The Reluctant Homeschooler

The following is a guest post written by Christine Mills of Hartlyn Kids.

My husband is always the one with a grand idea–from passionate thoughts about becoming the millionaire next door to HGTV worth decorating tips.

But this one regarded a child we hadn’t even had yet.

“I think homeschooling might be the way we should go.” He proudly shared one day.

‘Homeschooling?’ I remember thinking to myself.

I envisioned a socially inept group of children with mothers hovering nearby, wearing mom jeans, overalls, and shapeless dresses. I immediately put up my defense. I rattled on about the “social skills” issue and smothering our kids by forcing them to be home all day.

However, I didn’t include the other truly pertinent issue that arises with homeschooling, a level of sacrifice. What gave him the right to think that I wouldn’t want to pursue my goals, dreams and passions. Yes, in parenting there is a level of sacrifice, but with homeschooling, I’d be obligated to plan each day’s lesson, frequent museums, zoos, story time sessions and so much more.

What about maintenance of the house? Who will make sure the house is suitable to live in with a family and to entertain guests? As my husband daydreamed about the possibility of homeschooling our soon-to-be brood of tottering children, I nursed a headache.

Then the inevitable occurred. I became pregnant and gave birth to a smart, vivacious little girl. I had grown up around educators and even worked in a preschool for many years, but I was not prepared for how impressed I became with watching a child of my own.

I realized that children by nature love to learn, but something happens as they grow up. They realize it’s not “cool” to want to challenge your intelligence or read a 500 page book for fun. They learn that boys are good in math and science and girls are good readers and writers.

They learn that school is boring.

My husband continued to talk about homeschooling and I realized I was less defensive. Soon I was the one checking out stacks of books at the library and visiting homeschooling blogs on a daily basis.

I realized that there are many faces of homeschoolers. No, the kids are not socially inept and the parents can be just as fashionable as the next mom. I also grew excited about learning with my child. I knew deep down that I may not be perfect, but I have a lot to offer.

With love and an understanding of my child’s capabilities we both can soar through this homeschooling journey.

Is there anyone else out there who came to homeschooling somewhat reluctantly?


  1. My husband was the first to suggest that maybe we should homeschool too. I remember my first mental reaction was “What’s this ‘we’ business? You mean ‘I’ should homeschool the kids.” I was nowhere near as confident as he was that I could handle the responsibility. Some days I’m still not, but I’m glad he started the ball rolling. It was a good move for all of us, even if it took me awhile to see it.
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  2. Allison Fambro says:

    I would have NEVER homeschooled. That was for weird families who never let their kids out in the sunlight. It wasn’t until meeting a fabulous mom who patiently let pick apart her brain on the subject after I found her and her kids an absolute delight. So what began as an escape from a bad schooling year ultimately became our permanent decision

  3. I am still coming to homeschooling reluctantly! Thank you so much for sharing this.

  4. I was a VERY reluctant homeschooler. I kept pushing the thought away that I should homeschool. I had it in mind for one of my girls, and through a course of events, that or continuing with public school were our only options. My hubby was totally onboard but I had MANY questions and doubts, and I really didn’t WANT to. Fast forward a few months……all 3 of my school aged girls decided to stay home. I made one and the other 2 decided they wanted to be at home, too. We are loving it! I am so glad that we went this route. I really thought that we’d just do homeschooling until they started high school (so they didn’t miss out on sports), but I can honestly say that I am hoping that God directs us/them to homeschool until they graduate!

  5. Stefani M. says:

    I was in the same boat… thinking of them as those “weird” homeschoolers. Then, when I was in a public speaking class, one of the subjects brought up was homeschooling, and how homeschoolers were better socialized than their public school counterparts. I still thought it wasn’t something *I* could do. Honestly, I started reading the Pioneer Woman’s blog and saw a “normal” person who homeschooled. I figured I’d give it a shot, and if it didn’t work out, I can still send them to school across the street… they’ve still never step foot there. 🙂

  6. I’m glad you have a supportive husband who is willing to be open to new ideas. I hope your homeschooling adventure is amazing for you all!
    tracey – justanothermommy’s latest post: Living in the Present

  7. I was beyond reluctant; I was adamantly against it. My daughter came home from school for two years asking to be HSed and I refused. I judged people who did it and believed they were all weird, off and thought their kids were better than others. Then one day, completely out of nowhere, God changed it all. It was like a light switch…it was off then He flipped the switch and I had a desire to do it. This is our first year (3rd and 5th grade and a 5 month old!) and there are days I question it, but I love the time we share together.

