My middle child has asked to go to public school next year. Does anyone have any experience with sending a child to public school after homeschooling? She will be in 2nd grade and never been to a B&M school before. We do live in an excellent school district. I plan on calling the school to see if we can tour the building sometime this summer , maybe when we go in to register. Would it be a good idea to email her teacher (when we get the roster for next year and find out who her teacher is) to ask her to keep an eye on her for the first couple weeks to make sure she gets the hang of things or should we just throw her in and hope for the best?
Here's a little background. I have 3 kids. My oldest has Asbergers. We decided to homeschool instead of transition to public Kindergarten (from his special needs preschool) when he was 6. We homeschooled him for 3 years, folding his younger sister into the lessons when she was 5ish. We didn't do any formal Kindergarten with her, she taught herself to read, etc. This past school year it got to be too much so I enrolled them in a public cyber charter school. I also have a little one with celiac disease. So now the kids are 9, 7, and 3. SO this year they are in 3rd and 1st grade. They have both excelled in their studies, but dd needs more. She wants to be surrounded by other kids at all times and I just can't replicate that sort of environment at home. I have no philosophical reason to keep her home, other than trying to keep all the kids on basically the same schedule. Ds does not want to go to the local public school. I gave him the choice, as well, but he loves the cyber charter, so he'll stay there. My 3 year old is much more like her sister, so I anticipate sending her to school when she's ready. I now realize it was a mistake keeping dd7 home when it wasn't meeting her needs.
Sorry that got so long.
I have two kiddos who have been homeschooled from the beginning. DD is now 6 and DS will be 5 in a couple of months. I was diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia last summer and I went from being able to take my super-social DD to multiple activities and co-ops a day, every day, to not being able to drive more than a couple of times a week. We tried one semester of homeschooling at home and she and I nearly went crazy. She really needs a lot of social exposure and she actually learns better when she's in a group. So a couple of months ago we enrolled her in the local elementary school.
They didn't do any skills testing -- at this age, they simply go by birthday, so she was placed in first grade. There's a vast difference in approach -- we did a lot of exploring, child-led learning, with a strong focus on math, science, and social studies (basically, how our world works, how our food grows, what community is), whereas their focus is preparing for the third grade CAPT testing so they focus almost exclusively on reading and writing. Despite that, and going in halfway through the school year, she made the transition just fine (better than I did!). Even though we'd never required DD to start reading, she'd been exposed to the groundwork, and within two days of enrolling and having her teacher require reading, she was reading. Same thing with writing -- we hadn't focused on writing sentences using capital letters at the beginning and punctuation at the end, but she was able to get the hang of it within a day or two. They don't cover maths or sciences at the level she's at (or very often at all), but we've been supplementing at home at DD's request and she's ok with that. Socially, it's been a dream. She's made friends easily and looks forward to going to school to see them.
We did a family tour together with the principal the week before she started, and we walked her in the first couple of weeks, but that was it. She pretty much needed to jump right in on her own. I was anxious (deep inside, where DD couldn't see!), but she was totally fine. A little shy the first day, and then she was off like a rocket.
It really came down to what DD needed. I still feel that homeschooling the way we started -- being able to follow my kids' lead and explore, participating in homeschool co-ops and community groups, etc. -- would be optimal for DD. But I'm not able to provide that for her right now. The elementary school has been a positive experience for her, and at this point it's our best option.
My kids homeschooled until they were 10 and 12, and then started in a public school. We've know other kids to make the transition as well.
I would try to tour the building with her this school year rather than waiting for summer, when the schedule will be VERY different for when the building is open. They might even let her do a trial day. I would also check and see if they do any fun summer classes. Our public school does fun classes in the summer that last a couple of hours a day for a couple of weeks -- things like puppetry, art, etc. Very mellow fun stuff but taught by some of the same teachers and in the same space, so she could have some fun and get used to the building, and may be make new friends.
Have you talked to the school at all yet? Enrolling as a post-homeschooler with no real academic records, they wanted to do some basic testing of my kids and talk to them a bit. -- Nothing huge, they checked their reading level, had them do a little math, etc. It was less than a hour and was just to get an idea of they would need any special services. My kids enjoyed it.
