So, it should come as no surprise to you when I say that, unlike many other homeschooling families, my kids do not have the option of going to school. (At least until they go to college.)
One of the beauties of homeschooling is the freedom for each family to do what is best for them, so I am not in any way denigrating homeschooling parents who always keep the possibility of school on the table. I used to feel the same way. In fact, I actually did send my kids back to school for two years, so maybe that’s why I’m so adamant now about not doing it ever again.
During the time my kids were back in school, my eyes were truly opened to the differences in my kids and in our lives from when they were homeschooled and when they were not. After the initial honeymoon period, it wasn’t a pleasant time for any of us. Although it’s been almost six years since I withdrew my kids from school for the second and final time, I still get a sick feeling in my stomach when I hear that someone’s child has decided to go to school. Not because they’ve made that decision, but because it reminds me of a time I don’t ever want to relive.
I do want to say that my kids are totally okay with this. They’re happy being homeschooled, and I hope it stays that way. 😉
Since I often hear people’s reasons for giving their kids the choice of attending school every year, today I’m sharing…
7 Reasons School Is Not an Option for Us
1. As the parents, we know what’s best for our kids.
This may sound akin to because I said so, but that doesn’t make it any less true. You know that “grass is always greener” adage? Kids sometimes feel like that, too, and, with homeschooled kids, they can begin to feel that way about school. Oftentimes, when you try to get to the root of why they want to attend school, reasons like this come to the surface:
- They get to eat lunch in a cafeteria.
- They have recess. (They don’t understand that it’s like 15 minutes long and not everyday.)
- They get to wear backpacks.
Even when the reasons are a bit more serious, like the yearning to make new friends, to our family, there are ways to deal with it that don’t involve enrolling our kids at the local school.
2. There’s a real safety concern.
Schools aren’t safe anymore. At all. Between ever-increasing incidents of bullying, assaults, bomb threats, and school shootings, I honestly don’t know how people can feel confident that their kids are safe when they put them on the bus every morning. I know there are people that will tell you that schools are safer today than ever, but when your local middle school has police officers patrolling the halls and parents have to have their driver’s licenses scanned before entering the building, you know something’s up.
I know the chances of anything major happening are small, but when it comes to my kids, I’ll err on the side of caution.
3. Public education has an unhealthy obsession with standardized tests.
Although I pulled my kids back out of school after two years, my oldest daughter asked to remain in school. She was doing well and in all honors classes, so I agreed. To be honest, since I was so rigid about recreating school when we first started homeschooling, she grew to detest homeschooling. In spite of that, at the end of her 8th grade year, she asked me to please homeschool her for high school. Her reason? Our district’s mania over test prep and standardized tests.
These tests are a waste of time. The only thing they are successful at is stressing out students and teachers, alike. I’m not willing to let my kids’ formative years be wasted in order for them to be the guinea pigs of the state. Sorry.
4. I can raise my own children.
I never liked the idea of the schools acting “in loco parentis” because, even when I didn’t have complete disdain for public education, I never completely trusted them. To be quite honest, when my kids were in school, I often felt like the secondary parent because it always seemed like I was answering to the school, rather than the other way around.
God gave me these children. It is my responsibility to raise them, and no one else’s.
5. My kids began to have behavioral issues when they were in school.
Like me, my kids aren’t perfect. One thing I did notice, however, when they were in school was that their attitudes completely changed. They talked back, argued constantly, started using street slang, and basically lost their zest for life. This happened for two reasons:
- They picked it up from their classmates.
- They were so tired and overstimulated from being in school all day that they literally didn’t have the energy to try to behave.
Trust me, I refuse to go through that again.
6. We are at odds with the values being taught in schools.
As Christians, we are finding that our values are being degraded in the education system more and more with each passing year. Whether it’s through the curriculum or school policies, the educational establishment is at war with Truth with a capital T. I will not stand by as my kids are taught things that go against everything we believe in. It’s bad enough that they are bombarded with these things through TV shows, movies, and social media. I will not add fuel to the fire by allowing schools to have access to my kids, too.
7. Our family can be central, as it should be.
When you have a child in school, between after-school programs, extracurricular activities, and homework, the most important thing- family– is what suffers the most. It’s hard to build lasting familial relationships when there’s never any time for…well…family time.
When my oldest daughter was the only one left in school, she used to come home and sit in her room for the rest of the day. I barely knew her. Now, she’s almost 18 and one of my very best friends. We watch shows together, go for walks, and just talk- about our dreams, our common interests, our disagreements (The high school debate team ain’t got nothing on us!), and sometimes just plain goofy stuff. She’s a completely different person than she was when she was 13. And I owe a lot of that to homeschooling.
Whether or not your child has the choice about going to school or not is completely up to you. Only you know your kids well enough to make that decision. These are the reasons that we will never ask our kids if they want to go to school. Homeschooling has brought us far too close as a family to risk losing it again.
What about you? Do you leave school as an option, or do you feel like I do? I’d love to hear your reasons why!