homeschooling. truthfully.

My (insert your best adjective here) friend, Ann Voskamp, wrote a post today about homeschooling. It’s not unusual for something she writes to burn a hole in my soul (in a good way). But homeschooling has been a topic on the tips of all the Taviano tongues lately, and she just brought all my thoughts and fears and dreams together in this really amazing way that made my jaw drop. Literally. It just hung open while I read, and my throat was all dry when I finished.

So, then I linked to her post on Facebook, and a sweet little comment thread ensued.

But I still hesitate to talk about this topic for several reasons. 1.) It has the potential to cause a bunch of division and hard feelings. And 2.) I still haven’t worked out how I feel about all of it yet. It’s so complicated. And 3.) etc, etc.

So instead of some big ol’ paragraphs with my philosophies about the schooling of our children with Scriptural references to back it all up, I’m going to just say this. We’re considering homeschooling. Next year or the next or sometime after that. But the swirl in my brain hasn’t let up and settled into a sense of peace yet, and here are a few of the reasons why:

Truthfully? I love quiet free time all by MYSELF. And the thought of all three of my girls being in school from 1:00-3:30 five days a week next year (Nina will be in afternoon kindergarten) is BLISSFUL.

Truthfully? Some homeschooling families rub me the wrong way. The really, really wrong way. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s them. But it is what it is.

Truthfully? My girls are so awesome (when they’re not busy being not-awesome) that I feel guilty not sharing them with the public school system. Prideful? Perhaps. But it’s how I feel. It’s not like I think they can save public education single-handedly, but I know they’ve made a positive impact in the years they’ve been in school.

Truthfully? I can barely keep up with everything I’ve got going on right now. And what, I’m going to take up the education of my children as a hobby?

Truthfully? Sometimes my girls drive me so batty that I want to run out the door and drive my mini-van into the night.

Truthfully? I don’t want my kids to be nerds. I don’t want to be a nerd. Let me clarify. There is a certain strain of nerdiness that I embrace and another strain that makes me cringe. I don’t know how to explain the difference without hurting people’s feelings.

Truthfully? I’m reeeeeally, really good at being completely passionate about something and then letting it fizzle and die. This personality quirk (flaw) will not work well with such a lofty commitment.

Truthfully? There are some things I care about very, very deeply when it comes to education–learning about other countries and cultures, reading good books, communicating well through writing, learning about the amazing animals God created. The rest of the stuff? Bah.

Truthfully? I feel like homeschoolers need a lot of “stuff.” I don’t want a lot of stuff.

Truthfully? Did I mention that there are some homeschooling families that really annoy me? I get a really bad vibe from them that they are superior and that homeschooling is the only biblical choice and that people who put their children in public schools are less than. I kind of want to shun homeschooling out of rebellion.

Truthfully? I doubt you missed the disturbing fact that most of these “issues” are about me, me, me. I’m not worried about my girls. They’ll bloom where they’re planted. I’m the weak link here.

Tomorrow I’ll share the other side–all the things that make me really excited about the thought of our girlies learning at home.


66 thoughts on “homeschooling. truthfully.

  1. Pingback: Marla Taviano » homeschooling or no? drumroll…

  2. abigail

    Thank you thank you for writing this. I have a son who will be in kindergarten this fall and have been going back and forth with homeschooling/public school ever since he was born. We live in a good school system so there really isn’t a bad decision. But I think all my issues are about me and not my son. I like what you wrote about how your kids will bloom where they are planted. I still have no idea what i’m going to do and the calendar keeps edging closer to September šŸ™‚ so i know i have to make a decisions soon. Thanks for putting into lists what was going on in my mind. Now to just decide….

  3. Karrie

    The fizzle part described me to a “T”. My husband is also a little concerned about the nerd part. But, we are throwing caution to the wind, and bringing all of our school aged kids home next year. (Although we’re still in the closet to our family and friends.) We will have a 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 8th grader with a 3 year old and 18 month old twins. It will be a wild ride for sure, but I am really looking forward to next year, even if my 13 year old is not :-).

