Pulling Children Out of Public School to Homeschool

This week The 4 Moms are addressing a topic that I have no experience with: withdrawing children from public school in order to homeschool.

See what the rest of my team has to say on this topic:

Since our children have never attended a traditional school, not even a preschool, I don’t have words of wisdom from personal experiences.

What I do know, and this is only legally binding in the state of Texas, is that a parent does NOT need to have curriculum approved, have the child tested, go through a waiting period, or jump through any other hoops that a school district may request of you.

I often see it reported in our Homeschool Legal Defense newsletter that a family decides to withdraw a child in order to homeschool and the school district, perhaps not knowing the law, demands to approve the curriculum the family plans to use. This is absolutely outside the realm of the school district’s authority (in TX)  and parents do not need to submit to this request.

Remember to be aware of the laws in your state regarding what is required of you. (The link above has the laws related to homeschooling in all 50 states.) Often times the schools haven’t had experience with homeschoolers, so you must educate yourself.

As far as adjusting to the new routine of homeschooling… sorry… We’ve never done that either. I would say give it time, take it slow, and try the best you can to make the transition a smooth one. There will likely be bumps along the way, but keep at it. Don’t try to make your homeschool a copy of the school you just pulled him out of. Make it your own, what best fits your family.

Do you have any advice for withdrawing children from public school to homeschool?

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Comments

  1. In Australia until recently it was very hard as, unless you went through a correspondence school it was illegal and consisted of people moving out of state, sympathetic schools ‘loosing’ paperwork, and children disappearing.

    Oh those were the good old days, lol.

    It’s now apparently legal (this time. People in Australia don’t trust the education department anymore, we have been conned enough times, tricked and blindsided. I believe the majority of homeschooling families still do so outside the system, ‘illegally’, despite the new home education department), but as I graduated the same year the system came into place, and am not yet homeschooling my child, I don’t know what the situation is there.

    What I do know about withdrawing is to take some time to ‘detox’ from school. Let the children take some time to play and unwind, and give yourself time as a parent to figure out how your children work best, where their interests are, WHO they are, the many things you have doubtless missed about them while they were away from you all day.

    Homeschool is NOT school at home. Find what works for you and your family, but chances are it wont be sitting at a desk 7 hours a day looking at workbooks.

    Try and keep your childrens friendships, but realise some parents may refuse the contact as they disagree with your decisions

  2. If you’ve taken a child out of school, chances are there is an issue of some sort. Which usually needs time to heal and recover. Don’t try to launch straight into home school, give some space to find your ground. Explore what is out there, and what is going to work best for you.
    A friend from Church who is an s.e.n teacher, who hasn’t homeschooled once gave me a stirling piece of advice. Pray for guidance, and trust that even when you don’t know what is going on, him upstairs does. You are in a unique situation in 21st century life in that all of you are together 24/7 365 days a year. It is perfectly normal not only for you, but for the children to sometimes crave peace and space. So it’s okay to ditch the books for one day, and let everyone crawl back to their caves so to speak and give themselves some head room. It has helped me to be more intune, and calmer, to recognise when we need some down time.

  3. I would love for the moms to share what a normal homeschool day for them looks like. Who do you work your day out. Not so much the kids but you. How does it affect your day?

  4. I have never pulled my kids out of public school, but I did pull them out of a private Christian school. As it turned out it was the best decision we ever made. I hadn’t realized how much of my time was dictated by the school! In our situation, we did do many of the things that they were doing at school, such as curriculum. I tried to keep a schedule (and still do), and by doing so we had our afternoons free for gymnastics, homeschool groups, and just having fun or relaxing. The best thing: NO HOMEWORK! :)

    All my kids so far have gone to public school by high school….mainly because of team sports or band. Our oldest went to our Christian school for her first two years and then transferred to public school. Now that was an adjustment. Maybe my last one will want to homeschool in high school. I doubt it…the draw of football is too much, I think. We live in a small rural town (moved here when oldest was starting her junior year).

