~ Why don’t more parents homeschool? ~

I know it is kind of silly to ask my 5 loyal readers this question because you all homeschool. However, I am wondering what the major reasons are for parents NOT to homeschool their kids? Now this is a very serious question, and I am hoping to glean a lot of insight should I get any responses.

In this day and age, there are so many resources available for parents to provide their children with an excellent education at home. There are also homeschool groups all over the country. Most folks, I’d think, would have access to a homeschool support group or co-op of some variety. Socialization is really a non-issue these days. There are many activities available to homeschooling parents and their children in most parts of the country.

So why do parents choose NOT to homeschool? There is no right or wrong answer. I’m just looking for some reasons to fulfill my own curiosity. And become less ignorant. I’m sure economics is a big issue. But aside from that, why NOT homeschool? I ask with all due respect and with a desire to learn.

If you do not homeschool, would you be open to leaving a comment with your reasons for choosing a different educational option for your children? If you do homeschool, would you be open to listing some reasons you know of for parents to choose a more traditional educational route for their children?If you’d rather, you can e-mail me privately at joanne.calderwood@gmail.com.

Thank you in advance. I appreciate opportunities to see things from differing perspectives.


19 Responses to ~ Why don’t more parents homeschool? ~

  1. MidLifeMama says:

    Michele here. I will give you my number one reason – I can’t afford to. One of us would have to stay home in order to home school, and that is fiscally not an option. And I am not sure I would want it to be. As the parent who would most likely make that choice, and the one probably with the better skill set for providing the education, I am not sure it would be the right choice for me or for Cooper. He has been in day care/school since he was 3 months old. And has thrived being in that environment. I don’t know how it will feel once he is in the public school system, but my neighbors whose children are at the school he will go to love the school and the teachers. I am a product of the public school system as is my husband, and we did well and turned out pretty OK. I think for us, the home schooling path does not fit or make sense. But I started this motherhood gig later than many, and live in a community with a good public school system. Different perspective on life I guess.

  2. Sherman says:

    This is from the perspective of a homeschooler. There is a nausious atmosphere of superiority in some circles. It is made into a measure of spirituality. They exclude those that have sent their kids to public school in the past. The peer pressure to perform at a certain level can dishearten partents that would like to try it out. It is often over sold as easy to do, and its not easy it takes a lot of work.

    Until we realize that homeschooling is just one of many options and that God does not give us a mandate to homeschool this attitude will continue to permeate. It is just another form of legalism.

    I don’t know anyone my age that was homeschooled and yet God was still able to bring me through public school and my homelife in one peice. Homeschooled kids have the same issues that public school kids with sex and drugs. They just seem to know how to hide it better. Parents involvement is key either way. Six hours of public school a day will not undo what godly parental investment can do in the life of the child.

  3. Kathy says:

    My guesses:

    Good private schools available
    Selfish reasons–wanting to have time to themselves, etc.

  4. Anne says:

    I appreciate what Sherman says above about the condescending attitude, the titters of pitying laughter for parents who send their kids to school, which one finds all too frequently among homeschoolers. (I have never felt that from you, Joanne.:)) I used to homeschool and frankly I got a little tired of that hobbyhorse. The question you ask is usually spoken as a rhetorical question, with a click of the tongue and a shake of the head, so I appreciate your asking it honestly, with a true desire to understand.

    It has sometimes seemed to me that homeschoolers have to pat themselves on the back and congratulate each other so that they don’t have time to think about or acknowledge the tough realities of homeschooling. So many homeschoolers gloss over the hard stuff, “Well, of course there are tough times, but…” and then they go on to chant the well-worn homeschooling mantras of peace, perfection and plenty.

    For us, we chose to send our school-aged kids to a private Christian school because it offers the kind of education we want our kids to have and which, frankly, I wasn’t able to give while balancing housework, church, and life in general (This is a failing in me; I know that many moms do it and do it all wonderfully. I have a one track mind and don’t multi-task particularly well.) And, by God’s providence, the tuition became do-able for us.

    I hate to say this when I know the horror with which hard-core homeschoolers will hear this, but I actually have a better relationship with my children when they are gone for a few hours every day. The quality of the time we are together is better because we are not in each other’s pockets all day long.

