Why We Shouldn’t Homeschool

My dad is out of the ICU as of tonight – awaiting test results and probably heart surgery. And I have an uncharacteristic sense of peace about everything.  So I’m going to go ahead with my plan to list reasons that we should put the kids back in school next year.

  1. Both boys qualify for IEPs.  (Those are Individual Education Plans for kids who have special needs.)  They may get more services if we were in the school system. Especially if we chose schools that specialize in working with kids with different learning profiles.
  2. It would save us nearly $25000.  I’ve given up on tracking the costs of homeschooling.  It’s too depressing.  I could quit work, and fire the AuPair.  And we could stop ordering cool math games and taking swim classes and driving to colonial Williamsburg and buying beehive supplies.  But then it wouldn’t be the homeschool we all currently love.
  3. My kids are so rotten some days that it’s hard to be around them.  On those days, I lose it. Now maybe I could get rid of all of my sin in the next few weeks. I could be a good mother even when my kids are being jerks.  But that’s probably not going to happen.  And I worry that they are getting so much more of the angry, controlling, anxious me than they got in the past.
  4. The competition between them is fierce.  I imagine that all kids compare their performance to the other kids in the class.  But I think it’s more intense when there is only one other student, and that student is your brother.  This year, absolutely everything has become a competition.  Who solved the math problem faster?  Or write a better a story?  Who can poop faster?  Or cut up his pancakes more quickly?  I worry about the long-term effects of staying steeped in these comparisons because we homeschool.
  5. I am not quite ready to quit working.  So our lives are chaotic and busy and stressful.  Something’s gotta give.
  6. I miss the other moms from the boys’ school.
  7. Zach misses his friends.  (Ezra not so much.)
  8. The boys’ school is undergoing a lot of change, most of it for the better.  I would love to be a part of shaping the changes.
  9. Jeff is still not 100% convinced we are doing the right thing.  This comes out when he asks me what we did all day and wonders if the boys are going to fall behind in academic subjects.  Or when he worries that Ezra stands on his head through most lessons these days.  Or when he says, “So do you think we should put them back in school next year?”
  10. The house is a mess.  But you can’t have bee stuff and art stuff and life cycle posters and giant timelines and hundreds of books and curriculum kits and math flash cards all over the house and maintain order.  None of us can homeschool in one room all day without going crazy.  And I don’t have time to put things in order because I rush off from school to work.  So our home has turned into one of those houses of piles.
  11. Both boys miss the peanut butter and fluff sandwich that came with their school lunches.
  12. Finally, when they were in school, we could blame all of their unseemly behavior on their no-good school and the no-good kids who went there.  Some days, that scapegoat just looks too good to resist.

Geez, rereading that list is daunting.  I’m going back to the first list before I start to drink.

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  • Janis Henning

    Something that may be worth checking into – if your boys qualify for services through an IEP, is it possible to still get those services through your local public school, even if they do not attend? When Joe was 3 and needed speech therapy, we went to the school, and it was provided by the school speech pathologist at no additional cost – must easier than going to a private clinician. When Joe moved from the public high school to the parochial high school we did not move his IEP with him – the parochial school had no special education department. If he was getting services that were absolutely needed for his survival, or that we felt he needed but was not provided by the new school, I believe his "home" school (the public school that he would have normally attended) would have had to provide those. But the services that were vital to his success were implemented through communication with school personnel, and their loving and caring commitment to the students. It is something to check into if it is a concern of yours……..

  • Theresa Mann Bouey

    You know why we homeschool? We have grown to love the lazy days when the kids did not do anything "academic" the most. Days like today when it is warm out and we can just swim in the pool, hang out with lemonade and watermelon slices outside and just chat about nothing. How much academic information does a person really need?

    My suggestion would be to look into homeschool conferences and homeschool groups to join. It is hard living in an area where people are obsessed with school — constantly comparing notes about what their kids are doing in school and outside of school. It would be helpful to hang out with some "normal" kids and families who believe that learning how to cook or garden or making your bed is just as important as memorizing your multiplication table in 3rd grade. Ben and I are heading to the California Homeschool Education Association annual conference in Pasadena in July. It is incredibly encouraging to hear speakers remind you of why you choose to homeschool and why, in the long run, it is a great choice for Christian families.

    I would also encourage you to think simple. As you said in your post about your trip to Plymouth Plantation, the kids back then had little and they figured out what to do with little. Ben and I frequently let our kids figure out what to do with themselves when they are "bored". Most kids have a hard time learning to "be still" because they are being told what to do every minute of every day.

    Finally, as my homeschooling friend, Kalani, would say, "We are homeschooling our kids for the next 20 years." Proverbs say that "Train up your child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." That is what you are doing everyday whether you do academics or not. That, my friend, is priceless.

  • Judy

    This is the first time I have ever read your blog but I must say, I can identify with a lot of your reasons. Gotta say, love the last. Don't know if you are continuing in your plan but if you are, be encouraged that you are doing what is best for your family. We will be transitioning to not homeschooling in the next year or so and we hear many naysayers tell us we are doing the wrong thing. But, we know what we are to do for our family and we have peace about that. Be blessed!