  4. Jackie

    I certainly understand your reservations. I taught public and private school for many years before actually homeschooling my DD. We began homeschooling her in the third grade, she is 14 now. It has been a great experience for us. Yes, some homeschooling families are kinda kooky, but truthfully, lots of folks are kooky about something or another. Take what they say with a grain of salt and continue moving forward. There are so many different styles of homeschooling, you are sure to find one that suits you and your kids. It may take some time to find the right fit, but it’s worth it in the end.

    I know it can all be overwhelming at first, though. One resource I recommend often to those who are thinking about homeschooling is a free e-book called Welcome to Homeschooling ( It is comprehensive without being overwhelming, and will make you feel less anxious about the whole idea. Wishing you the very best of luck on your journey!!!

    My Attempt at Blogging:

  5. Pingback: Marla Taviano » thinking out loud

  6. Natalie

    Truthfully? These are all my reservations, too! I guess the scales just got tipped in the “let’s give a whirl” favor when I saw my oldest stressed and losing a love for learning. He’s only 10- not good!

  7. Lacey

    Marla, you know that no one wants to be the stereotypical “weird” homeschoolers, right? Or at least, I don’t! I’ve told so many of my friends, “Please tell me if we’re starting to turn weird!” It’s silly to be worried about what we look like to others, I guess…but still. As much as I love the Sound of Music, I don’t really want my family to emulate the characters. šŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your decision-making journey with us! It can definitely be overwhelming sometimes, and I appreciate your honesty!

  8. Laura

    I just found you this morning, through another friend posting this on FB. Thank you for tackling this. We homeschooled for 4.5 years, and I loved it and miss it…and could never go back to doing it. Both my husband and I were brought up in private Christian (church) schools, and so this route we are on, with all 6 of our kids in public schools is very much a learning experience. I (like you) don’t like a lot of other homeschoolers, and that passion fizzles quickly when confronted with how very imperfectly we homeschooled. Either decision is a hard one to make, and the guilt heaped on from both sides makes it harder.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thanks for stopping by, Laura. I just peeked at your blog. All of you in different schools = craziness. Wow. Did you stop homeschooling because or your hubby’s deployment, or did it just get too hard?

      1. Laura

        With our oldest in 11th grade, we have been public-schooling for five years now. Our finances had gotten to the point where we couldn’t survive without the second income, and so I worked overnights and homeschooled for six more months until I just couldn’t stay awake any longer, and then we put them into the public schools at that point. It makes me very sad that my youngest two haven’t been homeschooled at all…I wish I had been able to give them at least a year or two of home education.

  9. Megan at SortaCrunchy

    “Iā€™m reeeeeally, really good at being completely passionate about something and then letting it fizzle and die. This personality quirk (flaw) will not work well with such a lofty commitment.” This is the NUMBER ONE concern I have about even entertaining the idea.

  10. Pingback: Marla Taviano » happy homeschool rainbows

  11. meghan@Spicy Magnolia

    I gleaned a lot from Ann’s post the other day. I have shunned homeschooling (mostly because of my personality and I can ditto your whole list!), but it got my mind swirling yesterday. Glad to know I’m not alone in the thought-processes (or the quirks). šŸ™‚ Praying for wisdom for us!

  12. Annie L

    Love the honesty!! I thought Ann’s post on homeschooling was great also! We do homeschool, but I think it’s such a family choice and that everyone is so different. We love it but I certainly don’t think it’s for everyone!

      1. Sharon Meekins

        Please, Please, Please pray for me! I’m so glad to be home, but so lost as to what’s next. I NEED the Lord to speak clearly. I also need the ears to hear and the eyes to see. Thank you for caring, Marla! Much love…

  13. Kristin

    I am thankful for this post this morning. I do not have children yet, but am surrounded by pregnant friends who stay at home and will probably homeschool, so we talk about this. I will probably not be able to stay at home with the kiddos in our future, so I have felt really guilty about that and the homeschool issue, like I will be a bad Christian if I put my children in public school. However, my husband and I met in public school, and all schools need bright, cheery kids to make it a better place. Thanks for your insight, and I am on the same page as you!