    All that being said, I am open to whatever the Lord has for us. If, at some future date, it looks like I need to homeschool some or all again, I will. In fact, next year I’ll be homeschooling our youngest for Kindergarten. And I’m looking forward to it.

    That may be more than you bargained for, but I am thankful that a dedicated homeschooler had the generosity to ask such a question with a genuine hope for genuine answers.

    • urthemom says:

      Oh, Anne, I LOVE what you have to say here. Thank you most of all for knowing that I was sincerely interested, and that I do NOT believe that homeschooling is essential to raising children with excellence. I know exactly what you mean by the “Titters of pitying laughter” and the condescension that exists out there, and I hate that! Simply hate that kind of attitude. You are an excellent mother, and have so much respect for you and your family. Thanks for sharing from your heart.


  5. Jeanie Hills says:

    I am now a grandmother raising an 11 year old granddaughter. We have done it all, even with this child, but with our seven older children, too, in varying ways/times. Right now our 11 year old is in public school. The reason we don’t homeschool now, and most likely will not again, is the it is a huge time committment if you want to do a good job of it. It takes work, time, committment, and the results may not be what is best for a particular child or family.
    Our granddaughter is happier in school and she shares with me when she comes home all about her day.

    • urthemom says:

      Thank you for sharing your experiences, Jeanie. I totally agree that homeschooling is not the answer for every family. Raising children is all about building relationships. Strong relationships can also exists between parents and children who are in an environment other than homeschooling, for sure. Blessings to you!

  6. CaliforniaDream says:

    For our family we initially decided to put our son in a private preschool/kindergarten & then private elementary school. We realized our ADD son would not thrive in our highly rated public school; his difficulties in a small class with an excellent teacher prompted our decision to homeschool him and subsequently his siblings. That was 21 years ago & it was the best decision we ever made for our children and our family.

    I think homeschooling in California can be a difficult decision for several reasons. 1) Some counties have (in the past) been very intimidating to homeschoolers. Local officials did not follow California law, made it very difficult to register, and tried to harass anyone inquiring about homeschooling. 2) Some homeschooling groups here allow only Christian homeschoolers and/or require a statement of faith from potential members. 3) Housing is so expensive in California that it is a very difficult decision for one parent to stay home. In our case my income was going solely to tuition and gas/car costs for the commute to and from school/home/office as well as the babysitter for our second son. Our decision was not as difficult to make as it is for some families.

    I know that ultimately our decision was much easier to make because our children are ADD; the continuity of one person teaching and working with them was easier for both the kids and me. I used to dread going to pick my son up; I never knew if I would find a happy or angry child and generally the transition from school to home (or in the morning from home to school) was difficult. We still had difficulties with him but layers and layers of problems disappeared.

    Homeschooling has not been easy, but overall, it was a good decision. I think families with ADDers or special needs children often believe homeschooling them is too difficult or that they don’t have the resources a school could provide. I look at it differently; I think homeschooling provides more options: you can try different approaches without having to convince a doctor, teacher, resource specialist, counselor, etc.; you don’t have to waste your time being an advocate for your child against the school and implementing an IEP; you don’t have to spend time every year helping a new teacher understand your child.

    We will be ending our 21 years of homeschooling this year when our youngest child finishes high school. All three had moments when they hated it (and me too I’m sure) but we all agree that overall homeschooling has been a positive educational and family experience for us

    • urthemom says:

      I really, really appreciate you taking the time to tell your story. The ironic thing is that ADDers actually do better in homeschool environments. I have a whole section on that in my book. It is very encouraging. Congratulations are finishing strong!


  7. Carla says:

    My daughter is currently in public school (2nd grade) and we have decided to HS beginning next fall. We live in a “great” public school district that is frequently compared to attending private school.

    I first heard about homeschooling when my daughter was 3 yo, in 2005. I heard about it from a talk show host who was lamenting the state of public schools. The more I researched and read (oodles of books), the more HS appealed to me.

    Fast forward 2 years. I had a baby on the way who was due the 1st week of kindergarten. Although I loved the idea of homeschooling, EVERYONE around me was registering their children for kindergarten, talking about kindergarten, excited about kindergarten. My daughter had been in either full-time or part-time daycare/preschool for 3 years. (I work at home part-time now; this was also a consideration in how to HS.) We decided to “try” K and see how it went. DD LOVED kindergarten and so we stuck with school – but she has not been thriving or growing the way I would want, and she still would rather be free during the day and home with me more. Thus our decision to finally jump in.

