There are so many different options out there for schooling your child these days (homeschool, unschool, online, co-op, public school, private school, charter school, etc.) that you can find a perfect fit for your child. However, just as one size does not fit all, the right fit for your child may change over the years.
We began as homeschoolers and, at some point, our daughter made a choice to go into the public school system. She attended her public elementary school for a year and had a great experience. But then, the following year, she made a decision to go back to homeschooling. Her reason? She explained that she was simply bored.
She was homeschooled for another two years and then made a decision to go back into public school — which she did — this time entering middle school.
It is no longer a matter of picking one way to “do school” and having to stick to it for 12 years. It’s not uncommon these days, due to there being so many options, to have kids or parents make choices to move from one to another and back again.
For families who are considering a transition from homeschooling into public school, here are some tips that can help make it a smooth, effective, and positive experience for your child.
Transition back into the public school at a time when all other kids in that grade are starting at a new building. This will help your child to not feel left out and confused because they will know the same amount about the building that all of the other students do. For example, if your child decides to enter school as they are starting middle school, the school building, teachers, and schedule are new and different for all students, not just yours. This allows for them to all have something in common right off the bat.
Participating in activities outside of school during homeschooling years is a plus. This allows your child to meet and know kids in their age group outside of the school system. When they enter school, there is a good chance they may know kids from other activities in which they have participated. We were very active homeschoolers. Our daughter was out and about at museum, library and metroparks programs, and played on many sports teams in the area. The first day she walked in the door at her elementary school, she was pleasantly surprised to have friends already in her class.
Encourage your child to be confident in making new friends. Some of these new friends will become lifelong friends. My daughter suggests, “Let friendships happen naturally by just talking to new people you meet, see around the school, and in your classes. Don’t be shy, but also don’t try so hard that you may come across as pushy and annoying. Let people still be friends with the people they have known for a while and don’t interrupt them when they are with their already established friend groups. Instead, talk to people that are in your classes individually to get to know them. Then, you will end up making a lot more friends because their friends may become your friends, too.”
There are so many options today for educating our children. With just a little exploration, you can help them find the perfect fit. My daughter adds, “Don’t limit yourself with only the basic few options or what most kids are automatically ‘supposed to do.’ Do a little research before you go into a school (or don’t go into a school) and make the decision that is the best fit for you.”