What if they ask to go to school?
As a homeschooler one of the most common things I get asked (after questions about socialization of course) is what if my kids ask to go to school? Usually phrased as ‘But if they asked to go to school you’d let them, right?’
Firstly, I’m not holding them captive over here people, ha! We’re all enjoying ourselves, we’re having fun, they’re learning lots, and we love our life. This question sounds a little like we’re depriving them of something, and that if I were to reply ‘No, I wouldn’t’ that I would be doing my kids a disservice.
Secondly, I think we’re all making the choices we think are best for our children, aren’t we? I hope we are anyway! Some people have decided that school is right for their children and that is the kind of education that they want for them. Others choose to educate at home because that suits their children/family/beliefs better. The key here is that the parents are choosing while the children are very young. The adult is usually the one who makes these big decisions on their children’s behalf.
So no, at this point in time I would not let my children go to school if they asked. There, I said it! I’m making the educational choices for my children at this stage of their life, just like most other people. I feel like home education is a better environment for them right now for many reasons.
If I asked a parent who chooses school ‘but you’d let them homeschool if they asked, right?’, I expect the majority would reply that they definitely would not. They would have their own reasons for thinking school was the better option for them and their circumstances. And so it is no different for me.
Now this is obviously not a clear cut answer! We value freedom and autonomy so I always want to respect my children’s wishes and I would never give them an outright ‘No’ and ‘because I said so!’
So what would I do if they asked? Right now, at this age, I would ask them what they thought school was like and what the reason was they wanted to try it. I would try to find out what they felt they could get from school that they weren’t getting at home and see if I could meet those needs another way.
As they get older, this will change. Just as it does with most things. The older they get, the more understanding they have and the more able they are to make these big decisions. But for now, I need to do what I think is best, just like you. As I don’t see school as a safe place for children, I would be working with them to find another solution.
I like this post because it speaks to people trying to make words say what they WANT THEM to say. We don’t home school. I personally think that so far, we have a pretty good thing going where I’m home, little man is with me. Little Miss is in a full time preschool of our choice, getting ready to go to kindergarten next year. I love many things about the idea of homeschooling, but it,s not for us. I like to think of myself as a part time homeschooler. Everything we do is learning. So by staying home and offering them a more organic, less technological home life, I give them something more. But that goes with us and our belief system. Where this post rang true to me is because the other decisions we’ve made for our kids : They are both vegetarian and practicing Tao cultivators. And I get the question a lot about the not eating meat thing : What if your kids ask to try meat one day? Well, what if YOUR kids asked to stop eating meat one day? Again, we all make the choices we believe are best for our children.
Thank you for this post and your honesty!
True Yanic! It can apply to many things I didn’t even think about 🙂
A few years ago, I was in the car with a friend of mine. She had just taken her daughter out of school and was beginning her unschooling journey. Her 6 year old daughter and her were in a fight and the little girl started crying saying that she wanted to go back to school. The girl was so upset and yelled out,”But, I wanted to go school and you wouldn’t let me!” My daughter is almost school age and I think if she was really persistent about going to school (which she’s not) I would be inclined to let her try it. I let her choose all the other activities she does, like dance, swimming, etc. She is open, honest and articulate about what she likes and doesn’t like, so I think she would be a good judge if she wanted to go to school or not. Having said that, I totally understand where you’re coming from too!
True Kate. It would depend on the circumstances too. If my child was really unhappy then I’d be reevaluating! Luckily they’re really happy not to be going to school 🙂
Thank you for this. I am going through the decision making process of home schooling my children. It’s good to know the challenges I will potentially face as I will be taking my boys from grades 3 and 6.
Wishing you luck!!
Thank you for addressing this and articulating it so well! My eldest is 5 and would have started Kinder a few months ago. We knew we would homeschool before she ever came along, but when the time finally came I struggled a lot! Not because I wasn’t sure about our decision but because all her friends were starting public school and she kept talking about going. She wanted to ride that yellow school bus! (Interestingly enough, we live too close to the elementary for her to ride the bus. I would have to drive her everyday and go pick her up). We have had lots of talks. And she seems to be fine with it now. I did tell her she would get to choose school if that’s what she still wanted when she was older. I hope she doesn’t but I do want my children to be free to choose when I feel they are old enough to fully understand their options.