    Although I totally appreciate your genuine question, you must understand that while there are lots of support groups available, homeschooling is still QUITE the minority out there. It takes a HUGE amount of exposure to the idea, research and education to make a decision to go against what 99% of the parents around you are doing – good parents who love their children. So truly, for most of the young mothers out there, the question remains “WHY homeschool?” not “Why NOT homeschool?” For those of us who know and understand homeschooling, who have spent the time, read about it, met homeschoolers, been to activities, it seems perfectly normal. To the average parent, it still is not. Truly. If the exposure is not there, it takes negative events in school to trigger the curiosity and subsequently the exposure.

    I will share this – since I am part of a thriving community of public school parents (room mom and PTO): The mood on the street now for the average parent has moved from “Homeschool? That is weird and your kids will turn out strange” to “Homeschool? Yes, I know someone who does that… (fill in the story).” That is HUGE progress, but still – when your child turns 5, you register them for kindergarten.

    Just adding some perspective. As I have shared my decision to HS next year, I have been met with nonjudgmental support from other parents, which has been wonderful – and a few people who are interested in possibly doing it as well. But most of my friends complain about certain things about school but place their faith in our “good” school district and don’t want to step outside the boundaries. It is too scary and too much unknown – and too much work.

    Hope it helps!

    • urthemom says:

      Great insight, Carla! All points well taken. A lot of times it does take some sort of negative incident in the classroom to get a parent thinking about options. Thanks so much for this excellent info.

  8. Rita says:

    I didn’t homeschool because I am a single mom and didn’t have family near to take care of my son. My husband died and I never remarried and didn’t want to move back home to Puerto Rico …jobs are really scarce ..anyway I waited til my son got older…where he could be left at home …10yo and can work independently. It has been a blessing and I have been blessed.

  9. Sandi says:

    The joke in my neighborhood is that the real mothers day is Aug 22 – when the kids go back to public school after summer vacation.

    Apparently not everyone enjoys being home with their children.

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    […]~ Why don’t more parents homeschool? ~ « The Homeschool Coach’s Weblog[…]…

  11. I can say that when I had my first child I had never heard of homeschooling let alone knew another home schooler. It wasn’t until my oldest was nearing school age and we had our first computer that I learned about home schooling. Fast forward and I have a younger sister that has one child. She bashed both my 2nd sister and I about homeschooling. Now that her 7 yr old was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and was suspended for tapping another kid on his butt (it was her way of trying to get the kid’s attention but the school chose to ignore her condition and diagnosis). That homeschooling became okay for my sister. Like another poster stated, its not until someone experiences a negative experience do they understand what homeschooling is to begin with.

    I can say from my end watching my youngest sister with her daughter the reasons for her not to homeschool was :

    1. She is a single mom ( so financial)
    2. Selfishness. She wants that me time and doesn’t want to be bothered with her daughter. She loves her but doesn’t want to be bothered. I find that the vast population in our country is like this. Children become an extension of what one has. Its rare to find parents who really enjoy and want to be with their child(ren).
    3. Those who live in two parent income, because of money… I see families who could home school and they don’t because money is more important to them.
    4. For some they have good schools in their area
    5. Did I mention selfishness??? I mean, who would want to take the time to teach their children when they could go out and do stuff all of the time for themselves? I mean, really? Those cupcakes for the office Valentine party is just way more important than sitting down with your child on the couch and listen to them read. OR the big expensive vacation is way more important than helping junior learn a math concept.
    6. Parent figures they did okay with ps or private school. So that’s good enough. So when did , okay become acceptable?

    Of course I do understand those who are single and just don’t have the family support. That makes it difficult for sure. But since most of the American population is now single( did you know Married people are becoming extinct too?) that puts most kids in school.

  12. Eva says:

    I wanted to echo what a couple of people said: most don’t see homeschooling as a viable option – that people really can successfully homeschool their children – even if you are not super smart. My own extended family still give credence to this and harrass us because of our choices.
    It’s just not American apparently.

  13. Albert says:

    I think the real reason parents refuse to homeschool is because they’re just too lazy.

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