In the United States, we’ve all heard negative things about the public school system, from poor curriculums to despondent teachers to school violence.
But while we can all agree that the public school system could be improved, we can also agree that homeschooling may not be a viable alternative for everyone, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Ok-Promotion-2017 was surprised when her sister decided she wanted to homeschool her four children after becoming increasingly unhappy with the public school system, despite her lack of qualifications.
When her sister took her concerns personally, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong to be honest about her thoughts on the plan.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my sister she should not homeschool her children?”
The OP was fairly close to her sister’s family.
“I am 27 Female. My sister is 30 Female. She has 4 kids: 10 Female, 8 twins (male and female), and 6 Female.”
“For additional background, my sister is a SAHM (Stay-at-Home Mom), and her husband works a 9-5 throughout the week.”
“I have a fairly good relationship with my sister and her children, and I’ve provided regular childcare for her since her oldest daughter was a newborn.”
The OP was surprised when her sister expressed an interest in homeschooling.
“My sister has recently decided she doesn’t like the local public schools. She’s discussed alternatives with me before, and I’ve recommended to her the private school that my friends’ children attend. It’s highly ranked and everyone I know likes it.”
“For the most part, she hasn’t been too enthusiastic about the idea. She kept bringing up homeschooling, and I would just try and redirect her, never being too firm against it.”
“But the other day, she came over and told me she’d made up her mind. She decided that she would not send her children back to school at the end of the year and would instead be homeschooling.”
“I told her, truthfully, that I didn’t think that would be successful.”
“She laid out her plan to me, which was not really a plan, just her saying she would teach the children from 8-3, and then they would be able to be together as a family for the rest of the day.”
But the OP had her doubts.
“I reminded her that she barely got through high school.”
“She has no college degree. Her husband does, but he works all day and won’t be the main person teaching them.”
“My oldest niece is incredibly social and loves the structure of her school, and she wants to be a teacher when she grows up.”
“I told her that her family can afford the private school and she needs to make a decision that is best for her children.”
“She told me I don’t have a right to criticize because I don’t have children and I’m not a professional.”
“I agreed with her, but I told her that I know her kids, and I think this is going to be a misstep.”
“She was really upset by this and told me she felt hurt that I didn’t trust her to educate her children.”
“I told her I trust her as a mother, not as a teacher and that made her cry.”
The family did not respond well to the OP’s criticism.
“Admittedly, I was getting a little frustrated and I definitely was snappish with her.”
“I told her that she should probably go so we could calm down.”
“She said that she isn’t changing her mind and I said okay, but I was not going to endorse it. That made her more upset.”
“She has always been the family baby, and our parents are on me about being so mean to her. They’re upset that I was judgemental.”
“I want to see if this is something I really should concede on and just accept, or if it’s right for me to hold firm.”
“AITA for telling my sister to not homeschool?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said that homeschooling was much more work than the sister seemed prepared for.
“Both of my SILs homeschooled their kids for a few years and both said it’s a lot of work because there are no breaks. You’re doing a teacher and mother’s work at the same time.”
“This is coming from two people who were middle school teachers, one has a master’s in special education, and both wanted big families (like 4-5kids).”
“You’re on mom duty anytime they’re not ‘in class,’ so you’re the lunch lady, the tutor, the PE coach, bus driver, cleaning lady, not to mention half of the stuff an actual teacher does like picking, reviewing, and teaching the curriculum, grading papers, etc.”
“They were always frustrated because of one paperwork or the other that they have to submit in order to get the records right for their kid when they do go back to school. It’s so much easier to just send the kids off to school honestly.” – FBB7943
“Even for those who do have advanced education degrees, I think homeschooling rarely benefits kids. Parents who try really don’t understand the commitment, the breadth of development needed, or the important milestones.”
“Most are not ready for it to be the full-time job that it is.”
“We used to have family friends who were both professors. They were well educated, had experience in teaching, and had the best intentions. They also didn’t want to hear that I didn’t think it was the best option for their kids.”
“It usually isn’t, especially if you can afford to choose from a selection of private schools that cater to whatever weakness in the public school system.” – wgc123
“Depending on where they live, she’d have to submit a curriculum for each child. We homeschooled for one year when stuck in a bad school district and there was a LOT of paperwork.”
“Teaching multiple children of different ages for multiple hours a day isn’t easy if you’re well-prepared. Plus you have the extra work of providing socialization opportunities.”
