Why We Gave up Public School and Started Homeschooling

by Becky

After a year of homeschooling, I’m ready to share our experience so far. Many of you have requested I write about homeschool and I have so much to share that this needs to be broken up into several blog posts. I thought it fitting to tell my story of why we switched to homeschool as the first post in this Homeschooling Series.

Family Distress

In 2019, our family was going through a period of difficulty and unease. We lived in the suburbs, sent our kids to school everyday, and then spent the rest of the day driving them around to various activities. We had done this for many years but with four kids now all wanting to be involved in one activity or another it became completely consuming of our time.

There was an incredible amount of peer pressure and teacher pressure to participate in all the extra-curricular activities. Everyone else could manage it somehow but for some reason we couldn’t.

It was wearing our family thin. All of us were grumpy everyday from the rushed and busy schedule. And even though I was “with” my kids all evening driving them around and watching them play sports, we didn’t have a better relationship for it. I actually felt like our family bond was slowly deteriorating.

A Book that Solidified our Future

Cameron and spend a lot of time talking about what to do but never really came up with any good solutions. At the suggestion of a friend, I bought a book called “Family Friendly Farming” by Joel Salatin.

Cameron and I started to read this book out loud together. In the fourteen years we’ve been married, we’ve never read a whole book as a couple out loud. Looking back, I know it was divinely inspired that we did so. As we were reading we were nodding our head and saying, “yes”. This seems like what we need.

The things in this book resonated in both of us as things we had thought of before but never really jumped into fully. From reading it, we decided to buy a farm, earn income from it, have opportunities for the kids to start their own business, and the biggest change of all was it convinced me that homeschooling my kids was the right path for now. 

I had never, ever, thought of homeschooling the kids prior to this point. I didn’t really consider myself the right personality for it. In fact, (don’t tell my kids this) I was counting down the days when they were all in school and I could get some alone time. 

Hesitation and Prayer

I spent a long time praying about what to do. We knew that when we moved to a farm we would be out in the country and at a different school district. Two of my three kids in public school were in the gifted and talented program and country schools generally don’t have any of these options. 

I was so nervous but I felt good about trying it at least for a year. My oldest was a little unsure and about homeschool and leaving friends but my two middle boys couldn’t have been more excited. My youngest hadn’t started school yet but she is incredibly social and really wanted to do public school. 

For me, it was all or nothing. I wasn’t going to send some kids to school and do some at home. I asked the kids to think about what they wanted to do, I didn’t want to force it. In the end, they all chose homeschool for the next year. It was another confirmation for me that this was the right thing.

Pandemic Gets the Ball Rolling

The decision was finalized about December of 2019. I started to buy books, look at curriculums and get ready. The kids were going to finish out the school year at public school. In March of 2020 the pandemic started to shut down everything and the kids were sent home to do virtual school.

We had so many days of tears, computer school work literally from 8-5pm, and some of the kids getting distracted playing games on the school laptop. I had to sit next to them and help them all day.

All the sudden the kids despised school and my once excited to learn kids had no joy in learning. I told Cameron one day that this was going to be my trial for the next two months until school was over because it was so hard. 

He was like, “Becky, you have all the books to school them yourself, why don’t you start now?” The light went on and I was like yes! What was I thinking? I will start to homeschool right away. 

We filled out the paperwork for homeschool and literally one day later the school district called and said we are taking your kids off of the enrollment list, have them bring in their computers tomorrow, their school emails won’t work anymore.

It was so sudden that the kids were a little in shock. I was hoping we would have time for each of them to send their teacher a thank you note and then say goodbye to their friends virtually. We were able to do that but it was incredibly rushed. 

The Beginning

We jumped right into homeschool. It was a perfect no pressure start because I knew from sitting with my kids at the computer all day doing virtual public school they were learning very little. Any learning would be more than what they were experiencing before.

We had a great first few months of homeschool. Everything was new and exciting! The pressure was low and it was better for my kids to learn this way than virtual school. The learning was more hands on and fun. 

We finished up homeschool at the same time as public school and had a great but busy summer. At this point we had already bought farmland and started to build our new home on it. We sold our house over the summer and moved to a 1000 square foot rental home until the house was done.

In August of 2020, we started again for our first full year of homeschool.

A Thought Out Decision

Before I go into what our next full year of homeschool looked like, curriculums, routines, etc., it’s important for me to touch on a few things in my own story that I feel are important.

I think the most important thing was our homeschooling decision wasn’t a reaction to something else. I didn’t start homeschooling because of a pandemic, or a poor teacher, a bad experience at school, or the way they teach at public school.

While I don’t think there is anything necessarily wrong with homeschooling because of those things, for me it had to be something that was well thought out and prayed over. I didn’t want to homeschool because I felt forced to or was offended or wanted to protect my kids.

If I was working off of feeling offended or scared, I don’t think that would have been a good beginning or a good way to teach my kids about pushing through difficulties. I personally don’t believe in giving up easily and I think it’s important to show my kids that as well.

We did have enough unease and just a feeling that things weren’t right to get us thinking about change. And I think that is what God does sometimes to steer us where we need to go next.

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling definitely hasn’t been easy or perfect but we have learned and grown together a lot. I feel like my relationship with my kids has improved. Most important of all though, I can see how having them with us all the time and teaching a faith based curriculum has strengthened their faith and trust in God. In the grand scheme of things that is really what matters most.

In the next blog post in this Homeschool Series, I will talk about curriculum and daily routine.

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5 comments

Laura March 25, 2021 - 2:23 pm

I’m so glad to have recently found your blog and videos. This homeschool series is very interesting to me as so many of your experiences seem so similar to our families experiences. I have never heard of the book Family Friendly Farming, but just requested it from our library. Thanks for the recommendation.

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theseasonalhomestead March 27, 2021 - 1:05 pm

Absolutely! I hope you find the book enlightening.

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MrsFrugal March 26, 2021 - 5:49 pm

People choose to homeschool for many reasons. There really is no wrong reason. The important thing is to know why YOU homeschool. When the temptation to give up arises (and it will!) you can remind yourself why you started in the first place. We have been homeschooling for almost 15 years and the best advice I ever got was don’t try to recreate “school at home”. Do you own thing! Freedom is empowering!

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theseasonalhomestead March 27, 2021 - 1:04 pm

Thank you! Such good advice, I agree with you 🙂

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Brianne June 5, 2024 - 6:08 pm

I love your blog and YouTube videos! I always crack up laughing when I see one of your kids in the background wearing the chicken costume🤣 Thank you for your honest testimony about homeschooling. As a fellow homeschool mom, I can totally relate! You can read how we got started here: https://www.theazaleahomestead.com/post/homeschooling-finding-the-answer-to-your-why

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