    Because of the possibility of going to public school at a later time, I have tried to keep them on some sort of schedule. I think maybe because of our personalities, we do much better with a little structure. I have lesson plans and quizzes and tests. I even schedule housework, etc. If I don’t have a plan, I don’t get things done. We always started school at 8:30 (now it’s usually 9 with just one at home.) We go through our schedule…which is not written in stone. Sometimes Ryan gets to take an extra long “break” with his cousin, if they are building a fort outside or playing football. We usually finish most of school before lunch. Sometimes we have one or two subjects to finish after lunch, depending on how long their break was. :)
    When I had 4 homeschoolers, I really had to schedule our time. I had to make time to work with each individual, so I usually worked with the youngest ones first while the big kids did subjects that required only introductory instruction, like Spelling, Math and Language. We usually did not finish school until the little kids were napping after lunch, but we scheduled that in. I would give them blocks of time for computer, reading, art activities, science projects, etc, otherwise it would get crazy and end up with fighting and arguing.

    I think you just have to find what works for your family. I also believe it is very important to have a plan before you start. The less prepared you are the more stressful it will be. When I had 3 or 4 kids at home, I made my basic lesson plans the summer before. Then I could look ahead each week and plan what I needed for science and art or anything extra like maps. I could schedule in extra time off for holidays and still have the summer off.
    Don’t let outside things interfere with your homeschool time. Don’t answer the phone! Consider it your job and give it your full attention. If the kids don’t think you are serious about teaching, they will not be serious about learning. But make sure you schedule in some ME time or you will be burnt out before the year is over. NOTE: The first year is the hardest. Have fun and enjoy your kids (sometimes easier said than done). Pray!

  5. Connie Seward says:

    Hi Smockity

    I pulled my children out of public school during their late elementary years and put them back in a few years later. As a mother, my top regret is that I did not homeschool my children right from the get go (you have my highest regard) and that I did not have the courage to persevere with homeschooling to the end.

    I children’s experience with public schooling has been a nightmare. Here in Alberta, Canada, public schooling has become a very laxadasical affair with huge amounts of days off, uncommitted teachers (some, not all) and a general unconcerned attitude by the education system and public alike.

    My advice to parents is to take it slowly, do not give in to public pressure that your children will not be receiving the same education as their peers in school (which they won’t – it will be vastly superior), and pray always for wisdom and guidance. God gave you these children to you, not the public education system. Above all, keep going!

  6. Thanks for this post! My kids only attended Christian school for a half a year when we went back to the states on furlough. Wasn’t a real big adjustment for us to get back into the swing of things. But to the comment made about homeschool not being school at home, for some it is and it can work! We have desks, workbooks,dvds, bulletin boards…I’m a teacher by trade and I love decor, folders and workbooks! Most of the time we are in “school” in the AM. The rest of the time we help mom with baking, go to the park and collect leaves, carve and roast pumpkins after we estimated then recorded measurements and seed counts. We take loads of field trips (so many things to see here in the UK) and read tons! So we have a nice mix while still doing “school”. My advice, be willing to adjust to your kids needs. I have just remembered this lesson recently! It all takes time and sometimes trial and error. Hats off to those who pull their kids out of school to keep them at home!

  7. Kat Menard says:

    I will leave the philosophical advice to others and keep to the logistical. I taught school for a decade before i had children, which we have always homeschooled. It is hard to not do “school” at home. However, sometimes the schedule of “school” is easier on Mom–which is necessary for you to continue and not lose your nerve. I would advise starting with their ages/ grades and what they have to do separately but with help, like math and learning to read. We do math at the same time or consecutively so that i can help both but they do their own work.
    Then make a list of what subjects you can do as a family –like a read aloud, history, Bible and perhaps science.
    I think like to have do-alone subjects that just needs my check in, like a computer drill game, handwriting, silent reading, math workbook, language learning on computer, typing, or whatever is appropriate.
    Last list the things you might add as extras for pe/art etc.. like dance classes, art classes, soccer team…
    I would then try to see if you can divide your day and arrange people doing those things as best suits your family schedule and dynamic. Can big sister help your first grader to their math or reading? Can big brother do math flash cards with the one younger?
    And then, because i must, i make schedules and hang them on the wall. We don’t follow it to the letter, but it helps me remind everybody what they are doing. “hey, you, go do your independant work, you have 30 minutes…” etc..

  8. Erin Norris says:

    Thanks for this topic! I just pulled my child out of public school and thankfully it has been an easy transition. We do not believe in public school at all anymore which is very different from most people including many homeschoolers, as is evidence by the number that end up putting their children back in the public schools when they reach high school age. I would be interested to have you ladies tackle the question of why so many homeschoolers return to public school when they get older.

  9. I am new at homeschool. I pulled my daugher out of public just this week. It wasn’t a easy to come to this decision but after waying all the pros and cons, I decided this was best for my daughter who is ADHD and has already been held back 2 times in school. Once in Kindergarten and then again in 4th grade, each time was due to her maturity level, not her learning. So my daughter who is suppose to be in the 7th grade but now is in the 5th, this just made things much harder on her with dealing with kids younger than she was. We tried medications, none of them helped. So we decided no more medications and I would homeschool her from now on.

    Our day starts at 8am-Breakfast and cartoon time
    9am- lessons begin
    11am- we take a break..have a snack and get some cleaning done around the house.
    12pm- lunch
    1pm- we finish up our lessons and I input all her lessons and what we did on my computer for record keeping, then we put all her work into the right folders. We are done for the day :)

    I also make sure sometime that evening that I have her lesson plan all worked out for the next day.

    I truly enjoy teaching my daugther.

  10. Kim Bowlin says:

    I am the special needs coordinator for the Missouri state homeschool organization, Families for Home Education. All of the advice above is great, but there are a few items that parents who are bringing home children who have special needs must consider.

    If your child has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), you are required by the federal law, IDEA, to provide a written “revocation of consent” in order for your child to be released from their IEP. IDEA mandates what public schools must provide to children with special needs and how they must administer their records, among other things. Part of that mandate is that parents sign a form when the IEP is set up that gives the school permission to provide the special needs services for their child. When you remove your child from public school AND if you are no longer using the school to provide the special needs services, you must revoke the permission you gave them when the IEP was set up in writing. HSLDA has a sample revocation letter available to members at http://www.hslda.org.

    Most home school organizations, including HSLDA and FHE, suggest that families find services other than the public school for their child with special needs. HSLDA also offers a great list of special needs resources. Two companies that provide curriculum and supplemental supplies that are specific to special needs are Timberdoodle (www.timberdoodle.com) and AVCS Books (www.avcsbooks.com)

    Just as each state has different legislation regarding home education in general, some also have specific legislation regarding special needs in home education. Contact your state organization or HSLDA for more information about the law as it pertains to your family.

    I also want to agree with all those who mentioned taking some time off to unwind and decompress when you first bring your child/ren home. You can still educate your child during this time by going to the library and letting your child choose books on topics of interest, then read them together and do projects based on the topic. This will begin to familiarize you with your child’s reading levels, interests, and abilities. Also, cuddling up on the couch to watch documentaries can be considered “school” by most state laws. Baking, hiking, visiting museums, writing letters to family members, crafting – all these things are teaching your child, while giving them break from curriculum and will help you all get to know each other better – which will only make your home school stronger as you enjoy learning together.

  11. We’re in our 6th year of homeschooling with 7 children . We pulled ours out of school when they were going into 9th, 6th and 5th grades. It was the best decision we’ve ever made. It did take time to adjust, and I’m so glad I had those 4 years of high school at home with my oldest son who is now in his 2nd year of college.

  12. We’ve always homeschooled as well! So, so nice to meet you at the Tiny Prints party!

  13. My wife and I home school and I’m certain your site and insights will be helpful to us in our journey. I stumbled here through a post on FB by “Blogging with Amy,” and I’m glad I did. (By the way, we’ve always home schooled.)

  14. In my area, we have a charter, public, private, and Christian school. My son is only 4 but I just entered him into the charter school lottery for next year. The charter school I guess is public but not private but requires parental involvement by volunteering. I *think* if the parents don’t meet the volunteer requirements the kids will have to go to a different school. I’ve thought about homeschooling.

  15. I have pulled my son (the oldest of 6) out of public school. I’ve been homeschooling him for 7 months now. It was at the end of 5th grade when I decided to homeschool him. I was very nervous before telling the principal. I was just afraid of the unknown, afraid of what he might say. He was fine with my desicion and offered to be of any help in the adjustment (i.e. comparing my homeschool books to where my son was finishing up that year, letting him come for just “specials”).

    Homeschooling has been quite a challenge for both of us. It is starting to get better now. I did go back to the principal in December to ask about him coming to school just for “specials” (art, music, and gym). He started “specials” in January and it has been wonderful. He gets to still see his friends, making this adjustment a bit easier for him.

    My advise would be don’t be afraid of telling the school of your decision. Research the laws in your state first, so you know what your rights are. Speak to other homeschooling families. Ask if your child can go just for “specials”. And, finally, yet most importantly, pray about it.

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