Decisions: From Homeschool to Public School

I recently wrote about how I was conflicted with our decision to homeschool and struggling with mommy guilt about it all. That was three weeks ago. And we’ve decided to make the leap from homeschool to public school.

There. I said it. Wow. Public school.

Nate and I have been praying so much about this. We’ve gone back and forth. And in the end, we both feel this is the right decision. We’re enrolling Nathan into our local public school this fall. I’m still going to homeschool Emily; she’s just 5 and will be in kindergarten. I don’t think she’s ready for public school yet. But Nathan is.

I’ve been learning a lot about myself this past year. You could say I’ve been on my own “journey” to healing and discovering who I really am. It hasn’t been easy, but coming out on the other side has been amazing. And this decision is part of that.

I’ve always been afraid of public school. I’m not sure why, except that it’s how I was raised. But as much as I wouldn’t have admitted it before, that was a huge part of the reason why I homeschooled Nathan. That and I put a false guilt-trip on myself in that I felt that I was a bad mom if I didn’t homeschool.

No more.

Nate and I met with the principal of our town’s elementary school last week. And you know what? It wasn’t this bad place that I’d mentally made it out to be. It was actually pretty nice. Perfect? No. But homeschooling isn’t perfect either.

The principal was very nice and answered our many questions and gave us a tour. I left feeling really good that Nathan will get a decent education there. Is it the one-on-one attention that I can give him at home? No. But then again, I don’t have the time to do creative art projects or science experiments or music classes that he can get in public school either.

Tomorrow, I’ll be bringing Nathan to the school for placement testing. They’re definitely putting him in fourth grade, but it’s to just get a better idea of where’s he at. I’m totally on board with that, in fact, we requested it. I want the teachers to have everything they need to best work with Nathan.

I’ll miss the time I get with Nathan. I’ll miss the flexibility homeschooling offers. But I know that Nathan is ready. He’ll be fine. He’s at a great age where I feel like we’ve given him a great foundation of education and with the Lord. He knows what’s right and wrong and this is a good time to let him get “out” more. Will there be bumps and tears along the way? Of course. (Especially from me, I’m sure.) But I really feel confident that this is what we need to do.

And wow, do I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me. It’s crazy really. I have been weighted down in guilt about this whole matter for so long. This feels great.

Nathan starts school on August 28th. It will be a huge change for our whole family. From homeschool to public school. You can put me right there with the first-time kindergarten moms bawling as their babies leave on the bus. Only my “baby” will be a 9 year old, fourth grader.

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About the Author

Erika is a happily married mom with four energetic children. With a love for Jesus, photography, organizing, and encouraging other moms, she stays busy and definitely does not have it all together.


  1. Cool, dont worry, im sure he’ll do great :) What does he say about going to school? Is he exited? :)

  2. *hugs to you* – I totally understand what you are feeling. After homeschooling four kids for a LONG time, we put our two oldest in a 5-day private school for the 2010-2011 school year in St. Louis. My oldest were in 5th and 6th grades at the time and, yes, I was the mama crying at drop off. Me and the moms of the PreK and K kids. (It was actually kind of funny, but I didn’t think so at the time).

    We’re now part of a blended model school in OKC ( and all four of my kids attend part of the week and are home part of the week. After having done homeschooling only, and then traditional 5-day, I’m super SUPER happy with the blended model school.

    All that to say this – you, of course, know your child the best and what I came to believe later, but didn’t so much when I was only homeschooling – you are still making educational decisions on behalf of your kids, even when you make the decision to delegate some of the responsibilities out to another entity. But you sound like you know that already.

    He will have a great year and you can always reevaluate mid-year or at the end of the year to see if it’s still working well for your whole family.

    Here’s to 2012-2013! Hope it’s a good one!

    • Megan, I’m glad you found something that works for you – that sounds like a great option.
      And yes, we definitely plan to take this year-by-year (or less if needed) and go from there. We can always go back to homeschooling if needed, but I really do think this will work.
      Thanks for the support!

