Why I Still Homeschool Even After It Became Difficult

a middle school aged boy wears a blue backpack and descends stairs

My journey of educating my kids has been circuitous to say the least! We've tried and seriously considered nearly every option, and yet we keep coming back to homeschooling with BookShark because of the flexibility and freedom it affords our family.

We started homeschooling for a variety of reasons when our oldest was a fourth grader. For one, we were tired of demanding teachers, telling us what was best for our child. For example, one teacher insisted I should be buying my child milk to go with his sack lunch every day. This same teacher admonished me for buying him shoes with laces instead of Velcro.

Secondly, we were weary of the emotional and physical toll of the school day. Although my child would behave well in school, he would have a meltdown at home because he was so exhausted from the demands of the classroom.

Next there was the heavy homework load that required hours to complete. Because our kids were in private school, we also faced the pressure of expensive tuition which was going to skyrocket when we enrolled our two youngest children. 

Homeschooling Was a Great Fit

I was scared to death to homeschool, but my husband and I both agreed we’d homeschool for one year as a trial. At the end of the year, since our children were flourishing, continuing to homeschool was an easy choice.

We happily homeschooled for three years. But then, our oldest child entered puberty, and the child who formerly loved to learn and read suddenly hated school work. He did as little of it as possible. Every day seemed like a battle to get him to do anything. We were both miserable.

Why I Still Homeschool Even After Homeschooling Became DifficultHomeschooling Became Difficult

I thought it was a phase, but he didn’t snap out of it. He’s a really bright kid, so he slid by with doing very little for almost a year. His standardized test scores (we administer them every year at home) continued to place him well above grade level in all areas.

But I was tired of his slacking even though many of my homeschool friends said this behavior is typical for middle school boys. I threatened to send him to school, but that warning didn’t change his behavior. Then I started calling schools for more information, and this summer, we visited three schools.

All summer long, I wrestled with the idea of sending my son to school. My choice was agonizing because he adamantly did not want to go to school. But I adamantly didn’t want to homeschool a child who did no schoolwork.

Conforming to a School Once Again?

In the end, we decided on a local charter school. However, I was not at all prepared to conform to a school routine and structure again. There was little choice in curriculum. For example, although the school offered Spanish and Turkish as foreign languages we later discovered that in middle school, kids don’t get to choose which language. They just get placed in one.

Our previous calendar flexibility would disappear with my son enrolled in public school. My husband travels for work, so sometimes the kids and I tag along. I realized if even one of our kids went to school, there would be no more traveling as a family on the off season. 

And then there was the homework—again. When my son does his schoolwork as a homeschooler, he can complete it in 3.5 - 5 hours and only 4 days a week. That schedule gives him plenty of time to volunteer and enjoy his hobbies. When we goes to school, he’s gone all day and also has an hour or two of homework at night. He wouldn’t be able to volunteer anymore.

In the end, we decided the week before school started not to enroll him after all. We’ve agreed on a homeschool curriculum for him, and thus far, he’s been doing his work—not happily, but he is getting it done. I don’t know if we’ll continue to homeschool him through high school, but right now, home education is still the right choice for us.

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About the Author

Melissa is a homeschool mom to three kids. BookShark is her primary curriculum, and she and her kids love it! When she's not homeschooling, she's either shuttling kids from one activity to another or working from home as a freelance writer. You can read more about Melissa's homeschool journey at her blog Moms Plans.