To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool

Updated on April 20, 2009
J.P. asks from Graham, NC
23 answers

My seven year old has recently started requesting to be homeschooled. She is a great kid but complains that she does not have any friends at school. I have talked to her teacher and basically her problem is that she is very well behaved and has her own solid ideas. She would rather play by herself than do something she knows is wrong or something she doesn't want to do. I am so proud of her for not doing something just because everyone else is doing it. It does create problems for her though with other students.

My question is what are your biggest pros and cons of homeschooling? Does anyone regret deciding to homeschool? If my daughter decides homeschooling isn't for her will transition back into public school after missing a year be difficult?

I also have to take my three year old into consideration. She has some disabilities and I do not feel like I have the knowledge on how to teach her. My biggest issue is her significant speech delay. How do you teach a child to read when they cannot sound out words? Plus, she would loose the therapies she receives through the school system. She wants to do everything her sister does. Is it fair to homeschool one child and not the other?

I am sorry I wrote a book but I appreciate any input. I am terrified of making a decision that will have a negative effect on my children.

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for taking the time to respond. I do appreciate the input.

We have talked to a lot of people and listened to a lot of advice. We have found a curriculum that we like and we are going to try homeschooling next school year. There may be some cons to homeschooling but we feel like we can overcome those. For socialization she is active in the church and she has play groups and sports she does.As far as letting her run from her problems instead of facing them I disagree. If her problems are having a negative effect on her education then she needs rescuing. I won't regret giving it a try but I may regret not trying it. As for my "special needs" daughter, we will cross that bridge when we get there.

Again, thank you all for your input.

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answers from Hickory on

I have a little different perspective. I homeschooled my son for his 6th grade year. I would make the same decision again, however it was an incredible challenge. He had ADHD and I was struggling with depression and anxiety. I would much rather be his supporter and mom, rather than trying to be it all for him: teacher, mom, tutor. He is back in public school with good support, great friends and I am happily supporting his out-of-school life.

So, it all comes down with what you need/want and what she need/wants and how the two fit together. you'll make a good're asking the right quesitons.




answers from Clarksville on

Does she interact with any other children (non-family) at all? It is one thing to not do something because it is wrong, it may be a whole other issue if she does not want to play with others because they are not playing the way she wants to play. Part of school is learning compromise and how to play nicely. If you do homeschool, many communities have homeschool programs so that the kids can socialize. You will need to get her involved in different activities so that she can adapt to different social settings.

Also, I have friends who have some homeschooled, some public and even some private. If you do what is right for the child, then they should be fin.

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answers from Louisville on

Homeschooling is a personal decision, and you must look at your child. Will it truly be the best thing fo her? Anyway, as for no friends because she stands up for her beliefs, are there no other students in the class with morals? I mean there ought to be a couple other kids at least who do not wish to get in trouble. Encourage her to seek them out as friends if she stays in a regular school. Also may I ask what school she is in. Is it in Jefferson County or somewhere else? Large rooms can cause more discipline problems as well as a loss of connection between the children. I have known many families that homeschool for some of them it is great. Her e is some advise I was given by one of the homeschool parents. Keep them involved even if you homeschool she needs to be a part of activities with other children. Young children must learn to socialize and interact with other children. This can be done while homeschooling but you as the parent must make a decision to make it happen. Good luck.

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answers from Huntington on

Hi J.! I'm 32 now, but my mom home schooled me from 2nd - 8th grade. She said that I would cry every morning when she went to drop me off at school because I didn't want to go in. I remember the kids being mean. One morning, she just said "that's it, we're home schooling!" and I'm so glad she did! Later, I decided to go back to public high school with my best friends from church. It was a very easy transition. My sister is six years younger than me and she was home schooled K-12. She never wanted to go to public school.