Definitely, it’s a lot about age too. Just as now I wouldn’t let them eat junk food all day if they wanted to, there are some choices I make for them at this stage 🙂
I absolutely adore this post and your perspective. You have an ability to say everything that I think I think (ha) about homeschooling. (And I also loooove your socialization post.) They aren’t missing out on anything people!!
Thank you Amy!! Definitely not missing anything in my view either 🙂
my oldest is 5, and I already know she’d prefer to go to public school. To ride a bus. To do what “everyone else” is doing. But I feel a pretty strong conviction that it wouldn’t be a good choice for her. She would also prefer to gorge on candy and French fries for all her meals, and watch tv all day, but I’m here to use my accumulated wisdom to make decisions for her while she learns to make her own good ones. She is such a bright kid too, and loves to read chapter books and build Legos and play dress up. I want her to have lots of time to do those things!
I have been homeschooling my children for a year now. My second child attended school for 2 years before I took them all out. She did not want to leave school and has repeatedly asked to return. She loves the social interaction and she loves the academic work. I have recently allowed her to return even though I do not agree with the school system and I feel that she is happy at home. I have done so on the basis that she has a right to navigate her own journey through life but it is a decision that I have really struggled with. Like Tara says above, I would not allow her to eat endless candy and watch endless TV as would also be her preference. It is so hard to make these decisions on behalf of my children and I have four, all of which are very individual. I’m still hoping my daughter will chose to come back home and for now I’m respecting her choices.
Comparto esta delicia.
I love this. I plan to homeschool and I’ve wondered what I’ll say to people who ask questions like these. Thanks, mama!
Thank you for this post. It gives me some real insight. I started Unschooling our 10 year old last school year. He has Special Needs, and most of his development is that of a 2 year old, so I didn’t give him the choice. I know it is what is best for him.
However, with our 4 year old, being of typical development, I felt like I needed to give her the choice of what kind of schooling she wanted. I always said, if she wants to go to school, I will let her. This year, she decided she wanted to go to school. I think a big part of it was that her friends all went to school. Well, it was an absolutely heart wrenching decision because we were comfortably settled in our homeschooling life. But I enrolled her in 4k, and so far so good. She likes it alot, and I don’t have any complaints.
But I have been thinking, this is only 2 1/2 hours, 5 days a week. What if she decides she decides she wants to go to Kindergarten!! That is absolutely terrifying!!
And reading your blog has given me the…liberation…so to speak…to make the best choice…not just for her…but for our family.
Nice info 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
Awesome post, sharing this 🙂
I’ve written several posts on my decisions to homeschool and encouraging others to respect the choice — my biggest issue is how everyone is concerned with socialization. Is that the reason children go to school? Is that the mark of a successful, fulfilled, happy person? Is school the only legitimate means for it?
However, I think if after discussing it often and thoroughly, if my daughter wanted to go to school, I would allow her to attend part-time (if we could find a program that would take her part-time). A big part of homeschooling for me is her authorship over her education, and if she wants to experiment with school, I hope I’d be open to the idea.
I’ve had this with church/sunday school. Surely if they asked to go I’d let them? There are plenty of things my children ask me that I need to say ‘it’s not something you need right now’ to, and this is one of them.
Great post – has strengthened our resolve as we are faced with our child wanting to leave Montessori to go to the public school. Our child has sensory processing issues so we know in our hearts he is in the right place and he is very happy where he is, it is the lure of school buses, of other children we know who go there and the unknown that has piqued his interest. I know there is no way he could sit at a desk all day and that having his independence diminished would not go down well with any of us. Thanks again for sharing and kudos to you for making the choices you do for your children – so many parents do not think twice about education.
My son is in 3rd grade in public school. I love love love our local school and the teachers! So naturally, being pleased with the education he’s receiving ~ registered his sister there. His sister entered kindergarten and hated it. She didn’t enjoy the size of the school, the days were too long and the lines stressed her out. She asked if she could be homeschooled and we compromised 🙂 She’s now in a hybrid school ~it’s a shorter day and only 3 days a week for instruction, projects and testing. Two days a week we homeschool. She loves it!
Every child is different and every parent is different!