I have noticed over the years that people I know who have stopped homeschooling for whatever reason have become distant and have all but disappeared from my life. A recent conversation made me think that they were worried I would judge them for their decision to stop. If my feeling is correct, and they really do feel that way, they have nothing to worry about.
Just as I expect my friends with children in public and private school to respect my decision to homeschool, I also respect the right of anyone who chooses to enroll their kids in public schools. Sure, I might ask why they made that decision because I am trying to resolve in my head what went wrong or right to help decide to return to public school. After all, don’t people question me about homeschooling in the same way? However, I have no intention to judge. It is my belief that many other homeschoolers feel the same way.
Homeschooling is not just about homeschooling for homeschooling’s sake. It is about doing what is best for your child at that moment. If homeschooling is not the best thing for that child or that family, then they should not be doing it. It is OK to stop homeschooling if that is the best thing for your child.
Does it affect families who continue to homeschool when friends and acquaintances begin to enroll in public schools? Yes… a little. My kids are in middle school right now, the time when the biggest exodus from homeschooling into public education occurs. This leaves them saying goodbye or losing touch with people they have essentially grown up with.
The reason for this movement back to public school is varied. Some parents feel they have imparted all of the knowledge they could into their kids, and it is now time for public schools to take over. Some kids want a change of pace. Some families want an easier path into college. At some point in every homeschoolers life, every one must decide at which point their work is done. For me, we are still on our journey. For others, while their journey if finished, at least for now, they are richer for the experience.