  8. Can you come to homeschooling enthusiastically AND reluctantly? Because that is me. I’ve been excited about the possibilities of homeschooling since before I got pregnant with my first baby. But years later, when we finally decided to homeschool, it was a decision we backed into. We were in a private school we loved, but with (now) 4 children, we couldn’t possibly pay private school tuition for 4 when they all hit school age. Homeschooling looked like the best option for our family, so it’s the one we chose.

    It’s so helpful to hear other family’s stories. Thanks for sharing yours!
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  9. I too, was the reluctant one. I tried preschool with my oldest and failed-in my eyes. I was trying to hard to make it like a classroom and less like home.(I realized that later.) A couple years later, when we were at a education crossroads, I was the one who brought it up. To the surprise of my husband, I was ready to homeschool. We are now starting our 3rd year.

  10. I was very reluctant to homeschool. I didn’t think I was qualified. My husband kept saying, “You can do this. Who knows these kids better than us?” What began as something to prove my husband wrong, has turned into 8 years of homeschooling and LOVING it!

  11. Thanks for this. I still remain on the fence….I did a year of preschool at home but now he is back at a Montessori. I can’t find a suitable grade school that I can afford so he might be back home with me for 1st. My husband was home schooled and at times doubts the decision to keep our kids home. He wouldn’t change his homeschooling for the world but wonders if it did hold him back. He knows that I could provide a learning environment that he didn’t have (I am a teacher by trade) but still wonders if it is best for our kids. Only time will tell….I did tell him that I will be homeschooling for 7th and 8th no matter what 🙂
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    • In what ways do you think homeschooling hold your husband back? I am just curious. His inputs might help us.

      I went to private schools all my life. Looking back I would have cherished homeschooling and enjoyed time with my talented and sweet mother.

  12. I was so reluctant! This is the third time I’ve started the year homeschooling, and the first time I’m not making plans to put the kids in school at semester! 🙂 It just has always been so overwhelming.

    Enrolling my 5-year-old in afternoon kindergarten while schooling her in the mornings has made all the difference – I now have a 2-1/2 hour window I use to focus on more challenging subjects with my older two. I do still struggle with the sacrifice homeschooling requires, but I love being there to see the kids as they learn, watching their imaginations at work, and knowing they are free to pursue their interests in a way they weren’t at school (pressure from other kids, time constraints, etc.).

  13. Yep that’s me and even in my 2nd year of this journey, I’m still reluctant! Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one!

    I continually pray for my ego to get out of the way and be able to clearly see what is best for my son. Right now what’s best for him is having the space to grow and learn at his own pace rather than a pace ‘prescribed by age’.
    Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one!
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  14. @ Kara Sometimes the husbands can have the foresight of what may work for the family.
    @ Allison Fambro I realized there are so many misconceptions of homeschooling families, which many times are far from being true. The more I interact with homeschooling families, the more I realize we’re an amazing group of people.
    @ Katie It’s good to know that I have company.
    @ Nicole A lot of my questions revolved around my capabilities and envisioning a typical day. I soon realized the rhythm is dictated by the parents and children
    involved. I’m happy it’s working for you.
    @Stefanie Yes, I really thought I was way too cool to homeschool 🙂 .
    @ Tracey -justanothermommy Thanks for the well wishes!
    @ Sandy I think there will always be some days when I question my decision. But I’ll probably have some questions if she was in school.
    @ Anne@Modern Mrs Darcy It’s amazing when I hear of parents homeschooling multiple children. I can see that is beneficial for the children to learn from one another.
    @ Paula I tried the whole classroom at home routine, it always felt too rigid. I now realize it is okay to embrace the reality that we are at home.
    @ Lisa It’s great to hear that you’re loving it! I questioned if I’m qualified and soon realized you learn so much about your kids when you’re teaching them.
    @ RaisingZ We all have to do what is right for our family. Ironically, I’ve noticed that a lot of high priced private schools have certain homeschool qualities.
    @ Laura It is a tremendous sacrifice, but I realized that it is okay to ask for help.

