Why Do People Begin Homeschooling?

Email of the Day:
What are the reasons people begin homeschooling?


The reasons parents begin homeschooling falls into 6 main categories:

1) Academic – The school can’t provide the quality of education the parents wants for their child, and the family either can’t afford, or chooses not to opt for a private school education.

There are three other, related, categories of this:

A) Child is working well in advance of her same-age peers.

B) Child is working behind her same-age peers.

C) Child’s abilities are both advanced and behind same-age peers.

School is really awesome for people who are smack in the middle of the bell curve, and not so great for those on either end (or worse, both ends — which was the case with my kidlet, who was in a small private school that couldn’t handle that). Ask any homeschooler what grade they’re in, and you’ll likely be met with a blank stare. Visit any homeschooler park day, and you’ll see that the kids there divide themselves out, not by age or gender, but by mutual interest.

2) Religious or Philosophical – Here I am mixing two groups that most people see as being on the opposite ends of the homeschooling spectrum. On the one hand, the religious family wishes either to provide a religious education and/or to shield the children from the influences at school. On the other, the family choosing to homeschool for philosophical reasons is often doing so as a logical continuation of their attachment parenting. In both cases, it is the parent’s worldview guiding the decision. Included in this category are parents Tres Dracos called “Ken Robinson Transformists” – parents who see how “evidence-based methods and studies are being ignored in mainstream school” – everything from creative and divergent thinking to teaching logic and rhetoric, to longer recesses and lunch.

3) Safety (physical and mental) – We get large influxes of small-stature males in the middle school years. We get another influx of students in the spring of each year that correspond with this study: https://www.psychologytoday.com/…/20…/the-danger-back-school . The correlation is so strong that I have begun to base my facebook posts for our organization to be timed with this (posting on how to withdraw and begin homeschooling, posts letting parents know they’re not alone). A disturbing number of parents tell me they are removing their children because of bullying by teachers and staff.

4) Special Needs – This may seem like a repeat of 1B, but here I am talking about children with IEPs, specialized classrooms, multiple services, etc. These parents tell me stories about how the school is failing to live up to the agreements set forth in the IEP. One parent recently told me about her son who has Down’s Syndrome and is also hearing and sight impaired. The school informed her they would not provide services for his hearing and sight impairments because of his Down’s Syndrome. She said he spent a lot of his time in classrooms doing nothing and losing what ground he had gained with her at home.

5) Special Cases – This category includes families who, because of scheduling, are unable to see each other if the children attend school, as well as families whose schedules make regular and/or timely attendance difficult (resulting in their young children being punished for tardiness overwhich they (the children) have no control. Special cases also include working children (performers, athletes, etc. — or children of those whose jobs keep them moving) and medical cases where the school has not upheld their duty to continue the child’s education in the hospital and/or the illness (chronic asthma) has created a situation where the school is threatening legal action because of “too many” absences.

6) Common Core Standards / Test Fatigue – This is a fairly new group, and it will be interesting to see how many “stick” with homeschooling. As the Opt-Out and Anti-CCS movements grow, I think more of the parents who were initially leaning toward homeschooling will put their efforts there, instead.

~ Jen GS, Advocacy