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My Homeschooled Child Wants To Go To Public School. What Do I Do?

There are a lot of different reasons that people choose to homeschool. There are religious reasons, special needs, politics in schools, bullying, poor performing schools, teacher issues, and most recently pandemic worries. At the core of them all is that you felt it was the best thing for your child. No one chooses this path just to torture their kids!

Most homeschooled kids love learning at home and appreciate how awesome it is to be homeschooled. They understand and realize how lucky they are to have that opportunity, and how many more things they get the opportunity to do because they homeschool. What do you do though, if your child asks to go to public school? Maybe they went to school before and want to go back, or maybe they just want to see what it is like since they’ve never experienced it. What do you do when you want to homeschool but your child wants to go to public school? Here are my suggestions.

1. Look Into Private Schools Or Co-ops

Some private schools may have daily or weekly classes open to homeschoolers. This arrangement can give your children the opportunity to be in a classroom setting for a certain subject but be homeschooled the rest of the time. There are also a lot of homeschool co-ops and tutorials that are structured like school. If your child misses being in a class and interacting with a teacher, this option may be the fix you need. You could even start your own Co-op, tutorial or group so your child has more opportunities to be with peers or learn from someone else.

2. Follow A Public School Schedule For A Few Days Or Weeks

I don’t know about your homeschool schedule, but ours looks nothing like a public school day. We don't wake up nearly as early and only do formal studies four days a week. Our fifth day is learning through play and games. Most kids don’t realize going to school means getting up and moving bright and early and spending 6+ hours in classes and then completing sometimes several more hours of homework at home! Oh, and no pajamas allowed! Sometimes giving them a small taste of what Public school would be like can help them appreciate how wonderful homeschooling actually is or that there are things they may not have thought of.

3. Put Them In Clubs, Groups, or Classes

If your child is missing interaction with their peers or having a teacher, enrolling them in something like karate, dance, art club, or getting them involved in scouts might be the answer! You can even check out your local library for kids activities or clubs—even homeschool specific activities. Facebook is a great tool to find homeschool groups to find planned playdates or field trips. Having a weekly or bi-weekly activity can fill that desire for seeing friends and having fun.

4. Pinpoint What They Think They Are Missing Out On

If your child has previously been to school, there might be something about it that they are missing. Maybe they liked having a teacher or seeing their friends everyday. Maybe they really liked music or art class. Maybe they liked the independence or structure. Maybe you have an older child thinking about prom or graduation. Open the lines of communication and figure out what they feel is missing. Then see if you can recreate or fill that void they are missing. It maybe a simple fix like having some messy art play or even just backing off and giving your child more independent work. There are groups for older students who host proms and graduations. Finding that thing they want may just allow them to stay at home if that works best for your family.

5. Make Sure They Have Friends Who Are Also Homeschooled

A common reason for kids to want to go to school is because most of their friends are in school and they feel left out. Making sure your child has friends who are homeschooled will relieve this feeling somewhat. With the homeschooling trend growing at such a rapid rate their are so many people in your boat looking for the same thing. Check Facebook for local groups in your city or county, check your neighborhood group, or reach out and try to start your own group if you can't find a good fit. It may end up be a sanity saver for both of you. It's great to have a tribe that understands what your going through that could offer tips and tricks you haven't thought of.

6. Consider Changing Your Curriculum

Is your child interested in going to school because what you’re doing is boring or isn't working? Maybe they hate the curriculum you’re using, or maybe your approach is too structured or too casual. It may be that with a few tweaks your child is happier in your homeschool environment and will no longer dream about going to public school. There are so many curriculums available and sometimes what we think will be a winner is a big DUD. It's hard to stomach sometimes that the time and investment of the materials we've acquired were for nothing. Since a majority of homeschoolers come out of pocket it's tempting to just trudge on through and try again next year. Homeschooling is supposed to bring joy back to learning don't torture your child or yourself with something you both hate. There are resell sites to try and recoup costs.

If your homeschooled child wants to go to public school, there is likely a variety of forces causing that feeling. Don't take it as a rejection of you as a parent or educator. Instead, take the time to address their concerns, talk things through, and come up with solutions that everyone can agree on! Sometimes people just need to see the other side to realize it's not for them.

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