It upsets me when people say home schooling is wrong because the kids don't get socialized. Anyone who says that obviously hasn't done their research. 20 years ago, there was a huge home schooling network and I'm sure it's even more advanced these days. I had a lot of other home school friends to play with. Our mothers scheduled field trips, tours, and play dates. I still keep in touch with many of my childhood friends from those days and some of them are now home schooling their own children.

The thing about home schooling is that you don't teach your child what YOU know, you have curriculum that they learn from. They have to be tested just like everyone else to make sure they're being educated properly.

Oh, and it's perfectly fine to keep one at home and send the other one off to public school. Do what's best for each child!

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answers from San Antonio on

I homeschooled my 5 children for years. Our 1st 2 children graduated from homeschooling. We put our remaining 3 children in PS (all for the 1st time) in 2005. Our 1st 2 did attend PS when they were much younger. Our kids transitioned very well to PS & excelled in their classes, made friends, kept up with their schoolwork, and adjusted to a more rigid schedule very well. We had been part of an educational co-op which also helped, they had lots of friends from church, youth groups, AWANA's, and this co-op. I am now schooling my 11yo son again as he was having many issues at school and I am currently in the process of having him evaluated for aspergers syndrome.

Seems to me that most people that say 'what about socialization' have never homeschooled and have no idea how well these children ARE socialized. Yes, there are a few out there that seclude their children from others, but very few and I've seen many PS kids with similar sitauations.

The pro's for us was more individualized attention and a lesson plan that allowed them to master the subject. If they were struggling we could take as long as needed and didn't have to worry about 30 other children that need to move ahead & deadlines of a school year. They were also free to study more in-depth the subjects that interested them for instance my 11yo is fascinated by WWII History, he could study it all day long. MY oldest daughter loved art and never understood why in ps Kindergarten she wasn't allowed to dray as long as she wanted to, LOL. I felt we were able to also teach the values that are family hold firm to and to draw closer together as a family.

Con''s not cheap to homeschool ALTHOUGH with some research & hard work it can be done. BUT it's usually far less than a private school education. There are days that are frustrating, kids are grumpy, Mom is grumpy, things they knew yesterday are gone today, but that's true in a ps situation too. If you are one that is active in a weekly morning Bible Study, Sewing Club, volunteering etc. those things get put on hold for these few years that you are shaping your children's education. I never missed those things.

I highly recommend homeschooling to anyone with a child that is struggling or one like your daughter. My oldest, even in K, did not understand all the silly, giggly girls. She had 1 good friend and that was good enough for her. She didn't like how some of the kids were mean and often defended the underdog.

And yes, it's ok to homeschool 1 child and not the other. I have friends that did that very successfully. Some kids personality fits best in a PS environment, some are better in a HS environment. If there comes a time that your 3yo no longer needs the therapy, then you can make a change then if you so desire. But check with your school system first, through the administration not so much her therapist and see if they are required to offer therapy regardless if that child is in classes or not. When we lived in WA my son took speech therapy & he was not enrolled in PS.

And as far as transitioning back to PS, my kids had no problems. When I put them last 3 in I had 1 in elementary, 1 in middle school and 1 in high school. All did really well. My youngest (the 1 that was in elementary) did well in the smaller school in TX than the larger school here in Germantown. But he has other issues going on that have made it so that we felt homeschooling him this year was the better choice.

And one last bit of advice. Let your daughter know that IF you decide to homeschool, you will do it for at least 1 school year, no changing her mind midway through the year. Commit to 1 year at a time because there will be times she will most likely get frustrated and say "I hate this I want to go back to school' or you will be tempted to say 'we should've left you in school if you wont do the work, etc'. Just try & tame the tongue, relax, enjoy the experience. At the end of each school year, sit down with her & your hubby and evaluate how you think it went & where you'd like to go next year.