      1. Keri

        I have to chime in here for a minute. Several years ago my husband and I had dinner one night with a bunch of couples who all had their kids in one certain Christian school. Ours went to public school at the time because frankly, the Christian school was not academically up to par. And my husband happens to be of the opinion that the kids are going to school to get an education so it needs to be a good one.

        Anyways, we were getting the hard press at dinner with full on guilt trips about why our kids weren’t in Christian school when my husband finally had enough and said,
        “I just have a problem with a school that hides their academic inadequacies behind calling themselves Christian”. I slid off my seat and hid under the table….not really, but that pretty much put a halt to the conversation.

        The guilt we put on ourselves for our parenting is overwhelming so why do we add more to other parents just because they don’t make the same decisions we do? It’s stupid.

        Be true to parenting the way God has called you. Two years ago we had one in public and one in private because it’s what our boys needed and THAT is my measuring stick….not whether others approve or not.

        Ok….all done.

        1. Kristin

          I appreciate you chiming in! I like how you did what your family NEEDED, and that is what truly matters. Thanks for the encouragement!

  14. Jen Griffin

    We knew we would homeschool before we had kids. I cannot say it’s a breeze. I can’t say I wake up every day ready to teach, train and love to the fullest. I can say that I’ve never loved anything more than reading books with my kids. I can say that teaching them new things, like reading was a true JOY when you saw them “get it” for the first time. I can say that I love teaching and helping in my pj’s.

    Each family definitely home schools differently! That is the fun! You can do it all however you want too. We aren’t as strict. We now use Switched on Schoolhouse for our oldest and it’s awesome!! Reading is a HUGE element for us….especially when it comes to teaching them our #1 subject, Bible.

    Life is so short. I don’t want to miss a thing with my boys. Not a moment. I look forward to tomorrow’s post. Praying for you two in this.

  15. Missy June

    the ‘rebellion’ factor may be just why you need to do it, sometimes it seems that’s how God works. Like you, I don’t think one solution is right for every family or every child. But there sure is a ground-swell of homeschooling happening isn’t there? It’s not an option for us, so I’m praying God will keep some of His people in the public school system and that we can be part of His light there. My daughter (second child) start kindergarten next year!

  16. Gayle

    Hi Marla!
    I don’t think I’ve ever been here before, but I saw your post on twitter and had to stop by. I have homeschooled since my oldest was in Kindergarten (10 years ago) and while it’s been the single biggest sanctifying experience in my life, I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s hard work, but anything worthwhile is.
    Also, there are sterotypes and extremists in any and everything we do. So of course there are the weird nerds and, of course there are those that think that they are so much better because of their decision (however, I’ve seen that on both sides of the coin, believe me). It all boils down to insecurity. People doing what they’ve done since the playground – knocking others to make themselves feel better- and that’s pitiable, really.
    I can assure you, though, that the vast majority of homeschoolers are just normal people with normal struggles who are busy doing what they feel is best for *their* family. Unfortunately, as is the case with my situations, the most abrasive ones are the ones that stand out (think of the way the world perceive Christians, ect.). Just wanted you to know that. šŸ™‚
    Praying for you as you make the very best decision for you and yours. <3

  17. Mandy

    The longer I have homeschooled my kids (which isn’t really very long since my oldest isn’t six yet), the more convinced I am that God has a different story for every family. I’m looking forward to seeing what God is doing in your family with your thoughts of homeschooling. Thanks for writing about it. Looking forward to reading the next post.

    1. Jen Hanson

      I couldn’t agree with you more Mandy! I grew up home schooled and my husband grew up in public school and while I was “bias” against public schools, I’ve now seen very clearly how God can use both locations of education to grow a young person into the person they were meant to be for His glory.

