Tough Decisions: To Home School or Not to Home School

I never thought I’d be a home schooling mom.  It wasn’t that I was against the whole philosophy, I just never entertained the thought. My kids went to school, and that was the working-plan for us.  So, a few years ago when God put the idea into my head to pull my children out of school and begin homeschooling them… I thought I had lost my mind!  I had what I like to refer to as my “Jonah time”, where I would try my best to drown out God’s message to me, not wanting to hear it. It was too big and too scary! I was not equipped! But, like many home schoolers before me, I gave in; I listened and prayed for His direction, wisdom and discernment throughout the process.  And then I went absolutely nuts buying curriculum, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t necessarily part of God’s original plan, but I found it a rather satisfying alternative to retail therapy!

For the last four years I have been a home schooling mom.  This year, with much prayer and a lot of counsel, we have decided to send our kids back to school– for several reasons.  My oldest, who is in the 8th grade, was ready to go back.  He desired to have a traditional school experience and was emotionally ready.  Two weeks into it, he loves school.  He has made a few good friends and he’s even not complained too much about all the homework!  Praise God, the transition seems to be going well.

Our youngest son is my biggest issue.  He is on the autism spectrum-high functioning, and quite honestly, I feel like I’m at the end of my ability to fulfill ALL of his academic, emotional and social needs.  I need help. I need that village!  I’m also emotionally burned out and physically tired.  Sadly, there is no Christian tutorial or co-op that has opened their arms to my requests of joining and he needs things which I feel I fall short of providing him here at home. We have found a wonderful team of professionals who are helping us through this transition. In all of this I feel God has released me from any guilt in seeking help for my son in either a traditional school environment or even an alternative education venue which can be combined with home schooling.  I believe that God brought us to this place to give us these alternatives for my son which I didn’t have back home in California. We still don’t know what direction we’ll take.  Sometimes circumstances make decisions tougher than we’d like for them to be.

I’m not alone in making these difficult decisions about my children’s education. There are many other families in our home school communities who simply have to choose a “plan B” for their own personal reasons. I hope all of us have a heart for one another when such important and delicate decisions must be made.  For those who are in the midst of making tough decisions about their children’s education, I implore you to guard your hearts and choose your mentors wisely.  These are hugely important decisions that must be prayed about before coming to any conclusion one way or another.

I used the words “burned out” to describe a little of what I’m personally feeling. I’m the first to tell you that “burn-out” alone is not a reason to stop homeschooling, if you feel that the Lord is still calling you into this ministry.  In fact, let’s be honest, we have all had the Mommy-Homeschool-Burnout!!  It’s a real thing, and if you’re feeling like you just can’t go on with what God is asking of you, then please know you aren’t alone!  I know school is just starting, and I know that you feel you should be at the top of your game right now.  But maybe you haven’t recovered from last school year.  Or maybe you sense that you’re already on the verge of burn-out.  If you’re like me and think you can hide those symptoms from your kiddos, I’m here to tell you they can see that you are on the edge of losing it.  Plus, really, it’s not fair to them.  The questions are, what are the symptoms of burn out?–And what can I do to help myself get through this?

I found this article very insightful!  Take some time to read over it and share with us what you found helpful. Or maybe some of the home school veterans can share with us what has worked for them!

During my days as a home schooling mom, I lacked adequate support. I belonged to local support groups, but felt like no one really was being honest about dealing with the downside of home schooling.  (Gasp…there’s a downside???) I couldn’t go there and honestly seek sisterly counsel. We all need that place!  Where we’re living now, things may be different.  Home schooling is looked at differently in the South–in the heart of the Bible Belt.  But for those of you who might be living on the “fringe” in parts of the country where the home schooled kids mustn’t be heard or seen until 3:00PM, in order to avoid a potential visit from the truant officer, I encourage you to find or even form a support group. A safe (kidless) place where you can talk openly about the struggles, joys, fears, successes and failures that you have to deal with on a daily basis.

I think it’s obvious that any of us who have made the life altering decision to close the door (even if it’s only for a short season) on traditional education and have opted to home school our kids, do so with their best interest at heart.  This is not an easy life choice.  There is no personal glory. No one is going to give you the kudos you deserve. But that comes with many decisions that are counter-cultural. And for that reason, while my own story may make some angry that I’ve “given up” or “sold out”… I hope to encourage each of you wonderful home schooling moms (or dads) today!  Stay focused on the Lord, and let Him be your strength. Oh, yeah…and, you totally ROCK!

**And parents, you who choose to go the route of traditional education because it’s the best fit for the needs of your own kids–you ROCK, too!  What we ALL must remember is that whatever we parents do, it’s all about the kids! Education should always start and end with God’s Word in the home of any Christ follower.

Proverbs 6:20-23 “My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life.”

Comment on a post

> What we ALL must remember is that whatever we parents do, it’s all about the kids! Education should always start and end with God’s Word in the home of any Christ follower. Amen!

Terri Schultz
Terri Schultz

I've had my kids in public school, Christian school, traditional homeschool, and now in a virtual school (K12). I think each family has to figure out what is best for each of their children, and the family, then work hard to make it happen. There is no one size fits all, even in one family most of the time. Those who are quick to judge are usually not being very honest with themselves.

Carron Rodriguez
Carron Rodriguez

We've done it all, and it was all fabulous! For purposes of record keeping, secondary public education was chosen to eliminate college hassles. I miss the kids terribly, but this is what's best. Thank you for your post!