Hope that helped.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I don't have an answer either way. However, I was just reading in John Rosemond's Six Point Plan for Raising Happy Healthy Children today, and he says to not second guess yourself, and that almost no decision is going to make or break your child's life. Don't stress about it so much, in other words. Trust your judgment. Gather all the info you can, then make a decision. You can always change your mind later. Also, that book might help you to guide her in being a little more social. I absolutely believe that no friends are better than bad friends, but there is also getting along in life and not being isolated or anti social. And, having a first grader myself, the kids in his class are really sweet, even the ones who get in trouble all the time (for squirming or talking or goofing around - which in my opinion isn't "bad" behavior, just the classroom is not the time or the place).

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answers from Knoxville on

We have always homeschooled our kids. They are now 2,18 and 15- all boys. We always joined a homeschool group. They could make friends with values more similar to ours versus the many different values. I do not regret it but it is not always easy either. It takes a lot of planning and discipline on the parents part to make sure the work is understood and done. It sounds like your daughter needs to find a friend that shares the same values she does. Do you attend a church that she could meet other children her age? I was a lot like your daughter when I was young. I had a few friends growing up but not many. I was and still am nice towards everyone but only have a few people that I truly call "friends", but they have been there for all the good as well as bad times. One friend and I actually did not speak for close to a year because she was telling me things about my spouse at a time when I did not want to listen. 20 years later the tables turned and I had to tell here things she did not want to hear but with more lives affected. This time we both knew what to do differently and our friendship grew closer. Help your daughter find someone to start a friendship with. Talk with her about remaining true to her feelings and making sure that she does what she wants. God Bless and Good Luck!



answers from Greensboro on

I have a lot of friend who home school and their children are well educated. They belong to a group and get together to do group activities and they are also active in our Church.
My main objection to home schooling was activities but from what I see all these children do well.
Later children can take course at the local community college, chemistry or course like that.
Your daughter will learn more and also will the other two. If you are home anyway why not.



answers from Lexington on

I've homeschooled some of my children. One thing I would emphasize is that the success of homeschooling depends on the child. At one point we were living overseas and I was homeschooling my three oldest, who were ages 8, 6, and 4. The 6 year old did very well, and the 8 year old managed. But the 4 year old would not learn a single thing from me. His personality was never suited to homeschooling.

More recently I homeschooled my fourth son in grade 9 through 11. He's bright and was having trouble adjusting socially--we know how socially challenging middle school and even high school can be. When he was ready to be a senior I successfully enrolled him in an IB (advanced) program and he graduated on time. Now he's away at college and doing well, both academically and socially.

Homeschooling doesn't have to cost a lot, either. My husband was the principal of the school I pulled my fourth son from, and he agreed to let me homeschool my son but challenged me to keep expenses down. It is possible.

You don't have to homeschool both of your older daughters. My two youngest have never been homeschooled, and they don't want to be. I tend to leave it up to my children, because they know their comfort levels. I also wouldn't worry about socialization. Homeschooling can give her the confidence she needs to interact more easily with other children.



answers from Greensboro on

Hi J.,
I homeschooled one of my children and not the other. The decision to HS should be tailored to each kid, the situation, your abilities (i.e. do you have the time and energy to do it? The finances to buy the curriculum and to not bring in a paycheck for your family?), and then evaluate the decision on a yearly basis. The child I HS needed to be HS for various reasons. My other one didn't need to and didn't want to be HS. I explained it to them and to curious observers that they are individuals w/individual needs, strengths, weaknesses, and wants. It worked out great. The following year when my husband and I reevaluated, decided we didn't need to HS anymore.
Don't worry about making mistakes - we all do. We're not perfect.



