For several reasons, our dd (6) will be registering for the spring semester of first grade at our local public school. This will be her first time attending school; she's been participating in various homeschool co-ops for the past few years. If you've gone from homeschooling to public school, is there anything you wish you'd prepared your kiddo for? Anything you would have done differently (or anything you're glad you did)? DD's very social and flexible, so I think she'll have a pretty easy transition, but it seems like a pretty big jump to me, going from a really relaxed environment to one that is more structured and comes with a set of both spoken and unspoken rules that other students will have internalized already.
homeschool to public school, anything you wish you'd done differently?
My son also had never attended school until a couple months ago. We went from hs to 2nd grade at the local ps. The transition has been difficult. It was a quick decision for us and we didn't have much time to prepare.
I wish we would have started at the beginning of the year or at semester. It has been difficult to make friends as most of the kids have already formed groups. We are working on doing playdates, though to help him get to know some of the children one on one.
I wish we would have had some time to prepare him so he would know about some of those spoken and unspoken rules in school. (You can't just get up and leave when you need to use the bathroom.)
I wish we had the money for private school - just for the smaller class sizes. He is #24 in his class. The amount of children is very overwhelming for him. They are always there and always so close.
All that aside, it has not been all bad. He enjoys (most) of school and my younger children are enjoying the extra attention from mom.
I hope the transition goes well for your family.
My kids started public school when they were 10 & 12. I was upfront with the school and in return, the school was wonderful. What worked especially well was that the school assigned them a "buddy" to show them the ropes & help them out.
There was an adjusted period with handwriting, but overall, it was the right thing to do &we've never looked back.
Wow, OP, your daughter is only 6. Though my now public schooled 6yo son attended a bit of preschool when younger, we never officially schooled him. Isn't 6 the start of school? And in some Western countries, even 7? Your child is just making the normal transition from home to school, like everyone else in her class; and since K is voluntary in many areas, she won't be the only one starting in 1st grade at age 6. Since you started her official "schooling" early, she is probably quite advantaged socially and academically. And though she is beginning in the Spring rather than Fall, all of the kids are still adjusting to a school environment. The kids are still so young, innocent, and adorable, and will likley enjoy having a new classmate. She will likely thrive, I wouldn't worry about it! Just talk to the teacher beforehand about some of the spoken/unspoken "rules" & go over them w/ your kiddo prior to her first day.
These are all really great posts. Thank you! We've had an interesting ride thus far. DH and I started out thinking that eclectic homeschooling was the way to go with our kids, leaning toward unschooling. We'd probably introduce some basics (handwriting, etc.) around 6 and go from there. Then DD turned around at 21 months of age and asked to join the preschool co-op a friend was putting together. Full sentences, solid reasons from this tiny toddler. So we followed her lead, and kept following it as she turned into this incredibly social, outgoing kid who can do five activities a day and just keep going for months before needing a down day.
She's an asynchronous learner, which is one reason why we've really held back from the idea of public school. She's motivated, like many people, by what she wants to learn, and will work backward from there to pick up the basics she needs. She's playing with cursive writing right now, even though she's still working on sight recognition of all the letters. She's got most of them down, but a couple still shake her confidence. And she really likes to start her letters at the bottom, no matter what anyone says, and writes in mirror-writing half the time. Same with numbers. She's been adding since she was 2 and figured out some basic concepts of multiplication and division at 4 and 5, but doesn't have anything resembling a math table memorized. We've really done very little in terms of formal schooling, but she's got a lot of energy and curiosity, so she picks up plenty on her own and she's been enrolled in co-op classes and activities for four years.
The more I think about it, the less I'm worried about her social adjustment. And I think she'll pick up the classroom rules pretty quickly once she gets into it, though I do want to help prepare her as much as possible. Academically I have no idea how she'll fit in. I know we haven't approached curriculum the way the school has, and there will be some skills she's missing. And there will be some that she's already competent on. I hope her teacher is ok with that and doesn't have a lot of negative assumptions about homeschoolers that might create a filter over her interactions with DD and how she interprets them. We're going in friendly and open to the experience, but at the same time, we're enrolling mid-year with a student who has never been in school before (in an area where most first graders have gone to at least one year of "K-prep" preschool and public kindergarten before starting first grade), who carries an epipen for severe allergies, and who has a religious vaccination exemption. That kind of creates an impression right off the bat, you know?
Lots of kids have medical things going on and I wouldn't be concerned that having an epi pen would raise eyebrows. The teacher may not even know about the vaccines.
Some things that I thought didn't matter, such as how a child writes letters, I later changed my mind about. If the teacher wants to "correct bad habits" I'd recommend going along with it with a positive attitude. It will make it easier for your dd in the long run.
Oh heck, I've been trying to get DD to write her letters the "correct" way (because it will make writing in cursive much easier) and reminding her that she can write in mirror-writing all she wants, but if she wants someone to be able to read what she wrote, she's going to need to write it the "correct" way. If the teacher wants to encourage her in that direction, I have no problem with that, as long as she's not snarky about it. I suspect DD will listen to someone else better than me anyway. DD and I learn and explore really well together, but she doesn't accept much teaching from me. And that's fine; she prefers to take classes with a variety of other teachers and she does take direction from them, so I'm ok with that dynamic.