        1. Jen Hanson

          Bahahaha! Come on now, I was NOT one of THOSE “home schoolers”! šŸ˜‰ I prefer to say I was “educated at home” I was not a “home schooler” type.

  18. Jennifer Bale

    I just wanted to say I love you and this is a super hard decision! My sister and I went public and the rest of my cousins were/are homeschooled. It’s so funny how different homeschooling can look between the two homes. It’s definitely an awesome thing…but then public school can be awesome too in much different ways. šŸ™‚ SO HARD!

  19. Karen

    I understand everything you are saying! I think I’ve always felt like a homeschool “misfit”. That being said… I can’t wait to hear what you have to say tomorrow :)! Although I do struggle with EVERY ONE of your points today… I have to tell ya, the pros have far outweighed the cons in our experience. I just know I won’t ever look back and think “Oh man, I wish I wouldn’t have spent so much time with my kids.” It’s cool that you are sharing the process with us… you are NOT alone on this one. So many of us are in the same boat!

  20. Dara

    Love these – you put in perfect wording so many of my concerns/reservations about homeschooling. It was a huge “Aha” to me when I realized the whole “Me” factor. . .you probably figured that out a lot faster than me=:) Even the idea of seeming/appearing elitist concerns me. I am hoping there that as people get to know my heart, they won’t still feel this way. It’s funny, b/c sometimes I can feel the same way about Christians who choose public school. . .that they feel like they’re making the better choice – that they have a bigger Kingdom vision than me. . .but then I think that really all of this comparing is just Satan’s wily ploy to cause division among us. He loves when we compare ourselves. It’s all a lie. Oh – but the “me” time. . .SO enticing. . .!!!

    1. Marla Taviano

      I’m with you on worrying too much about what people think. My friend calls it “the fear of man.” But if we’re going to put ourselves out there, we’re going to get criticized. If all’s right between us and God, then ideally, we won’t be bothered by other’s opinions (easy to say, huh?).

  21. joyce

    This was so real. We considered homeschooling but in the end God opened amazing doors to another sort of educational adventure overseas and that is how life went. I don’t think a day passes that I do not utter gratitude for the way He worked there.

    Good luck with the decision making process…it’s a big one!

      1. joyce

        This got me thinking…I don’t think I’ve ever actually laid it out and I’d like to do that. I’ll let you know when I do. In a nutshell (not my forte!) probably our biggest concern when we moved overseas (expat corporate assignment) was pulling our oldest out of the big public highschool and putting her in a small International school. We worried so much about what she would be missing. Boy is hindsight 20/20. The school and the opportunity and the people…possibly the biggest blessing of our overseas experience. Or at least it opened the door to our biggest blessings. All this to say God works and we don’t always see that on the front end…often we only recognize how completely amazing His big picture plan was in hindsight. Even amidst the chaos of an across the sea move and all our questions about the future, our hearts were at peace which confirmed for us we were on the right road.

        Praying you find peace in your schooling decisions…you’ve inspired me to write out this part of our story. I’ll keep you posted. It is something I’ve tucked away in my heart and when I’m wondering if my prayers are being heard I remind myself of God’s amazing grace and protection and great love for us during my daughter’s teenage years.

  22. Betsy

    Excited to see tomorrrow’s, too! One son-in-law 100% homeschooled (minus a few days in Kindergarten.) All the rest public schooled —-my three and two of the remaining in-laws. All are super parents, and achievers! My girls have both taught in Christian schools, and one has done public school—and now becoming a stay-at-home mommy. Had I to do it again, I’d probably home-school. at least for awhile. (I taught in public school five years, then stayed home with our three, so I could have taught them until 8th grade.) High school probably would have done me in!

      1. Betsy

        Back then, Homeschooling wasn’t as popular or as accepted here, as it is today. Never felt I had a choice. Actually, we didn’t have much choice in this area for Christian School either. Thankfully, they all turned out just fine—two teachers, and one policeman—all college grads. And all Christians who love the Lord! But thanks for your comment.

