Confession #93: I Quit Homeschooling (& I Don’t Feel Guilty)

IMG_9266When I was in the 2nd grade, my mom attempted to homeschool my younger brother and me.

I can remember it like it was yesterday:

Sleeping in.

Siting at our breakfast table in the kitchen in my pajamas each morning.

The big stack of A Beka books

My mom was a great teacher. Still is. But I hated homeschooling.

Each morning I watched a school bus pass our house, and each morning I wanted nothing more than to hop on it and go to school with other kids.

My mom knew I was struggling. No matter the benefits of homeschooling, I wasn’t going to thrive at the kitchen table.

So mid year, my parents enrolled me into the local elementary school and I was finally able to get on that school bus, which I loved. (Except for the time I accidently got on the high school bus, but that is another story for another time. Let me just say this: It was traumatizing.)

Homeschool didn’t work for me as a student, and truth be told it hasn’t worked for me as a parent either.

Last fall I wrote about becoming a homeschooling mom. The decision to homeschool my little ones was more out of necessity than personal conviction. I tried to get excited about it, I really did. But the joy never came…

A former teacher, I thought that homeschooling would be a joyful piece of cake that would only bring me closer to my kids. I read homeschooling blogs which, to be honest, overwhelmed me. Reading about the love and commitment some of these homeschool moms have out there, well, it just made me feel like a failure if I didn’t measure up, if I didn’t LOVE homeschooling, and if my kids didn’t have a school day worthy of Pintrest pinning.

With an already busy schedule (I’m not a stay at home mom. I actually have a full time job.) I set a rigorous homeschooling schedule in place and attempted to be as enthusiastic as possible. I was going to teach my kids, run a house, and manage Emmaus House all in a day, everyday.

Needless to say, I was always falling short. And my kids, although obedient, struggled as well.

Homeschool time quickly became my only time with my kids. Once school was done for the day, I had to play catch up on my work for Emmaus House. And then by the time that was finished, it was time for dinner, showers, and bedtime. Oh, and I hated that! I hated that my daily quality time with my children had to be spent over math problems and phonics when all I really wanted to do was play with them. But there are only so many hours in a day, you know.

And just like when I was in the 2nd grade, my kids craved to be with other kids their age. Ever since moving out of the orphanage, Hunter and I have been burdened by the fact that our kids no longer have friends to play with. And with English now their prominent language, they struggle fitting in with most Haitian children. And homeschooling has only kept them more sheltered from Haitian society and more alone.

So a while back we made the choice: we were going to send them to an English speaking school. We decided this for many reasons. First, because they need socialization with other kids who speak and look like them. Second, homeschool was becoming a full time job, and I couldn’t carry two full time jobs at once. And third, homeschooling just wasn’t a fit for us- for our kids or for me.

For a while, giving up homeschooling and admitting that it wasn’t working for our family made me feel like a failure of a mom/educator. I mean, according to all the blogs, forums, and Facebook groups I was now following all good moms homeschool. A majority of my fellow missionary mamas down here homeschool as well. What was my problem? Was I just not committed enough? Did I need to adjust my time management skills? Was I going to harm my kids by sending them to school? Was I being a bad mom because I, a teacher, no longer wanted to teach my own kids?

I don’t know when it happened, but after months of wrestling with questions like these, God gave me peace. He assured me that I would still be a good mom if I sent my kids to school. Even more, He assured me that perhaps sending them to school would be putting their needs first. If they went to school, they could make friends. They would be able to prepare for school in America. They could have fun. And with my days free to work, I would finally be able to give them the attention they needed as their mom instead of just their teacher.

So yesterday my kids went to school for the first time. I realize it is May and summer is just a month away, but this month seemed like a good opportunity to help them transition. And they need that time. They have never been in a classroom before, and we are hoping this month will help them get adjusted to their new routine.

So yeah…I quit homeschooling. And I don’t feel guilty. I love my kids to pieces, and that is why I am sending them to school. It is what is best for them and it is what is best for me.

I do wish to say this though: I so admire homeschooling mamas- the ones who love it and do it well. I tip my hat off to you. Looking in from the outside, people don’t realize what a challenge homeschooling can be. You are doing a beautiful service and I know your children will reap the blessings.

Maybe one day God will bring my children and me back to the homeschooling table. Who knows? But for now, we are going to enjoy the blessing of going to school.

~ Jillian

7 Comments on “Confession #93: I Quit Homeschooling (& I Don’t Feel Guilty)

  1. What a refreshing post. I totally understand feeling like a failure if you quit. After homeschooling 18 years, i will have no one to school in the fall because 4 of my 5 children left at home have been in school this year and the youngest is joining them in the fall. It took me a long time to admit that w e needed a change. I have started a blog for homeschool moms considering school and former homeschool moms. Stop by and share your experiences. http://rest-for-the-weary.blogspot.com

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  2. Thank you for this-I was homes schooled as a child, and just decided to send two of my kids to school after six years of homeschooling them. 🙂 I’m already noticing a positive dynamic change since our decision!

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  3. I just enrolled my son in public school kindergarten after homeschooling him for the first half of the year. I felt compelled to make this decision because he had a few acquaintances, but not any friends he saw on a daily basis. Driving 30-45 minutes to actives isn’t very practical either. It’s unfortunate that in public, most homeschoolers obsessively talk about how socialized their kids are. I’ve found that behind closed doors, many of them worry that their kids haven’t really made any close friends. Also, I felt it was unfair to say homeschooling was a better option than public school when my son had never been to public school. By trying out both options, one will likely emerge as better, and we can make a more educated decision about schooling options after he has actually tried them.

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  4. Thank you for posting this. I googled “I quit homeschooling” to try to find some support (and permission) but only found pep talks to keep at it. I’m glad I kept looking and found your post. I really needed to read it today as I’ve decided to enroll my daughter in school starting next fall. Despite school’s challenges, I think it will be the best for her, for me, and for us. I love the line “we are going to enjoy the blessing of going to school.” To practice seeing the blessing of it rather than running from it as if it’s a curse–I’m going to make that our focus and my prayer.

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    • I’m glad you found my blog. My kids have been going to school now since May of last year and it has been great for our family. My kids are so happy to be with others their age and I really believe they are social learners and have greatly excelled by being in the classroom. I did feel guilty at first for giving homeschooling up- like I was less of a mom because I didn’t want to spend 24/7 with my kids. But I believe I made the best decision for everyone. I wish you the best.

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  5. You said this, “My mom knew I was struggling. No matter the benefits of homeschooling, I wasn’t going to thrive at the kitchen table…”. That is so how I have felt. We have homeschooled our 5 for almost 12 years and we finally sent them to school mid-semester, 2 months ago. Our family is better off because of it. I definitely believe in the many benefits of public schools! We’ve had our challenges, sure, but it has been a major blessing, overall. Thanks for sharing this!

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