5 Reasons I Would NOT Home School

This is a follow-up to my post on the reasons that I WOULD home school. Again, I want to preface this by saying this comes completely from my own personal experience from childhood being home schooled for most of my education until high school. This is not a compilation based on research. This is also not a list based on my own experience being a home schooling mom. My son is not even three years old, so we have not yet entered the formal education realm. This really is just insight for other parents out there considering home school, or currently running their own home school.

1. With mom (or dad) being the teacher, that single role tends to dominate the entire parent/child relationship. Yes, parents are to be a vital source of teaching in every child’s life, whether the child is schooled at home or out. But if you are the one in charge of all the educational needs for your child, it can consume most of your interactions with your child for most of the day, the week, the year. You start the day focusing on school, you continue the day focusing on school and even into the evening there may be more school to attend to if you had a hard time getting the children to focus on their school. And you get behind. The flexibility of home school is really great, with the ability to do things non-school related during the week days. This can also be a curse. This means you have more school to accomplish in less time. Which means you either push the kids to do more in a day, do school on the weekends, or extend the school year into the summer. All options are a major drag, for both parent and child. I also remember that any time we went anywhere it always had to end up being an educational experience, or so I remember feeling that way as a child. While it is great to be able to expose children to all the learning available, when you are supposed to be on “spring break” in Florida, it is a total bummer as a child to have to schlep through educational tours of all the nearest historical sites when you just want to be swimming in the pool or playing on the beach.

I think this was the face I made most mornings when Mom announced it was time to do school.

2. Children reserve their absolute worst behavior for those they trust the most. This is probably the main reason I would personally not want to home school. Kids test out all their undesirable behaviors on their parents. If you are home schooling, there is so much more opportunity for conflict, power struggles and battles to have to wade through on a day to day basis. I remember a discussion with my Father-in-law about children’s behavior in relationship to their parents. He recalled the days in which they would take the kids on field trips (he was a math teacher), and several parents would come along to help. He said it never failed, the children whose parents were there always behaved the worst. As a child, I remember all the whining, complaining, foot-dragging and procrastination my Mother had to deal with. My Brother’s were truly a pain. πŸ˜‰ There really were a lot of battles just to get through some very simple tasks and lessons. I personally don’t know that I have the patience to deal with those inevitable conflicts.

3. There is an expiration, or time limit, to its value. I personally did not want to be home schooled for the length of time that I was. Looking back on it now when I think about when the “right” time would have been to enter formal education outside the home, I think somewhere around sixth grade (or before) might have been the perfect time. I got restless. I got sick of being at home. I got tired of my Mom nagging me about my school work. I wanted to get out of the house. I wanted to see friends more. I just needed a change, and to experience life and the school years with my peers. I felt like I was missing out. Getting close to the teenage years, it is no secret that peers become a very important part of a young person’s life. Before that time, being at home didn’t feel prohibitive. Entering into those years, being at home felt very restrictive and prohibitive. I really believe this change needs to seriously be taken into account when deciding how long to home school. I also started to feel like more of an oddball among my peers, having such a drastically different life experience than they. And I started to resent being kept at home, which doesn’t work wonders for the parent/child relationship.

