Monday, August 26, 2013

"So are you still glad you switched from homeschool to public school?" The post in which I answer this question and also announce a SERIES.

So are you still glad you put your kids in public school?

I hear this question a lot. And the short answer is yes. But I always feel like it needs a thousand qualifiers and disclaimers. It's a weighty issue, this thing of how we do school with our kids. It can be divisive, cliquish, confusing, and overwhelming. Most of us don't enter into our decisions lightly.

Because I've done a bit of everything over the past twelve-and-a-half-years {working mom with young children, stay-at-home mom with young children, stay-at-home homeschool mom with young children, and now stay-at-home mom with kids in public school,} my heart and my mind are attached to all of these options for different reasons. 

Part of the decision I support every path is because I've been down every path. Well, not every path, but I've done this thing of motherhood and education in several different ways. Empathy and experience have taught me that these decisions are deeply personal and layered. 

Most parents I know have carefully sought clarity and wisdom regarding issues of work, motherhood, children, and school. And this is why we need hearty doses of grace. Heaping, overflowing, ginormous helpings of grace as we interact with others who have chosen differently than we have.

Someone you know may have spent two years anguishing over a decision that you just took two seconds to judge.

I should know. I've done it. I've anguished and waffled and gnashed my teeth. And though it pains me to confess, I've also privately passed judgement toward others who appeared either too self-righteous or not righteous enough.

I've found identity and security in homeschooling my kids and been forced to confront some ugly truths about the idols of my heart when I stopped. 

At times our decision to put our kids in public school has felt like failure. And at other times it has felt like freedom.

It goes without saying that this has been a rich journey for me and I'm becoming increasingly aware that it's one I've not traveled alone. 

Many of you read this blog years ago when writing here was simply the "escape hatch" from the overwhelming nature of my days as a homeschool mom of three young kids.

Looking back, it seems an impractical season to have picked up the hobby of blogging. But I realize that writing here helped me cope and connect in the midst of that very draining season of my life. 

I thought I was simply chronicling my days. Apparently I was doing more than that by assembling my own chronicle of sorts, living a story that's certainly not over but from which I have already gleaned many lessons. 

And some of you have asked me to write that story in a way that's cohesive and community-building. 

At first that sounded crazy but the more I've thought about it, the more I realize that there is much to say on the topic. There's plenty of support for homeschooling, private schooling, and public schooling, but there seems to be a vacuum on the topic of freedom and grace for parents struggling to know which road to travel. Though there are many resources and movements espousing one option over another option, I don't think I've ever read a post, article, or book that says: Hey, it's all cool. There's no wrong. But there is wisdom for your personal journey and freedom no matter which path you choose. 

Yes, I believe in absolute truth. And though some will disagree with me, this thing of how we school is not absolute. Though one side or another has been backed with Scripture, hard facts, anecdotal evidence, and even the Constitution, I believe it is negotiable. 

Is your mind anxious and awash with the constant chatter of confusing voices? Voices that evoke fear, condemnation, or guilt? Well, I'd like to be one, small, encouraging voice that offers a more grace-filled message. I want to speak the hope and freedom I wish someone had spoken to me many years ago when I began my free-fall down the unending spiral of school anxiety.

I've already written about this topic a good bit and I'll try not to repeat too much of what I've already covered. If you're interested in those posts, I invite you to click on the tab at the top of the blog, From Homeschool to Public School.

Now that 20 months have passed, it's easier for me to summarize why we chose to make that decision and why it's one we're sticking with until further notice. 

The passage of time has also given me sweet perspective on the blessings and benefits for us during those homeschool years. There are things I miss...and things I don't. 

Though we now embrace public school, we don't do it to the exclusion of other options, options that we have chosen in the past and that we do not at all regret choosing. We'll consider homeschooling again in the future should one or all of our children need it. But because of all that we've learned through trial and lots of error, we won't homeschool the same way and we'll know that it's not a better or lesser option; it's simply an option.

One thing that troubles me is that we tend toward mutual exclusivity about these school decisions. Sometimes it feels like choosing one route is an ideological rejection of the other route. 

It shouldn't be.

So with this perspective in mind, I'm planning to embark on a little series with the cheesiest and lengthiest title you've ever heard. Ready? 

Being Cool About School: 
Finding Grace & Freedom for Ourselves & Others in Our Educational Choices

{To pin the image above, just hover over the picture and you'll see the Pinterest logo.}

Who is this series for? 

  • Moms who don't yet have kids in school but are already stressing about how to educate them.
  • Homeschool moms who are weary and breaking down but too afraid to make a change.
  • Public or private school moms whose kids are struggling but they don't know what to expect or consider about homeschooling.
  • Moms on both "sides" who have felt judged or misunderstood by moms on the other side...or who have judged or misunderstood moms on the other side.
  • Any mom whose decisions about school are ruled by fear or duty rather than freedom and common sense.
  • Christian moms who want want to know how our freedom in Christ really does free us up and provides us with grace for others who do it differently.

