Understanding and respecting that children are their own individuals can be rough. As unique individuals, our children are entitled to their own thoughts and opinions. Of course, as parents, we are entitled to disagree with our children.
But when your child decides they no longer want to be homeschooled, one answer does not necessarily fit all.
The precarious part of parenting is knowing when to hold on and when to let go.
Many Different Ways to Thrive
First, it is important to remember there are different ways for children to learn and thrive. Homeschooling is one way but it is definitely not the only way. Homeschool vs. public school isn’t black and white. There is much good that can come from either scenario. Also, keep in mind that choosing one over the other, sticking with one over the other, or even changing from one to the other not the end of the world!
Making the switch from homeschool to public school does not represent failure. If your child doesn’t want to homeschool any longer, listen to what they have to say. Weigh the pros and cons and then make a plan for moving forward.
Open Dialogue – Listening to Your Child
If your child comes to you with a concern or differing opinion, it is important to have an open dialogue with them. When our children bring us a concern, we as parents, are obligated to listen. We must take the time to hear the words our children say. We must ask ourselves where are their words coming from? and focus on their underlying message.
Sometimes it can be awkward listening to what our children have to say – especially if we may disagree with them.
I find it hard not to take my children’s words personally when they criticize a decision that I have made with love – like the decision to homeschool.
The truth of the matter is that our children are people too. I always try to remind myself that my children may even know themselves better than I do.
Weigh Both the Positives and Negatives
So what do you do when your child comes to you and states that they would no longer like to homeschool? The dagger has found its home in your heart and you must look at the scenario with unbiased eyes. Keep things neutral. Create a list, written or otherwise, of positive and negative factors about their decision.
It’s true that there are some universal truths related to both homeschooling and public schooling. It is also true, that the perks and drawbacks are dependent on individual scenarios. Make a list, check it twice, and then with the list in hand, plan to revisit an open dialogue with your child.
Search Your Soul
Take note: don’t be selfish. There is an appropriate time and season to each phase of our lives. Schooling in all its variations is one phase of your child’s life. Homeschooling may have worked, and worked well in the past.
Just remember that the past doesn’t necessarily dictate the future.
As parents it is important to make sure that our vision of what is best for our children is truly what is best. Much to my dismay I have noticed that on occasion my selfish parental desires for my children are literally my own desires. I have learned over the years to check myself to question whether my desires are meeting my children’s needs and meeting them in the best way possible. Checking my desires and feelings towards their education is no exception.
Follow Your Mind and Heart
In the end, we must follow our hearts and do what we believe is best for
our children. You may continue to homeschool. You may accept your child’s desires to take an alternate path. What matters most is that one size doesn’t fit all. Doing what is best for your child is doing what is equitable. Equitable doesn’t necessarily mean fair, but it does mean right. In this case schooling, homeschooling in particular, is an extremely personal choice. Each family unit must make their own decision.
I love my children and try to do what is right by them regardless of personal biases or desires. Sometimes our children like the decisions that we make and sometimes they don’t. Remember that regardless of mindset, it is important to stay focused and do what needs to be done. (Of course, if my children are happy with my decisions it makes my life easier; but if they aren’t, so be it.)
Respect your child, hear what they have to say, love them, cherish them, but do what you believe is right. Regardless of anything else, or rather in light of it, stand for what you believe is best. You are the adult and you are the parent. It’s your responsibility.
About the All-Star Blogger
Paige is the mother of three creative Little Women and enjoys spending time eating chocolate, watching movies, reading for pleasure, creating educational products, and maintaining her blog. Paige has a passion for helping students develop a love of reading. She has been a faculty member at Amelia Earhart Elementary for over seven years. She is a CITES Associates member of the BYU-Public School Partnership and a member of Provo School District’s Literacy Committee. She is an award-winning educator who enjoys mentoring interns and student teachers. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.