About Rest for the Weary

I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Reasons people quit homeschooling: Social and academic

The reasons people quit homeschooling  vary from family to family.  As I mentioned previously in this series, some of the reasons include burnout, special needs, finances, and improving the parent/child relationship. The last areas I want to discuss are the social and academic reasons families make this choice.  These can apply to families with many ages differences, but I have personally found these reasons increase as the children get older.

1.  Academic opportunities:  As I just stated, this reason applies more as kids enter the middle and high school years.  Many parents don't feel qualified to teach upper level math, sciences, foreign languages, and specialized classes.  Many of them do not have coops available to meet this need.  This reason factored in when we were deciding to send my son to high school. He now says having a teacher that knows the material well is one of the benefits of going to school.  (me trying to teach him Latin didn't go over very well.)

2.  Extra-curricular:  By the teen years, many children want to be involved in sports, band, and other activities that may be hard to come by for the homeschooling parent.  There is a lot to be said for these type of programs for developing character.  

3.  Loneliness:  By the teen years, most kids crave social interaction.  Some find themselves being lonely due to location (living rurally or in an area with few homeschoolers), and because of the fact that many children go to this school at this age.  For my family, we found our children became increasingly lonely as they grew.  We lived in the middle of nowhere, and even though we traveled to be with homeschool friends once a week, by this age, it wasn't enough to fill their social desire.  

4.  Shy children:  Some parents decide to send their children to school because one or more of them is shy and in need of more opportunities to become better socialized. Although school will not change a trait like shyness, it does force them to confront situations they would not meet at home and learn to deal with them.  I have one child in particular that is very shy, and it has forced her to become more comfortable in situations because she has to interact.  At home and when we were out and about, she was content to keep quiet.  

I am sure there are other reasons why people quit homeschooling and send their children to school.  Do you have other reasons you have made this decision?  If so, please share in the comments.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Reasons people quit homeschooling: Financial reasons

Although I am more familiar and experienced with the first three reasons I listed as to why people quit homeschooling ( burnout, special needs, and improved relationships), I am not experienced with the financial reason, other than reading and talking to a few people.  So, if you are or have sent children to school for this reason, please chime in.

We all know how difficult it can be living on one income and recently many have felt the affects of the economic crunch in the last few years.  Many people have experienced the impact personally through job losses which has forced some people to have mom reenter the work force.  Some moms are able to work part-time and continue to homeschool (and some creative ones can work full-time and homeschool), but the majority of families are not able to do this due to the stress.  From my reading, I have discovered that a lot of the moms are truly sad that homeschooling will come to an end. They feel forced into the work world when they would rather be homeschooling.  Some people putting their children into school for the other reasons may feel this, but their reasons are more emotionally driven and may be relieved by sending children to school.  Both feel a sense of loss, though and may need time to grieve.  Luckily, this situation may change and allow for homeschooling again for some families.

Money                     

I have also run across a few people who have decided to quit homeschooling because the mom wants to go back to work. It may partially be financially driven, but some women want to work.  Possibly they have found that homeschooling does not meet their needs or the stress is too great for them.  Like all of the other reasons, I don't think it is our place to judge their motives.

In a few situations, homeschool moms have been faced with divorce or death of a spouse and must return to work to support their family.  Divorced moms may face resistance from an ex that causes them to put the children in school.  All of these families need our compassion, support, and prayers.

 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Reasons people quit homeschooling: Improved relationships

In the last two posts I discussed burnout and special needs as some reasons people choose to quit homeschooling and put their children in school.  Another reason some moms choose school after homeschooling is because they have been having trouble with one or more children and hope school will improve their relationship. Strained relationships with children can cause burnout so this combined reason may be a factor in the decision.
For me personally, this became a motivation for me with three of my children.  Some children do not respond to their mom as well as someone else.  For other children, they are motivated by the positive peer pressure of not wanting to look dumb in front of the teacher or students and thus they behave a perform well in school.  My one teen son had become so lazy and unmotivated for me that I knew something had to change.  I was tired of the constant nagging (on my part) and whining on his.  By this time, I was really burned out from a combination of things, that this was the final break for me.  School has been so good for him.  He has done amazingly well for the above reasons I stated.  I am no longer the "bad guy" creating dumb and boring assignments (according to him).
Another child came to the point where he flat out refused to do the work for me.  No amount of rewards or punishment changed his attitude.  School has been a blessing for him as well.  He works very hard to make sure he has his assignments done because he fears being embarrassed in front of his teacher and friends.
My third child has always been an arguer.  Part of this is because she is a tween, but most of it is because it is part of her personality.  I became so tired of hearing a debate on the stupidity of all of the school work (most of which was hands on and/or Charlotte Mason type things).  She also craved the social aspect of school.
In all of these cases, I put them in school because I wanted to improve my relationship with them.  I didn't want my children remembering battling with me over school.  I wanted to just be there mom because they can have many teachers but only one mom.  I also wanted to be more refreshed and relaxed for them when we were together.  Having that time alone without the battles gave me the strength to handle any problems when they were home, and they didn't bother me as much.  I am such a better mom for them when they are away from me some of the time.
Realize if this is one reason you are considering school that you understand it may get worse before it gets better.  (that can be true of many of the reasons).  Adjustment takes time, but I saw results quickly for this problem.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Reasons people quit homeschooling: Special needs

