The school paradigm

I feel like I want to share this and I don’t know where else to do it (because no one in my life is on a similar path!)! My husband and I and our four children attended a family reunion/bbq yesterday at his aunt and uncle’s house. It was lovely. His family is great and it was nice to catch up. There were a handful of cousins for our kids to play with that they rarely see and it was so wonderful to see the kids of various ages playing together. Truly a lovely day!

After I would say hello to somebody and we would start catching up, invariably they would start asking about school and when the kids would start and then, phew, I would get a break from all the kids. So I would tick off their ages and grades and agree because we decided we aren’t sharing our decision to homeschool at this point with the extended family. We don’t want to hear from the peanut gallery right now as it’s a new decision and we are excited and nervous and just don’t want to hear the negative. BUT, the fact that every person I talked to asked about school reminded me of how much “school” is ingrained in our culture. It made me reflect on how we (collective) have all these kids and then are so enthusiastic about shipping them off to school so we don’t have to deal with them all day. Now that my eyes have been opened to this dynamic and the possibilities of homeschooling, I find it a bit strange and unsettling. And yes, I will admit that all the cousins asking me about schooling then makes me doubt a little if we are really doing this for the right reasons. My husband’s family is very accomplished. We have a CEO, retired Navy captain, general counsel, Stanford grad, etc. And they are truly sweet and lovely people. But seriously… how/when did our society become this way about school? Why do we have kids if we don’t want to be around them? And please don’t get me wrong. I love my children but I am no saint and am not the most patient parent. And I need breaks just like anyone else. It’s not that I literally want to spend all my waking hours with my children (although that’s what we’re about to do, essentially!) But this whole “how quickly can I get rid of my kid” thing really rubs me the wrong way. And not in judgment of those families and people who say that because frankly I was one of them a couple years ago. But is this the best our society can do? We have kids and then finds ways to offload them? We micromanage every second of their day and then wear ourselves out and ship them off because we can’t do it anymore? (Vs previous generations where children were basically sent out to play and weren’t see for hours…)

It all makes me wonder if I’m missing something after 7 years of being a parent and that I really need more of a break than I realize.

I’d imagine quite a few of you have had similar conversations over the years. I am sure I will have plenty more. But the way that every single adult I talked to yesterday brought this up really hit home with me. It’s not so much that I’m doubting homeschooling as I am questioning what exactly we’re doing to make it so bad to spend time with your children and how exactly did I come to the conclusion that I don’t fit into that mold? :smiley:

Excuse my massive rant this morning. I get philosophical early in the morning. LOL! Feel free to chime in if you’d like!


You are not alone! Yesterday at a birthday party that was what the talk was about. “Counting down the days?” Etc. I loved having my kids with me during the summer months and would be counting down the days that I had left with them instead of when I could send them away. Maybe people feel it’s something that we all have in common so it’s easy conversation…? It’s sad though. I often think in my head “if it’s such a drudgery to have your kids at home all day then why did you have them in the first place?” :grin: I once overheard a conversation from a group of men and women when they found out a friend was going to home school. The first thing a mother said was “boy she must really like her kids!” I was appalled. I should hope that we all do no matter what choices we make and if we don’t, that we would do whatever it takes to change that.

Now that we homeschool I take better care to have “alone time” and and am more purposeful about it. So you definitely still need that, however I found it to be more efficient because I’m more aware of that need. (Make sense?)

I was worried about being with my 3 all day and night with no school to break it up… But have found that our relationships have been better than I could have imagined. The improvements with that alone have made it all worth while. (And it didn’t seem bad before!)

I’d recommend having a “statement” or mission of sorts written down to remind you why you are doing it when the hard comments and days come. Having home school friends will help immensely too.

We need more women like you in our society who can see the bigger picture and make the sacrifices needed to make their families the highest priority. So glad you don’t “fit the mold” and thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!


Thank you for sharing this! Yes, it is something that becomes so much more apparent once you make that decision to do something other than what the majority is doing, and I hear this too from so many people. We are just starting into our fourth year of homeschooling so we’re still fairly new and yet it’s not right in the beginning for us, so most people we’re around know we’ve been doing this for a while now since we’ve lived in this town for the past 5 years. And still, even within our close group of friends, the ones who don’t homeschool will say to me every summer as fall draws near that they could never do this or that their child would drive them crazy all day or that they would never be able to be around them 24/7.