I would email the teacher and give her a heads up at the beginning of the year, but at the beginning of the year they explain EVERYTHING and I doubt that your DD will have any problems adjusting.
The biggest thing that is a common issue is that school is really tiring at first, and she may seem exhausted until she adjust. It's really normal and nothing to worry about, though it is worisome to see our little children so, so tired. It is just a phase!
The other common issue is that homeschoolers tend to do less writing, and therefore often write slower than they schooled counterparts. She's young enough that hopefully that won't be much of an issue. That goes along with the subject that seems to be the most common problem for former homeschoolers -- spelling.
My kids are overall happier attending school than they homeschooling. Good luck!
but everything has pros and cons
Our kids were the same age when we did the homeschool transition as yours. Second everything the previous poster said and add that we showed the teacher some sample work before the school year before to give her a heads up, and she gave us some fun things to do over the summer that would be good for skill building before the transition (It was this really fun 100 things to do during summer vacation list. It's probably somewhere on the internet.)
Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I'm not so much worried about the academic part for her. We switched from straight homeschooling to a public cyber charter for both kids at the beginning of this school year. It's essentially public school at home. They have weekly web chats with their teachers and classmates, as well as meet ups with other students since the cyber school is based in our town and just down the road from us. Add to that the fact that she taught herself to read 2 years ago and is an advanced reader and writer for her age. I was more concerned with the social aspect and day to day routine. The adjustment from homeschool to cyber for us was rough this year and took months to get the routine down and adjust to due dates and expectations. But the cyber has been soooo good for my oldest. Dd just sort of came along for the ride since I was trying to make my life a bit easier by having everyone on the same basic schedule. My son doesn't want to go to public school, at least for now.
My kids are just finishing 4th and 1st grade at our local public school after having been homeschooled up until this last Fall. The transition was fine, but honestly, I think the biggest problem you're going to have is your 2nd grader being completely bored academically. My younger son is advanced, taught himself to read by the age of 4, and while he enjoys some aspects of school, he has complained about the "baby work" all year long. I work in his classroom, and he is way ahead of what they are doing. He has a fantastic teacher who does her best to let him work independently, but it doesn't change the fact that he spends a lot of time listening to her teach things that he already knows.
Our school had no option for trying it out before we went. However, we did attend the school's Open House the spring before we started (they are happening right about now) just so the kids could see what the classrooms looked like, etc. We had been to the campus several times already for little league games, halloween carnivals, etc.
We didn't get our teacher assignment until about 3 days before school started. The day before school started they had a little one hour "meet the teacher" at the school which was nice and helped the kids kind of get oriented.
The worst part of the transition was waking kids up (I hate this!), the rushed mornings, and being sick almost constantly. But overall it was pretty easy.
We are thinking of making this transition because I need to go back to school due to some health issues of my husband. We have homeschooled (electic/enki/waldorf/unschool) since the beginning. DD is now 10 1/2 and in 4th grade. DS is almost 9 and in 2nd grade and has some minor Asperger traits but no diagnosis. I fear that they are behind in writing and spelling and have some gaps in math. The original plan was to catch up over the next year and enter them in 6th and 4th grade. But now we are thinking of doing it this fall, so 5th and 3rd grade. I'm feeling a loss of my identity as a homeschooling mom and worried about our transition and how it will change our family. We are currently members of a fantastic all-inclusive supportive homeschool co-op and losing that culture is going to be a big change for all of us. It is nice to read experiences of others who have or are going through this transition. Like the OP, I often wonder if homeschooling is fully meeting my kids needs. Sometimes I think it is, and other times I feel like I'm falling short. Well, I have a lot on my brain, but need to head to bed for tonight. Thanks again for sharing your experiences.
My oldest son started school for the first time at 6.5 (1st grade). He just finished 2nd grade in public school. We found that he was ahead in some areas and behind in others when he first started. He caught up quickly in the areas where he was behind, with the exception of handwriting. We think he has dysgraphia though and I can't blame that on homeschooling.
I pretty much just threw him in and hoped for the best. It was a big adjustment at first-- he complained that it was too noisy and he was wiped out at the end of a long school day-- pretty much the same sort of things most kids go through at the beginning of kindergarten.