Sometimes life throws us a curveball. While you may plan to homeschool your child all the way through senior year, circumstances might change, and you could find yourself looking at enrolling him or her in public school. Whether the decision to change from home to public schooling may be initiated by the parent or child or caused by a change in life circumstances, it’s important to be mindful of the impact that the change could have on your son or daughter.
While there is usually an adjustment period, parents should take comfort in knowing that the transition usually goes well. The process is usually a bit smoother when the transition is initiated by the child, but kids seem to adjust to parent-initiated changes pretty well, too.
No matter how old your child is and what your family’s circumstances are, there are a few things to keep in mind when transferring your child from a homeschooling program to a public school district. In addition to ensuring the smoothest transition for your child, certain steps must be taken to meet various requirements. Here is a brief overview on how to transition your child from homeschool to public school.
Whether your child has come to you saying that he or she would like to attend public school or you have made the decision for your own reasons, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Switching from homeschool to public school is a big deal, and doing so can be an emotional process for everyone in the family.
Parents may experience feelings of guilt if their children are not succeeding at being homeschooled or if they are forced to send the kids to public school as the result of changes, such as no longer being able to afford to have one parent stay home during the day. There will also likely be a lot of concern regarding how well the child will adjust and if he or she will be happy.
And parents aren’t the only ones who feel the emotional effects of major transitions. Going to a public school can be scary, especially for kids who have been homeschooled their entire lives. Young kids may fear the unknown, and older children will likely worry about whether they will be able to fit in.
With all of these emotions running rampant, it’s extremely important to make communication a priority. Everyone in the family needs to communicate openly and have their fears and concerns validated. Switching from homeschooling to public school is a huge transition, and it’s one that everyone in the family should be able to discuss freely.
Plan to Deal with a Lot of Bureaucracy
When homeschooling your kids, you are in charge. You set the rules, establish school hours and manage the curriculum. All of that ends when you enroll your child in public school. Schools have a lot of rules by which you and your child will have to abide.
While most schools welcome new students and do their best to make each family’s experience as positive as possible, you’ll still likely need to deal with a lot of red tape. You may be asked for your child’s grades and homeschooling records. If you follow a traditional homeschool curriculum with tests and grades, providing this information should be easy. If you used a less structured approach, though, this type of information may not be readily available.
Since the school is in charge of determining what grade a child should be in, your son or daughter may be placed in a different grade than you initially thought. The school may require testing to assess how much a child has learned and what grade her or she should be in. Homeschool laws vary from state to state, so it’s important to understand the requirements for your area before making the change.
If you are switching to public school when your child is in high school, it may be even more difficult. Many states have strict requirements for what courses and exams need to be completed before a student can earn a high school diploma. If your child hasn’t studied the right things and taken the right classes, he or she may not be able to graduate on time.
Prepare to Help Your Child Adjust Socially
Even if your child has been involved in sports and other group activities to get the socialization lacked by not attending public schools, it still may be difficult to adjust socially when attending public school. Even the most well-adjusted homeschool students tend to feel like the outcast for the first few weeks, especially when most of their friends have been going to school together for several years and have already formed strong bonds.
No parent wants to see their child struggling to make friends. While you can’t do the hard work for them, you can build your child’s confidence by reminding them of all of their amazing qualities and the differences that make them unique. Let them know that talking about homeschooling could be a great icebreaker — especially if their curriculum has included things like traveling to interesting places to experience history, science or art firsthand.
If your child still struggles to fit in, you may want to talk to the principal or guidance counselor. They may be able to help your child get involved in groups or activities where they can meet other kids that share their interests. You can also help your child by introducing plain shirts and clothing into their wardrobe, this can help draw attention to them if they are extra shy.
Transitioning a child from homeschool to public school can be challenging, but in most cases, kids adjust well to the change within a few weeks. As parents, we often forget how truly resilient our children actually are. In truth, most are able to handle just about any change they may have to face as long as we provide loving support and guidance.
Author Bio: Jordan Smith is a full-time stay-at-home mother of 2 daughters and a new dog, Luna! She loves spending time with her family and coming up with creative new crafts for every occasion. As blogging is her second passion, she is a regular contributor to The Talkn’ T-Shirts Blog. She also enjoys strolling the streets of downtown Charleston, South Carolina and all the amazing food her hometown has to offer.