  3. Good luck! And even though I do not know you personally, I am proud of you. Public school is not easy. But some of the life lessons you and your son will learn will help him grown into a smart/bright young man. Use all the daily challenges to teach him about God. Each thing that “happens” to him (you) will only strengthen his will and yours for the Lord.
    I did this with my children…and people tell me that I have raised two wonderful people. I am not sure how to explain it…but giving the world my children only brought them closer to God and His values.

    Congrats! You are a wonderful mom. “Letting” your child go into this world, just means he will fly back to you faster than ever!

  4. I couldn’t imagine homeschooling my kids. Not because I don’t enjoy doing activities and teaching them about new things, but I am not sure I could do as good a job as professionals. With that being said, I like to supplement the boys at home along with their public education to help give them an advantage. Good luck to the both of you! The hardest thing to me about sending them to school is watching all the uninvolved parents.

  5. You should never feel guilty no matter which way you school your kids, as long as you have your family’s best interests in mind. But of course that is easier said than done. I struggle with this frequently myself, as my kids go to public school and always have, and i sometimes feel guilty that I’m not taking a more active role and home school. But for us, it just hasn’t been the right choice for our kids. We’ve been very blessed to have amazing schools with great principals, teachers and well behaved kids. But every move we make always gets me full of anxiety…what is that school isn’t nice like the last? I know I won’t hesitate to take my kids out of the school and begin homeschooling, and I’m bookmarking all resources as I go as I know it’s a very real concern, but for my kids they have really thrived being in the public school environment. So as long as they continue to do well, I will allow them to remain in the system, but the first hint of something going downhill they will be home schooled.

    Good luck to you and your little man! I hope this will be a great blessing for you and your family and that he thrives in his new school.

    • Thanks Amber. I don’t feel guilty now, but I did for awhile. It’s just one of those “mom things” isn’t it? There’s rarely a perfect solution and so we struggle with it. Good luck to you too and thanks for being so sweet! :)

  6. We went from homeschool to public school and now back to homeschool. We take it one year at time!

  7. veronica says:

    Awww, I feel you. We struggled with the decision last year. I was home schooling all 4 kiddos and I loved it! But at that point I was getting panic attacks {not because of it} and had to check into ps. My kids loved it more than I had hoped. :( I’m still home schooling my oldest, and if they’d like, now that my attacks are under control, I’d love to start the rest again.

    • It is hard to make a choice like that, but it sounds like you made the right one for your family. I’m glad you are doing better now!

  8. Good luck with the transition!

  9. Cop out.
    The Pioneer Woman does it.

  10. Erika – yo have to do what’s best for your kids. I personally think homeschooling is what’s best for children. They get the one on one at home vs. getting lost in a group of kids and one teacher. I will pray for your son and the transition. I couldn’t imagine it would be easy. XOXO

    • Thanks, Nicole. I have really prayed so much about this and feel like it’s the right choice for us. I have a lot of peace about this. God is very good.

  11. Good luck. I feel for you because I know all those emotions. We’ve had our kids in public and private. I would have loved to homeschool but did not. My two boys are both at Vanderbilt and academically they are ok. I did teach a lot of things to my kids. The public school was a bit behind the private school. Mine moved on to private. IN the end public school catches up if you are in the Tag or enriched classes. I did teach my kids at home. I taught one son “regrouping” before they had it in school. It helped a lot. Reading out loud and flashcards beat out every computer educational game hands down. For boys, many get held back and if your son starts younger there will be a wide age gap….not always bad. but be aware. the older ones are bigger and it makes a difference. my 3rd child’s (daughter) teacher begged me to hold her back in K. she was on target age wise and i did not. we switched to public…(it was kind of a wasted year academically) and she struggled for a few years. by her 10th grade year I held her back. very unusual at that stage. The private school we applied to said she couldn’t handle the workload and i asked to hold her back OH the guilt of not holding her back in kindergarten when her teacher begged me to. The school said they would accept her if she repeated 9th grade.
    Best thing that ever happened to her. It has made all the difference . she is older for her class but she is doing well academically ( she was fine before but she wanted to do better) she’s on target for vanderbilt or UGA .
    i would have never thought it could make such a difference
    good luck to you

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