It’s quite a jarring thing to live with a homeschooler who pine’s for school. My daughter from age six had begged to go. That year we just said no. The next fall she was still asking and so we decided to send her for “specials” once a week, art and gym. After a month or so she was asking to go full-time. We had a trial week which went well for her and the teacher, but I was still uncomfortable with it. We had many concerns about the long school day, the lack of creativity for our artsy daughter and trying to juggle school with homeschool. Unfortunately during her trial week my daughter was witness to two fights involving a bully, and that pretty much sealed our ‘no’ decision for that year.
But the rest of that school year she was not happy at all with homeschooling. Her room was a mess, she constantly complained of boredom. I tried my best to make it more fun and involve more of the things she likes. We started an Arts Class for homeschoolers in an effort to meet more homeschooling girls her age. Up until then our homeschool world involved a gaggle of boys. She also did gymnastics, homeschool science classes, piano and Spanish lessons. But none of this was enough to meet her needs.
This past August, when her and I sat down to formulate her fall homeschool goals and schedule, she put her head on the table and moaned that she wanted to go to school. It was then that I also realized that I had been bracing myself at the prospect of homeschooling her for another year. At this point it really felt like the right time to let her go. So, at age 8, she is attending 3rd grade. There were quite a few considerations before this decision was made. Most of them had to do with my daughter’s needs. As hard as it was to admit, my laid back homeschooling style did not match her driven need for constant activities and schoolwork. As a result it made her unwilling to homeschool with me and her brothers. She also wanted lots of girl friends. She was relentless in asking to go to school. When it came right down to it, the decision was easy. Send her. Now she is happier, more organized at home, is always talking about school in a positive way, has a good relationship with her teachers and has new friends. And at home the reality is that homeschooling is better without an unwilling participant.
There’s still a part of me that hopes at some time she’ll change her mind and homeschool, but for now it’s working out. As homeschooling parents, a decision to send a child to school is monumental and entails a careful balance of family values and the needs of the child.