How to Switch From Homeschool to Public School: 10 Tips
Can my children switch from homeschool to public school?
If you’re wondering if it’s possible, whether you’re planning to switch or starting to homeschool but want to have plan B, the answer is yes, yes, they can.
Although many families never go back after trying to homeschool, others want or feel the need to return to school.
There might be different reasons.
Maybe you’re tired—homeschooling can get more demanding in terms of requirements and organization in higher grades—or perhaps your family’s configuration has changed. You also might’ve gotten a full-time job, have been left without your partner’s support, or your child may even miss the daily interaction with peers.
No matter the reason, you don’t need to worry or feel guilty about it.
Let me show you some tips to make the transition easier from homeschool to traditional school.
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10 Tips for Sending Your Child Back to School After Homeschooling
1. Talk to Your Kids
First of all, talk to your child.
Whether it’s your or your child’s decision, everybody in your family must be on the same page. You will need to prepare before returning to a traditional school, and you all need to understand what is expected from every family member.
Be optimistic about the whole process, and highlight the advantages while keeping realistic expectations.
The switch may not be as smooth as expected, and the transition time might be longer than you wish. But the process will be more straightforward if you’re ready for whatever might come.
2. Talk to Other Parents
You might find families that also have switched from homeschool to public school, and they will guide you through the process.
You might also want to talk to parents from the public school you want your child to attend. They can also be helpful and make you acquainted with the environment, requirements, academic staff, etc.
It can also be helpful if your child makes friends with other children from the local public school and looks forward to being in class with them.
3. Keep Detailed Records
While applying to the new school, whether public or private, the principal will ask you for reports or records.
You might need to explain the difference between traditional reports and homeschool records, but the more detailed your documents are, the better.
Having an attendance log, project portfolios, or the curriculum you used in previous years is good. You can also give information about the homeschool method you used.
For high school students, you might have to provide a transcript and any exam scores your child has taken.
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In some states, for example, Texas, each school district can decide how to handle students from unaccredited schools.
You might want to consider enrolling your child in an accredited online school for some time before the transition so that their previous work is accepted.
4. Choose the School
There are different types of schools you might want to consider after homeschooling: public school, private school, Christian school, Catholic school, Charter school, microschool, or boarding school.
Do your research and choose the one that best fits your unique family situation.
Make sure you know the school’s requirements for enrolling. For example, you might need to do a placement test, required immunization, proof of residence, birth certificate, and others. Schedule a meeting with the school well ahead before the switching time to get all your papers ready and avoid last-minute surprises.
Knowing the curriculum and level requirements may help your kid better prepare.
5. Choose the Right Time
Switching from homeschool to public school mid-year may not be ideal, but it’s possible. However, the transition may be easier if you choose the right time.
Some levels are easier to make the transition to. For example, early elementary kids generally adapt faster, but you might also make an easy switch into 7th grade after elementary or 9th grade to start high school.
Still, remember that with good preparation, you can make a transition at any level.
6. Know Your State Laws
Knowing your state’s homeschool laws is essential for a smooth transition. Whether you live in Tennessee, Missouri, or Florida, the requirements to switch from homeschool to public school may be different.
I recommend checking the DOE website of the state where you want to make the switch to get more information about specific homeschool laws.
You can also see the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website.
7. Notify the State
In some states, you might have to notify the state or the local school district of your decision to move from homeschooling back to public school.
Once again, check your state homeschool law to know if you’re obliged to file an official notice.
8. Establish a Traditional Routine
Before the big transition, look at your homeschool schedule and establish a routine, especially in the morning.
It should be as close as possible to a traditional school routine, with regular wakeup hours, a stricter schedule, and regular intervals.
Normal school hours usually differ from homeschooling hours, and the school day takes longer. Therefore, adjusting to these changes is essential.
9. Check Your Child’s Level
Your child may be ahead or behind their peers, and it’s good to know their actual level.
There are many ways to evaluate your child, but in terms of switching to a traditional school, you should aim at standardized tests.
You can read at the HSLDA site about how to prepare your child of any age for a standardized test and how to find a test center. You can also look at standardized homeschool tests offered by Abeka to evaluate your child’s level and get official proof.
10. Prepare Yourself
Letting your child go may not be easy for you. But, until now, you have spent a lot of time with your child and were in control of his education.
It might be challenging to have to focus on yourself once again.
The transition might be more manageable if you’ve already homeschooled your kid and worked full-time. If not, get a plan for yourself, too. Get a new job, pick up a hobby, learn a new language, and do whatever will make you happy.
Your child was going to leave home and go to college one day anyway, and now you’re just getting an opportunity to start a new stage in your life earlier.
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Differences Your Child Might Expect
I’ve already told you about a stricter and earlier schedule your child must prepare for, but there are other differences your kid will encounter.
First, not so personalized attention. Homeschooled kids have a teacher just for themselves; in a traditional school, they need to “share” them with other kids.
Second, there will be more than one teacher for them, and they will need to adapt to different teaching styles.
Evaluations may be timed and much more stressful. However, this might be a surprise compared to varied and relaxed homeschooling testing.
There will be kids with different opinions and opposite outlooks. Therefore, teaching your child to be open-minded towards people with different views, political tendencies, or beliefs is important.
They will need to be more independent. Less personalized attention also means they will need to make more educated decisions by themselves.
No matter the changes your kid will encounter, they won’t come as a shock if you talk about them beforehand.
Ready to Switch from Homeschool to Public School?
Are you less worried now about the transition?
Remember that the earlier you start preparing yourself and your kid, the easier the switching process will be. Help your kid to have the best adjustment possible.
It’s normal to feel nervous, but you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to seek help, and always try to keep a positive attitude!
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