My Reasons For Homeschooling: Travel, Bullying and Finding Peace

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young boy wearing eye glasses, smiling while sitting in the couchThe title of this is rather obscure and I apologize for that, but it will all make sense by the end, I promise. I did this rather in a backwards format, posting about our first day of homeschooling rather than starting out with all the reasons why we chose to homeschooling this coming year.

I have wanted to homeschool ever since my son was in kindergarten, to be honest. He started out in the Caraway program for kindergarten but sadly it wasn’t what we thought it was going be. I then frantically started searching for schools and ended up choosing Mount Royal, a small, struggling Arts Core school in the Highlands area of Edmonton.

Mr K’s kinder class was a rocking total of 10 kids.

Not only were the classes small (at that time) but there was a sense of community in that small school. I loved it, even though it wasn’t our actual community at all, since I drove from another part of Edmonton to get there.

My decision to pull him out of the Caraway program because he wasn’t thriving was affirmed by the fact that he was reading by the end of kindergarten.

At a Grade 6 level.

So now here’s where I stand up for mainstream schooling. That kinder teacher and that small class somehow sparked his little mind into action more than Caraway or myself did.  He was tested at the beginning of Grade one the next year and was found to be reading at a precise Grade 5.8 level. Crazy, eh?

Mr K was definitely the child that needed a small school and mainstream learning to challenge him. He had small classes with teachers that knew his abilities and challenged him appropriately for many years.

Then came this past year.

What a mess.

Just…what a mess.

I knew that the Grade 5/6 years were going to start getting tough but I seriously didn’t expect it to be as tough as Grade 5 was on my son.  Grade 5 was a horrible year on his self-esteem and well-being, from physical to mental.

Let me start out by saying that my son is seriously the nicest kid in the world and that’s not just because I’m his mom. I’ve never met a kid who is so kind, so caring and just generally nice. (Now my daughter? That kid can and will kick some serious butt. She’s a firecracker.) He’s so incredibly sensitive about everything; other people, his family, everything.

He had barely made it a month into school before being attacked in the washroom at school by another boy. This child thought it would be OK to kick Mr K in the back while he was using a urinal. We are talking a full out kick to the kidneys here folks. A sneaky, malicious act if I’ve ever seen one, making sure that he did it in the one place that teachers couldn’t see him.

That kids punishment? Sitting in the office for a couple of days for an in-school suspension. My son came home telling me that this kid was sitting in the office talking and laughing to everyone who came in, including my son. Nothing like seeing the person who tormented you having a gay old-time out of the classroom, apparently not doing anything, right? My son was bewildered. How could the kid who had attacked him in the bathroom be sitting in the office having a great time?

Explain that one to me. Please, do, because no matter what admin told me, I failed to see how this helped my son.

That my friends, was the slippery start of the slide into hell that last year was.

I was in the principals office for a straight month in the fall, it seemed, thanks to this kid not leaving my son alone.

It was an entire year of this for my son. This kid would push, hit and name call. I’d be in the office. The kids would “talk” about their feelings. Then it would just happen again, a week or two later.

My son shrank into himself more and more. He exhibited all the classic signs of being bullied: he didn’t want to go to school, he even faked sick to avoid school (the first time in his whole life) and he was scared of this kid.

I have been really blunt and loud in saying that the system 110% let him down, failed him and as far as I am concerned, aided in the damage that has been done to his self-esteem.  Let me clarify that completely by saying he had AMAZING classroom teachers, it is the way it was handled by higher ups that is the problem.

I have sent emails and letters of complaint to the school board superintendents. I don’t believe in not doing anything and fighting back however it’s not enough. We had to leave.

So now this year, I have to try to find some peace for my son. We have to try to put him back together, both mentally and emotionally. He needs to learn how to love learning again and heal and to be frank, I am the only person I trust that can do that job. My trust is gone, my faith in the school system completely shattered and I am honestly not sure how or when he’ll go back into mainstream school.

