After over 19 years of homeschooling I have reflected on a few things … and this is what I would write to the new homeschooling me. Here’s the next letter my series ~
While you may begin with every intention of homeschooling to the end, you will often think about sending your homeschoolers to school instead! Although others may think that you had it all figured out … you will “get real” and confess that you often wanted to give up.
When you start homeschooling, your eldest child will have enjoyed 3 happy years in a lovely, private, Christian primary school, and now is suddenly at home with you and her sisters trying to figure out the new approach. She is strong-willed with you, but compliant with others, and her sulks, moods, and bad attitude, as well as your stress, fear and anxiety make the whole thing difficult … impossible … just “wrong”.
It seems better to send her back to school instead of facing daily battles of will and endless discipline issues. And your high expectations, naive ideals and narrow, purist approach makes things very unpleasant. But let me assure you that these rough beginnings are normal when you take a child out of school and start homeschooling. They need a period of “de-schooling” … about 1 month for every year of school … and you need to take it really slowly, and gradually ease her into your full homeschool curriculum.
Thinking about sending your homeschooled child to school will be a regular pit-stop for each child during their turbulent teen years, when your teens need more interaction than you can readily give them because you live so far away from town. You will not feel guilty for considering this because you can blame several things for this shift ~ geography and sociology.
You think that it will help them to go to boarding school, as so many farmers in your district do, rather than homeschool through these tough years. As you consider this option, your heart will ache at the idea of missing being with them and you will fear the peer influences and peer pressure. In end, you and your hubby will calculate that you will not be able to afford the 4 trips per week to fetch and take her to school so far away, as well as paying for the double costs of school and boarding fees. Homeschooling is cheaper by far, but it is also much richer in the subjects, approach and methods used than those in school.
More importantly, your homeschooling is not so much about the content as it is about developing character. These are the vital years of discipleship, relationship and mentorship. Homeschooling allows you the full liberty to focus on this.
Homeschooling teens requires more trips for social and entrepreneur opportunities. Pray to find like-valued families for your teens to visit and stay over during school breaks. These visits will breathe fresh life in your teen’s life and they will come home more positive and creative.
Your youngest child is a very social little person who may seem terribly lonely at home when her older sisters are busy and away. You may consider sending her to boarding school, but she is simply unhappy at the thought of living far from home, and she will rather find things to do at home than “be sent away”.
Sending any child to school at any point is not “wrong” unless it is due to fear and failure. Parenting is ‘infected’ with guilt, so it is very important that this choice be made for the right reasons … for growth and for opportunities. Countless homeschooled children have transitioned back into school. Most have done so because the child (often a teen) requested it and it has been good.
We have kept this option open for our children. And as I have often declared, our homeschooling is “not cast in stone“.
With hindsight blessings,
I’d love to hear your views and thoughts on this topic! Please would you share yours in the comments.
In case you missed any of my previous “Letters To Me” in this series: