Switching from Homeschool to Public School
Just as people have many reasons for homeschooling their children, they also have many reasons for putting them back in public school.
Many people feel it is best to keep the children home when they are young because the parents feel more confident teaching the elementary curriculum. When the students advance academically, the parents intend to put them in school for the “hard stuff.” Putting the children in public school in the upper grades is analogous to placing a tomato plant out in the garden after a period of nurturing and training.
Following this model allows the children to receive a strong foundation of the family’s values, thus giving them their own value system which can help them navigate the many social problems that go along with a public school. This allows the children to grow on all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally and socially – which makes them better prepared to face public high school.
Public School to Homeschool
Some families choose to send their children to school when they are young to get a “good foundation.” They intend to begin homeschooling those children in middle school or high school. The reasoning is to protect the children from negative socialization, social reform agendas and violence sometimes found in the upper grades.
This can work if there is a strong social support system for the children among fellow homeschoolers. However, by the time the children reach middle school or high school, they have already formed strong emotional ties to their peer groups. The children may be resentful at the change in educational systems, viewing it as a deprivation of their peers, and may even become rebellious.
Homeschool to Public School and Back Again
Some families seem to rotate from homeschool, to public school and back again, throughout the students’ academic careers. Reasons vary from a parent needing a temporary job, to a child needing some extra attention at home, to a student entering public school for a specific athletic season. Some state laws do not tolerate this model, yet where it is possible, it works for some families.
Structure Can Make a Difference
Successful transitioning from homeschool to public school depends on the type of home environment being left behind, and the type of school environment being pursued. Going from a very structured homeschool environment to a traditional public school environment will yield few differences in lifestyle. The challenge in this situation may be the new exposure to generally less-structured lifestyles of the new peer group.
A student going from a non-structured homeschool to the structure of public school may find time management a new concept. A homeschool student is often used to flexibility in their daily schedule. Public schools are not able to be as flexible, but if the student is doing well academically and socially, the time management issue will resolve itself quite quickly.
The culture shock of going from a sometimes less-than-structured home environment to the very structured public school environment may be more than the students can handle. There are many adjustments to be made, both for the students and the family. However, many homeschoolers find that they are well prepared academically for the challenge of public school, even if the transition is temporarily taxing.
Most formerly homeschooled students transition to public schools with little or no problems and do so quite successfully regardless of the age at transition. Neither homeschool nor public school must be the only option for any family. Flexibility is the key.