Coffee Talks: Why I Considered Homeschooling Our Kids

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My son is turning 5 this summer, and I’ve gone back and forth about his school options. My father really wants me to homeschool our kids. I have an English degree and even tried out teaching in college, but it wasn’t necessarily something I was passionate about. Still, I know I could homeschool our kids fairy successfully if I choose to do so. However, I have had this internal debate going on for some time.

Personally, I adore the social benefits of traditional schooling. A classroom setting can do much for young minds. At the same time, I have almost just as many reservations about sending my little ones to school. It’s a decision that my husband and I have been thinking about a lot lately. To homeschool or not to homeschool? That is the question!

My Experiences

My first experience with school was incredible. I went to a private elementary school on the campus of a college. Students of the college could have their children attend the elementary school for free if the little ones were accepted into the program. There were tests and stuff to pass to be accepted, and it was a pretty big honor.

Both my big brother and I were accepted and went there while my mom took a few college classes. It was so amazing, and I still talk about the lasting and positive impact that it had on me. When my family moved to a different town, we had to move schools too. Things changed and not for the better.

Bullied from a Young Age

My brother was already out of elementary school when we moved, and he was able to find a good group of friends. I wasn’t so lucky. The first school I attended after our move was in a rural area, because we stayed at my grandma’s until we got a new house closer to my dad’s new job.

The elementary school I went to was small. Everyone knew everyone, and the library was a trailer. I was a 3rd grader and bullied a lot. I was bullied because of my eyes and glasses. Kids were also pretty cruel because we didn’t have a lot of money, and I didn’t have brand named clothes- think Limited Too from the 90’s. There was one 5th grade girl in particular that made my life hell.

This queen bee would put notes in my cubby that called me a “poor bitch” and would say I was a “blind freak.” She and her friends would sneak inside during recess to plant the notes, so I tried to catch them once. The mean girl stepped close to my face, and spit on me. I punched her right in her nose, and it just happened to break.

I was suspended, but she wasn’t. Honestly, I was still bullied, but the kids knew to stay away from me for the most part. After that year, we moved into town more, and I switched schools again.

New School, Same Shit

The elementary school that I went to for 4th and 5th grade had a lot more wealthy kids than the other school. The bullying was even worse, but I had a few neighborhood friends who made it more tolerable, because we could play after school. The hardest part wasn’t the kids this time. I knew how to handle myself. I struggled more with a teacher.

After the debacle at the previous school, the new one put me in counseling. They brought up my anxiety issues and put me in programs. That was all fine and dandy by me. There was one teacher in particular, my 4th grade teacher, that made me cry almost daily. This woman was awful.

Once, she asked me if I was “retarded” in front of the whole class, because I got an answer wrong. The use of that word has always made me angry, so I couldn’t understand an adult using it. She would call me poor and tell me I’d never amount to anything. I kid you not, this woman tortured me verbally every week.

Before this woman went on to be a decorated teacher and run a middle school in my home town, my mother gripped her up and told her if she was ever cruel to me again, she’d lose everything. The bullying from her was the worst, and eventually she couldn’t lie her way out of it anymore. She was fired after calling a middle school girl a slut for wearing a skirt. The girl’s mom slapped the teacher in her face and called the district.

My Worries as a Mother

Obviously, I know that my kids probably won’t have the same bad experiences I did growing up and moving to 3 different elementary schools. I still fear for them though. Bullying is everywhere, and when I was kid, my parents just taught me to fight for myself. Now, kids can’t fight back without facing major consequences.

I went to teachers about being bullied, and nothing was done. It just scares me. On top of it, the shootings and the state of our country scare the shit out of me even more. That’s why my father wants us to homeschool in the first place. I know I can’t let fear dictate every decision I make as a mom, but it’s still challenging.

My sister-in-law is a teacher for children with special needs. She’s my go-to about the school system, because she’s worked in a few different schools in our area. I love that she helps me with my questions, and she assured me the importance of elementary school for developing little ones. There’s still a lot for us to think about though.

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool

Honestly, I think that we send our kids to school too early. Now, there’s preschool programs for toddlers and babies. Luckily, as a WAHM, I didn’t need any type of daycare or program, and we decided that our son will start with kindergarten rather than a preschool. Sure, he doesn’t have that jumpstart, which is probably another reason I worry.

Did I stifle him by not following the status quo of sending your kid to preschool? He’s such a social butterfly and can make friends easily, but I still worry. At the end of the day, I just want my kids to thrive and be happy.

