Why homeschooling is not a year-by-year decision for our family

Why homeschooling is not a year-by-year decision for our family

Homeschooling all the way

It’s that time of year when homeschooling families all around us are making decisions for the upcoming year—new curriculum, new co-ops, enrolling kids in private or public schools for the upcoming year.

Many of my friends approach homeschooling on a year-by-year, child-by-child basis, deciding each year what is best for each of their children, an approach that’s often applauded because it’s very sensitive to the needs of each child.

But that’s not our approach. For us, homeschooling is it.

That’s not to say that we’d never consider an alternative because my children’s needs are also important to me. If we were facing extenuating circumstances—a learning disability that we hadn’t been able to address, a strain on a relationship that might have permanent consequences, a sports talent that needed an outlet—we would begin to consider other options.

But when we moved to our home in the boonies—in one of the lowest ranked counties in one of the lowest ranked states in the United States—it was with a commitment to homeschool all the way through. If we needed to consider traditional schooling, our options would be moving to a better school district or commuting to a private school; public middle or high school in our county are simply not on the table.

And here’s the secret: for the most part, that actually makes it easier on all of us.

A couple of years ago, we did have some serious heart-to-heart discussions realizing that something either needed to change in our approach to school or we needed to consider one of the options above. But now that we’ve found our homeschooling groove (which is not to imply that things always go smoothly, because they don’t), it’s a relief to know that this is what we’re doing. The end.

Similar to my decision to have drug-free labors and births, leaving no room in my mind for the possibility of drugs, taking the option off the table completely keeps it from teasing and tempting me on the hard days.

And my kids know that while we’re willing to consider different curricula and schedules, going to school isn’t an option (as much because of the quality of the schools as the flexibility of our lifestyle, in all honesty), so it’s not something they whine or dream about either.

We are just on the cusp of middle school, and there may be days in the future when we get more push-back from our kids on this decision. But for us, it’s really a family decision rather than an individual decision—because we’re able to do things like travel for weeks at a time, go skiing every Thursday, take off for a month at Christmas, and much more—and I think setting up that expectation early (and talking about it openly) has made a difference.

How do you approach homeschooling? Is it a year-by-year decision? A permanent one? Something in between?

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. I’d say we’re 100% committed to sticking it out through high school, unless some large change hits our family. My oldest is starting his junior year of high school next year and will be starting to take classes at the community college next year, so I feel like I’m nearing the end of homeschooling him.

    So now I realize, “Hey, I really can do this. I’ve gotten one kid almost all the way through!”

    I grew up homeschooled, which has probably helped me have a can-do attitude, and also helped me think that I could see this all the way to the end.

    We live in an ok school district, but not a super great one. And private schools are far too expensive for us, with four kids and all, so that kinda helps me keep going when I’m ready to quit.

  2. We’re coming up on the end of our second year of homeschooling. Our first year was a no brainer — our home was located in a school district rife with academic and disciplinary issues. No thanks! However we had the opportunity last summer to put our daughter in a top ranked school district in an affluent area.

    After giving it some serious thought, we decided against it and continued to homeschool.

    We’re committed to homeschooling as long as we can. Ideally, that will be through high school but I do worry about how long I’ll be able to provide science that interests her. (My daughter shows a documented advanced interest in science so this is a valid worry.)

  3. My kids are still quite young (my oldest will be five next month) but we are committed to homeschooling. We have several firm and compelling reasons why we think this is best for our family, so unless we were in a situation where it was not possible, homeschooling is our one plan.

  4. I am not a homeschooling mom, but I love your approach here. Sometimes turning “grey” decisions into “black and white” makes it much easier to stick to your guns.

  5. It’s not a consideration to do anything else as it is a calling for our family!

  6. On the days when it’s hard and I’m totally overwhelmed I wonder what it’d be like to send the kids to private school (public just isn’t an option at all) and I’m reminded that I’d be trading one set of trouble for another. Following someone else’s schedule would be as hard or harder than what happens on the bad days.

    Homeschooling is the only choice, with similar exceptions to what you mentioned.

  7. Thank you so much for this article! I haven’t even started yet, but I know in my heart that homeschooling all the way through is what is right for my family, and I am lucky enough to have my husband on board! Now we just need to wait for our children to get a little older to start the “official” stuff. I’m looking forward to our journey!

  8. We are finishing up our 23nd year of homeschooling. I still have a 15yo and a 10 yo so we have a number of years to continue. It has been the best choice for our family and one that we have never regretted. I have three older children who all completed their high school through our home school. There was never any trouble in enrolling them in college and they are happy well-adjusted adults. I am not saying I never ‘threatened’ them with public school. hahahaha . The older kids have thanked me several times for teaching them at home.

  9. We also have completely deplorable schools in our local district, which is what began the idea in the first place. I’m a former public school educator, so I saw up close and personal how bad the schools are in our state (I worked in 9 of them in 2 separate districts!). We are so much closer as a family, and we truly enjoy most of our days 🙂

  10. After 15 years, my last student will graduate in 3 months. Homeschooling has been lifestyle choice for us. It’s been amazing to watch our sons learn to learn and dive into theirs interests.

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