How to Stop Homeschooling

What?! You mean there are people who actually do that? Yes. There are.

In fact, globally, homeschoolers are not a homogeneous group. There are families that homeschool one child while sending another elsewhere for their education. Some school them at home all the way through high school and some choose to encourage their children’s education through outside mentors, teachers and classes. There are benefits to every way depending on your family make-up, tenacity, personalities, health, locations, hardships, goals, freedoms, worldview, needs, and support. But when a family comes to a point of wanting or needing to stop their homeschooling efforts there is little support out there for them.

Families who choose to desist schooling at home are not failures. They have not “given up.” They count the cost of stopping just as sincerely as they counted the cost of beginning in the first place.

I know this, because we are one of those families. In the fall, my oldest son whom I’ve homeschooled “from the beginning” will be going to a small charter school that, I believe, will challenge and enrich him in fabulous ways. Our younger two boys will continue to learn at home. There is a peace about how our family is developing and the opportunities God is giving us. But I feel a bit of the sting from the homeschooling world for our choice. Even so, I’m proceeding in the way I believe my family should go.

If you plan to stop homeschooling, I am here to support you as you find your new legs. Here are a few tips to think through as you process all of your thoughts and emotions.

1. Give attention to your hesitations; explore them. God speaks to us in all different kinds of ways. If you honestly can’t say you love homeschooling anymore, if you’re consistently frustrated, if you’ve tried changing curriculums, plugging into a support group, exploring your family’s learning styles, taking care of yourself, and if you’ve held onto homeschooling loosely so that God can do with it what he will, then keep listening. If the thought of doing this for one more year inwardly gives you pause, those hesitations are telling you something.

2. Find a new solution that meets all of your family’s needs. Will the new structure cater to your child’s learning style and personality? How will the schedule disrupt your family’s day-to-day routine? What adjustments and preparations will need to be made if you’re making a change? Consider everyone’s needs (including your own). If you feel like you’re sacrificing someone’s needs for the needs of another, keep considering other alternatives. This is a whole-family shift. Don’t force it, but welcome the change when it reveals itself.

3. Let go of the voices in your head that said you were “supposed” to do this forever. The only mandate we really have is to love. Only you can know what God specifically wants for your family. God will often move us in different directions and take us through hard experiences. But if we stay in an ideology out of fear of the unknown then we remain slaves to that ideology. We should be constantly re-evaluating every year whether we do so with the intent of stopping or not. If stopping is where you peacefully land, then bravely let it be.

4. Make a choice you can justify. Not only will you have to live with your choice but you’ll also find yourself answering the new voices that will ask, “Why?” Let your rationale for stopping be as sound as your reasons were for starting. Include your kids in this so that you understand each other’s needs. Homeschooling served its purpose for a time. Don’t be ashamed of that. Starting in a new direction should be done so with a resolute foundation.

5. Consider who you are outside of being a homeschool mom. If you are not going to continue at all, you will encounter a mammoth identity shift. Be comfortable, even excited, about who you will become. No one is encouraging you to abandon your children. Even as we daily walk beside them we are always living out our God-given identities, both as their mother and as His daughter or son. Continue confidently in your own journey of “becoming.” Your children will continue to take notice.

6. Stay involved. Stay really, really involved in your child’s education. Continue to be supportive, cheer your child on, help, pray and serve. Studies are clear that children whose parents are highly engaged in their education will have greater success.

Remember, you are not giving up; you are just changing paths.

It is my prayer that these thoughts would be well received by those who are desperately looking for grace in their decision. I pray that it spurs all of us on to encourage one another toward love and good deeds. I wish you peace in your next steps.

Debra Anderson has three sons ages 11 and younger. Her passions are education, mentoring, her husband, writing, church ministry and missional living — not in that order. She has her seminary Masters degree in Christian Education, is married to her pastor-husband of 16 years, and resides in their newish home in Denver, CO. In spite of moves between four different states, she has always home educated her boys — even on the hard days. She maintains a blog at

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6 thoughts on “How to Stop Homeschooling

  1. Thank you so much for posting thi!! We have homeschooled our children from the beginning. My kids (7th and 8th) will be entering a program where they go to “school” two days per week and do the work at home the rest of the week(It’s actually still considered homeschooling). I was very surprised and upset at some of my homeschool friends who are judging me and actually accused me of trying to get my children “out of the nest too soon”! Needless to say, that is not the case. I just think they need some exposure to a classroom setting before college. They have also expressed interest in going somewhere that offers some of the extracurriculars (marching band). They are both excited about it…and if it doesn’t work, we can always pull them back out. I was just surprised about how little support (actually none except from my husband and my sister)that I was given. I didn’t even feel comfortable talking it out with any of them. I can’t imagine how I would have been treated if I was electing to put them in public or private school full time!!

  2. Thank you for voicing something that is not discussed much in the homeschool circle. I put my children in school for a semester after homeschooling for 17 years. I was so burned out. In a moment of fear, I took them out because I didn’t feel needed, had lost my identity. They are still home and will be going back in the fall. This needs to be written about because many women feel like failures if they decide to stop.

  3. We have decided to put our 3 in school for this year. I’ve been homeschooling since the beginning too but I am having a health issue I need to deal with head on and the kids just weren’t getting what they education wise from me. They are going to a public school. The classes are small – 1 class per grade; 15 kids or so per class with teacher, aide, and a volunteer parent. I have started having epileptic seizures . My kids witnessed 2 of these, where I had a seizure, blacked out and they had to call 911 on their own. They are 3, 5, 7. Very scary for them. So we are putting them in school to focus on my health. Now they are so excited to go to school. We have talked about every little thing and I am surprised at their excitement. Thanks for this post – I loved it!

  4. A charter school in Colorado might be a good option, but there is something pervasive in Christian homeschooling that I see in your post that prompts me to write: It’s the absence of a husband in the decision making process to stop homeschooling. Not that I am blaming you (and maybe you just left your husband’s role in this decision), nor am i blaming wives, but rather husbands. The lack of male leadership in homeschooling and raising children in general is spectacular (I am aware of the men such as Farris). I belong to two homeschool coops. One is predicated on male leadership, but if you attend meetings you see that the husbands are largely being led around by the women, and are quick to turn the meeting, or the event planing, or the event over to their wife who actually has the command of all the details. Men seem largely unaware of what is going on in their homeschooling home, they don’t know what their children are learning. Men I meet at church never seem to be discussing the education of their children. I commented to a school board president that there would be no Christian school here if it weren’t for moms. The board member acknowledged that that was certainly the case in his home. It had never crossed his mind to do anything about his kids education, not even think about it. What ever happened with his own children’s education simply happened because of his wife’s efforts and decisions. If the typical mom was as disengaged as the typical dad, it would be a wonder that the kids would ever be educated, I realize that there are exceptions to the rule, myself being one, but I think my assessment is pretty accurate and pretty sad.

  5. thank you so much for this post. I have been homeschooling my 11, 9, 8, 6 with special needs and 2 year old for 5 years. Two years ago we homeschooled through breast cancer with the help of dear friends and family. This year, my cancer came back. Even though I am over stressing myself with homeschooling, running a expanding small business and now cancer again I still feel like a failure when I say I have to quit homeschooling. The stress is not good on the kids and makes godly mothering impossible. My husband gave me the permission to seek out charter schools in the area last night. :-}
    Thank you for showing me that this does not make me a failure.