Now, let me tell you how lucky I am that I CAN do this. I can homeschool and remove my son from the situation. What about those parents that can’t? I’m frustrated for them. I’ve seen how it works.

The other reason we are homeschooling is due to massive amounts of travel this year. We are going to Phoenix for a long while. We are going to Europe next spring. It’s not possible to do all this and stay in mainstream school.

Even if we weren’t travelling, my kids would have been pulled from school and homeschooled this year, let me be very frank about that, and it’s due to all the problems my son had last year. There’s no way he was enduring another year of that.

So there you have it in a nutshell. I’ll be writing about this journey of ours, on and off when I can find the time, and take you along with us. It should be a fun year full of mistakes, learning, fun and adventure. I’m looking forward to it!






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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. Monika says

    I really really would love to hear your experience with Caraway! Please reach out to me. Much love.

    Thank you

  2. tobylauren says

    I home school my 4 kids here in Alberta, too. I haven’t regretted that decision for one minute. Chat with me if you have any questions or want to bounce ideas around…. I can very happily provide a lot of information!

  3. Carissa says

    I would be interested to hear what made you change your mind about the Caraway school.  We are thinking of taking our (currently homeschooled) kids and putting them in the school.  They really miss working with other kids!  

  4. Barb Overton says

    My school years were a complete misery for similar reasons and it was not until university that I felt accepted. I wish I had been given some support before then. Great respect to you for your decision. All the best to you!

  5. hyacinthalagos says

    Im so sorry for what I have read, Kids must be responsible enough for there actions and words that it might hurt others. Schools must be aware for the bullying issues. Schools must be a friendly place for learning. Hope to see those bullied kids change their lives for the better.

  6. Karlee Urbanoski says

    Sorry to hear it was such a bad year, but so great you are able to homeschool. I am terrified of the day my kids start public school. I am sure K is going to flourish this year!

  7. Dallas Rosenau-Quaschnick says

    Good for you! Having raised boys I can say Grade 5 was a turning point for both of them. We also experienced the bullying ( sadly most of it actually encouraged by a male teacher) and looking back wish I had made more of a stand on his behalf. We came thru ok but anyone even considering home schooling, I say go for it!

  8. Donna Andrus says

    What an amazing story which is sure to help others. I wish you and your son (and family) lots of fun and success!

  9. Maja Neven- Laschinsky says

    My daughter too went through this in grade 1 , however it was not children but the teacher. I too watch helpless as my child crawled inside herself, and no longer had any self esteem.
    We ended switching schools and found an amazing teacher who work magic with our daughter.
    It has been a long road, and we still have a long way to go.
    I would have loved to homeschool however I was one of the parents that just could not do it.
    Good for you for standing up for your son!!

  10. SabineVan says

    I am so sorry that your son had to endure that!!!!  I find it very sad that the school would allow that to go on and it is heard so many times now.  My daughter was bullied in grade 3 and 4.  this year she is in 7 and she is terrified of being bullied yet again. My son sounds like yours, very sweet, sensitive, etc.  I wish you all the best for a fantastic schooling year at home!  Great job Karlynn! 

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      SabineVan Aw thanks. It was a sad, bad year in all. Here’s hoping we survive the year haha!

  11. The Kitchen Magpie says

    Tasha Desjardins No worries! I am friends with a few teachers from the school AND living such a public life means that they can read what I write at any time, so I wanted to be very clear about it. They did great jobs and we miss them, Admin did not. 😉

  12. Heather Pfohl Sutcliffe says

    Hoping that this year is a fantastic year of learning and healing and growing and generally good stuff. Mean people suck.

  13. Jody says

    Hear hear. We did it for varied reasons as well; lack of challenge for my learning-sponge kid, ignoring my trouble-learning kid, humping on the playground at grade 3, and a disrespectful teacher that tried to make my holidays hell. Each year the reason changed for us and I don’t regret a single year of homeschooling. 