What are your thoughts on schools and homeschooling? I’d love to chat!

-With Love,

Jenni

A container of pencils sits beside another container of various school supplies with pens and clip placed in front of them. Paper is seen behind them with a blue background. The title, Coffee Talks: Why I Considered Homeschooling Our Kids, is seen in the center of the image in black font.

29 thoughts on “Coffee Talks: Why I Considered Homeschooling Our Kids”

  1. Oh Jenni, that bullying sounds awful I’m so sorry you encountered that.

    My husband is a high school teacher and both of my kids are in the public school system. My oldest was typically sighted, but as you know my youngest is legally blind with RP. Both of my boys encountered a nasty boy or two, but it was always easily handled by them, their friends or by the administration. I have been extremely happy with the education of my boys in the public school. But I will say that if your child has any special needs such as low vision there is an additional challenge dealing with IEP‘s. That has truly been our biggest battle, retaining services for our son who is blind. But the fight was worth it and he scoring great on his college entrance exams and he has really good self-confidence and a really tight knit group of friends. I think it helps that we live in a rural area and that they have basically known the same kids their entire lives. I did homeschool my oldest for second grade because my mom was dying of cancer and we needed the flexibility as a family. But I have to be honest, I was super happy to be able to send him back to school. Teaching is not my thing and quite honestly my boys are way better at math and science than I have ever been. Trust your gut on this mama. There is no right answer for all families and all children, so I’d advise taking the next best step then adapting and changing as necessary. Thinking of you. Kim

    1. Thank you so incredibly much for sharing your experiences and wisdom with me. I really appreciate it!

  2. We are having the same debate… although ours is mostly for financial issues. I’d rather keep my child home than send her to public school, for the same reasons of bullying, shootings, etc

  3. This…. this I know well because we homeschool. I was a huge proponent of public education considering myself a success story. However, times have dramatically changed since I was in kindergarten. Gone are the days of playing as learning. Today’s kids r being excessively pushed to acquire academic skills beyond age appropriate or developmental levels. Teaching the test, whitewashing history and generally becoming little robots taught how to follow institutional rules rather than be creative and think outside of the box. We homeschooled after an amazing preschool but awful kindergarten experience. I could not bear the thought of killing my daughter’s spirit or creativity just so she could attend school. Anyone can homeschool if you have the willingness, patience and perseverance. There r a tremendous amount of resources and guidance available. As far as socialization- this is one that really makes me eye roll. How often were we discouraged from socializing in school? At my child’s lunch they were not allowed to sit with any kids other than classmates and weren’t allowed to speak above a whisper- in the cafeteria. They also got a whopping 20 minutes of recess daily! Wtf? Anyway, we have a huge community of homeschoolers here. So much so that it’s not a matter of what to do but what to say no to so as not to overschedule. Definitely a personal/ family decision that requires commitment. But one as an accidental homeschooler I have NOT once regretted. My daughter is going on 10. We’ve homeschooled since 5. I say go for it! You can always change your mind!

    1. I love this comment! It’s the exact same way I feel. We just recently pulled my first grader from public school. I’m now homeschooling him and my 4 year old. No regrets so far!!

  4. Hi Jenni! All very valid points on the debate. I have never home schooled, but I will give you my thoughts. First I want to say that I am so sorry you had to deal with such an awful bully of a teacher!! Those types of things absolutely disgust me, and it’s a real shame that it took so long for her to get fired.

    Now onto my thoughts: First and foremost, bullies are literally everywhere. If the kids don’t get bullied in school, it will likely happen somewhere else at some point. I am not by any means saying that it’s right because it’s not. It is the reality though. I think the real importance is in how we teach our kids to handle these situations when they arise. My son was once being bullied on the bus and ended up getting suspended from the bus because he defended himself when the other kid hit him. #sorrynotsorry Aside from a couple bullying experiences my son hasn’t had too hard of a time (due to the military we did move around a lot when he was in elementary). He has had his challenges though, and not just with bullies. I think everyone has their own set of challenges when it comes to public schools. Whether it’s bullies, programs available, or lack of programs available, teachers, friends or a combination of any of these.

    On another note my cousins were home schooled, and their social life did not suffer. They were in a lot of church activities and other community activities that kept them involved. In fact, a lot of their friends were also home schooled so they had a really great network. The program they were in allowed them to do projects together and even hold a graduation.

