Stop Homeschooling

There are many reasons why people decide to start homeschooling their kids. But what prompts a family to stop homeschooling?

Last summer some friends of ours decided to pull their two boys out of public school because they were frustrated with the quality of teaching and worried about the negative influences of certain bullies on the playground.

The parents were enthusiastic about homeschooling and the possibilities for learning. I warned the mom, who would be the primary teacher, that the first year was a tough time of adjustment to a new and very busy schedule.

She had it under control, she told me. She was organized and ready.

Within the first month she voiced her first minor complaint to us, about how much time it was taking her older boy to finish some of the assignments. My main piece of advice to her was to relax and be flexible about the work. Homeschooling shouldn’t be rigid. I like to encourage fun learning and discovery.

We heard from our friend off and on over the months, and it was always the same refrain. “They’re falling behind,” she’d say. “We work from morning until night and the boys are starting to hate school.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I just offered simple words of encouragement and continued to tell her, “The first year is difficult. You’re learning how to be a teacher, and your kids are figuring out what’s expected of them. Most of all, you have to learn how to be flexible.”

I thought she’d turned a corner in the new year when we didn’t hear anything negative for the first two months. Then, out of nowhere, I get an email from her. Not only has she completely soured on homeschooling, but she won’t even finish the year. She marched her boys down to the local school and re-enrolled them with just two months left in the semester.

In her letter, she explained to me why they were quitting:

“I’m VERY burnt out. I am so tired of spending every day going over teacher manual after teacher manual (on and off the computer) and trying to keep up with the boys’ work. I’ve gotten so burnt out that I’ve decided that we are not going to continue homeschooling.

I’m also missing having some time at home without the kids. I’ve just found that everything I do is for someone else and it’s exhausting. I have been stretched so far in so many directions that something had to change, and quickly.

I finally had to admit that I can’t do it all. Not unless I could figure out how to get more hours into a day, and I don’t know anyone who can do that.”

Let her reasons serve as a warning to you if you’re thinking of homeschooling. It is not a decision to be made lightly. Taking on the role of teacher to your kids is a major life changer. You have to give up a lot of personal time.

For some people, that’s just asking too much.

5 thoughts on “Stop Homeschooling

  1. That is the reason we chose private school. We’re not impressed with the quality of the quality of public ed in Cd’A, and we do not have the stamina/patience/energy for homeschooling. But we do have the time and will to volunteer at our kids’ school and chaperone field trips.

  2. I think that the reason some people choose to homeschool and then quit is they are trying to teach like the child(ren) is/are still in school.

    What is the benchmark of how a “child is falling behind”. Why would you hold yourself to a standard of education that is consistently falling behind? The reason you choose to homeschool your children is to protect them from negative influences and make their education a more productive endeavor. That can only be done by being flexible and using every opportunity as a learning experience. Your childs education does not have to come solely via text books and school type materials.

    Ultimately, whether you place your child in public school, private school, or you choose to homeschool their education is YOUR responsibility.

  3. School at home doesn’t work. “They” say for every month the kids spent in public school you need to spend a month “de-schooling.”
    As for alone time….meh….I’d rather be in their lives. They aren’t going to be around forever.

  4. This made me so sad. How can they have fallen behind living their own lives? Why focus on external criteria? We homeschool in that my sons are learning at home. Since they are each learning and working at their own pace, how could they possibly fall behind themselves? I am their learning facilitator. I help them find out how to find out what they want to know, so that some day, when they are all big and I’m not around, they will know how to find out what they need. But, I’m not playing teacher. I was a substitute teacher in schools and loved it. I met 30 great new kids every day. Then I moved to north Idaho and the quality of teaching was very different from southern California. I went from being inspired by dedicated educators to thinking “wow, these people wanted a job to get summers off.” So, years before even marrying, I knew that living here meant figuring out an alternative to the public schools. Now, I hang out with 2 great kids every day – mine! The schools can’t have them.

  5. Pingback: Homeschooling for Safety Reasons | Mama of Letters

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