When to Pull Your Child Out of Public School
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For some parents, it’s an instinct. For others, it’s the final straw in a long line of grievances. But deciding exactly when to pull your child out of public school and begin the homeschool journey can be confusing and overwhelming for many parents. As two former teachers, homeschooling our children was always a priority. We practice attachment parenting and for us, we knew it was the right decision for our family before our children were of school age. However, there are many reasons to consider pulling your child from public school. Let’s take a closer look at the most common reasons parents choose to take the plunge.
Specials Needs Child
There has been an astronomical rise in diagnoses of children–especially boys–in the realm of sensory processing disorders, autism, and learning disabilities. Many parents feel that the educators at their assigned school (or choice school) are underprepared to manage the sheer caseload they are dealt. Some see their child falling behind in the classroom setting, or not having their IEPs managed properly. The miseducation of special needs children can, and often does, end up becoming a legal matter, with ADA issues at the forefront. Months and even years of fighting for their child, meetings, phone calls, emails, and tears sometimes push parents in the direction of homeschool. The well-meaning, hard-working ESE Specialists are often facing hundreds of pages of paperwork and an insane caseload. At many schools, there is high turnover in ESE positions, which leads to more chaos, all while the child suffers.
It isn’t just media hype; bullying is part of the fabric of our society. Our politicians do it, our co-workers do it, and our neighbors do it. We’ve met and spoken to dozens of homeschooling parents who described horror stories before pulling their children out. Some younger children came home with bite marks on a weekly basis, older children were being beaten up, and the social media harassment brought the treatment home with them. Sure, plenty of children have positive experiences in public school, but it doesn’t take much for a parent to decide it’s time to pull the plug. Severely bullied children often suffer grade after grade, and teen suicide suddenly becomes a concern.
Perhaps the biggest myth about homeschooling is that your child will become an unsocialized loner. With a little bit of effort, homeschooling parents can find local groups that meet regularly for playtime, learning coops, and even camping trips. All of these take place with you, the parent/caregiver, nearby with an open ear. “Bad socialization” refers to the kind of pressure and “loss of innocence” that many students suffer in the public school system. We’ve heard parents of young girls talk about their daughters being pressured into shaving early or poked fun at for dressing too conservatively. Boys will sometimes report that they were pressured into doing something inappropriate to a girl, or to use lewd words and phrases. Many parents pull the plug when they decide that they want more control over the environment their children spend such a large part of their formative years in.
There are a multitude of reasons not cited here, but these three are the primary factors we have encountered as we have gotten to know hundreds of homeschooling families. Also, as a public school teacher for eight solid years, I saw combinations of these three reasons playing out in the classroom with my own overworked, underpaid eyes. Many of my former colleagues are literally heroes, losing crucial family time to stay on top of training and in-service meetings, going to weekend student events, and taking classes at night toward Master’s Degrees. But the system is hanging on by a thread, and many parents don’t want their children dangling from it.
When to Pull Your Child Out of Public School
If you have any of these issues or have been thinking about when to pull your child out of public school then it may be a good choice for your family. You can do this at any point during the school year. The beautiful thing about homeschooling is the flexibility in your child’s education. You can catch up, take time off, put in extra time all according to the needs of your child. Check with your state laws and find out exactly what you need to do to begin your homeschooling journey.
For further reading, check out our entry dedicated to how homeschoolers rank amongst their peers, and what their chances are at being accepted into good colleges: Homeschooling Statistics