Posted by: Tracy Barsamian | June 8, 2016

Homeschooling Only Some of the Kids

hsing only one kid

I had the chance to chat with a lovely friend of mine who is planning to homeschool only her younger daughter next year.  Her older daughter will remain in school.  This friend was the third amazing mama to sit in my kitchen to discuss her plans to homeschool only one of her children while the other child remains in school.  Sadly, friend #1 and friend #2 have since enrolled all their children in school.

So why doesn’t homeschooling only some of some of one’s children seem to work?  Each of these moms shared similar thought processes…she was doing what felt right for each individual child.  But the problem is that they are thinking inside the “school box”.  They are thinking within the context of school:  learning happens between certain hours and through direct instruction from an adult (a school teacher or mom).  But, homeschooling is so much more than an alternative way to educate your children, it’s a lifestyle.  And once you step outside of that school box, everything starts to change.  You start to view the world in a totally different way.  And really, how can you break through the limitation of this widely held, deeply instilled societal belief that learning = school if you have even one child in school?

Once you switch your lens…once you understand that children (and people in general!) are always learning…what would be the purpose of sending any child to school?  Once a family comes to view their community as their children’s best classroom, not a school setting with 20 or 30 age mates and one teacher, then why would that family (like all three of my friends) scrape together twenty thousand dollars a year to send each child to a private school?

So as a result of having even one child in school, you are pretty much tied to a school model.  Not just the school schedule (daily and yearly), but also the school mentality.  School happens between 8 and 2 (approximately) and through direct instruction.  This means that mom assumes the role of teacher for the homeschooled child(ren).  On my site I call this the school-at-home model.

Honestly, I feel like moms who homeschool only some of their children get the worst of both worlds.  They remain philosophically attached to the school model and they are tied to the school schedule/calendar and they don’t really get a minute to themselves.  And as I *may* have mentioned before, if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

So here are my top reasons to homeschool ALL of your children.

1.  Life Style/Life Learning.  By homeschooling my children, I’ve come to see that education and school have little to do with one another (as a former school teacher, this lesson rocked my world a few years back!).  Only because we left the world of school was I able to see that direct instruction from a predetermined curriculum is not a requirement for learning; in fact it’s often a hindrance to real, deep, self-directed learning.


If you have one child in school, it seems almost impossible that you’ll adopt a slow homeschooling (unschooling) lifestyle.  Most likely, you’ll adopt a school-at-home model, trying to (at least somewhat) emulate what your other child is doing in school.


2.  More time together as a family.  This is really a continuation of reason #1.  By stepping off the school treadmill, you get to spend so much time together as a family.  You get to enjoy one another at home, unrushed.  You learn naturally by experiencing life together as a family.  By removing the stress of school, my children, my experience of motherhood, and my family as a whole blossomed.


3.  Sibling relationships.  Homeschooled siblings for the most part, enjoy wonderful relationships with one another.  They spend a lot of time together and have ample opportunity to work out their problems and resolve their differences.  School gets in the way of sibling relationships, placing more value on peers than family.  So if you only homeschool one child, you miss out on this wonderful gift.  And, it’s worth mentioning that two happy siblings entertain one another thereby giving the primary homeschool parent a break!  (See if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy motto above!).


4.  Pace.  Ahhh..slow mornings.  When the whole family homeschools, no alarm clocks are necessary!  Mornings are peaceful, quiet, and productive!  My children play beautifully for several hours after breakfast.  That’s when I get all my own stuff done.  I wouldn’t have those crucial hours if I were dragging one of my kids to school every morning.


5.  Visiting museums, libraries, etc and vacationing at off-peek times.  By time boxing homeschooling to the hours your other child is in school, you are missing out not only on the magic and beauty of slow-homeschooling, but logistically you are missing out on the best times to do stuff!  Between the hours of 12 and 3 is a magical time to explore museums for example; you get the whole place to yourselves!


And those vacations!  If you homeschool ALL of your children, you can go on vacation anytime!  Europe in May or September.  How ‘ya gonna beat that?  Homeschool friends of ours spent a month in Hawaii this winter.  Can’t do that with a kid in school!


I would love to be wrong about this.  I hope that it is possible to LOVE homeschooling only some of your children.  While I feel like it would be impossible for me to successfully homeschool one of my children, I most certainly (honestly and truly) hope these families work out a beautiful dance that works for their families (or better yet, decide to pull ALL their kids of out school)!!

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