Is It Too Late in the School Year to Switch to Homeschooling?

New year but nothing's really changed? If you're still gritting your teeth through remote learning with your public school, it's not too late to shift to homeschooling with BookShark. You can salvage your school year no matter the month of the year. 

Here's what BookShark mom Charlotte M. R. says about her decision to pull her kids from public school mid-year:

"I pulled my 5th and 7th grader in October and my 12th grader in November. When I talked with my senior about it, I told him that it’s important to know the difference in leaving an unhealthy situation and quitting.

"If the public school’s response to COVID isn’t working for your family, if you are exhausted and your kids are discouraged and failing, it is never too late to choose a healthier environment for them. As parents it’s important that we model healthy boundaries for our kids, and this is a great opportunity to do just that." 

Sure, it's more leisurely to evaluate your choices over a summer break when you have weeks and weeks to weigh pros and cons, research curriculum, talk to friends, and mentally prepare. And it feels like a cleaner transition to start your homeschool journey when a fresh school year begins in the fall. 

But it's not rare for families to make a mid-year leap either. Why wait until summer to make the jump when you're miserable now? Unless you're aiming for a martyr-parent-of-the-year award, there's no reason to wait! 

The Learning Boosts Make a Mid-Year Switch Worthwhile

Stephanie L. switched from public school to BookShark in November. She says, "I thought it would be extremely difficult to start in the middle of the year. But my two kids are actually learning new things and only a little bit is a review. So it doesn't matter when you start. There will be new topics, new books, new activities."

[HINT: You don't have to make this change alone. BookShark gives you all the tools you need and an easy-to-follow Instructor's Guide.]

Kamryn C. says homeschooling with BookShark is the most amazing thing she could have done for her second grader.

"I felt I had no choice but to pull my 5- and 7-year-old out of remote learning. Everyone was suffering and I was completely depleted ...

"We took the plunge in November, and I am absolutely amazed at the difference. This might be the most amazing thing I could have done for him. I cannot believe how much I am enjoying homeschooling with BookShark. I am seeing my children thrive. We are now able to navigate this time with no stress and plenty of fun and bonding. Thank you, BookShark, for all the hard work and for making it so easy!"

1. The Sunk Costs Fallacy

Sometimes we stick with a choice that isn't working simply because we've already invested so much into it. This is the sunk cost fallacy.

It's hard to cut our losses and switch gears because we feel we'll lose what we already poured in. Giving up what we have is painful, even when what we have objectively stinks and there's a better option at hand!

This sunk cost fallacy keeps us investing more and more time, energy, and frustration into something that we know isn't working. And the more we invest, the more rooted we become, and the harder it is to pivot. 

If sunk costs are holding you back from homeschooling, focus on what you're losing by not switching. Consider how smooth your day could be if you simply take the plunge and cut the cord of distance learning. 

2. Pride (AKA Fear of Admitting Defeat)

Another problem that keeps us stuck, afraid to shift to homeschooling, is our own pride. Making a change could be seen as admission of failure. And failure is hard to swallow for many type-A parents! So we may double down with our choice, refusing to budge even when a change is the most obvious solution! 

Is It Too Late in the School Year to Switch to Homeschooling?If public school or distance learning aren't working for you, that's not a failure on your part. The only failure is in staying in an educational choice that is a disaster when you have other options. 

Instead of thinking of yourself as a failure, shift your perspective onto failing your child. What decision is best for your child; what decision sets your child up for success? 

3. Fear of Making a Mistake

Staying put feel safe. It's what everyone else is doing. It's what you've always done. Choosing to homeschool for the first time is a huge decision. The weight of responsibility can be a massive burden.

Your inner voice nags at you, "What if it's the wrong move? What if homeschooling is an even worse disaster than distance learning? What if homeschooling ruins my child?"

Here are two reassurances for this fear. 

1. The vast majority of new 2020 homeschoolers who chose BookShark were shocked at how much easier it is that they expected. A good number of them have said things like:

  • I thought I couldn't do this, but I can!
  • BookShark makes this incredibly easy.
  • My kids love being homeschooled! I'm shocked!
  • It hasn't been easy, but it's been so much easier than distance learning!

Homeschooling truly isn't as scary as you think it is. 

2. Homeschooling isn't an irrevocable decision. Remember that you can always go back to what you're doing now if homeschooling doesn't work for you.

It's true. Homeschooling isn't for everyone. And if you are in that category, you can always shift gears again and go right back to the public school. 

4. Concerns About Gaps and Curriculum

Some parents worry that choosing to homeschool mid-year will cause academic problems. Take math, for example. It's sequential. So if you leave public school and move to an at-home curriculum, what happens to that sequence? Is it destroyed? Will your child have learning gaps and forever be destined to math-ignorance? 

No, definitely not. Learning is learning! State standards are mostly arbitrary, and you can teach your children most skills and concepts out of order with zero downsides. 

In subjects where skills do build on one another (like math), it's easy enough to take placements tests to determine what level is the right fit and then simply skip ahead to the chapters where your child needs to begin instruction. 

But for vocabulary, writing, literature, science, geography, and history, have no fear. You can jumble things up, learn things out of so-called order, stop and start units, and there are no negative impacts! Learning is learning. It all counts. 

If you are starting BookShark mid-year, you will probably want to start with week 1 and work through the course whether it's August, November, or February. But for math, skip to the chapter that suits your child's current mastery. 

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