Negotiating Your Child's Resistance to Homeschool

Frustrated mother and daughter

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Shouldering the full responsibility of your child’s education can be an overwhelming feeling. Discovering that your child doesn’t want to be homeschooled compounds those doubts and fears.

Whether it's a child who has previously attended public school and wants to return or a child who has always been homeschooled who wants to try traditional school, it can be disheartening to discover that your child isn't on board with homeschooling

What should you do when your homeschooled student doesn’t want to be homeschooled?

1. Look for Reasons the Child Doesn't Want to Homeschool

The first step in working through this homeschooling dilemma is figuring out what’s behind your child’s reluctance.

A child who has never gone to public school may be fascinated with its portrayal in books or on TV. Your 5-year-old may see starting kindergarten as an expected rite of passage, especially if it's something most of their friends are doing.

An older child who has been in school may be missing their friends. They may miss the familiarity and predictable routine of a traditional school day. Kids may be missing particular classes or activities, such as art, music, or sports.

Your child may feel singled out in social groups as the lone homeschooler. For homeschooled teens, especially, it can be awkward to answer the question, "Where do you go to school?"

Find out exactly why your child doesn't want to be homeschooled.

2. Discuss the Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

Creating a pros and cons list for homeschooling and one for public (or private) school can be a practical way to help you and your child objectively weigh the benefits of both options.

Let your child list whatever pros and cons come to their mind, even if they seem silly to you. Cons for homeschool might include not seeing friends every day or not getting to play on the school playground. Cons for public school might include an early start time and not having control over the daily school schedule.

After compiling the lists, compare them. Then, brainstorm ideas for fixing the cons for each list. For example, you may be able to arrange more frequent play dates with friends or visit the big playground at the city park, but you can't change the public school's start time.

Making pros and cons lists validates your child's concerns. After some discussion, you and your child will be able to weigh the benefits of homeschooling versus those of public school. 

3. Look for Ways to Compromise

There may be specific social or educational aspects of a traditional school setting that your child is missing. Consider if any of these voids could be filled while still homeschooling. Some ideas to consider are:

  • Co-op classes can provide the opportunity to forge friendships, cover topics about which you’re unfamiliar, or provide a group learning setting for activities such as science labs or drama classes.
  • Sports teams are available for your homeschooled athletes. There are recreational leagues for casual athletes and travel teams for more competitive players. Many areas offer homeschool teams. Other sports, such as swimming and gymnastics, are often not associated with schools to begin with, providing opportunities for homeschooled students to compete outside of a school league setting.
  • Private lessons may fill a void for activities such as music instruction.
  • Homeschool support groups can provide social interaction, group activities, field trips, and clubs.

4. Consider Your Child’s Input

It makes sense to seriously consider your child’s input and address their concerns, even if the reasons seem childish. Homeschooling is, after all, something that deeply impacts your child’s life. It is particularly important to consider their argument if they're an older student with sound, mature reasons for preferring a more traditional educational option. 

However, it is equally important to remember that you are the parent. While you want to think about all the possible consequences of homeschooling a child who is vehemently opposed to it, you must ultimately make the decision that you feel is in your child’s best interests.

It can be frustrating and disappointing when your child doesn’t want to be homeschooled. However, by keeping an open line of communication; acknowledging and addressing their concerns; and seeking out workable solutions, most children will be able to see the benefits of homeschooling and embrace it.

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Your Citation
Bales, Kris. "Negotiating Your Child's Resistance to Homeschool." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Bales, Kris. (2020, August 26). Negotiating Your Child's Resistance to Homeschool. Retrieved from Bales, Kris. "Negotiating Your Child's Resistance to Homeschool." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 30, 2023).