This year my daughter made the decision to go to a local public charter school. I have always made it their choice to stay homeschooled or go to school. In fact, last year they did an entire month in a local public school. That didn’t go well for a few different reasons. However, this year we did more research and have found what we believe to be a good fit and she is switching from homeschool to public school.
Switching from Homeschool to Public School
In this post I want to share some of what I have learned in the first few weeks of this process. We were homeschoolers our entire lives so this has been a huge transition for all of us. I hope that by sharing I can help someone who might also be switching from homeschool to public school.
Not all schools are created equal.
Before choosing to put your child in school, make sure you take the time to research the school options in your area. The middle school my daughter is zoned for is a definite no. It is not a quality school and everyone I know who has kids there is unhappy. After spending some time researching, we found an amazing school that fits more of how we approach education.
Not all schools offer instant entry.
There are many schools such as charter and private schools that will not let your child enter instantly. Instead, you may start the application process in Spring or even late winter the year before you start that school. Make sure to look at enrollment requirements and deadlines. My daughter’s school utilized a lottery system to pick which children got in.
Some schools expect Summer Homework.
My daughter had a large list of homework that was expected to be completed during the summer months. The goal was to make sure to fill in any learning gaps and prepare her for the coming school year. It is important that you have your child actually do this homework so they are ready for the coming year.
Sign up for parent email addresses and notifications.
Many schools will have a parent email or a notification system in place. This will help you know when you need to buy uniforms, what deadlines are coming up, and what is going on with the school. I would have been in trouble if I wouldn’t have signed up for this as I would have missed the deadline for ordering uniforms.
Teach your child to organize.
Homeschoolers are taught to organize themselves in one way. However, they will have a different schedule and different expectations while they are in school. It is important to prepare your child with planners and tools to help them manage homework and deadlines. Some schools will provide some of this while others won’t.
Don’t be afraid to email teachers.
This isn’t just a big adjustment for your child. This is a big adjustment for you as well. If you have questions or things you genuinely aren’t sure of, don’t be afraid to reach out to their teachers and ask for more information. I know that I have dropped a quick email to a teacher and she was thankful to have an engaged parent.
Car-line is a never-ending story!
For most schools, you will have to be in line to pick up and drop off your child anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour before they actually get out. It will depend on the school and how things are organized. It might be worth considering having your child be a bus rider if that is a possibility for you.
There are miles and miles of paperwork to fill out.
Seriously, every time I turn around I am signing a form, refilling a sheet, or trying to respond to something sent home from school. Don’t be surprised if you see tons of paperwork. I suggest making sure you read every single thing sent home so you know what you are signing off on.
There will be a period of adjustment.
While there are some great things that will come from this move, there will also be some big adjustments for everyone. Whether you are adjusting to earlier wake ups, homework, or new social situations you will spend a great deal of time working thru these adjustments. Be gracious as this will be a big adjustment for your family but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a good one.
You haven’t failed at homeschooling!
It can be easy to see this transition to public school as a failure. Don’t. Honoring your child’s educational choice, or making a new one because of circumstances doesn’t make you a failure. Look at all of the successes from your homeschool adventure. Things like teaching your child to read or write are huge things to celebrate! Celebrate a closed door whether it has closed forever or only for a season.