Almost three years ago, my two oldest kids left public school to homeschool at the start of the pandoozle. At the time Chloe was a freshman and Travis was in sixth grade. Both were thriving socially and academically, but when the patchouli hit, there was very little organization to the virtual schooling plan. Obviously, it was not the teachers’ fault — but I quickly shifted them to an accredited online homeschool program to avoid learning gaps. Chloe graduated early as a homeschooled student, and has been accepted to several amazing east coast universities (including two Ivy League schools), but this year Travis will be transitioning from homeschool back to traditional high school, and Harrison will be starting kindergarten!
Our plan was to return them to traditional school if and when we felt that it was safe. However, Chloe quickly discovered she loved the freedom of homeschooling, and that she had less migraine and stress — so she made the decision to heavy up on her course work and finish high school a year early. Although Chloe was super active in theatre and extremely social, she was under a lot of self-imposed stress to do well in her classes, be there for her friends, and participate in every production. It wasn’t until she stepped away from it, that she realized that it took a toll on her mental and physiological health.
Travis on the other hand, who is also very bright, was pretty indifferent about homeschool and yearned to be back with his group of friends that he’d been with since kindergarten. He thrives in environments where he gets to be super social, and it energizes him, rather than drains him. So, our plan was always to return him to traditional school — however we were hoping to have him return, once we settled on the East Coast (we’ll talk about that in another post)! Since things it’s been challenging to find the right house across the country, we decided to to enroll him in his freshman year here to give him on last hurrah with his childhood friends, and transfer him later this fall/winter when we move.
As much I love homeschooling all my babies, my goal is to raise confident, independent thinkers — and in order to do that, we have to empower them to make decisions for themselves. That’s why we’ve given all of the power to choose between homeschooling and traditional school — yes, even our five year old! My dad always says “life is a series of choices”, so Travis has made the choice to return to school and Harrison has made the choice to “try it out”! We’re still very conscious about the virus, and honestly I don’t feel great about the state of things (especially here in Texas). We’ve still been extremely careful, masking 100% of the time, only taking out kids to do outdoor and socially distanced activities, and we’ve recently returned to eating a restaurants (only in outdoor seating). I think I’ll feel a bit better about it once we leave Texas and move out east, butt until then, here we are.
If you are thinking about transitioning your child from homeschool to a public school, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are a few tips that have helped us to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
1. Talk To Your Child About What They Want
This is the most important thing you can do. Talk to your child about what they want and what they think their best options are. It is important to have open and honest communication with your child about their desire to transition to traditional school. Let them know that you are there for them, whatever decision they make, and if they don’t like it after at least one quarter, they can still homeschool if they want to.
2. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead will help you to make the transition as smooth as possible. This means thinking about what resources your child will need in order to transition successfully, such as a syllabus, textbooks, and other materials. You may also need to schedule a meeting with the teachers at their new school so that they are aware of your child’s background and can help plan for success.
3. Make A Transition Plan
Once you have a good idea of what resources your child will need, it is important to create a transition plan. This plan should include things like when your child will start school, how often they will contact you, and what steps you will take in case of an emergency. Having this plan will help avoid any surprises and ensure a smooth transition for your child.
4. Be Prepared For Changes
Be prepared for changes. Public school is not going to be the same as homeschool. Expect your child to make new friends, learn new things, and have different experiences at school.
5. Be Prepared To Help Your Child Adjust
If things go wrong during the transition process, be prepared to help your child adjust as needed. This may include providing support with homework or encouraging them to join a club or activity so that they feel more comfortable and supported in their new situation.
6. Be Supportive
Provide your child with the support they need to make the transition. Be there to listen when they need you, and offer help when you can. Let them know that you are there for them, no matter what.
7. Set Boundaries And Expectations
It is important to set boundaries and expectations during the transition process. This will help avoid any problems later on in school or when your child is trying to adjust to their new surroundings.
8. Let Them Transition At Their Own Pace
Let your child transition at their own pace. If they are ready to go to public school, let them go. Don’t force them to homeschool if they don’t want to. Let them experience public school in their own time and in their own way.
Transitioning from homeschooling to public school can be a challenging process, but with the help of these tips, you can make the transition as smooth as possible.