My Family’s Adventures Starting Homeschooling: From School to Home


Last month, we decided to pull our son out of public school in order to homeschool him, and everyone wants to know why. I’m guessing some people think there is a juicy story behind our decision but there isn’t.

Even though we’re just starting homeschooling, I’ve actually wanted to homeschool for a long time. Even before I had kids of my own, I thought I wanted to homeschool my own children. But then I had kids.

The year my son entered kindergarten, when my daughter was born, postpartum depression crippled me. Literally, ALL my brain could focus on was surviving. My son had an amazing kindergarten teacher though,  and he was happy at school. I’m so grateful for that because it gave me the time I needed to heal and to care for my infant daughter.

Fast forward to this fall. I’ve worked hard to heal and recover from PPD. I weaned my daughter last spring, I started getting more sleep, and I finally felt like I could think again.

boy, kids, outside
I believe my son needed more time outside.

My husband and I decided to move forward with the traditional school setting for first grade. We figured that our son was happy last year so he would be again. We were wrong. He wasn’t happy. He was miserable. It was a fight every day to get him to school. He fell asleep each night and woke up saying he wasn’t going to go to school. He felt bored and cooped up all day. He often seemed frantic trying to get all his ideas out in the evenings. Some of the work seemed too easy for him, and some areas caused him to struggle a lot. At school, it appeared that he was doing lots of worksheets,  even handwriting worksheets on the first day! My son is eager to learn, but I saw that light going out with each day he spent at school.

flash cards, writing, teaching
My son needs hands-on learning.

At first, we tried to dismiss his attitude and behavior as part of the transition from summer to first grade, but I didn’t want to dismiss it altogether. I agreed with my son. I get it. I was a classroom teacher. I understand that there are rules that students have to follow and a curriculum that the teacher has to follow. I know that class sizes are often too big and it’s extremely difficult to really differentiate lessons for each student.

It became clear to me that my family’s educational philosophy was not matching up with the education my son was getting. I started researching starting homeschooling.

I needed to know what it could look like for us. We had so many things to consider. I recently launched my own business, and I wondered if I would still be able to work. When would I have breaks? Would we use a curriculum? I had a million questions.

Then, one day I was driving along when I had an epiphany. I knew I could do this. I am a teacher and I know my son best. I know how he learns and I know how to teach. I know I’ve created an amazing support system and I know I’ll have help. I felt in my gut that I could homeschool him and that this was what was best for him right now. Like so many other families considering homeschooling, I have concerns about my son building friendships, but I also know that being in public school is no guarantee of friends. In fact, he was in a class this year WITHOUT any of his friends from kindergarten. When I stopped to think about this, I realized he’s in several groups with his peers, (Jujitsu, soccer, and chicken club) and even if we homeschooled, he’d continue taking Physical Education in public school.

So, we did something that some find radical. We took our son out of public school. Just like that. And I actually feel good about making this decision at this moment because I made this decision based on my son’s development and needs. I don’t know if we will homeschool forever, but it’s what is working for our family right now.

kid, boy, chalk
We take learning outside!

The question stands – why homeschool?

The simplest answer is that it came down to our educational philosophy. My husband and I wanted our son to have more time outside, more hands-on and experiential learning, differentiated instruction based on his interests, strengths, and weaknesses, and more autonomous choice in his learning.

Have you ever considered homeschooling? What advice do you have for a new homeschooling mom like me?



  1. A great and brave choice, Ashley. You are the primary educator of your son and you know him best. And you are more than ideally placed to do what is best for him. You go, girl!!!


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