way worse. Boys barked at me when I walked by (these were boys I didn’t even know), yelled out that I was an “ugly pizza face.” Girls laughed at me and called me names. One girl even wrote on my locker one day calling me a “bitch” You may wonder why this happened to me. First of all, I was painfully shy and insecure, then my skin exploded with pimples and I had crooked teeth. It all made me a target for years to some very painful bullying.
I am not a Christian, but I cringe when I hear Christians say things like “back in our days kids were taught respect” or “Christian schools are the only place where they are taught morals because they don’t preach homosexuality” I can assure you that is so not true. I am 100% supportive of homosexuality, but that does not make me an immoral person, or someone who is going to bully other people. The so-called Christians I grew up with did so much damage, it took years for me to recover. Just because Christians don’t support things like abortion, and homosexuality, doesn’t give them any kind of monopoly on morals. People are people, and just like any other group, there are good kind people, and then they are the mean bullies.
Angie, My heart ached to read about what you endured in school. It’s hard to believe people can be so horrible. I am deeply ashamed that Christians were part or the whole cause of your pain. What you describe is not the image of Christ that Christians are called to emulate. A true believer would know what Jesus told us in Matthew 22:35-39, and would be striving to live it out. Regardless, I cannot tell you enough how sorry I am that you have those memories to carry.
I see what you mean when you say there could be many cases of bullying in years past that no one heard of because there was no internet, social media, or 24 hour news cycle. I still hold that bullying is more prevalent and in many cases more shocking and extreme today. It is so bad that foundations have been started to fight bullying, mountains of research have been done, many anti bullying school programs have been started, homeschooling rates have greatly increased in many cases due to bullying, and even the First Lady has made anti bullying her main platform. Something is different.
Amen!! I’m planning on homeschooling our 4 yr old granddaughter for K next year and continue until she turns 18. My husband might be a problem though. He went to school in the sixties and I in the seventies. He thinks there’s nothing wrong with public school! That’s why I’m pinning this article. Any advice on how to help him see that homeschooling is best?
Jill, I think its so awesome that you are planning to homeschool your granddaughter! What a gift you are giving!! As for your husband, I totally get it. I grew up in the public school system myself, and turned out completely fine. Things are so different now though! I would tell your husband how strongly you feel about it, have him read my post, and then challenge him to do his own research on the issues. He will likely find out why the rate of homeschoolers is exploding. Also tell him that it does not have to be forever. You can always homeschool for a year and then reassess what you want to do next year.
I’m concerned about my daughter being resentful for not being in school playing with other kids… she is my only child… I’d like to know how do you handle the social interaction with other same age peers
I completely understand Angie, and I had similar fears. My daughter is involved in scouting, church activities, softball, basketball, and she goes to a co-op twice a week. She has actually developed closer, more quality friendships since we started homeschooling. Going to public school took up a huge chunk of our time and energy – and the large majority of it is seat work, not social interaction. Now school time is less, social time has increased, and our relationship is so strong. Surprising, I know! Does that answer your question? You might be interested in reading “5 Benefits of Homeschooling I Didn’t See Coming” in the Still Undecided tab. It addresses concerns like this one. Let me know if there is any other questions you have. You can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We homeschool our only child. (She’s the only child in our extended families too!) She has amazing friendships and is very social. We do play dates, church activities, occasional classes at places like the zoo, library time once a week, etc. Although she’s young, she’s aware that other kids “go” to school. We just tell her there are different ways to do school. She loves homeschool, and often times asks for more of it. She also has many friends who homeschool, so for her it’s very normal.
We have a play group on our community. We meet at the park every Thursday to play for 2 to 4 hours. It is amazing. The kids build forts (our park is wooded, so they make them from branches), skate, fish, whittle, play on the playground, ride bikes , etc. I love it! There are also several options for co-ops if you prefer.
Speaking as a homeschool graduate, my mom was worried about me feeling left out of things such as prom, or homecoming and I will say I’m so glad I didn’t have to go to those events and my high school graduation was amazing. My mom still ordered me a cap and gown and tassel and we had a private ceremony me and and another kid I went to church with. Got our own PowerPoint presentations and a huge cake just with our two names on it. Mom and dad presented us with our diplomas and made speeches. Everybody’s different 🤷♀️😁
It is always so nice to hear about the experiences of graduated homeschool kids. Thank you for sharing!
This is a great testimony. My only child is about to turn three and I’m a licensed former 4K teacher who now works in family services. I would love to home school my son but I worry about staying home and only living on my husband’s income. Was this an obstacle for you as well?
Hi Jen! I had been a stay at home mom for a few years before I started homeschooling. BUT, I know of many moms out there who have walked away from careers and made it work. There are also a lot of moms who work from home, work part time, or work full time and homeschool at night or on the weekends. Btw, kindergarten takes approximately 1 hour a day to homeschool and 1st grade is about 2-3 hours. Not a full 7 hours like most schools. Either way, I think the pain of sacrificing one income will fade when you start to experience the benefits of homeschooling. I hope that helps your decision process Jen! 🙂
We haven’t reached school age yet but the reasons you talk about are exactly the ones on my mind. Excited to explore your blog!
Thanks so much Christy and it’s awesome you are already thinking ahead about schooling your little ones!