answers from Charleston on

I have an 8 yr old son who was in Pre-K and K in the Public School System. I do not have any college education, but I did graduate from high school. I also have a 5 yr old daughter. I began home schooling in October of 2007 after allowing him to finish out his Kindergarten year. I love being with my children, and it sounds like you do, too. I don't feel you can ever regret spending too much time with your family. As far as the special needs for your other daughter, noone is better equipped to teach your children anything than you are. There are wonderful home schooling resources online and I'm sure in your local library. Whatever obstacles come your way in training your children, you get to be the one to handle it. It doesn't get better than that. There are no cons for me. Yes it is a struggle sometimes, but I feel we were given our children, and it is our responsibility to train them up in the way they should go. Check to see if there is a home school group in your area. Meet with a few of the women and have your child go and interact with their children. That is what we did when we were considering it while he was in Kindergarten. That drastically helped us decide that this is what was best for our family. I also have a blog at that touches on this issue. Hope this helps! May God bless you and your efforts of being the best mother you can be.



answers from Nashville on

Did your daughter attend preschool or is this her first experience with other children? I am definately no authority on homeschooling but I am "anti". If your child has issues with social skills now. what will it be if you pull her out of public school and have her in a environment where she can be "boss" because she is the only student. Also, doing something wrong is never good and she is to be admired for it; but on not doing something that is assigned just because she doesn't want to is a whole new issue. I think you should give it time and let her adjust and place her in situations where she has to do things she doesn't like. Life is not about one person and it is much compromise. If at 7 you let her dictate that she doesn't attend school because she doesn't want to what will the tween years be like. I know you only have her best interest at heart but she has to learn to get along with others and homeschool will only continue to isolate her. As for her having friends, she has to be one to get one and if she is choosing not to be a part of the group what can she expect.

Your other child needs you also and you sound like a mother that is weighing all the odds. How can you attend to your child with disabilities if you are homeschooling. One of them will suffer. Please just give it time. Don't make your day filled too full and break you down. I am sure the older child can and will adjust if she is shown she doesn't have a choice.



answers from Asheville on

Hi J., I'm a mom of 8 children, 3 grown and 5 at home ages 3 thru 15. The 3 oldest all went to public school and all did poorly. My husband and I decided to homeschool our son Zach when he became old enough for kindergarten because we could see such a difference in the homeschooled children at our church. He is now in 9th grade and my son Eli is in 5th and has some learning disabilities. I will be starting my daughter Sierra in the fall. I can not think of any cons regarding homeschooling. I would not trade the time spent with my kids for anything. We have a close bond that is worth it's wait in gold. I don't have a college education nor do I need one to teach my children. There is so many resources for you to choose from and you can customize to fit your childrens needs. There are local homeschool groups to join and they have lots of fun activities. I hope this is helpful and you will prayerfully make your decision. Please feel free to ask more questions you might have. Blessings, M.



answers from Raleigh on

Hi, J.. I personally don't agree with homeschooling, but should you decide to go through with it, you should know that your child can still receive speech services. You would have to take her to the school, as they won't come to your home, but as long as she qualifies, she must continue to receive the services, by law. Also, I am a former public school guidance counselor, and I do know of at least one instance where one sibling was home schooled and the other was not, and they were twins. It worked out fine for them. You have to look at each child and determine what is in her best interest. I wonder, however, if homeschooling your 7-year-old will be good for her in the long run. She will always be her own person and other kids won't always like it, so at what point do you decide that she's ready for the real world? Sounds like you and your daughter should set up a meeting with the guidance counselor for help making friends and dealing with kids that are jerks rather than "rescuing" her from the environment. She may receive the message that she's not capable of dealing with things on her own and will always need you to intervene. Good luck.



answers from Parkersburg on

My thought as an educator and a mom is this --- if she is having trouble socially, will removing her from school make the situation better or not. If you home school, I would encourage you to make sure that you find a home schooler's group that has regular get togethers so that she has the opportunity to meet children and make friends because it sounds like that is what she is missing. It also sounds like she is a very smart, confident little girl and you might ask her if she has considered that staying home all the time will not afford her as many opportunities to find friends as being in school would.

As a Christian mom who has her children in public school, I have seen this issue with my own daughters. We have given them a system of acceptable behaviors and beliefs and (fortunately) they have taken those to heart and try to live by them. For my older daughter, she struggled in the same way your daughter did and we went through this. However, she had friends in our congregation and she made friends in a Girl Scout troop (where appropriate behavior and activities are taught, provided, and encouraged). She worked through . She is now in high school and has found just a couple really close friends and a whole network of pals through the marching band.

