I Never Wanted To Homeschool My Children Until School Shootings Became The Norm

by Caitlin Oster
Originally Published: 
A mom holding and comforting her child in a group of people in the aftermath of a school shooting
Kevin Moloney/Getty

As I quietly rocked my baby girl to sleep, I cried. I cried for all the victims, students, parents, family members and teachers at STEM Highlands Ranch. And I cried for every child that is growing up thinking school shootings are the norm.

Another school shooting. Another senseless act all because we can’t pass stricter gun laws to protect our children. I cried harder than usual because this one hit close to home. Actually, a 20-minute drive from my home. We know a handful of the students who attend this school. We waited a few hours to hear from our friends that their children were okay and that they were reunited with them. It was a long hard wait for us so I can’t even imagine how difficult and upsetting it was for their parents and I never want to.

I don’t have school aged children yet. I have another two years before we our supposed to send our oldest to kindergarten. But that moment will be here before we know it and I have a big decision to make. Just last week, we put STEM of Highlands Ranch on our list of schools to consider. Our son loves building and is always up for a science experiment. Honestly, a STEM school would be perfect for the way his mind works. But now, I can’t bare the thought of sending my children to any public or private school. The thought of sending them off to school and not knowing if they will come home at the end of the day is unimaginable.

I never considered homeschooling my children until the last year or two. Nothing has changed to address access to guns or make schools safe again. Before Columbine (I remember my school being on lockdown and I watched with my class as everything unfolded on TV), schools were sacred and safe. You never had to worry about your child when they were in school because a mass shooting in a safe place for children just did not occur. It was unthinkable. But to those who commit mass shootings, no one and nowhere is off limits.

I feel helpless to influence or control what the government does to address gun laws and to ensure schools are safe. I’ve written to not only my state legislators but my congressmen as well begging them to do more. To protect us. To help me and other desperate parents put an end to school shootings. But I’m ignored. I feel like my only option until we see radical change is to homeschool my children so they are safe from school violence. And I’m not the only parent considering homeschooling as an alternative or “solution.” We parents, don’t know what else to do. Don’t know what else to say or how to make those in power listen to our cries and demands.

Homeschooling isn’t easy or the solution I desperately want. Homeschool would eliminate the worry my children may have every morning when they head to school: will they see me, their dad, or siblings at the end of the day? I also won’t have to wonder every morning if I’m telling my children goodbye and I love you for the very last time. And as sad as it is, I feel like homeschooling has become my only option at this point.

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