Fall 2020: School or Homeschool?


So many families are facing the decision of whether they will send their kids back to school in the fall or choose to homeschool instead. Others are not even afforded the luxury of making this choice, due to finances, work, family, or legislation.

As a long-time homeschooler, you might think I’m over here waving the “everyone should homeschool” flag, but I’m not.

Because homeschooling (like homesteading, yoga, or, say, facial tattoos) is delightful to some, but not a match for all. There are many kids and adults who simply don’t/wouldn’t thrive in a homeschooling environment. (Note that I said kids and adults. Because your needs also matter.)

And there’s no shame if it’s not your jam. That doesn’t make you less. It makes you honest.

So if you’re facing two equally awful choices (crisis homeschool or send your kids to school during COVID), please: cut yourself some slack. To be forced to choose between two things that you don’t actually want (for you, your child, or both) is really no choice at all.

And what you are contemplating is not homeschooling. It’s damage control.

And I’m sorry it’s a crossroads you’re forced to stand at.

For those with the luxury of making this decision at all, I wish you comfort in whatever you choose. And if you DO choose to keep your child home this year, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Please. There are a thousand ways to learn, and the vast majority of them look nothing like a classroom.

And the truth is, one year of hanging out and learning how to bake bread, ID bugs in the garden, go geocaching, or build epic worlds in Minecraft won’t break your kid. They’ll gain some and lose some and in the end (just like they do every year they spend in or out of school) will still be a spectacular, unique human being. I promise.


In my opinion, we put way too much pressure on the value of academics. There are other measures of growth, worth, and strength to be found– things like kindness, creativity, perseverance, compassion, generosity, curiosity, and more. My eldest turns 18 in a month, and he’s never taken a test or sat at a desk in his life. And he’s fine (and way smarter than me, I might add). His sister is only a few years behind him, heading down a similar path.

So maybe they spend the year researching WWII airplanes or cool and weird amphibians. Maybe they go down the rabbit hole of French bakery, Norse mythology, Russian history, or historical blacksmithing. (These are all examples from actual homeschoolers I know.) Or maybe they don’t. Either way, they will grow, learn, shift, and bend.

And so will you.

Hang in there, folks. This has already been a bumpy ride, and we’re not yet in sight of the station.

Find my homeschooling/unschooling/interest-led learning archives here


8 thoughts on “Fall 2020: School or Homeschool?

  1. Kathleen says:

    While on a conference call yesterday for work, I basically said what you said: I feel like I have two horrible choices in front of me. Both of them feel pretty bad for different reasons. Thanks for your vote of confidence that building extensive worlds in Minecraft is okay for a while because that is my boys’ main focus this summer! 🙂

    • M moon says:

      I want to encourage everyone to share this post as we head into the school year. This is an awful choice to have to make. One year of randomness and messy and unique learning isn’t going to break our kids. Parents really need some support to trust in this.

  2. Jenna says:

    Thank you for your beautiful post. I am a teacher who doesn’t want to go back to the classroom or send my kids back. They will learn. I choose a year of Distance Teaching and Learning for the safety of all of my people. I will gladly do my best to provide curriculum and guidance for the parents and my students while they are at home. As one teacher said, “we are not babysitters.” We are not. Keep your kids home and take care of them the very best you know how. Yes, they will learn and thrive. This is only temporary. Our scientists are brilliant and will find a vaccine. In the meantime our earth still needs a shelter in place to heal.

  3. Amanda says:

    Reading this was a tonic. It made me cry and smile at the same time as I agree with every word. It reminded me why I took my oldest child out of school a few years ago. It was the best decision I ever made for his happiness and he subsequently went back to school and thrived. In the year he was home he extensively researched ants and read Greek myths. He went back to school happier and more engaged. Thank you for this and reminding us of the luxury of choice and that it will all be ok. Much love.

  4. Morgan says:

    Unexpected homeschooler and longtime reader of your blog over here! I’ve always followed your story and some other blogger homeschool mamas I admire, and I am so thankful to have you address this unexpected decision-making time for us. I passed this on to my husband who, like me, really appreciated your reminder that learning looks lots of different ways and that is totally ok.

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