Opinion: It's OK to Send Your Kids to School


Guest post by Melissa Batai

Homeschoolers are a unique bunch. We all have different reasons for homeschooling, but once we start, we want to stay the course and school our children all the way through to high school graduation. That is an admirable goal, and many families are able to do so. However, many other families aren’t. There’s no shame in not staying the homeschooling course. Sometimes, sending your kids to school is in the best interest of the entire family.

It’s Okay to Send Your Kids to School

There are many different scenarios where sending your kids to school might be in your and your child’s best interest.

Academically Gifted

Academically gifted children can be challenging to homeschool. Some parents do successfully homeschool their children and provide them with a stellar, unique education that the child couldn’t get in public school.

However, just as many parents find teaching a gifted child too much. In our homeschool group, there was a family with professional parents who had three boys. Each was gifted. The first did fine homeschooling, but the younger two were bored. They often whined and argued with their mother. One day, she made good on her threat to send the middle child to school. She was delighted to find that he thrived in the school environment. He did all the work for his teacher without complaining; he even jumped a grade. Next, she sent her youngest to school, and then her oldest. All three are now thriving.

Externally Motivated

Even though we don’t want to believe this, for some children, homeschooling is not enough. They need external pressure and praise to motivate them. Our family falls under this category. We started homeschooling our oldest in 4th grade, and he did great. But over time, his work deteriorated until he was doing no work.

After much angst, we decided to send him to school. It was not an easy decision to make. The first few months were rough as he adjusted, but soon, the child who would do no work for me was thriving in school. Last year, he took two honors classes, an AP class, and three other classes and earned A’s in all of them. Our child thrives on external competition and praise. He couldn’t find that at home.

Tween and Teen Boys

Some families send their tween and teen boys to school because they simply won’t listen to mom anymore. Certainly, this is not true for all boys. There are many who homeschool all the way to graduation. But there are many other boys who, once they hit puberty, don’t listen to mom anymore and slack off on their work.

That was certainly true for our family. Anecdotally, in the two homeschool groups I belong to, I’ve seen far more boys go to public school for middle school and high school than girls. In our own family, my son goes to school, but my two daughters are happy homeschooling and have no intention to go to school.

Medical/Financial Issues

Some families are happily homeschooling, but then a life change causes them to have to send their children to school. Perhaps they need a second income, and both parents have to go to work. Or, the primary homeschooling parent has a long-term health crisis and is no longer able to homeschool.

Even though sending kids to school is a hard decision to make, in the case of medical or financial issues, there may be no other choice.

Final Thoughts

I’ve heard some wise homeschoolers say every year they evaluate each child and decide if that child would be best served homeschooling or going to public school. This is a great attitude to have because both options have their place, depending on the family and child situation. If you have to send your child to school, please don’t feel guilty. In some cases, despite your fears and reservations, you may find school is the best place for your child. I’m just thankful we have the right to chose which course is best.