Here are some post ideas:

  • Our story {a brief summary}
  • Why I'm glad we homeschooled for five years
  • Why we switched from homeschool to public school
  • Praises and pitfalls of both 
  • Things to consider before you homeschool {and how I'd do it differently}
  • Things to consider before you public school
  • You still homeschool, even if your kids go to school
  • How can we come together?

If you're interested in reading through this series, you can subscribe to the blog and have each post delivered to your e-mail address. Go ahead. I'll wait. {You can unsubscribe anytime you want.}

This series will last two - three weeks and I'll post three times each week.

Can I be honest as I close? I'm terrified. I tend to run from controversy. I'm a natural-born people pleaser. I'd rather edit and publish my funny post on being a "reluctant cheer mom" or show you the little writing nook I recently configured in the corner of my bedroom. And I'll get to those things and more in due time. 

But with school being back in session and some recent conversations I've had with others on the topic, I've decided to be brave and say yes to this opportunity that seems timely and right. 

My hope and prayer is that my writings here will spur all of us on to greater freedom as mothers and to greater freedom as sisters to our fellow moms. This thing of motherhood is not for the faint of heart and we need all the encouragement and camaraderie we can get.

I heartily welcome any suggestions or questions you may have. Most of all, I welcome your prayers as I strive to faithfully pursue this topic with truth and gentleness.

Read the rest of the posts in the series here. 


Feel free to chat it up in the comments section: Is this a relevant topic for you? Have you personally struggled with indecision or pressure to teach your kids a certain way? Have you ever felt judged for your personal choices on this issue?

Whatever your thoughts, I'd love to know and I'm really looking forward to sharing together. {If you put a question in the comments section, check back. I'll put my replies there.}

Special thanks to my sweet friend, Richella, from Imparting Grace. She loves the idea of this series and kindly suggested that I needed a "pinnable" image. And then she went and made one for me. I call her my "fairy blogmother." Thank you Richella! Special thanks also goes to my friend, Kindel at Willow White Studios, who made the lovely image pinnable. 

Feel free to pin, link, or share the series with anyone you think may benefit from it.


  1. Good, good, GOOD! I'm excited about this series. It's very much needed!

    I just sent you an email about it, but wanted to leave a comment here to publicly declare how glad I am that you're writing this!

  2. I'm looking forward to this series! You said it all right here, "Empathy and experience have taught me that these decisions are deeply personal and layered." I wish more people said this out loud and meant it! It could change so much for so many moms. You speak and live grace, so don't be terrified. It will be great!

  3. Wow, I wish I had a series like this to read when I was in the thick of homeschooling years ago. Your topics are excellent and I'm sure they will be an encouragement to so many people!

  4. I have been a regular reader for several years and LOVE the way you write about, well...everything. But I am especially excited to hear your voice more on this issue. I think that God has prepared and gifted you, through your own journey of pain and tears, to speak to this topic in a way that will minister grace. I have homeschooled my boys--ages 10 and 11--almost exclusively, with the exception of one quarter in a Christian school, but I am not a "homeschool only" kind of homeschooler. I am not your typical homeschool mom, either. I have been a single parent for most of our homeschool journey, and I have to work full time. My 12 hour schedule as a nurse allows me to work only 2-3 school days per week, and my sister graciously teaches my kids once I head into work at 11:00 a.m. Our situation is far from ideal thanks to choices made that were beyond my control, but God has filled in the gaps and provided in such real ways. Will I always homeschool? I don't know. I'm taking it one day at a time. There may come a point at which I'm just not able to keep up any longer with the myriad demands on my time and strength, or my sister may be unable to continue to help. I'm glad to know that there are those like you who will not judge or condemn. Keep writing. You are lovely and your words are making a difference.

  5. Came to visit from Sarah-Jane's post on facebook. Very excited to follow this series!

  6. I'm excited about everything you write, so I'm sure this will be a wonderful series and timely for me because I start homeschooling this year. I have felt the insecurities in my conversations leading up to us starting to homeschool - my own, or my friends that have chosen a different journey. This line stood out to me, "Empathy and experience have taught me that these decisions are deeply personal and layered." Though I am new to the school age children experience, I have observed enough strife, insecurity and/or self righteousness over personal decisions like natural childbirth, breast feeding vs. bottle feeding, and the immunization debate. I am wary of my own sin and self-righteousness that lingers subtly until it appears not to subtle at all. I'm looking forward to your series because I want to be a women of grace, one that clings to the cross and Christ, and not a label or inferior identity as a functional savior. Much love to you Scooper!

  7. Really interested in "Things to consider before you homeschool {and how I'd do it differently}."


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