4. Parents need a break from their kids, and kids need a break from their parents. I sort of feel like this one doesn’t need any more explanation, but for the sake of supporting my premise, I will continue. Parents are busy. Parents have a lot of responsibilities to take care of outside of the daily care of their children. Children take a tremendous amount of time and attention. Having the children ALWAYS underfoot creates a bit of attention fatigue. Adult brains need a break from kid stuff, kid noise, kid demands. This break helps us to feel refreshed and energized to meet their needs, and helps stave off burn-out (and of course, gives us a chance to get something accomplished!). Children, in turn, need to be around others that do not interact with them the way their parents do. Sometimes other people can have more patience with our children than we can. Sometimes other people notice special things about our children that we don’t. And most importantly, sometimes other people let our children do things that we prohibit, but aren’t necessarily harmful (like, say, jumping off the swing at the playground, or screaming loudly while running around outside). I think it’s good for children to have the opportunity to feel a bit of autonomous freedom apart from the parent. Lastly, in my personal experience being home schooled, since my Mom didn’t get much of a break from us, that meant we had to go EVERYWHERE she needed to go to accomplish all the adult stuff that needed to be done. We rarely, if ever, had a babysitter (even though I know my oldest Sister thinks she raised my Brothers and I). So, the car needed to be fixed? We had to go. She had to stop at the bank? Post office? Drive all the way across the city to drop off a bill? We had to go. I feel like I half lived in the car as a child. To this day, if I am a passenger in a car, I have a hard time staying awake. It became almost automatic for me to fall asleep in the car, I spent so much time in it when I was young.

5. And of course, the big buzz-word: Socialization! Even though we got to participate in organized sports and took art classes and piano lessons outside the home, it just wasn’t quite the same as doing all those things at school with people that you already know. Every sports team we joined, usually we were meeting everyone on the team for the first time. At art classes it was usually the same kids, but everyone lived so scattered there was no way we were going to really develop friendships with these people. On field trips, we sometimes went with a home school group, but those were so few and far between we never really made friends with anyone. Not having a place that we went to regularly, that included peers in the vicinity we lived in was definitely a drawback. We certainly got opportunities to make friends. There were neighborhood kids, and as I mentioned in the first post, the three of us had close groups of friends from church, but let’s be honest. Kids that are home schooled do miss out on some of the fun parts about going to school, including the positive social side.

I am learning more and more about how home school has grown and changed since I was a kid, and I am liking what I see. There are co-ops now that kids can go to a few days every week, almost like going to school, to get all their assignments. Then they spend the rest of the week at home accomplishing their work. That sounds a little bit like the best of both worlds. There are certainly more pros and cons than I have covered in these two posts. Home schooling parents could certainly add their own two cents to both sides. I am certainly open to hearing some of your experiences, either as a home schooled person, or a parent that is doing or did home school. I am also open to hearing about some of the cool options you may have come across in your search for the “perfect” educational setting for your children. The scene is always changing and can be hard to keep up with! I am just glad a have a couple more years to make my decisions.


15 thoughts on “5 Reasons I Would NOT Home School

  1. LOL! Dang, your fast!

    The funny thing about that is, I don’t even remember you being around! Like hardly ever! (except at night when you were constantly begging me to give you a back rub for hours!)

    I either have a bad memory, OR I was so traumatized by the experience I have blocked it out.

    • Well…it was more when I/you were younger of course. As soon as I was able to drive and after BEGGING to use the super awesome wood paneled station wagon…I wasn’t sticking around to hang out with loud crazy little kids!!!! πŸ˜‰

  2. Just thought I would add my 2 cents:) Seems like these reasons have either changed since you were homeschooled or are in your control as a parent. 1 Yes, if you are the teacher you’re around them all day, but homeschooling really doesn’t take that much time especially when your kids are little. So most of the day you are just mom. 2 Kids seem to be on their worst when given too much unsupervised free time. My boys, who are quite a handful most of the time really enjoy the structure of doing our exercises, prayer and pledge, theme of the week, and crafts. The “learning” just seems to blend in. Even my just turned 3 year old enjoys the “learning” and does all the same things as the older 2 (his pushups are classic). He even has his own school supplies and workbooks. 3 As far as your mom homeschooling you longer than you thought necessary, that is your decision as a parent to realize when your child could possibly be better off in an actual school environment. If there are more arguments and frustration than learning maybe you are both better off. However, how will you know unless you try. 4&5 Your last 2 seem to go together. There are such great communities for homeschoolers out there. There are wonderful co ops, tutoring centers and so many places are now offering homeschooling classes during the day (community centers gymnastics centers playlands). It is not odd to be homeschooled anymore especially with our school systems in some areas. You can also find any type of homeschooling community almost anywhere. We just moved from a suburb of DC where we were a part of a Catholic homeschooling group of over 90 families. This is just Catholics in a 15 mile area. We are now in a town of 150,000 and we are a part of a Catholic homeschooling community with over 50 families and there are several more homeschooling groups in just our little city. It’s also great for military families to not have to school hop for every move. So, sorry to be extremely longwinded but homeschooling is what you make of it. Not every parent should homeschool and not every child should be homeschooled. I guess our job as parents is to make the best decision for our children based on all the info that we can find. Good luck to you as you begin your next phase of parenthood soon naptimes will be a thing of the past and you’ll be worrying about friends and technology (it starts so soon). I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to chatting again soon:)

