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May 2008
By Lee Binz

The HomeScholar
When Friends Stop #Homeschooling @TheHomeScholar

This is the time of year when people think about their plans for fall. It feels wonderful to see the END of each school year, and look forward to the beginning of the next year. Unfortunately, though, this is also the time of year when some friends announce that they will stop homeschooling for one reason or another. I remember some years when I was really shocked at the people who stopped. Long time friends, committed homeschoolers. The hard truth is that some of your long-time homeschool friends may decide to put their kids into a traditional school setting. Too often this happens because parents are afraid to homeschool middle school and high school.


Ouch! When this happens, it can really hurt – and throw you off balance. So what should you do when friends stop homeschooling?

Know your child and trust yourselfWhen Friends Stop #Homeschooling @TheHomeScholar The best advice I ever received was given to me by my midwife, shortly after the birth of my first child. “Know your child and trust yourself” she said. It still holds true, even when your baby grows up. Only YOU know what your child needs – you know your child better than anyone, and only you can decide the right course of action. Notice that this only applies to your own child, not your friend’s child. Oh, phooey! It would be nice to have all the answers for everyone, but that just isn’t possible. The good news, though, is that we do have the answer to our OWN situation, and the answer comes through knowing (and loving) our own child. Notice that my midwife didn’t say it would be easy. It’s hard; parenting is always hard. Even parenting an “easy” child is hard! But through knowing your own child, you can make the best decision for your child, and then you can trust the decision that you make.

Don’t follow the crowd Don't let what other people do affect your behavior. You know what's right for your child, and it doesn't really have anything to do with other people. If you like homeschooling, keep with it. Having a friend change their plans shouldn’t change your homeschool. If you remember that your decision is based on your knowledge of your child, then someone else’s decision will have less of an impact. You and your children can continue to be friends with them. This is just a small change, in the scheme of things. Small changes happen all the time and we adjust. This is just another small change.

Use what works When Friends Stop #Homeschooling @TheHomeScholarIs homeschooling working for you? I’m not asking if it’s perfect, because no school will ever be perfect. I’m only asking if it’s working! Are your kids progressing through subjects, learning things, doing things? Don’t ask yourself if something else MIGHT work better, because you don’t know for sure if the grass is really greener somewhere else. You only know your own homeschool. Is it working? If it’s working, don’t stop!

The known and the unknown You don’t know if a traditional school situation will help your kids. When Kevin was in a 4th grade “Gifted” program in public school, he didn't stay on track, didn't finish his textbooks in the year, goofed off much of the day. Other kids didn't turn in their homework or finish the reading. Yet nobody cared! Even if you change schools, that “staying on track” situation may not change at all. Moms are often their own worst enemy. Don't beat yourself up, just look for the best solution for your family.

Kids on the conveyor belt Do you remember the “I Love Lucy” episode with the candy conveyor belt? That’s what traditional classrooms are like! When kids get behind, they will do whatever it takes to catch up – and sometimes “whatever it takes” means not learning the content! In school, kids are on a conveyor belt, and they move at a certain speed regardless of how quickly they are learning. Is that what you think “staying on track” means? Our mission as homeschoolers is NOT to have our kids stay on track! Our mission is to teach them at a speed that is right for them - always challenging but never overwhelming. Keeping kids on track isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Keeping parents on track is usually a better tactic. Prioritizing your homeschool, keeping lists or checklists, and developing schedules can help. My children were able to follow my instruction as long as it was typed out. For whatever reason, my oral instructions always seemed to be open for debate. When I gave my kids written instructions, it somehow seemed to be more “official” and they usually accomplished it without complaining. If you have trouble keeping yourself on track, consider getting a curriculum with a teachers guide or schedule. Sonlight Curriculum is what I used when I first started homeschooling. The schedule helped kept me on task.

If Sonlight doesn’t meet your needs, make up your own schedule. I used “Managers of Their Homes” by Teri Maxwell. Her strategies taught me to prioritize education above most of the other things that fill our lives. School first and “stuff” second.I began to recognize that homeschooling was my vocation and chosen career, not just one more household task.

I believe fear is the most significant factor in the decision to put children back in a traditional school setting, especially as high school approaches. Will I be able to teach high school subjects? Will I jeopardize my children’s future? What if there is a crisis at home and I can’t teach? My job is to encourage parents, and to explain high school.

I hope talking about homeschooling high school will make it seem ordinary, so that by the time you face high school, the fear is gone. You will be able to make decisions based on what is best for your child, instead of basing your decision on fear. Next month I have an article discussing the “What if?” fears and what you can do to overcome them.

Copyright © 2014 The HomeScholar LLC, Text may be reprinted without permission if used in full, except for use in a book or other publication for rent or for sale. Reprint must include this copyright, bio (below), and the original URL link (

Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee's FREE Resource Guide "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School" and more freebies at


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