My younger daughter is 8 and has struggled a little with this, but she retreats into her own pretend world when she needs playmates.

I agree with the other poster that you do not have to home school all your children if you decide to home school just one.

One thing I always tell parents is ---- whatever decision you make is the right one. If you find out later that it needs to be changed, change it. Don't let anyone tell you what you should or should not do in a way that makes you feel guilty, dumb, or a failure as a parent. We all struggle with different issues and we all have to do what is right for our own family situation and children. Your daughter is going to be successful in school or at home because you care and are taking care of her.



answers from Greensboro on

Homeschooling is an adventure that will pay dividends whether you continue or not. Regarding the younger child, the public school offers the same services to private and home school students as regular students. My son is home schooled and taking speech therapy at the public school. Have fun, J.



answers from Lexington on

Sounds like you have a very bright child. I would tell your daughter that you would look into other options and tell her that you will let her know what you learn.

If you decide to homeschool her, I would continue to let the three year old go to school if that seems to be working for her. I have known many people who homeschool one child and not their other child(ren).

It is not something to feel guilty about. What works and best for one child may not work or be best for the other child.

If you decide to homeschool both children check with your local school district. I read that you are in NC I believe. I am in KY. In KY children who meet certain criteria can recieve speech therapy and other assistance through the public schools even if they are in a private school or being homeschooled. The therapist will go to the child.

I don't know if this is a state or federal education policy. I would point out that you are paying taxes to support the school system regardless of whether your children are enrolled.



answers from Huntington on

no you dont lose the thearpy if you have homebound instead of you doing it they send teacher to you. and then the theapist come to you too. i didnt regret it at all. my other child went to school.



answers from Charlotte on

Hello, J.! I have not had a chance to read all the responses as of yet, but wanted to give you my input. I have homeschooled my children since my oldest was in the K-5. She is now in 6th grade. My second child is in 4th grade and my youngest will start K-5 this coming school year. I LOVE homeschooling my children. I will not get into a pros and cons debate with all the replies. Some that I have read have been negative about home schooling. They apparently have never home schooled. Home schooling for me and my husband (yes, my husband, because he totally supports me) was a calling. It wasn't something that we decided in one day or it wasn't anything we did because our kids wanted it. We prayed extensively over this. We prayed since our daughter was born in 1997 over her education and what we should do. I live in South Carolina and SC public schools are rated in the bottom 5 of all 50 states. That was one of our reasons. Our main reason was because we heard God calling us to do this. We feel that it is our responsibility to raise our children with a Godly perspective of the world. Not a worldy perspective. We wanted them to know that there is One Creator and He created everything and we weren't evolved from apes! We, as parents, truly feel that God called us to do this. It wasn't just some fly by night decision. We prayed over it for 5 years and decided that was what was best for OUR children. I, by no means, am a perfect mom/teacher. I have made my share of mistakes at schooling, and my children have seen me fail at certain things, but raise myself back up again, with God's help, to succeed at it by trying again. I believe that I am teaching my children something more valuable than just school lessons. Home schooling is never on an off day because I feel that I am teaching my kids things all the time, not just during our school hours.

I think that if you feel this is something that you are being led to do, then by all means do it. Don't just make any hasty decisions. Take your time and pray over this matter. Have your husband join you each day as you take this matter to the Lord.

I am praying for you. R.



answers from Knoxville on

The other moms gave great advice, and I agree with everything they said. I just wanted to encourage you with my own story. My younger son was just like your daughter, and it did help to homeschool (we homeschooled both our sons until high school). If you can join a homeschool group then she will be able to make friends with similar values of all ages. I say go for it!



answers from Nashville on

If your child is requesting it I would go for it. I did a lot of research on HSing and the only reason that I am not doing it with my 5 year old is that she is in love with school. If she asks me to do it down the road (especially for the sorts of reasons you are describing), I would do it in a heartbeat.

