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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Wow! This hit home SO hard! And I needed to read this today. I have been homeschooling my 3 boys this entire school year. It’s HARD! And I have a Bachelor’s degree in education! I have a 7th, 5th and 3rd grader – all very active boys. I initially pulled them because I was very against the online learning that their school was doing for the first half of the school year due to COVID. But as we have gone throughout the year, I’ve recognized SOOO many ways in which their education has been flawed and failed them! Things that they should know, but are clueless about. I’ve struggled back and forth with homeschooling. I feel they will receive the best education from me. But there’s that lack of socializing that they can only get in public school, and I feel as if I’m failing them by not letting them experience that. Your blog just reiterated to me why I want to (and need to) continue educating them the way I feel is best for them – and that’s at home! I appreciate this so much!
How can I when the school says they will be court filed if records are not requested when I’m the requestor I asked and they’re not recognizing me as a homeschooler? Already paid for curriculum but that curriculum is not going to request records.
Hi Amelia, I don’t know your situation or the homeschool laws in your state, but it sounds like you need to look into a membership with HSLDA – Homeschool Legal Defense Association. I am a member and most homeschoolers that I know are also members. As members, we can call HSLDA if there are any legal issues with our homeschool. Their team of lawyers will represent us in court and fight for our right to educate our kids at home.
We have 3 children total, we homeschooled our eldest for 2 years in high school and she loved it. She did go back to public school in 11th grade because she wanted to graduate with her friends – alas Covid mucked that up for her! But now she is doing online college and LOVES it! Our two youngest are 11 year old twins and were in the same public school up until Covid happened. My twins are overweight, very shy, very sensitive, my girl twin is slightly autistic and my boy twin suffers from extreme anxiety – all this made worse by teasing, bullying, etc. It broke my heart to witness it day after day and have the teacher’s do nothing! So when Covid happened and we began first the Virtual online w/ the school and then homeschooling when that didn’t work, my kids loved it! But it plagued me thinking about sending them back to public school after Covid is over. I knew the same bullying and teasing, etc., would happen all over again. So finally last night my husband and I had a good discussion about it and made the decision to homeschool them permanently from now on. When I told my kids the news they were ecstatic! My son said, “Yay! Now I don’t have to be scared and harassed!” No child should have to feel this way! I have been so disappointed with the public schools “one size education for all” attitude. It’s like an assembly line there and my kids are not “parts” of a machine. I know there will be challenges with socialization, but I will do my best to find some activities they can participate in and make friends hopefully. All this time in public school and they only had each other and ONE other friend! The kids either ignore them or bully them. How anyone can think that is healthy is beyond me. Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this site, I will be returning often!!
Beth, I wish I could high five you! So excited for you to take this leap with your kids! Happy Homeschooling!!!
We are currently homeschooling due to COVID (I have a 1st, K and 2 year old). And I would love to keep it going! My only concern is that my daughters loved school. They like the structure, the teachers, the schedule, riding the bus, etc, and talk about going back next fall. Any advice on how to help them make the transition to homeschool, when they enjoyed public school? Thanks!
Hi Aubrey, I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying your homeschool experience! I would recommend continually highlighting the positives of homeschooling for them (more family time, flexible schedule, fewer hours per day spent on schoolwork, no homework, etc.). Then I would ask what they would miss next year when you continue to homeschool (do not give them a choice at this age. That is an overwhelming responsibility to put on their little shoulders). Tell your kids that you will find ways to fill those gaps.- sign up for sports, schedule playdates, find new friends at a homeschool co-op, etc. Make sure they know that you hear, you care, and you’re going to do something about what they will miss. Happy homeschooling, Aubrey!
I decided to homeschool my children because my son has adhd and dyslexia and being in public school was making him feel like a failure. It is working out much better now that we can do work at his own pace. We actually moved to our town because of the great school system yet look where it got this. We didn’t plan on having a special needs child when we moved. He seems a lot happier now! Thanks for the article
Hi i have three kids 7th, 4th, and 1st. Ive been debating the issue of homeschooling for years, but how do i get started, im in California. Now do u homeschool virtually with assistance or you make your own curriculum. Please advise
Hi Monica, You’re in the right place! You can check out this post or the front page of my blog to download my Ultimate Checklist for Getting Started with Homeschooling. You can also check out my “Reviews” tab to read all of my curriculum reviews. I have a 1st and 4th grader of my own, so definitely check out my curriculum pick posts for them in the reviews tab. Happy Homeschooling!
I can’t decide if we should homeschool. I have one that will be in pre-k this year, 2 in private school, and 2 middle school kids in public school. I loved how school was going last year but Covid-19 half way ending the school year left me with a sour feeling. I don’t know how much they really learned. We were just going through the motions to finish off the school year. I have 2 other little ones at home as well ages 2 and 7 months. Will this all be to big of a change and will it be too much to take on? My concern is that I will put them behind if I switch to homeschooling.
Thanks so much. Great thoughts. When your kids are older (jh/hs) you might like an arrangement where they meet with the co-op 2-3 x a week and are home 2-3 times a week. Then you have the community and still have the benefits of homeschooling. I have found my kids need more accountability in homeschooling once they reach high school. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for your post!! I recently had a moment of conviction about homeschooling after frequent prayer. My kids attend a private school ages 8 and 6, plus I have a 4 yo and 9 mo at home. I really connected with several things you said in your post. I’m struggling especially with the fact that my older two have been in school a few years already and I’d be pulling out, then to potentially return again if we decide it’s not a good fit. Am I crazy!?! I feel like if I don’t try I’ll never know if we would have preferred to make the switch. It’s just so tough to actually pull the trigger!!
You are not crazy at all Alesia! I think its awesome that you are looking into homeschooling your kids. It is not easy to homeschool, but it has never been easier to homeschool than it is now! There are so many resources out there because it is exploding in popularity. Also, it will never be easier to START than it is now. The older your kids get, the harder everything gets to pull them out. Check out this post I wrote a few weeks back about your exact situation – I hope that helps! 3 Reasons You Need to Stop Thinking about Homeschooling and Go For It!
In addition to many of the great comments you put above, another concern is for boys in schools these days. They started trying to tell me something was wrong with my son in kindergarten because he wouldn’t sit still and they implied on more than one occasion that he had an undiagnosed issue. It seems like they want as many kids on IEP’s as possible for the $$ and to make their overcrowded classrooms easier. Even if they are too young to diagnose for certain hyperactivity or attention deficit issues. They asked me if we had talked to his dr. He was 5 (then 6) and it was his first time in a 6.5 hour structured school day with 15 minutes recess. He was also a BOY. This continued until 2nd grade when he finally learned to just sit and read his books when he was done with his work and bored. They want boys to be like girls and try to mold kids into little zombies. They do not get enough physical activity that kids need for their development. I know some good people that are teachers, but it is so ingrained in the culture they don’t realize what is happening.