In my last post, I discussed people who quit homeschooling because of burnout. One area that I didn't discuss in that post that can lead to burnout is having a special needs child.  Homeschooling with one or more children that have a learning issue or handicap can be very overwhelming.  I have had two children with special needs:  one with bipolar disorder, ADHD, and visual processing problems and the other with dyslexia.  On top of having a child like this, many mothers have numerous other children to care for or homeschool.  In the homeschool world, it is touted that you can in fact homeschool a special needs child.  I have no doubt that some people can, but for others they find that isn't the case for them.  Contrary to what many homeschoolers believe, most public schools can provide the services these children need.  Homeschoolers on the other hand, have to search for other programs or special curriculum which can be very time consuming and expensive.  This can be a monumental task for those with a lot of children, limited income, and/or live in a rural area with a far commute to special programs.  This is definitely one area that led to my burnout. I thought I had to do it all.  For a mom with 7 children and 2 special needs it was very difficult. I tried to be super mommy but it didn't work well.  I fell flat on my face.  We don't have to be mommy martyrs and homeschool with a special needs child if it is burning us out.  Some moms aren't burned out about it at the moment but realize they can't give their child what they need.  That to me is a very humbling and selfless act.

handicapped parking space - free high resolution photo

Handicap

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Reasons people quit homeschooling: Burnout


Just as there are many reasons why people begin homeschooling, there are varied reasons to end the homeschooling journey.  In the coming weeks, I am going to be blogging about some of the motives for putting children into school, whether it is private or public. 

The first reason I want to explore is putting children into school because of burnout on the mom’s part. This is one of the main reasons that I put my children in school.  Many times during my homeschooling career I would experience burnout.  But with a few simple changes and breaks things would turn around for us, and I would be fine for a while.  I came to the point, however, where it wouldn’t go away—no long break, change of curriculum, changing the schedule, getting a bit of time alone, etc. made it go away.  I had hit the point of depression.  Not all burnout leads to depression but things may still not improve with the typical helps and cause you to question your choice.  That can be a sign it is time for a change. 

 I have noticed on many forums and email lists that this is the advice for burnout even for the debilitating burnout that I experienced.  I really believe this can be detrimental to the mom, children, or whole family. Some moms reach a point where they lose their patience continuously, crumble into tears for minor issues, try to get away as much as they can, dread facing another day, and feel trapped.  If you are at the point where nothing is working to cure burnout, it may be time for a complete change such as putting children into school.  The nice thing about this change is it is not permanent.  You may only need a year or two to come out of your funk and be able to return to homeschooling.  Or you may find, like I have, that school is a wonderful option for your family, and your children thrive there. 

Burnout is not a failure on your part as a homeschooling mother.  You are human and deserve a rest if that is what is needed.  School is not the big evil that many homeschoolers say it is.  School can be an answer to your burnout. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Going Public: Your child can thrive in Public school

A year or so ago, I came across the book, Going Public:  Your Child Can Thrive in School by David and Kelli Pritchard.  I read a few reviews of it and tucked it in the back of my memory.  Recently, as I have been praying and contemplating what type of schooling my dyslexic daughter needs, I remembered the book.  I decided to purchase it because one option for her is public school because of her special needs. 
This book is written by a Christian couple of 8 children.  All of their children have attended public school for all of their years.  The thing that stood out the most  to me is that what we put in to our children at home is the most important thing, even more important than what we shelter them from.  Encountering various situations that arose as their children came across them, allowed opportunities to discuss how it aligned with their Christian beliefs.  They stated that they would much rather help their children through these situations while still young and under their care.  They offer great tools to arm children against conflicting messages. 
Also is wonderful information on how to teach our children to  share the Lord with those they encounter in school. They refer to school as a mission field.  What was also refreshing to hear is how many teachers and parents they came across who are Christians. 
Chapters include You can do it, Is public school education an evil plot, what the Bible says about education, the most important thing to teach your children, the magic of being nice, submitting to authority, teachable moments, up close and personal, everybody should "homeschool", your very best chance, for men only, the nearest mission field, the moon is round.  Included is an afterward by their 4 oldest grown children.  (they still have some in school)  It is an interesting chapter on how public school actually strengthened their convictions. 
If you are contemplating public school or have already made that decision, I highly recommend the book as a way to prepare both you and your children for school in the fall.