Recently we made a decision as a family that was one of the hardest I’ve had to make in a long time. You see, we’ve homeschooled their entire lives. I’ve always told them it was their choice. This year they called my bluff and they are now attending public school. This has been a bumpy transition and I’ve had to learn a lot! I wanted to share 10 things to know about putting a homeschooler in public school.
10 Things to Know About Putting a Homeschooler in Public School
I want to put out a huge disclaimer here. This was my experience. Yours may be completely different. These tips are simply pulled from my experience with this process.
Be prepared to uniform shop.
Many schools have moved to uniforms. While some might have uniforms that you buy directly from them, others might just give you some simple guidelines and tell you to find what you like. Our school did the second option. We found it very difficult to find the right colors and types in the middle of the school year. If you start your child mid-year be prepared for the possibility that you may have to look for uniforms on Amazon or in consignment stores. Prices will vary depending on what your school requires.
Don’t ask when the earliest is that you can pick up your child.
Instead, ask what time is best to get in car line with a smaller wait. If you ask for the earliest, you could easily be sitting in car line for over an hour. As you continue to drop off and pick-up your child you will start to see what times are better than others. It is completely ok to not be the first parent in line every day.
You can’t prepare your homeschooler.
Hear me out. If your homeschool child has never been to school there is little you can do to prepare them for the experience. It’s one of those things they have to experience. You can tell them about the rules. You can prepare them for the schedule but it will be a brand new experience.
Don’t be surprised if they hate it.
My kids ranted for over an hour the first day of school about everything that went wrong. They told me stories of frustration. They vented about things that they didn’t like. They simply let loose everything they held in the entire day. I had to give them that room to vent and then work to find the positives when they had vented completely.
Keep your emotions in check.
As much as this is new for them, it will be new for you. If they come home with a bad report that can be soul crushing. We want our kids to be happy and always have the best. It can be tempting to cry with them or get mad too. Don’t. Show you care but set the emotional temperature of the day. If you break down or freak out you are only communicating that that is how they should act. Instead, be the calm in their storm.
Have a homeschool friend you can cry to.
We all need someone who understands what we’re walking thru. Making the decision to put your kids in school can be a very difficult one. Don’t do it alone. Instead, step outside and call a friend who will let you cry. Let her words encourage you and be honest about your heart.
Have a non-homeschool friend you can call.
There will be 100 questions you will want to ask. This isn’t just new for your child. This is new for you too. Have a friend that you can call to ask these questions to. I probably would have pulled my kids 4 times over if it weren’t for my friend Crystal. She kept reminding me it would get better. She also talked me thru when to email the teacher and when to leave well enough alone.
Email the teacher. I was so worried about emailing the teacher.
I didn’t want to be that mom. You know the one. I wanted to give my kids a good impression with their teachers. That said, send the email. Have an open conversation with your child’s teacher. If there is a concern, ask about it. It will help you to be the best parent you can be and have more peace about their education.
Trust your child.
You have spent your homeschool years focused not just on education but on character training. Now it’s time for you to trust your child. Let them take the life lessons you’ve taught them and use them in school. They may have some areas of conflict. That said, they may surprise you with their kindness and compassion. Trust them to remember the things you taught them.
There may be learning gaps.
The school may teach different material in a different way than you. Prepare for some adjustments as your child has to catch up in certain areas. On the flip side, there may be areas where your child is advanced because of homeschooling. It is important to communicate to your child that learning gaps don’t make them a failure. We all learn different things at different paces.