You will not lose out on any of the benefits for your 2nd child - you still pay taxes and the school system is still required to help your child with disabilities when she is enrolled in school. You do not have to have both of your kids enrolled for that to take place. There are plenty of families out there that have some kids in school and some homeschooled; it really depends a lot on the child and what works best for them.

That said, if I were you I would tell your oldest that you will consider it but she needs to finish this year (there's not much left and it doesn't sound like her situation is urgent). Then, use the next few weeks/months to RESEARCH this topic heavily. There are a ton of websites and there are great books at the library about HSing. That can help you make a decision. I'm sure you'll get a lot of other great advice on here. Good luck!



answers from Nashville on

These are some things that you may want to think about when considering home school. Please keep in mind that I am not an expert, but I am graduating this semester with a teaching degree.

One of the things I have noticed about students going to school after being home school is lack of organization. Many parents don't require home schooled children to keep up with their own materials and books. In school, students are required to keep up their items therefore learning organizations skills as early as kindergarten (hanging coats in correct places, putting book bags in cubbies, and turning in papers in right bins).

Another thing that should be considered is social skills. Students learn a lot about appropriate socialization in the school environment. If a student is home schooled it is vital that the child have regular contact with their peers. Sports, scouts, play dates, etc. It can be done, but takes a lot of work on the part of the parent home schooling.

Now, I have seen many students enter the public school system after being home schooled and they have almost always been advanced. This is a definite bonus. But, these same students tend to lack the organization and social skills to continue being socially and academically successful, which makes me worry about higher education. I have also seen the students where the parents were very conscious of the equal weight that socialization, academics, and organization skill hold. If you can do this, I say go for it.

Lastly, as for the younger sibling, education is about what the student needs. I agree that your child that has the disability should continue going to school. If you keep you daughter in school because it may not be fair to the younger one, then are you being fair to your older daughter? I recommend that you consider needs first, not what may please the other children. If it were all about fair then the inclusive classroom would not exist in the modern public school systems.

Remember, this is just advice from another mom. I am not an expert, but I wish you the best of luck with this difficult decision.



answers from Memphis on

I am planning on homeschooling my kids, but neither one has disabilities, and I'm confident that I can teach my children what they need to know better than one teacher who has to instruct up to 30 kids (sometimes more). Teacher-child ratio is a very important and well-recognized factor in how well children learn, so your older daughter will probably excel in homeschool.

I don't consider homeschooling to be an "all or nothing" thing. Homeschooling may not be the best choice for your younger daughter -- although it may, so you'll have to make that choice down the road. Some parents choose to homeschool during the early years when they feel that their kids have easier subjects that they (the parents) can easily teach, and then they transfer the kids to public school or private school for the higher subjects, especially if the parents struggled with them, and don't feel like they can teach their children what they don't fully understand themselves. Other parents do the opposite -- put their kids in school in the early years (when they are under less peer pressure) and then pull them out when they get to be teenagers, and more likely to run with the wrong crowd.

One of my friends has three sons, and she recently began homeschooling her oldest because he was having learning difficulties that she didn't think the teacher was properly addressing. Her two younger sons stayed in public school (although one of them has recently asked to be homeschooled as well).

The choice of where your kids go to school is so that your kids can have the best education -- whether that is at home, a public school, or private school. Right now it seems as if your 3-y/o is already doing something that her big sister is not -- going to speech therapy. She may be easily segued into public school, if that is best for her; or she may struggle and you'll have to assert your parental authority to choose what is best for her. It may also be that you can home-school her too, and get the therapy she needs even if she's not in the school system. You can check to see if there are alternatives to in-school therapy. Or, she may exceed your expectations in the next 3-4 years and you'll be able to teach her at home as well, if you want.

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