When a Parent Just Knows: Making the Decision to Educate at Home

by | Essays

A mother’s intuition is so strong; it’s sometimes overwhelming.

And, confusing.

Yet, powerful.

When our son was three years old, I returned to work in the classroom. I had extended my maternity leave by two years, and it was time.

I returned part-time and looked forward to what awaited me. I had forgotten how much I loved to be in the classroom.

I returned to a position in a new school, with new staff members, and brand new students I grew to love within minutes.

I left for work twice a week, and my little guy stayed home with his grandparents. I was only several minutes away, and school ended early. It was doable.

Something tugged away at me each morning as I got into the car.

I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time. I thought All mothers experience this anguish. You’ll get over it soon enough.

As much as I loved my job, I had a difficult time tearing myself away from my son. And, it wasn’t because I was absurdly in love with him–which I was. It was much more than that.

I was worried.

I wasn’t just leaving a three-year-old with his grandparents–like millions of mothers do daily.

I was leaving my disabled child.

A child with hundreds of things to know about for the day to run smoothly.

More so, a child whose health issues weren’t clear to me yet. My gut told me something wasn’t right.

Around that time, my son started showing signs of a medical issue that was concerning.

In my time at work, I had to rush home on at least two occasions to tend to a pale, lethargic, and very sick little boy.

Just as quickly as it came, it would disappear.


My worry consumed me.

Even though it only happened 3-4 times a year, I spent the rest of the year worrying.

Leaving for work each morning, I’d pray I would not receive a call.

After three years of part-time work in the classroom, I had this sense that I just needed to stay home with him. He was officially going to be of school age the following year, and I knew in my gut that I needed to be his teacher.

I can tell you about all of the signs I got before conception that I was going to homeschool one day.

I can tell you about the day a friend who had just learned about his diagnosis said to me, “You’ve always wanted to homeschool. This is going to be so amazing.”

I can tell you about all of the books and articles I had read that confirmed that homeschooling was going to be the right choice for us.

But, I won’t tell you that.


Instead, I will tell you that my maternal gut told me that I needed to stay close to my son.

It wasn’t even four months into our first year of homeschooling that we got a huge health scare–and it was all confirmed to me.

He was so sick; he was admitted. The doctors were puzzled–even after four days. Although we were discharged, we left the medical team scratching their heads.

The same happened three days later.

A week later.

And, three weeks after that.

Each time, a hospital stay.

Each time, I thought, This is why I knew I needed to stay home. This is what it was all about.

It’s true that there are a billion benefits to homeschooling–but none was more powerful a benefit than not having to worry about calling in absent at work, finding a substitute, and fretting about what lessons I needed to prepare for the students.

Nothing was more significant a benefit than being able to grab our things on a whim and spend a dreadful night draped over an examination table–attempting to sleep in ER.

Nothing was more important a benefit than being able to comfort my son when he needed my presence the most.

We didn’t need to write an absence note for his school. We didn’t have to fill out medical papers for attendants to know how to care for him. We didn’t have to explain the sickness warnings to the bus driver. We didn’t have to worry that the sounds and sights of the school environment and the motion of the bus would trigger another episode.

I didn’t need to return to work–frazzled and worried beyond belief about a child who’d be cared for by others–wondering if they’d recognize the symptoms.

Instead, we returned home each time and picked up right where we left off. I was able to keep a close eye on him, nourish him, and hold him when he needed me to. We were also able to ease gently into school activities between naps and nutritious meals. It was what we both needed.

Many people gawk when they hear that we are homeschooling. They ask the same drilling questions all homeschoolers face.

But, when a parent just knows deep down in their gut that this is the right thing to be doing, even when there is no clear explanation, then, there is no reasoning in the world that can convince others. Nor should you be made to feel that you need to.

I didn’t have the words for it, but I knew I had to leave work to be near my son.

I couldn’t prove it, but I just knew that homeschooling would be the answer to many issues for us.

I just knew.

Perhaps, you don’t have a well-written plan, or, you haven’t fully made a list of pros and cons. Maybe, you have no idea how you’ll even accomplish it. But, something in your gut–something within your child-parent bond is telling you that homeschooling is going to be the best decision you will ever make for your child–even if only for right now.

You have this intuitive sense that your child will thrive in his natural environment.

None of it might be logical for you, but you just know.

Trust that you will be shown the answer in time–just like I was. I know without a doubt I need to continue on this homeschooling path for a while longer.

And, you will get that confirmation, too.

It will be simply because right now, you just know.


What is your gut telling you?

Trust your gut to help you decide whether homeschooling is for your family or not.

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Integrating Academics into Daily Life Workshop

Integrating Academics into Daily Life Workshop

Discover how to integrate academics into daily life. For homeschoolers of neurodivergent and disabled learners.


  1. Suzanne

    Its true there is nothing more powerful han a mother’s gut instinct in knowing what is best for her child. Beautifully expressed. You help bring the reader through the process you went through that was the best decision for your son. I’m so happy that you followed what you knew deep down in your heart.

    • Gabriella Volpe

      Thank you for your words of encouragement, Suzanne.

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