I think you make a great point about families through the ages and how they spent time together all the time and kids went out to play at various times or maybe did outside chores for awhile, but sending children away to school for 8 or 9 hours a day for 5 days a week was not always the way it was. I read a great article years ago about raising very young children and the need to be patient with their wakefulness in the night through the early years as they need a parent around the clock, and how when we choose to have children, that’s what we sign up for. We have children because we want to raise them, know them, and influence them more than anyone else. I truly believe that can happen wherever a child goes to school and I have known some amazing families whose children have come from every schooling situation. But it is hard to hear someone say words that indicate I just can’t handle being around my child for these 40 hours each week and I can’t wait till they head off that way again, can you? And to feel pressure to agree with them because that’s how moms talk when they’re together is tough and we all feel that sometimes!

My own mom reminds me EVERY year when I start back up to homeschool with my children that when school started up for me and my siblings years ago (we went to public school) that she considered the day after Labor Day (when we went back) to be the true Mother’s Day and she and all the other mother’s on the block would stand and sing the Doxology (Praise God from whom all blessings flow . . . ) yeah . . . you get the picture! Lol! Thanks mom! :slight_smile: It’s her way of telling me (EVERY year!) that she couldn’t do what I do by homeschooling, nor would she ever have wanted to. And if I ever mention to her any difficulty we’re having or a stressful week, she’ll immediately ask me in a very sarcastic tone, “Don’t you ever just think of putting them on the big yellow limousine and saying forget about it?!” (i.e. the school bus) Uugh! And this is just what I get from my own mom!! Lol!

Hang in there! It is hard to hear these things especially in the beginning when you have just made your decision and haven’t shared it yet especially. I have gotten a little more comfortable sometimes in learning how to respond, but it is still hard not to just nod and smile to avoid a difficult or awkward comment from a friend or family member. Mainly I’ve just gotten more secure as I’ve seen my children enjoy homeschool and excel in what they are learning and as I’ve enjoyed teaching and gotten more confident in that role. I still think for me that family encounters are the hardest. I hope you’ll receive lots of encouragement here!!!


Yes, we look INSANE to society. But I think the ones that are able to homeschool but choose not to are more INSANE than us. My kids drive me bonkers everyday somehow someway!! But that’s okay. They’re a part of me, I want to be crazy/nuts/someone who has lost their mind and protect them a little longer from this crazy world, teach them the way they learn best, have God in our curriculum, not do lessons if it’s just too beautiful of a day to waste, give them the extra time they need to learn a certain subject, sleep in and cozy up with a good book on a rainy day, bake and learn math at the same time…yep, I’m such a fool…wanting to be my kids teacher without a degree and school loan debt…yep, somebody call the men in white coats!


Thank you @rachyaimee! I like your idea about the mission statement. I just printed out a template for that today. Also, I like your point about being more focused to get your “me time”. That is a great point. And thank you for your sweet comments. It is so nice to feel like I’m in this with other families who share similar values. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you for the encouragement @Forchristandkids. That is funny/crazy about your mom. Parents are weird! :wink:


@HSintheCity yes! I’m basically “steering into the crazy” as my husband would say. :smiley: I love your point of view. It sounds like you’re just starting out too?! Good luck!


Yes, going into my first year :slight_smile: Very excited!!


It is always hard to do something different from the mainstream. I imagine that it will get easier with more practice (we are not quite to “school” age yet but our family is very different).

When we go to reunions or any other type of social event and people ask us about the latest commercial, tv show, or movie coming out, they often treat us like freaks for not having cable. I do not second guess my decision for my family in that situation. So, the point I am trying to make is: Don’t let people make you second guess YOUR decisions for YOUR family. God entrusted you as the mother to these wonderful little beings, and therefore, you are the one best equipped to make decisions in how to raise them, not society or even family.

As a child from a single parent home, I don’t want my kids to feel as isolated from me as I did from my mother. So, homeschooling is a perfect choice for our family. However, some for some families, school is a better fit. I don’t agree that we should “ship 'em off” for 8 hours a day, but apparently, most people do.

As for “me” time, I completely understand the need for it, and I need to get better about taking it (Hubs just forced me to go to an essential oils party last night just to have “girl time” with our small group). But, it is possible to get that time as a home school parent.


Yes, yes they are!! Lol! :slight_smile:

As moms, we’re all so hard on ourselves–and I think even older moms can be subject to this at time! I think sometimes our moms can feel guilty–is her daughter’s choice to homeschool a commentary on how she was raised? Saying her mom wasn’t adequate etc…?

My mom was also a public school teacher, and in addition to hints of these kinds of feelings, I think at times she wondered if I was making a commentary about her job–which really was a mission and important to her. Sometimes reaffirming my mom’s love and care for me and things I appreciated about her helped.

Although mine never sang the doxology after school started! (but then, she went from summer with two kids to classrooms of 30…)

1 Like

It really is interesting how ingrained in our culture this thought process is. It was firmly established in my mind before I was married. I remember my then fiance telling me how he thought homeschooling was a neat thing, and I thought, “really? who does that? I thought people couldn’t wait to send their kids to school when they were 5?”

