To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool that is the Question (Every Year)


As I write this, Bella is in our yard with her box of tools fixing her wooden barn. I can hear her sawing and pounding away. It is a “school day” for most kids. This year we chose to homeschool.

Before she went outside Bella asked, “What letter are we working on today?” She has learned all the letters but we do art projects with each one, to give them a pronounced and special place in her mind.

She is learning to write words, but so far she is happy to string lots of letters together at random & tell me what her story says. It is pure heaven to see her creations. The letters are sometimes backwards, and often floating on the page as if they were in water… beautiful artful creations that she makes over and over again… in notebooks, on plain paper, with bath crayons on the tub wall…

This feels so right.

I had help with the decision to homeschool this year… her birthday is on October 23, so she only made the cutoff for Kindergarten by one week. She would have been the youngest child in class had we started her this year. She has always been a somewhat young, somewhat dreamy child. So we were hesitant from the start.

To help us make the decision, her prospective Kindergarten teacher sent us home with a homework packet – the type she would be receiving right at the beginning of Kindergarten. We took the packet home to practice. It was misery. It was everything I dislike about traditional education… tracing, graphs, matching, writing on the lines… it was awful for us both and it sealed the deal. We would homeschool this year and delay Kindergarten.

So with both feet we jumped in… My mom purchased homeschool guide books for us from Oak Meadow. We have been going through the program at our own pace… which for us means reading ALL the fairy tales intended for the entire year in the first week… and ditching some of the activities that felt too contrived for our homeschool.

So we are half way through our first year and these are the things I love about homeschooling so far…

1) Bella can learn in her bare feet!
2) There’s no morning rush.
3) No driving.
4) I get to participate.
5) Bella can strip down to nothing if she is hot.
6) She can take a day off mid-week. (or 2)
7) Weekends are bonus homeschool days if we need them.
8) I love that my daughter’s first impression of letters, words, books & language is coming from her own Mama who values and treasures these things.
9) I’ve met some inspirational homeschool Moms & their unique children.
10) No comparison of lunch boxes, so my daughter does not get exposed to junk foods.
11) Supervised (by me) interactions with other kids.
12) Extracurricular classes are usually discounted because they are taken during school hours… so she has been whale watching, and taking ballet, horseback riding & exploring music (like the harp) all at extremely discounted rates.

For the most part it has been wonderful.

Despite this… we are still contemplating school next year. We would like to move to Portland so she can attend the AMAZING Portland Waldorf School.

But, we may not be able to move and so we are also exploring local school options.

Why is it such a gut-wrenchingly hard decision to homeschool or not to homeschool next year? You would think I would have gained such confidence after a year of poetic and beautiful growth in my daughter… but still there is this nagging feeling that she is missing out on something by not experiencing “normal” school, even though so much about the traditional methods of teaching and the environment they are taught in turn my stomach.

So what are you doing Mamas? Homeschooling, private school, public school… something else? And what are some of the things you love about what you have chosen?

Cai Dixon is a mom and co-creator of Copy-Kids. Copy-Kids makes video content encouraging positive habits in young children by encouraging them to copy other kids. Their debut release is a DVD entitled Copy-Kids Eat Fruits and Vegetables. In it you’ll find children joyfully eating fruits and vegetables. Kids watching it want to join in. It’s that simple. And it’s effective. Find them at: Copy-Kids.


  1. MrsRaptor says:

    I have done a combination of public schools, private schools and homeschooling with my kids. With my oldest two (ages 33 and 30) public schools were my only choice other than during vacations; I couldn’t afford private schools. Homeschooling wasn’t legal here then and by the time it was I was chasing twins and the two oldest were in high school. With the twins (age 19) I did a combination of all three – they started in public school with homeschooling during vacations when the “I’m bored” complaints started and finished in private schools with homeschooling during vacations because we still had the “I’m bored” complaints. My youngest (age 12) is homeschooled because she is deaf due to brain tumors and frequent chemotherapy has her immune system depressed.

    All of that said, my kids who have graduated high school (or college in the case of the older two) graduated early (by a couple of years) and even the youngest is working several grade levels above her age peers. My advice for what it’s worth… do what feels “right” for your daughter and your family. You can supplement what she learns in public or private schools with homeschooling, you can stick to either private or public schooling or you can combine them and come up with what works for her.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I am so impressed that you have five children!! I wanted four, but that just wasn’t meant to be… It sounds like all of your children turned out wonderfully on different paths. Your poor darling youngest has had the mixed blessing of loss of hearing, but more of you. Is she tumor-free now?

      Your advice “feels” correct. I always thought that if she went to Waldorf, I would probably tutor her a bit at home to keep her in step with other curriculum. I love their approach to learning, love the environment… love that they focus on language and the arts and teach math & science in interesting ways… but I have never been comfortable that they teach writing and reading at 7.

      So I have one more question. Does it get easier? Is there a point in time on the mothering road when you feel absolutely sure that the decisions you are making on behalf of your child are the correct ones for that child. Or is it always just doing your best and hoping that it turns out for the best.

  2. We have been homeschooling for the past four years after a year of kindergarten. Nothing was really wrong with the school, but we could see the writing on the wall. I was not looking forward to the hours of homework. Whatever our choice, it results in consequences. Whether we have another child or not. Whether we move or not. Whether we homeschool or not. Homeschooling is what’s right for our family now. Rachel would’ve been fine in school, but we had already started to make friends in the homeschooling community before kindergarten and we missed them. Homeschooling hasn’t been easy, but it’s been very much worth it.

    • That is why I am so puzzled by my uncertainty… I am happy with the way she is growing, and proud of our choices so far. And the homeschool families are great!! But her father is English, and a bit of a traditionalist, so in his mind she is definitely going to school next year. He has been making the rounds of all the schools, getting her on lists, entering her in lotteries… and I am not opposed. But my heart is not in it.


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