    This is my first year in 6 that I don’t have kids home. Putting my daughters back in school in grade 9 was a great decision for us and really allowed them to be able to be themselves in the toughest years of teenage hood. You will love your school board and hate them at the same time as the technical difficulties are numerous! 😉

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Jody OH yes, we have encountered the technical difficulties already LOL! We actually have 5 fabulous years, and then the administration changed. And it went to hell.

  14. Leanne McBean says

    Good for you for standing up for your son! There are definitely fantastic teachers in the school systems, unfortunately I agree that their hands often seemed tied by an overly bureaucratic system. At young ages, our kids’ self esteem is so fragile, and they have enough to worry about without bullies making their lives miserable. You are doing wonders for him as a growing boy by showing him that you will stand up for him and support him and that he is important and his situation needs to be taken seriously. Bravo.

  15. Tasha Desjardins says

    I was agreeing with you on the great teachers out there. Sorry for the confusion.

  16. Lindsey Walker says

    I had thought about it but then we had a fantastic rest of grade 2 and 3. Things seem to be back on track.

  17. Lisa Losole says

    Are you thinking if home schooling? We have wonderful friends that homeschooled their 4 kids and she is awesome…I can connect you if you have questions. I wish I had been in a position to be able to have done it with Cody…we had so many issues both at school and in daycare!!

  18. Shellie Becker says

    I have thought about homeschooling since my first son was in kindergarten too. He is now in grade 9!! We have never experienced such a compelling reason to leave the public system but close. I have also had this feeling for a few years that our system is going to become somewhat antiquated by the evolution of our culture. Good for you for taking the challenge! Who better to teach your children than the people who care most about them?

  19. Ida Pence Waterous says

    I agree with your decision whole heartedly, my daughter was bullied without mercy for several years. I should have done what you did.

  20. Maryann Warford says

    Good for you! That is just terrible that he had to experience something like that . I hope they have a wonderful year.

  21. The Kitchen Magpie says

    Oh I’m clear in saying it’s NOT the teachers, we loved them. Bullying problems come right back to higher ups most of the time. They have to power to fix it or not.

  22. Shawna Hnatiuk Yeske says

    Hope your son (and you) have a wonderful year of fun and healing.

  23. Lindsey Walker says

    I can’t wait to hear how the homeschooling goes for both you and the kids! Caelan went through something similar in grade 1 and some of 2. It was so frustrating and he wasn’t the only one.

  24. Tasha Desjardins says

    There are fantastic teachers out there. It’s Alberta Education and school boards that are letting our kids down. Good luck with home schooling! 😀

  25. ShelleyJones1 says

    Oh geez. So many issues with our school system.  We are in the same boat and if it doesn’t get better, this year I will be pulling my boy to. I think the sweet sensitive ones get the short end of the stick in ours schools these days.  We’ve already been to therapy to try and help my guy, and he’s only in Grade 2.  The teacher just dismissed my complaints about said bully, saying ” Yeah, I know he doesn’t behave but just look at his big brown eyes…”  ugh. I need to meet you in real life to chat more about this.  Hugs to you, and to your son.  You’ve made the right choice. 

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      ShelleyJones1 What it comes down to is that NO CHILD SHOULD BE AFRAID TO GO TO SCHOOL. And if they are, there should be an inquiry STAT as to why that is.  It’s happening to more and more people. I don’t know who should be held accountable, but I do know that in my case it was the admin at the school. You read the punishment for what was literally a physical assault on my kid in the bathroom.  The kid got to sit in the office and talk to mail and delivery people, parents who came in, etc while my son had to watch him having a great time out of class. The number of times MY son felt punished for being the victim are uncountable.

      • ShelleyJones1 says

        thekitchenmagpie ShelleyJones1 There is no way in the world that was handled appropriately.  I think you made the right choice.   We will try again this year and hope for the best.  If not I will pull him and do homeschooling.  I’m tired of school admins not responding appropriately to threats to our children.  This needs to stop. 

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