I haven't been in this forum for awhile, and I apologize in advance for the length of this post. My kids went to 4th and 1st grade this year at our local public school after having been hs'ed up until then. My older son had asked to go, and we decided to give it a shot. It's been a year of mixed experiences, and we are on the fence about returning next year.
I could do a list of pros and cons in general, but most of you here know what they would generally be. Our plan is, for the most part, to let the kids choose for themselves whether they would like to return. But, I feel like they need some help with this.
For instance, my 4th grader likes a lot of things about school. He liked meeting new kids, he likes the field trips and playing football at recess. He likes the extracurriculars at school, like playing the trombone in the band and PE and art and drama. However, he is bored by the academics, and takes very seriously the "normal" teasing that kids do. I put normal in quotes because it's certainly not normal within our family, but it does seem to happen a lot in the kid world, not only in school. Very little of the teasing has been anything personal, more just rude comments that really upset him. He has a really hard time walking away or ignorning a kid when they say something to him.
So, he says he wants to homeschool again so he doesn't have to deal with "mean" kids. Fine, okay, but then when the sign up sheet for next year's band comes, he is super excited about the trombone and says he wants to go back. (Sure, we could do trombone lessons, but it's just not the same.)
I don't know how to help him make this decision. I think he needs to work on letting minor teasing roll of his back, so I would hate for him to miss out on the other things he likes because of that. Plus, we encountered some of it in the homeschool world as well. However, I do NOT agree with the theory that kids should be subjected to negative experiences just to prepare them for life, and I don't want his self esteem to take a hit.
My younger son is super excited about the idea of being in 2nd grade, because it means he is "big." However, he is academically advanced and is super bored by the "baby work" as he calls it. I can't imagine this is going to improve in 2nd grade - I've looked at 2nd grade curriculum and I'd say he is about a year ahead. But socially school has been great for him. He's made a ton of friends, and for the first time has his OWN friends, not just his brother's friends. He really feels like the big man on campus. I'd hate to have him lose that, but I do think we are going to hit some bigger bumps with the boredeom and rote academics. Also, he never wants to take any classes when I offer them, but really has enjoyed the art and drama classes he is "forced" to take at school.
So, I could use some guidance about how to help the kids sort out what they really want to do from parents who may have btdt. Thank you for reading this far!