Why Being a Homeschool Dropout Made me a Better Mom

Once upon a time, I had a dream to homeschool my kids.

Our lives are anything but traditional and as my son entered into his first year of public school, our family felt super enslaved to the traditional school schedule.

I dreamed about all of the amazing things we could learn together, and I craved the freedom that came along with all of it. I thought about all of the fun trips we'd take, and the memories we'd make, and I just knew that this journey would be amazing.

And I lasted less than three weeks. It was a colossal fail.  I beat myself up for months about it.

Today though, I'm going to explain why being a homeschool dropout made me a better mom.

I grew up in a HUGE family. Between my siblings and my cousins, some of us were in public school all through high school, some of us did private and then public, some of us switched between homeschooling and traditional schooling, etc. Pretty much any combination that you can think of has been done.

Since I was able to witness all of the different scenarios, I saw the pros and cons to just about every option, which made me curious about what avenue would be best for our family.

When my son started out in school, I worked full time so he went to a public school for kindergarten. After his first year and even before that, I really had the desire to explore homeschooling. I was able to scale back at work in time for his first grade year, so I was excited to finally get to homeschool!

I was thrilled!!! He was pretty excited too. We set up a classroom, and got new school supplies. I had lots of help from several of my aunts who are homeschooling experts, and I had all of the tools that I needed to succeed.

Day one was amazing. We had a blast and he learned a ton.

The rest of the week was a little exhausting, but my aunt reassured me that that was normal.

During the second week, my son started to get super restless. I took him places to burn off some energy. We did tons of activities and he was even playing soccer, but he was still yearning for more socialization. I was running myself ragged trying to get him to be worn out by the end of the day, and I was falling behind in the little bit of work I did have to do.

Overwhelm was an understatement.

I wanted to make it work so badly, so I pressed on and started fighting him tooth and nail to get his school work done. It was terrible.

By the time we were at the end of the second week, it felt like we were on year 35, and my six-year-old and I were barely speaking to each other.

What seemed to come so naturally to other homeschooling families was total calamity for us.

I was so disappointed in myself, and I felt like I wanted to quit, but I also felt like I was letting people down by quitting. I had all of this support, yet I was still failing. I was failing myself, and I was failing my poor son.

I felt like I was lacking the skills, patience, and confidence to continue. I also felt like if things continued, our relationship would be severely damaged. I was devastated.

So I talked to my husband and we both agreed that this wasn't going to be a viable option.  Maybe it was bad timing. I was also in the middle of the grief process as we had lost someone very close in our family the previous summer. Maybe it was trying to balance work and schooling. Maybe it just wasn't going to work out for this year, or maybe it was never meant to work out.

Begrudgingly, the following week, I enrolled him into a charter school/learning center where he would go to school four days a week. To be honest, my pride hurt a little.

I was a home school drop out.

As time went on though, he started going to this new school and our relationship was getting better. He was less restless at home. He was learning A TON, I was getting my work done while he was gone for the day so that I could enjoy him in the evenings, and I wasn't as overwhelmed.
I realized how much better off he was at this school, and that idea that I put on myself that I had failed began to lift.

After I realized what a positive impact the change was for us, all that really mattered was what was best for my child.

You see, giving up on homeschooling because it wasn't working wasn't failing him.

Trying to force something that was causing decline in my son's education, drive, and our relationship was failing him.

I wanted to homeschool, so we tried, and it didn't work out.

I'm not a bad mom because of that. I'm not any less of a mom than the Pinterest-y ones who homeschool all 15 of their kids.

In fact, I am a better mom because I recognized that what I so desperately wanted wasn't working and I chose to swallow my pride and get him into an environment where he would thrive.

And to be honest, I was disappointed. My dreams of homeschooling did not become a reality and some days it still makes me sad. But at the end of the day, it's not about what I want. What matters is that I did what was best for my son.

For this season of life, it didn't work. Maybe in the future it will. Heck...maybe it never will.

Here's the moral of the story, and I'll be honest, it's nothing profound...

At the end of the day, you need to do whats best for your child, your family, and you.

Public school isn't going to ruin your kids.

Home schooling isn't going to make your kid disadvantaged.

Private school is perfectly fine...

If that's what's best for you guys.

And switching things up when you decide you've made the wrong choice isn't going to screw your kid up. Forcing them to make something work that clearly isn't working, may though.

When I finally mustered up the courage to tell my aunt we dropped out, here is what she said:


If you decide to test one route out, and your child is not thriving, its okay to change up your course!

You are not a failure because public school wasn't right for your child.

I am not a failure because, for the time being and maybe even forever, homeschooling isn't right for us.

At the end of the day, I tried. I had a desire to homeschool, and this year it was a big flop.

It's going to be okay.

Do what's best for you and your family, and find people who support you through that.

Stop listening to the people who can only open their minds to one avenue of education.

If it works for their kids, then amazing, but that doesn't mean that's what will work for yours!

Every child is different.

Every family is different.

And that's what makes parenthood so beautiful.

**I am going to add this in here. I wrote this post about three months ago, and never published it because our lives got crazy. Ironically, one of the aspects that turned upside down was that we moved cross country resulting in our kids being taken out of school a month before the year ended. Here I am finishing out the year with them at home. I'll be honest, it's going better, but I still don't think it's for us as much as I want it to be. I decided to finish up this post as I am in the midst of deciding where to enroll them, and I've got to say, my simple advice below is helping...***

So I want to leave this post by saying this:

If you've been in a similar situation, I'd love to hear your comments.

I feel like especially in this day and age, social media makes it so easy for us to feel chained down by the opinions of other people.

We look at the lives of other people, and feel guilty that our lives don't seem to match up. We have these inner dialogues with ourselves that are far from healthy. We think because we aren't "normal" we have done something wrong...but I want to say to you that that is a lie!

Do what is best for your family, and remember that seasons change. What works seamlessly in one season may be a total bust later on. It's ok. Give yourself grace, put your selfish desires aside, and trust your gut. You know what's best for your kids.

If you've changed things up because your family is crazy like mine, let us know!

I'd love to hear about all the different journeys so us parents can see that there isn't one right way to do it.

We should be supporting each other, and cheering each other on because at the end of the day our goals are all very similar...

We all just want whats best for our kids, so do that, and then give yourself a pat on the back. :)


  1. Great post, this is great for anyone who's having difficulty with homeschooling. I don't have kids, but homeschooling is something I want to do when I do. Going to public school was rough for me, and I don't want my children to experience the same hardships I did. But there is that thought of what if it doesn't work. Reading this has given me peace of mind because if it doesn't work out, it doesn't mean I'm a failure, or I failed my child. It wasn't meant to be, and that's OK.

    1. So glad it was helpful! I understand your hesitation with public school completely! I think it's so important for people to know that there isn't one right way, and if you don't get it right the first time that's ok! Thanks so much for the comment!