I am that parent who never envisioned sending my kids to public school. Let’s be honest, we were having so much fun learning at home and getting to go on vacation whenever we felt like it, why would we ever choose to go to a “real school”? I had homeschooled for 10 years 2 months and 15 days when my 15-year old son decided to issue these words, “Mom, I want to go to highschool!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but I wanted my son to experience high school if that’s what he really wanted to do, so off we went into an unknown territory for our family.
The first step into entering public school is making sure all your child’s vaccinations are up to date. If you choose to not vaccinate then you will be required to sign a waiver and get it notarized. I currently live in Texas which has a few more required vaccinations then where we previously lived, so you want to make sure you check your state’s vaccination requirements. You cannot assume, like I did, that all of the state laws are the same. Get to know what vaccinations are required in your state for your children to attend school so there is no delay.
One important option for those parents who do not vaccinate is that some states have waivers that you can request to opt out of certain vaccinations so check into that if you choose to not vaccinate.
#2 Current Report Card
While homeschooling it’s important to keep track of any grades you give your children on assignments and tests. This information will be helpful to the school so they know what your child knows and he/she will not have to repeat courses you have already taught. I did not use an online homeschooling program so this made things a little tricky and held up the admission process. So you want to be sure to keep great records while homeschooling just in case they will ever attend public school.
One thing I made sure to do each year was to give my kids a national standardized test. I went through Abeka. This was required where we lived, even though we only had to submit the results every other year. Each state is different though. Texas, for example, has a state test as well as national tests that all students must pass in order to move to the next grade level. Therefore, to satisfy the state, and prove my child’s grade level, he was required to take the state test for the previous grade level.
My son was a little bit nervous about doing this and I thought he might change his mind, but his desire to attend high school was greater than the anxiety he felt about taking the exam. (Of course he passed with flying colors…. Yep, teacher of the year right here, just saying!)
#4 Adjustment Period
Being homeschooled allows for parents to remove the negative effects of peer pressure that can be present in public schools. During the first month of attending high school my son realized that being the “class clown” was not the smartest way to go. He also quickly understood that teachers were not like parents and they did not accept late work. This was the hardest part of the transition! It took patients as I watched him struggle through the adjustment.
How I Dealt with the Adjustment Period?
No parent wants to see their kids struggle, so I searched for the right thing to say or to do. I learned through this adjustment period that teenagers need guidance without it appearing to be lectures. So what I chose to do was offer a few soft words each day help him find his way.
#5 Other Ways to Bond
Now that my kids go to public school, I no longer get to spend as much time with them like the old days. So everyday after school we all sit down at the kitchen table and they work on homework and I work on other projects to be able to spend time with them. Since my kids started public school it gave me a chance to go back to college and take some classes, which has been fun because we have shared each other’s successes (good grades on test) and cry with each other during discouraging times (usually when I feel overwhelmed my kids are there to help encourage me to continue). We have bonded in new ways, which I would never have imagined prior to them going to public school.
Transitioning from homeschool to public school has been a journey that I did not think we would ever take as a family, but our family has now done it twice and been successful both times we have done it! As I look back I think the transition was the hardest for me! I used to look forward to waking up everyday and spending it with my kids teaching them, but now I look forward to them coming home and telling me about their adventures at school. I still work closely with all of their teachers (love that the school has everything online for parents to see each day) to make sure my kids are on track. Making the move to public school was the right choice for our family.
What were some of the most difficult things you encountered transitioning from homeschool to public school?
~Written by Jennifer