Homeschooling and Adoption


My husband and I always knew that if we had kids we would homeschool. Once we decided to adopt that plan didn’t change, but it certainly made it even more appealing. Our oldest was adopted at 9 months old and our youngest was adopted at 20 months old. So starting out we had missed a chunk of their life and for our little one it was a big chunk of time. When you have biological kids you can be with them from the first day of life forward, but with adopted kids you can never get that time you missed back. So the thought of sending our kids off for dozens of hours each week was impossible for me to imagine. Homeschooling and adoption seem to go hand in hand.

When we met our younger daughter at 20 months old she was very much like a 12 month old emotionally and developmentally. So the sorts of toys we thought she would be able to play with and things we thought she would be able to do were off by quite a bit. We had to go back to the basics with her and let her do little “baby” things. I hit up some garage sales and Target to buy some baby toys that we had gotten rid of when our older girl outgrew them. That playtime built up a foundation for her to catch up developmentally. In the beginning when we tried to read board books to her, she would try to slam our fingers shut in the book and would get angry. We just continued to read in front of her and around her and now she loves books more than anything else in our house. Being able to focus on exactly what she needed rather than sending her off to a daycare or preschool where they are not prepared for those issues gave her what she needed to catch up to the children around her.

I know a lot of people who homeschool and a lot of people who have adopted. For those who adopt older kids it’s even more appealing to homeschool because most of those children have suffered a large amount of pain and loss that most of us can’t fathom. It’s a chance to spend all day getting to know your new child while also introducing them to new things each day. Especially for kids who are internationally adopted at an older age, the culture shock of being in an entirely different country where no one speaks your language can be overwhelming. If you are homeschooling you can teach at the pace that is comfortable to them without the pressure to place them in a grade or category.

Homeschooling your new family member all day can develop the trust they need to learn to be a part of a family. They can learn in a safe place and not be made fun of by kids who don’t know or understand what they have been through. One mother told me, “If you homeschool an adopted child, they are completely immersed in the family atmosphere and they learn that they belong and they are loved. They are offered a real sense of stability.”

I am so glad that we have come across such a wonderful community of homeschool families that have also adopted. It helps to know that there are other people out there who have been through this before and can be a wonderful support. Have you adopted and did that motivate you to homeschool? Do you think it’s made the transition easier?

Similar Posts


  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS POST! I have always been intrigued by the connection that is so common b/w adoption & homeschooling. For years I have been trying to get my hands on statistics that show a great percentage of homeschoolers that are adoptive parents! I am a mom of 3 (soon to be 6 in 2 months) all via adoption. I am also a homeschooler! I am host of Family by Design Radio that focuses on adoption, fostercare, missions and HOMESCOOLING! Thanks for a great article!

  2. Homeschooling adopted children can also be a good way to fill the gaps in their education. Often children who have been in foster care have switched schools multiple times and may have missed things. Of course, sometimes when you adopt an older child, the togetherness (and being the teacher – making them do things they don’t like) can be detrimental to the relationship and the time “off” while the child is at school is helpful. As always, it is important to pray about the decision and trust God to give you the best direction for that child.

  3. I’m an adoptive mama too and we’re really looking forward to starting Classical Conversations homeschool this fall. Thanks for your post.

  4. Just found this blog and it’s great! We have 4 children and two were adopted internationally. ONe came to us as an infant but one was almost 7 years old. While we have homeschooled all of our children, my older adopted child showed tremendous benefits with homeschooling. Not only were we strangers to him with a new country and language to adjust to, but he needed to know who his FAMILY was. Day in and day out time together was so important for bonding and attachment. Often while we read together (love our Sonlight books). he would cuddle on my lap on nuzzle in my neck. I imagine almost nothing we read made any sense to him but that extended time together as a family was a cement that he needed to help form his new identity as OURS.

    Anyone out there contemplating adoption, know that you are giving your child an extra gift to school them at home. It may not be easy but it is so valuable.

  5. I was wondering what sort of records etc the social worker will need for our adoption home study. We do a combination of textbooks and unschooling and my record keeping stinks. And are they going to throw a fit about kids being behind grade level in some areas?. Some of my kids are just slow starters who catch up eventually. We are in Kansas. Hoping to adopt a sibling group of 3-5 in addition to our 8 bio kids. Thanks.

    1. Jennifer, we try not to give legal advice since we aren’t experts on laws related to homeschooling and/or adoption. We would love to help you, but we would not ever want to give you incorrect advice and cause problems for you and your family. I would suggest that you talk to the social worker and maybe check with HSLDA (the Home School Legal Defense Association) to see if they can give you the info you need. You can contact them at You can also get a phone number there if you’d rather call them.

      1. I understand, I was just hoping to hear others experiences because my husband is afraid to even get started with the home study. He doesn’t want the homeschooling part to blow up in our faces. I have one friend who has adopted while homeschooling, her social worker asked to see curriculum but not records, grade cards etc.So I just want some idea what to expect so I can either reassure him, or get my rear in gear. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *