Parents Face Backlash For This Decision — It May Surprise You Who It’s Coming From

Homeschooling has come a long way in the last two decades.

The practice started to gain momentum in the 1980s, but was still rare and many parents faced criticism for their choice.

And perhaps because homeschooling has become more common—in an ironic twist—former homeschooling parents who must send their kids back to school are facing backlash of another sort—from other homeschooling parents.

The reasons for transitioning a homeschooled child back to school, whether it be a private or public school, can be numerous and very personal.

Today’s Parent reports:

More than 1.5 million children, about 3 percent of the school-age population in the United States, are home-schooled, and every year a number of kids go from home-school to traditional school, and vice versa. Making the switch from home to a regular school can be challenging: a new social scene, different academic expectations, and a teacher who doesn’t answer to “Mom.” Sometimes, though, the ones who have the toughest time adjusting are the parents.

The reason for switching from home to regular school may be financial — the parent who was the teacher has to go back to work. In other cases, parents decide that a traditional school environment would be better for their child.

The homeschooling community is tight-knit and protective, and often homeschooling parents feel it is the best, and only, choice for a proper education.

Homeschooling is an incredible blessing and wonderful opportunity for the family, however it is not always possible to continue the journey.

Financial struggles may force the homeschooling parent back to work.  The child may have special needs which the parent cannot properly address, or the parent quite simply faces burnout, especially when teaching several children on different levels.

And when parents are already feeling guilty for having to make the choice to send their children back to school, pressure from other homeschooling parents can make the transition all the more difficult.

Other parents may not understand why anyone would make the decision to stop homeschooling and explore other options.

Especially in the case of homeschooling for religious reasons, parents who have to send their children to public, secular school can face the disapproval of other parents who feel their Christian values may be endangered.

These parents may also be ostracized by homeschooling parents who feel their values will be undermined by continuing a friendship with someone outside of the homeschooling community.

Transitioning from homeschooling is a difficult process for the family involved, but careless remarks or lack of support from other parents can compound the emotional upheaval they are already experiencing.

Psychology Today reports on one parent’s perspective:

There are dozens of reasons why homeschooling can be valuable [short-term], while not necessarily the best course to embrace permanently. I suspect some of my reasons will ring true in the minds of other parents, while many homeschoolers will shake their heads and feel that I missed out on a great opportunity. 

No matter what the circumstances, sending a child back to a public or private school after homeschooling can produce pangs of guilt. I’ve heard parents express these feelings on numerous occasions. If the homeschooling was an overwhelming struggle, parents often assume that they have failed. If a homeschooling Mom or Dad wants to pursue a career full time, they can feel selfish.

Parenthood is fraught with regrets. For me, the important thing to keep in mind is that the vast majority of parents are constantly trying to make the best decisions for their children based on the circumstances at hand. Every child has different needs, every schooling option has different strengths and weaknesses, and there is no single, right solution for everyone.

No matter the circumstances, it is important for the family to receive support both from the homeschooling community and the new school their children will be attending.

Every family and every child has different needs and abilities, and support and understanding goes a long way towards a smooth transition for all.

Providing consistency and support for a transitioning child is the bottom line.

And making the decision to return to a more traditional school environment does not mean that relationships with their homeschooling community must end.

The joys experienced while homeschooling can still be a part of the family’s life.

Parents can become involved in new school activities, sit down one-on-one to help with homework, and continue to participate in activities with their former homeschooling community when able.

And for parents who homeschool for the long haul, it is important to be a support to parents who are not able to continue the journey—be available and understanding, and stay involved with the family.

Homeschooling families are a tight-knit community, and the support and friendships should continue, even if homeschooling does not.