“She does not sound like she’s put any work into it. NTA.” – anathema_deviced
“NTA. Homeschooling is a lot of work. It requires planning and actually teaching the kids. Your sister sounds like she really has no idea what it involves.”
“Your oldest niece will be miserable. Even a social butterfly can make life h**l if they aren’t getting their friendship needs to be met.” – wind-river7
“The 8-3 thing really shows that the sister has no idea what she’s getting into. One of the benefits of homeschooling is a flexible schedule and that the kids often spend less time doing school work (because let’s face it, public schooling is part education, part daycare).” – 0biterdicta
Others simply said that homeschooling is not for everyone.
“You just need a GED or high school diploma, the state doesn’t audit those as often as they should (I never had to actually prove that I had one), there’s no curriculum oversight (as in, I didn’t have to submit our work or curriculum plan to anyone), and to start you just fill out an online form so the government knows your kid is homeschooled and not public schooled.”
“I only did it for two kids and only during the pandemic. I have a background in management, have worked with kids before, my degree is under the STEM umbrella, and I’m a hobby fiction author and illustrator. On paper, I should be a great homeschool teacher, in practice? H**L NO! NEVER AGAIN!!!”
“I have nothing but respect for people that homeschool successfully. It is a full-time job, and very rewarding, but it is not for everyone.” – DelilahMoar
“NTA. Homeschooling is almost never a good idea. At least half the value of attending school is to learn how to socialize, work with others, learn about different cultures, etc.”
“Homeschooling creates isolated children who have a hard time adjusting to the real world.” – AngeloPappas
“Your sister is looking at this from a selfish standpoint and not what’s best for the kids. Homeschooling is more than an 8-3 thing. It needs structure, it will be highly involved with all the new things being taught in school now, and it will be filled with questions that she will not know the answer to.”
“She needs to be up to date with everything being taught, so the kids won’t get behind. Also, when it comes to socializing, she needs to make sure that is taken care of as well.”
“Homeschool can be great or it can backfire completely. She doesn’t want to make a selfish decision now that is only going to hurt her kids later in life. Sounds like she somewhat thought about things and figures she can do it. Has she really done the research and looked at the overall benefit of things?”
“Look at the pandemic and how viral learning went. Many kids got behind and have to do summer schooling or repeat the year to catch back up. For some, it worked out well. It depends on the kids and how they learn best. Your sister needs to look at what’s best for the kids and not what she wants to do.” – Dry_Dragonfruit_4191
“What strikes me as odd is the timing of it. She’s a SAHM. With 4 school-age kids. So why is she staying home? Makes me wonder if there’s more going on than just being unhappy with the public school.”
“Pure speculation but maybe the husband told her she needed to do something with her time while the kids were at school?”
“From how the sister discussed it with OP, I’d be worried about the kids being cut off from their social outlets. She’s giving off strong family-only vibes.” – jgarmartner
A few previously homeschooled Redditors stood firmly against the idea.
“NTA, my mother homeschooled me. It sounds like a very similar situation to OP’s sister. She wasn’t well educated nor prepared to do everything required. I did everything on a computer.”
“Let me tell you, it took years to not be weird as hell in front of other people. I’m still pretty awkward. I don’t think homeschooling is a good option for kids unless they have a serious medical condition preventing them from going to school.” – SpiralTap304
“I was homeschooled and cannot recommend it. It should be a last resort.” – ParticularSong2249
“Child of mom who homeschooled my sis and me. I missed a lot of opportunities at a regular school. Mom bought this math book for our grade with a DVD of an instructor, so all we did was math homework for a year before she pushed us into public school.”
“We were in a good private school before she suddenly homeschooled us and it was a nightmare.”
“If she really wants to go through with this, she shouldn’t teach them herself but join accredited homeschool programs online that have teachers do zoom meetings or whatever.”
“I think it’s selfish to keep them at home so they are ‘always with the family’ and away from school activities and teaching kids how to socialize among those their age and learn new experiences outside of the home.” – AtDawnsEnd502
It may have been difficult to hear an alternate opinion, but the subReddit felt it was important for the OP to be honest about her feelings and concerns around homeschooling with her sister.
Some were concerned that the sister was coming at this from a selfish standpoint, and if she was really going to go through with this, she needed to do her research, so she could make the most informed decision for her entire family, whether or not it proved to be the decision she was the most comfortable with.