  3. I think that face could also be because School usually started with Joanie Greggins! Followed by Bible study, or as I thoughtfully remember calling it “let’s see how quickly I (Billy) can get back to bed by telling Mom something that Becky did so that she gets in BIG trouble, πŸ˜‰ Good times…

    These are all good points. I do not Home School, nor will I ever, but I agree that there does come an age where as parents, you might want to toy with the thought of sending your Children to a public/private School. On the opposite side of the pendulum, there is also an age where you should never rip a child from School and attempt to teach them yourself. In my experience, it was incredibly rough to have to go through that, I am sure Mom would agree!!

    Oh, and It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway…ummm, JoAnne, the REASON you don’t remember Carleen ever being there is because she wasn’t. I Raised all you little rug rats, HELLO!

  4. I feel it necessary to say that when I said I would never Home School, it is not because I think it is a bad thing, if you can do it…awesome. I just lack a few general qualities one may need for it…patience, creativity, and energy (is that a quality?). Trust me when I say though, that since Griffin & Chloe are Home Schooled, there isn’t a day that goes by that Darbi doesn’t say…”Gee, I really wish I could be Home Schooled, like Chloe”. It’s usually when I wake her up, or am driving her home from awana’s…

  5. I’m LOL because the #1 thing a person says when I mention I home school is “I could never home school because I don’t have the “patience, creativity, and energy” for it!!! LOL. (yeah…I was blessed with TONS and TONS of patience!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA…. sigh. Anyway…I guess there is no right or wrong way to do it. There isn’t a “timeline” in which to pull them out…put them in…what have you. I don’t think you HAVE to be put in a public/private school if the parent doesn’t feel right about it. Think about it…it is really up to the parent to make the decisions for the way the children are raised/educated. Heck…what public/private school kids WANTS to go to leave home and go to school EVERY DAY? “There isn’t a day that goes by that Darbi doesn’t say…”(reference above). So…I don’t think that she should be taken out of that situation and be home schooled because “she” wants to be…that would/should be up to the parents. And home schooling now is SO different then it was back when you guys were home schooled. It was almost unheard of! No one (normal) did it!!! It was a “fringe freaky” thing to do. Now…totally normal and with all the opportunities available it’s crazy trying to decide what we can and can’t do (fit in). I don’t make everything my kids do “educational”…it just sometimes turns out that way. Each family, parent, child/ren combination is so different there is no one right thing/way to do it. I am so glad we live in a country where we are free to choose!

  6. Plus…it’s just another educational option. Why isn’t there a discussion on how long to have your child in public/private school and when the best time to put them in home school?

  7. It isn’t Darbi’s decision, and quite frankly, she loves PSI, she just thinks you get to sleep in/go to Florida for a month, if she were Home Schooled. When I remind her Mommy has to work and Mommy also loves waking up at 4, she would change her mind. πŸ™‚

    I am glad you put both sides on here JoAnne. Love reading your blog.

