5 Things I Discovered When We Quit Homeschooling

standardized testing

Last week, I shared part 1 of the story of why we quit homeschooling. This post is the continuation of that story. Despite my fears, my school aged kids went off to school. That first day was a long one for me.

Guess what? Not only have they survived, but they are thriving.

And all those other things I was worried about?

The worries about how they would adjust, how it was wrong for a homeschool mom to “give up”? What about the Common Core, for goodness sake!

Well, let me tell you how happy I was to be proven wrong. We found other Christian moms with kids in our school. My kids have way more good days than bad ones. The teachers are phenomenal. I can tell how much they want to help my kids succeed.

Even the Common Core hasn’t been what I feared – the only things I’ve taken note of are that the second grade math is confusing and the word problems take care to use diverse names.

Before quitting homeschooling, I fell into a trap of black and white thinking.

Homeschooling was “good” so other schooling options must be “bad.” I honestly felt like I had no other option than homeschooling.

A virtual school wouldn’t solve the problems we were having. Private school for 3 kids was not in our budget. When homeschooling wasn’t working well, it was a real struggle for me to decide that public school could be an option.

I realize that public school may not work out for everyone. Our schools are quite small and almost embarrassingly well-funded. Class sizes are small and my kids are getting plenty of individual attention. Certainly this isn’t the case in every school.

I’m writing this story, partly to explain the big shift for our family, but also to encourage other moms, homeschool or not, who may be feeling trapped or needing a change.

You should know that:

Just because homeschooling works at one point, doesn’t mean you are tied to it forever.

Just because you stop homeschooling doesn’t mean you were wrong to do it in the past.

Just because you stop homeschooling doesn’t mean you’ve “failed.”

Just because you don’t homeschool doesn’t mean you aren’t doing the best for your child.

We didn’t really “quit” homeschooling.

Instead, we made a new choice that was the best one for our family. Quitting implies failure and I don’t feel in any way that we failed in our children’s education. If you’ve “quit” homeschooling, I hope you don’t feel like a failure either. Because you’re not.

If it’s not the right choice any more, there’s no shame in making a new choice.

I don’t regret our homeschool years.

They were an amazing time of connecting with my kids. I grew in patience (boy, did I grow!) We learned so much together. I am a bit sad that I am no longer my kids’ primary teacher. But this new season is a good thing for us, much better than if I had given in to fear and continued homeschooling.

I still think homeschooling is great.

We still have lots of homeschool friends. They’re doing a great job of educating their kids. They have good days and bad ones just like the rest of the world.

I’ve always said I was only managing to homeschool because of the grace of God; without Him, I never would have been able to do it. And I am so grateful that He has directed me toward this new choice for my kids and for me.

My husband asked me why in the world I would want to publish this story.

Why would I share something so personal and put myself out there for criticism on such a sensitive topic? I told him I wanted to be honest with you, my audience, about our homeschooling journey.

But more importantly I wanted to encourage others who may be facing the same decision.

I’ve read lots of great articles about how to keep homeschooling through difficult times; there is excellent advice about dealing with homeschool burnout. All of these things are good and helpful. But sometimes it’s not a question of persevering through tough times or recovering from burnout. Sometimes, the right way is a new way. And that is what this post is all about.

If you haven’t read the comments on the earlier post, you should. Many brave moms have shared their stories there. I was blessed by their stories and I know you will be too.

Do you homeschool? How do you know when it’s the right time to make a change?

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This post originally appeared at earlybirdmom.com, published with permission

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Sarah Mueller
Sarah Mueller is work-at-home mom to 4 rambunctious boys, wife to Juergen, and the creator of Early Bird Mom, a popular mom blog focusing on organizing, budgeting, parenting, and more. She loves to encourage other busy moms with simple, practical strategies and tips. She'd love to hear from you! Connect with her at Early Bird Mom and via Pinterest and Twitter.