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Good Reasons To Quit Homeschooling

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: When It's Time to Quit HomeschoolingThere are some times when some homeschooling parents should decide to quit homeschooling.

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We’re used to cheerleading for homeschooling and supporting homeschoolers through temporary hard times. We’re accustomed to supporting people who have short-term or medium-term misgivings about homeschooling, but their kids are really doing fine, and they’re really doing fine.

But if we’re really going to be “Homeschoolers Helping Homeschoolers,” as I’ve been writing about in this series, then we also have to provide support for homeschoolers who are making the decision to quit.

What are some good reasons to quit homeschooling?

  • The primary homeschooling parent has an untreated mental health problem, or a mental health problem that is not adequately responding to treatment.
  • The primary homeschooling parent abuses alcohol or drugs.
  • There is abuse or neglect of children in the home.
  • The primary homeschooling parent really doesn’t want to do this any more.
  • The primary homeschooling parent feels the kids would truly be better off in school — not just on a bad day (we all have those), but with a long view looking at the child’s overall education and experiences.
  • The plan has always been for the kids to attend high school, and now it’s time.
  • The family situation has changed due to a move, economic crisis, or relationship change, and homeschooling adds too much stress to the new dynamic.

Homeschoolers in these situations should be supported in making decisions not to homeschool. There can be exceptions — such as someone with a mental health problem who has incredible family support, oversight, and resources — or someone who doesn’t want to do this any more — but who can make it work long enough to keep children out of a school situation that is even more negative.

But in general, sometimes the decision not to homeschool is something homeschoolers need to acknowledge as sometimes positive for a family.

What can you say?

“You feel your kids will be better off in school. Sounds like you have made a good decision for this situation.”

“You’re wiped out by homeschooling, and you feel you will be better off if the kids are in school. Sounds like you have made a good decision for this situation.”

“Things have changed for you, and you don’t feel homeschooling is best any more.”

“Wow — high school is here already. You reached your goal to homeschool through middle school!”

Then, if you are close enough as a friend or family member, provide support during the time the homeschooling parent is enrolling the children and transitioning them from homeschooling to school.

And of course, cases of child abuse or neglect, regardless of whether the abuse is of school children or homeschooled children, and regardless of whether it occurs in schools or homes, should be reported.

There are times to look past the general benefits of homeschooling and the reasons why most of us end up glad we didn’t quit homeschooling. Homeschooling through high school is not every homeschooling family’s goal.

And homeschooling does not prevent serious, real life problems that can occur in any families, regardless of how the children are educated.

Homeschoolers who are helping homeschoolers are wise to remember that the most important thing is to have the best possible situation for each family rather than assuming it’s always best to homeschool no matter what.

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Jeanne Faulconer

A popular speaker at homeschooling conferences, business groups, and parents’ groups, Jeanne Potts Faulconer has homeschooled her three sons in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Virginia. She is a former college faculty member, former editor and book reviewer for Home Education Magazine, a long-time editor for VaHomeschoolers Voice, and a recent news correspondent for WCVE, an NPR-member station. Jeanne teaches writing and literature for her youngest son’s homeschool co-op, and she is a student of how learning works – at home, in the music room, in small groups, in the college classroom, on the soccer field, and in the car to and from practice. Holding her Master of Arts degree in Communication, Jeanne conducts portfolio evaluations for Virginia homeschoolers for evidence of progress. To read more of Jeanne’s writing, inquire about a homeschool evaluation, or ask her to speak to your group, see her blog, Engaged Homeschooling.

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  1. Fatcat

    We public schooled for 6 years, then homeschooled for 10 and I always felt that homeschooling made crises easier but I know that my style of schooling and my way of dealing with stress (retreat!!!) is not the same as everyone elses and other people may have the opposite feelings about it. Good article!

  2. I’m a huge advocate for homeschooling and have succeeded with seven children from the beginning, now ages 13-27. In hindsight, my oldest would have greatly benefited from a charter art high school nearby. It may have opened up opportunities for him that when his mental health crisis hit, might have buoyed him better. He’s found his way regardless. That’s life and it works many ways.

    That said, I’m figuring out what’s best for my youngest. Home/unschooling isn’t working right now. I’ve contemplated finding a good fit school. Luckily, private tutoring is working so far…woohoo! But, I’m open to seeing what happens as life continues. Someone asked me, “But doesn’t that go against everything you talk about and believe in?” And my short reply was, “It only works if it works for the child.” My beliefs are still there, and private tutoring is pulling his interests and passion out of him and it’s translating into his home life. Good fit for meeting everyone’s goals!

    It’s an important topic, Jeanne. Thanks for putting it out there. We must all be cautious of being too married to any ideology, no matter how good we think it is. My surest focus is letting the child lead out to what he/she needs. Lots of growth for everyone that way!

    • “It only works if it works for the child.”

      The truest words ever written about homeschooling. My kids have been at home, in public school, in private school, and in university model school. I loved having them home and they had a lot more flexibility here, but there were times being at home didn’t work best for them, just like there were times that school didn’t work best for them. Sounds like you have a great perspective – thanks for commenting!

  3. Cathy

    I have a question someone might be able to answer and I will be so very grateful for that. My daughter was home schooled since 4th Grade (in NM). She did not follow a “curriculum” for 9 and 10 (living in IL). We enrolled her in Seton for 11(while living in IL) and now she is in a public school in Albuquerque for her Senior year. I’ve sent her transcripts but they are requesting Course descriptions to determine if they accept her credits and told her that she needs like another year worth of credits to graduate. Does anyone know if this is right?

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