  8. This is good for me to read. I definitely want to be in tune to what my kids are feeling. I think all of your arguments are valid. But then for those of us who had to suffer through junior high and high school in public school could write their own story. There’s a reason why I went to Normandale πŸ™‚ Not that public school is so bad, but I’m glad that my kids aren’t facing peer issues right now. I feel the peer issues are starting younger and younger, especially in this media filled world. I mean, kids are seeing things they shouldn’t see at way too young of an age. Protection from the world is not the home schooling argument I like to hang my hat on, but this world is a little scarier than ours.

    In saying all that, I truly feel my boys are free to be little boys. Graham acts “younger” than most 10 year olds his age. He is truly innocent. He’s not into all the latest trends. He gets to be a little boy and I love that. He’s not checking his itouch for his friends instagrams, he’s riding his bike outside or building legos with his brothers. I’m thinking high school is when we may give them the option to go to school. But I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

    We do a co-op with church friends. They do Latin, History, and Science 2 days a week with a few friends and they love it. For right now, it’s perfect. What next year will bring, who knows? πŸ™‚

  9. Oh, and I just wanted to comment on #2 because it’s totally true. Kids are better for other people. But we all treat our family worse than our friends. We treat our co-workers more courteously than our spouses sometimes and we shouldn’t. But the trend I’ve noticed is that parents give up. BECAUSE kids act better for teachers or coaches or friends, they allow their kids to spend most of their time with those people. Farming their kids out is the only way to have peace in the family. It’s a downward spiral… what the kid needs is more time with family, but they give him less. I think getting your kids to do what you want is important. Not that a parent is a tyrant, but when you lose that control, the child becomes less enjoyable, you don’t want to spend time with them, and all sorts of problems stem from that.

    Man, I’m opinionated tonight… I need to go to bed πŸ™‚ I really should be sleeping!

  10. I feel like I was in the pioneering stage of homeschooling with almost everything resting on my shoulders. It is exciting to see all the new opportunities and support to help and enrich the learning and growing experiances. Erin, it is good to hear how it’s going for you.

  11. Having being home schooled did in fact have a lasting effect on my esteem (if you know me, I can be a little too confident in some areas). Looking back on Jr. High, I think I was developing a complex of being shorter and smaller than everyone else, and the flack I got from my baseball buddies was just enough for me to know what kind of cruelty I would’ve faced if I had to deal with it on the off-season. I think home schooling does give some time for kids in middle school to focus on values, school work and just simply learning how to be attentive and kind. I would never put my children in a public school during middle school and maybe even into 7th grade.

    I think there is a point (and I get this from Mark Driscoll and it makes sense to me) where you make a year by year decision as a parent along with your older children. As I grew older (around 14 & 15) I understood why I was kept from public school and it wasn’t because of the lack of good education, fear of gun violence, teacher molestation etc. (like we see today) but because of sex education and indoctrination of liberal ideology. I had great friends and strong values at that age and believed I could recognize and deal with the misleading of peers and or social study teachers.

    Being a parent is difficult, I can imagine, and one of the difficulties of parenthood is trusting that your child actually has the ability to appropriately make decisions. Sure, a parent will decide what they’re ultimately going to do and I intend on leading my household in such a way where my decision (in accordance with my spouse) will be final, however, I also plan on having open dialogue with my older children about their future (whether that be in schooling or sports) and allow their input. I believe this can ultimately give your child confidence that they can make decisions and that you trust and admire them as an individual.

  12. JoAnne I’m loving your blog. And I am so amused by everyone’s replies here! I’ve gotta say, what scares me the most about the kids in school is what Billy mentioned — the jaw-dropping topics of sex-education. Even though I was in Catholic School, I was that kid who left class for those lessons! I wouldn’t say I was shunned or made fun of for it, but I did feel embarrassed doing this in Junior High. Of course my peers were learning everything and passed some information onto me, but still didn’t get the intricate details of certain things πŸ˜‰ My school was small and most of us were seemingly innocent in that aspect. However, they still teach these things and my parents attempted the best solution, and I stay up some nights wondering what I am going to do when my kids’ school, also a Catholic School, start these classes! If I homeschooled, though, I wouldn’t have to worry!!

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