  15. I think I might be becoming a bit reluctant some days. This is a lot of work, a lot of commitment. But I know its good too…if that makes sense. I know its the right thing for us, right now, but sometimes I just also don’t want to do it. Other times, I am really happy to do it. But perhaps that is the way with any “job” in life. I know my husband doesn’t always like his job and is sometimes reluctant to go!

  16. It was my husband’s idea.

    We had awful homeschool days at first…until one date night, as I cried about how horrible I am, my husband took me by the hands and gently reminded me that I am his (my son’s) God-given mentor and there is no one on the planet more qualified to prayerfully discover what he needs and get that for him.

    I did a total turnaround and felt so empowered from then on. I still have bad days, but the people who go back and forth between homeschool and public school befuddle me. Once I was converted, boy was I ever converted. I suppose if my children wanted to go to p.s. I would let them, but when my daughter wanted school with homework, I signed her up for one-day-a-week homeschoolers school and she’s as happy as a clam 🙂
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  17. I’ve always jumped in with both feet but it’s good to hear this perspective too. Thanks for sharing.
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  18. My husband was not on the homeschool bandwagon at first. His enthusiasm came after my dxleysic son became an avid reader. My son did not learn to read until he was 8 years old (after 3 years of working with him) he blossomed. He now reads better than anyone in the house – well except me!

    My husband uses every opportunity to point out the benefits of homeschooling when talking to others.

    What a blessing that your husband was encouraging and supportive from the beginning.
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  19. I was not reluctant to start home schooling my three, just really irritated at the school! How our children learn is such an important subject! When we take the fun out of learning we turn them away from the most enjoyable part of being alive! My father once told me “When you stop learning you start dying” So I guess I will live forever because I love to learn!
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    • That’s one of the aspects of homeschooling I enjoy, creating interesting lesson plans that help my daughter learn. I don’t feel restricted by high stakes testing. Great quote from your father!

  20. Great post Christine! I’m excited to get started homeschooling my daughter. I’ve been working with her on my own, but now that she’s three, I want to start curriculum building. I agree with you, it’s a huge commitment, but it’s also such a great reward to see all that you’ve instilled in them and what you’ve both accomplished. You’re totally right…watching them learn is exciting! 😉
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  21. To those of you who feel like you failed Pre-school w/your children…relax! I wouldn’t even worry about assigning grades until 4th grade. Just teach them to be excited and want to look for answers themselves. Teach them to read, write and understand number concepts…then show them how much fun it is to use those skills to figure things out. There are great programs to teach kids w/out killing their love of learning. Treasure the time you get to be together and know that it goes by so very fast. I was the one who said I’d never homeschool…well we’re in our 7th year now and having more fun than ever. My son w/learning disabilities is caught up to grade level (and beyond in some). My other kids are soaring above the standards and all of us are close in a way we wouldn’t be if they were shipped off each morning to different schools/classrooms. Homeschooling is a gift, not just for your kids, but for you! You’ll look back and be so glad you did it.

  22. I found this post by Googling reluctant homeschooler. My son is 4 and my husband has decided we’re homeschooling. He even researched and bought the curriculum. I honestly don’t want to do it at all. I feel really overwhelmed and depressed because, as you said, it’s a huge sacrifice. Not one I feel compelled or called to make. I’m struggling with the whole thing. We’re starting soon, and I kind of feel like my life is really ending now. I have 2 boys (ages 4 and 2) who I love but who constantly exhaust me. And we want more kids, but the thought of homeschooling more kids too actually makes me want to just quit now.

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