Here I hadn’t even had kids yet–was practically still a kid myself! and I knew this, expected it, and didn’t think anything strange at all about this phenomena.

I thought about homeschooling off and on after that, but always with a sense of fear and bewilderment. I was pretty sure I wasn’t cut out for being with kids all day.

Then I had my son, and by the time he was 6 months old, I was looking into homeschooling. I just couldn’t imagine being apart for him for hours per day, 5 days a week!

I can tell you that most years I look forward to getting back to school as a homeschooler! That’s because summer is actually harder. It’s harder to implement a routine/schedule, kids have more free time on their hands…it’s fun to take breaks and do different things, to go places without worrying about school–but too much of that and we all grate on each other’s nerves. Most children do better with structure and order to their day, even if it’s a loose structure. And while I’m not structured by nature–I do better too!

I think people who are not used to having their kids around are suddenly shocked by all the together time, don’t know what to do with it, then their kids get into fights or trouble…and the parents just want things to go back to running more smoothly, kids need to be occupied etc…

Summer as a homeschooler isn’t as big of a shock, but sometimes a similar dynamic can happen if you don’t think it through.

Overall though, I think when people think about homeschooling, they think it will always be like summers off between school sessions–kids getting into trouble & fighting & parent exasperated etc… But homeschooling isn’t like that at all. Yes, we all have our moments (and I agree about being purposeful about guarding some alone time!) but because you know you don’t have somewhere to send them to in a few weeks, you deal with the situation instead of letting it drag on. You are more likely to handle conflicts, put in at least a basic routine, and help kids work together as a family so things run more smoothly. You are used to handling all of the kids’ issues–so instead of being shocked, it’s more like, “here’s the next step in helping disciple this young person…” (And again, not that there are never shocks–but that it’s not that shock of being thrown into summer each year like jumping into an ice-cold lake!)

You don’t have as much “don’t blink or you’ll miss their childhood” sensation–they are growing and you are growing as a parent. I think you learn to understand and enjoy each other when you are together all the time.

But…you can’t really explain all that in a 30 second sound-bite at a party!


Well said @Merry :slight_smile: I was raised in a home where the motto was: thou shall NOT homeschool. lol When I got married to my husband (who had been homeschooled) I told him - I would NEVER homeschool and that my children would go to school. He kindly agreed with me. Then we had kids. Gently he would bring up homeschooling. NO I would say. This child will go to public school! Then my little guy turned 4… and I thought, aw how can I send this little itty bitty guy away to school next year?

So, I went against my whole family, my entire unbringing, everything, and it completely changed my heart and my mind. Now, I can’t imagine schooling any other way! :slight_smile: lol

I can hardly contain myself - this year I am going to be doing it without K12, and I have never been so excited! I agree with so many other things you mentioned as well - really got me thinking- great post! Thank you!


I encountered a similar situation the other day, I went to a bridal shower for one on my aunt-in-laws. It was just a small girls gathering of the sisters and a few family friends, most of whom I have known for awhile, so they know our family. Of course an easy conversation starter is always “how are the kids” which leads to “how old are they now” and when I reply that our DD is going to be 5 next month the automatic response is “is she going to Kindergarten this year?” In fact I am seeing that I encounter this question almost daily, when I am out and about with the kids, almost everyone asks the kids how old they are and when DD says she is 4 but is going to be 5 soon people say “are you going to Kindergarten this year” I feel bad for her because she doesn’t really know what to say. I always steer away from the " I am going to homeschool" and simply answer that I am in no rush to send her and she is going to stay home with me. Which is true and keeps most people happy. Although I agree it is sad how eager some parents are to send their kids into our very messed up education system! I have a good friend that literally counts the days until her kids go back to school be it from summer or just a holiday break! She was ecstatic when her oldest started Kindergarten this year!

1 Like

For us it is a little different. People do automatically assume, however, that they are going to a school somewhere, but usually they don’t seem surprise nor have a negative reaction when I tell them we homeschool. Usually the surprise or negative response comes when they hear how many kids we have! And I think to myself, we ONLY have 6. It’s not that abnormal. I know many with twice as many.
But it’s just that most people don’t have lots of children, and most people don’t homeschool. And so it looks unusual to some of them. My mother was against my homeschooling decision at first, mostly claiming the socialization part of it since she is a school teacher and loves the relationship and team work part of school, but now she isn’t opposed to it any longer. I couldn’t prove to her why I thought homeschool would turn out to be better for our children but I think it will just speak for itself.
Stand strong, don’t let the waves beat you up and get you weary. Just keep going! And keep praying, pray for the Lord’s guidance in all you do. You know that.