We didn't do the homeschool to school transition but we did a mid-year kindie to 1st grade transition and even with DD have a little school experience with kindie, there were some things I'd wished I'd prepared her for and some things I'd reccomend especially since your DD is starting mid-year.
A tour of the classroom prior to starting to know the general lay-out. I know my DD felt "stupid" because she was the only one who didn't know where the pencil sharpener was. I reccomend stopping by with her at lunch time so she can see where the kids line up, where they sit to eat, where they get the balls for recess. I know, it sounds like little stuff but to a child who is already a little stressed about being "the new kid" mid-year, it can be a big deal.
In the classroom, I wish I'd picked up curriculum for the weekend prior to look through it with her. My DD was more than capable in math but she was using "old" terminology and it freaked her out the first time they asked for "the multiples of 5" not realizing they just wanted her to "skip count" which she'd been doing from 2. She was great and "borrowing and carrying" but they now call it "regrouping." The list goes on. I could have saved her psyche a little rattling had we gone over the terminology first. She was also thrown by the teacher saying things like "take out your reading book and turn to page 130." It's not that it was hard, it was just the first time anyone had asked her that and everyone else was so fast and expereinced at it. I'd give your DD a little experience with workbooks too, turning to the right page, automatically writing her name in the corner, reading the instructions and following them.
I just put my 5th grader in school today (his request) and I'm reading this thread and thought I"d contribute. The principal was very nice about telling my son what to expect. She told him that kids would ask him strange and possibly offensive questions at recess and i was surprised that she actually thought to make sure he knew about raising his hand:)
Did any of you keep some kids at home? After the initial excitement of schooling wore off, did your kids still want to go to school? Did the siblings all want to go too? How did you deal with your transition from "homeschooling mom" to "mom." What did you do with your homeschool curriculum?
Today's his first day, so I"ll come back and update if I don't get any answers, then maybe I can answer someone else's.
One of my dd's started first and when we saw how good it was for her, we decided to start the other dd at the beginning of the new school year. My kids started at a wonderful public school, but when we moved cross country this summer we switched to an even bettter private alternative school. Their new school is amazing.
I feel odd about our homeschool experience. I was a "good" homeschool mom and we did a lot of cool things, but this is so much healthier for our whole family. I have balance in my life in ways that I didn't have for 12 years.
When is her birthday? Can you put her in K instead of first? She sounds more at the level the school would expect a K student to be, plus if you have half day K that might be an easier transition. I would be concerned that putting her in a established first grade class, might make her feel "behind" the other kids. I know here by the end of K the kids are expected to be writing full sentence with the K sight words spelled correctly(I think there are like 20ish of them?) and using proper punctuation/capitalization. They are expected to be reading simple books, be able to sort and classify objects, do simple addition, recognize coins, etc. I also know at least here anyway that the main focus is on reading and writing. If those skills are "behind" it's going to show more than if the math skills are off. There are also a lot of 6 year olds in K here by Jan. :)
To your original question both my kids started school kind of suddenly, at the beginning of this year. My oldest was homeschooled for one year and my middle child had never been in any classroom setting. My oldest is in second and was behind in some areas (mainly writing. What is it about homeschoolers and writing? lol)), ahead in some areas, and right on par in most. She was pretty much right where I had placed her. I'm not sure if I would have done anything different...We did use a curriculum when we homeschooled though, because we did believe she would end up in school at some point again and I didn't want her to far from the schools norm. KWIM?
My son had never been in any classroom situation(no formal homeschool curriculum for him either), but he started in K at the start of the school year so it wasn't really a problem. He is pretty precocious academically speaking so if anything he was ahead in that area. He has some behavior/focus problems that I thought would be an issue but so far have no been a problem. I'm not sure how going all day in first grade is going to go though. EEK! I'm scared. LOL
****I'm editing to add I think I miss read a few of your posts. LOL I thought you were saying she could not ID her letters yet, but it looks like you were talking about cursive. Oppppps, sorry!
Edited by meetoo - 1/8/11 at 5:38pm
My children made the move into school in grade 4. A few months before they started school I looked through the provincial curriculum to see what their peers would have been working on. My kids were right on track or ahead with academic skills and it was easy to focus on some social studies areas of the curriculum with them so that they didn't "miss" anything their new classmates had covered already.
The biggest adjustment for them was learning in a different context and we approached it as a positive thing so they made the transition pretty well. I had mixed feelings about no longer homeschooling but I kept my misgivings to myself. I wanted my children to go into school feeling hopeful and positive about it and I was careful that I didn't give them the message that school was bad or inferior to homeschooling. Even though I had my own concerns, that would have hampered their comfort and willingness to go in with a positive attitude.
That was a few years ago. School has been great for our children, much better than the homeschooling experience I could have offered them with everything else that was going on in my life over this time period. There have been frustrating moments but that was true when we homeschooled too!
I held on to our curriculum materials for quite awhile but eventually passed them on. I have had no trouble filling my time with other things I need to do. My children are happy and doing well at school and we still have loads of family time. Sometimes I miss homeschooling but my children are in the best place for each of them at this point.