Why I Sent My Homeschooled Child to Public School

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God called me to homeschool 9 years ago when my daughters were beginning Kindergarten. I firmly believe this. So why in the world did I send my homeschooled child to public school?

We homeschooled successfully from kindergarten through the end of seventh grade. Now, hear me out…I’m not saying that we didn’t have difficult days. Oh, there were plenty of them. But, we were always able to pull through and bounce back and the good days outweighed the bad.

Homeschooling was a gift to our family. It was beautiful and it was fun….until it wasn’t anymore.

Why I Sent My Homeschooled Teen to Public School

I’m not exactly sure when it happened or what the catalyst happened to be. But somewhere along the line during our 8th grade year, things began to take a turn for the worst…but, again, we pulled through and made it to the end of the year.

We started homeschooling our ninth grade year in August, and all of the issues that we dealt with during our 8th grade year came back in full force x 10. I am sure it was a combination of things: teenage hormones, major changes in our family during 2019 {we lost my grandmother, my mother-in-law, and one of my best friends all to cancer}, an out of state move, etc. I took all of these things into consideration and prayed that God would help me to do whatever was necessary to continue on our homeschooling journey.

However, my youngest daughter {newly 14 years old} began to flat out refuse to do any schoolwork whatsoever. School is non-negotiable. The work simply must be done…especially at the ninth grade level. We tried reasoning with her. We tried taking away privileges. We tried giving her say in her subjects. We tried taking a break. We tried different curricula. School was still met with nonstop resistance and opposition.

Finally, after two and a half months of absolutely miserable days, I gave her an ultimatum: do your work at home OR go to public school. She looked at me and said “fine, I’ll go to public school.”

It was at that point that my heart broke into a million pieces. I cannot even tell you the range of emotions that I felt. From failure to regret to anger to fear, I felt it all. I cried harder than I’ve cried in a long time.  That night, I prayed and prayed that God would soften her heart that we would wake up the next morning and she would tell me that she changed her mind and that she would continue homeschooling. That prayer wasn’t answered.

The very next day, we enrolled her into the local public school, because of her age, she had to start in eighth grade rather than continuing on in ninth grade like we were doing at home, which is totally fine with me. The middle school has 1,100 students and the high school has 3,000.

Walking out and leaving her at that school that first day was one of the most difficult days that I’ve experienced as a parent. But, the fact is, I had no other option. Homeschooling had become an obstacle in my relationship with my daughter. I couldn’t choose to sacrifice our relationship, the peace in our home, or my sanity and emotional wellbeing on the altar of homeschooling any longer.

The fact of the matter is homeschooling was no longer the best option for my child and I had to accept that.

My older daughter {15 years old} is still homeschooling and while she denies wanting to go to public school, if we are ever faced with the reality that homeschooling is no longer best for her, we would not hesitate to go the same route with her.

This is parenting. You think you have it figured out. You think you know what is best…and then you’re back to square one.

Part two of this story continues in my post 7 Lessons I Learned In Sending My Homeschooled Child to Public School.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. I’ve been in the same situation! My older son just would not cooperate so I finally gave him the same ultimatum and he chose to enroll in public school for 10th grade. He was 15 so close to the same age as your daughter. It was also difficult for me to have him make that decision but it was for the best. Although he still struggled with wanting to work to the best of his ability throughout high school, he repeatedly told me “Thank you for caring and for homeschooling me all those years.“ He is now 19, working full time and going to college full time and has been on the honor roll every term. He says he needed those few years in the public school to really appreciate his homeschooling years. My younger son is now 14 and although we struggled last year, he is doing much better this year and has no desire to go to a public school. Every child is different and as you said, some things work good for a season and then changes have to be made. We often try to control things in our lives but then have to realize that God is in control and if we turn it over to Him, He will work everything out for the best. Blessings to you and your family!

  2. Thank you for sharing. This is our story too with a 14 year old girl. It’s not easy to make that decision and I’m not looking forward to the day she starts.

    1. It is so hard {and scary}, but that first day is definitely the hardest.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I for one am proud of you for setting boundaries and sticking to them. Way to go Mama. Hey we (those of us who went to public high school) survived and she will survive and thrive. We homeschool and plan to do it as long as we are called to. It is not for us to judge someone else’s journey.

    1. You’re exactly right- different children have different needs…and that is okay!

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Hi, there! I’m Heather Bowen, and I am so glad you’re here.

My passion lies in helping homeschool moms balance marriage, motherhood, homemaking, and homeschooling all while remaining sane!

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