    So I think it will really come down to what you want for your kids. 🙂 Nobody can tell you what is right and wrong because everyone will have their own opinions. I do think that interaction among peers is important though – but school isn’t the only place that’s available. You’ve got this mama!

    1. You have no idea how grateful I am for you sharing your experiences! It’s really helpful with making our decision!

  5. My son is halfway through Kindergarten and my husband and I still debate this. His school does take the kids’ safety seriously, but getting calls that the school was on lock down 2 separate times in the fall semester alone was really scary! Traditional schools and homeschooling have their pros and cons, but I think it’s really about what makes the child the most comfortable. My son enjoys being at school, loves his teacher, likes playing with and interacting with his classmates, and is really developing his social skills (which is really what’s most important at that age!), but I’ve talked with other moms whose children were unable to thrive in a traditional school and homeschooling and community activities were the better educational and social routes. It’s so hard to know which path is right, but I think that by listening to our kids we’ll figure it out. Good luck with your decision!

    1. Thanks so much! Our son has pretty bad anxiety, and the thought of school makes him incredibly nervous. He’s extremely social when we go to parks and events though. We just have so much to consider, and sharing those considerations out loud has been a tremendous help!

  6. A friend has a 5th grader who can barely read and write at pre-K level. That’s partly my friend’s fault as he and his wife don’t focus on him learning to read and write better – no problem with letting him play video games all day and the local school district has a no fail policy. I warned my friend that his son is going to graduate with no marketable skills. I even encouraged home schooling. He agreed he should, but that was several years ago and his son has been moved up the ladder at school with no improvement at all. My guess is his son will live at home until the wife has enough of the son treating her as badly as he does. At that point, my friend will have to choose his wife or his son. Something tells me he will choose his son as he’s doing nothing to make sure his son improves his reading and writing.

    In the U. S., K-12 has gone down hill for a long time. I was in an after-school program where a 2nd grader couldn’t read or write, but the school kept passing him. He graduated about 5 years ago and should have been held back a long time ago. If I had primary custody when my daughter was in school, I would have home-schooled her. She moved to a smaller school district which did an okay job of seeing she could read and write. I helped when she spent time with me.

    I can relate to your situation as I got glasses in the 3rd Grade. Anyone who says children that young can’t be cruel has never been bullied. I had the thick Coke bottle thick lens. I was also a skinny bean pole. The bullying went on unabated until I stood up for myself. I didn’t win fights, but most of the bullies backed off. The smarter bullies backed off after I earned the highest GPA in 7th and 9th Grades. They figured I could get back at them in ways they couldn’t defend against. The less smart bullies still messed with me.

    1. I’m so sorry for your bullying. It’s really hard to go through, and I commend anyone who can speak up about their experiences.

    1. I keep going back and forth. I see the benefits of both. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  7. Kids can be so brutal. I see it with my nephews and nieces. It is scary how young it starts. I was bullied in school as well and ended up being homeschooled in high school (for a number of reasons). Honestly it was one of the best decisions, because the school system in my hometown was not competitive enough nor pushed me like I needed it too. It really is a personal decision and your kiddos are so lucky to have a mother who weighs all the options and has their best interests at heart! <3

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Every little bit of discussion has been helping us so much. Thanks for always being so wonderful!

  8. Thank you for sharing this! Reading your post reminded me of the many times I, too switched schools. I was bullied a lot myself in grade school. Similar reasons as yours, but I remember being particularly bullied for my name, Willynn. As an adult, I’ve grown to love my first name. But as I child, I was free Willy and Willy Wonka. And all the names in the book you can think of-

    I have the same concern about schooling my son at home or taking him to a traditional school. I just recently took out a few books at the library to really find out if homeschooling is the route I want to take with his education. Lately, what I have realized is no matter what we, as moms, are homeschooling our children. Rather we place them in a traditional school system or not- social peer interactions is something they will have to learn and come across in their lifetime. My hope is to guide my son through those tough moments- but most importantly, for me to trust in His ability to handle those challenging moments the right way. We can’t shield our children from everything, nor can we allow our fear or past experiences to dictate their own path. All we can do is prepare them better than we were when we were children. To let them know we are here with a listening ear. To be present when they are speaking and to engage in this phase of life that they are experiencing. I don’t know if my comment helps. But I think I’m leaning towards traditional schooling. Trusting the process along the way, but being present with my son every step of the way too.

    1. You said this so beautifully, and I totally agree with literally everything you’ve said! I think your name is amazing, by the way.

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