  23. Sharon

    My daughter is only 15 months, but already I am in a debate about homeschooling. Actually I’m about 100% sure I would never homeschool but here are a couple of my personal pros and cons.

    I love the prospect of time to myself when my daughter finally goes to school. And it seems like kids are learning things so much earlier these days, I’d be a poor teacher after my daughter reaches 1st grade!!!!

    My main concerns with sending my daughter to school are 1) teachers that do not have my daughters best interest at heart (not sure how to say what I really mean here, but I keep hearing about adults in positions of power working with kids that shouldn’t be allowed within 100 miles of any child) and 2) the negative influence other children could have on my daughter.

    That being said, I grew up in public school and absolutely loved it. I’d hate for my daughter to miss out on the experience of having different teachers (much more qualified than me) and meeting lots of peers, and influencing them for good. But, I am so afraid of her ending up with an untrustworthy adult in her life.

    1. Marla Taviano

      My girls have had 8 public school teachers between them now (plus specials teachers), and I’ve liked all of them and LOVED many of them. I’m sure there are some bad apples out there, but I’m convinced that most teachers are loving and kind.

  24. Shannon Wheeler

    We’re in the same place with our youngest (who’s only 2 1/2 granted… but it’s never too early to start splitting hairs about details of her life!). I’m really eager to look into homeschool more, but I secretly (well, not so secretly anymore, right?) am wanting that “me time” each day! I’m so glad you said that out loud. I feel much better admitting it now. I still know that, exactly as you said, it’s a lot about me. I fully agree with the “bloom where they’re planted” philosophy about the kids. That’s true. And I’m also really surprised (as a new contemplater of home school) the reallly volatile nature of this whole topic! Wow!!!!!

    1. Marla Taviano

      Your secret’s out!! šŸ˜‰ Yes, it can be volatile. But I’m thankful for everyone who’s keeping it peaceful here (either by choosing words kindly or keeping their mouths shut!).

  25. Kathi


    My oldest child is turning 11 this August and has never attended school, but before I had any children I swore I would NEVER homeschool for many of the reasons you listed. It is funny how God does that.

    Just remember that homeschooling is as unique as the family doing it, and that is the beauty of it all: You get to do what works for YOU.

    You do not have to re-create school at home, or you can if you want and anywhere in between.

    We are very relaxed home-schoolers. I started off with a lesson plan and soon discovered that My girls’ were not necessarily on my time table and it felt forced. Learning suddenly became something that mommy was making them do when really, they had been doing it all along naturally. I backed off of my agenda, not wanting to quench their curiosity, and sort of learned to follow their lead. One of my best decisions ever!

    There are hard days (like today) that do come from spending so much time together, but the beautiful moments that are a result of the same time spent together far outweigh them.

    It is amazing how the ‘other stuff’ (Bah) sort of falls into place when you and the follow what you care deeply about.

    Prayers to you in your decision making.


  26. Bethany

    I love this post and I’m sure I’ll love tomorrow’s even more. I love that this decision is so difficult because it demonstrates that there isn’t one right choice and that God wants us to seek HIM and His will for our OWN family because it will look different for each family unit. I have selfish reasons for both, but I am praying that God would show us what HE wants for our family and that I would be willing and excited to do what He says. I love how God uses prayer to lead us. I have been praying about this for at least a year now and as Stew and I discuss it, we are becoming more and more on the same exact page and I love it! God truly does give us wisdom when we ask! (James 1:5)

    1. Marla Taviano

      I love your perspective on the difficulty of the decision. For us, it really does come down to the fact that there is so much GOOD in both choices that I’m afraid of missing one by choosing the other. I know I focused on my fears/challenges in this post, but my list of pros is twice as long (at least).

      I’m envisioning you bringing your children over for some specialized teaching from their older cousins. šŸ™‚

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