Deep Dive: Thoughts on Our Transition from Homeschooling to Public School

I shared in January how we decided to switch to public school mid-school year and I was met with a lot of encouragement and support but also lots of questions! All excellent questions, but I know many of you want more details and I am happy to take the time to share. I think a number of you were very surprised at our decision given how public I was about our homeschool journey and how much I clearly loved it. (That wasn’t just me faking it for Instagram: I did genuinely love it).

It’s important to say right at the beginning of this post: this post contains my opinions, my thoughts and feelings on our family’s unique experience. My kids are unique and our public school situation is not the same everywhere. Yes, I have some broader opinions about education that you may or may not agree with. We can still have mutual respect and agree that all of us are just trying to do the best we can for our children. I believe that for you. I believe that for me.

One other thing I want to say is that we are still at the beginning of this journey and of course will be navigating this day by day. The public school experience, just like anything else, isn’t always going to be one thing. Right now, four months into it, it’s fantastic but that doesn’t mean I expect it to always be so. Also, we are open to the possibility that homeschooling might make sense for us again some time.

All that to say: I’m sharing about our experience right now and in no way am pretending to be an expert or an advice-giver. I’m personally always wary of advice-givers when it comes to parenting. We all have to make our own decisions and who I am to tell you what you “should” do?! I’m happy to share my truth and experience and if that helps you in your unique process, great!

For those who don’t have time to read all this, here are the highlights:

  • A homeschooler doesn’t love their child more than a public schooler. 
  • Our family loves the connection to our community public schooling brings.
  • Just because my kids are in public school doesn’t mean I’m not a part of their education.
  • I love having boundaries to my work day now and that I get to just be mom when the kids are not at school.
  • Interest-led learning isn’t exclusive to homeschooling.
  • We are still the same family and value the same things, it’s just *how* we go about prioritizing those things has shifted.

Homeschool vs. Public School: Which is Definitively Better?

I’m going to answer that question!

Ha, clearly joking. What a jerk would I be to sit here and write: “Oh, homeschooling is an absolutely terrible idea” or whatever?! Like I just said above, we all make our own choices.

As an early education homeschooler (preschool through 2nd grade), I will admit that to some degree bought in to the idea that educating my children at home was “better than” public school. I read John Holt and lots of other homeschool books, I listened to podcasts and followed all the “famous” homeschoolers on Instagram — all celebrating the homeschool experience. But, (1) I’ve also read Educated and understand that homeschooling (rightfully) also has a terrible dark underbelly. Some of the fears non-homeschoolers have about homeschoolers is legit. We have to be able to say that and still celebrate homeschooling. And, (2) I actually always felt like at some point my children would be public schoolers. As much as I leaned into the homeschooling world, I knew it was never forever for us.

I think it’s become popular for homeschoolers to really “sell” the homeschool experience by sharing beautiful images and words and only the best things, as if to prove to the non-homeschooling world that this is in fact a better life. And I get that homeschooling is not what it was 30 years ago. There are a lot more options to make it a fantastic experience for all! But, just because homeschooling is great and worthy of celebrating for a particular family does not mean that the alternative, public schooling or something else, is less worthy and less great.

Here are a bunch of super fun black & white statements:

  • Homeschooling is amazing. Homeschooling is terrible.
  • Homeschooling is the right choice. Homeschooling is the wrong choice.
  • Homeschooling is great for the kids. Homeschooling is awful for the kids.
  • Homeschooling will gift a child a rich education. Homeschooling will limit a child’s education.
  • Public school is amazing. Public school is terrible.
  • Public school is the right choice. Public school is the wrong choice.
  • Public school is great for the kids. Public school is awful for the kids.
  • Public school will gift a child a rich education. Public school will limit a child’s education.

But — does it have to be one or the other? I think when we look at those statements it’s easy to see how much gray area there truly is.

If there was indeed one perfect way to educate ALL our children, one that is amazing and right and great … wouldn’t we all be doing it?

Further, that question presumes there is even an option, that people have the ability to choose.

It important to acknowledge that MOST (yes, most) people do not have the privilege to even choose. If you are able to choose between more than one option of education for your child: you are privileged. I’m not sure where along the way privilege because such a bad word that we feel like we have to avoid be labeled as such and defend ourselves against it. It’s not a bad word. It’s a truth of every human: depending on circumstances we all have some form of privilege. Maybe it’s that you speak the dominant language of where you live, maybe it’s your health, maybe it’s your skin color, maybe it’s your mobility, maybe it’s the house you live in, maybe it’s your height. There are so many ways we can be privileged. What matters is that we aren’t evaluating the character of a person based on the existence of their privilege … but rather, how we as people use our privilege to help and benefit others.

In summary: no one way of education gets to gift itself the gold medal. Let’s find ways to celebrate the good in all circumstances and help our communities along the way face the challenges.

Q&A: Homeschool vs. Public School

Throughout this post I’ll be answering specific Q&A questions I received on Instagram. I’ve organized them by thematic topic.

What do you hope public school will do for your family that homeschool wasn’t doing?

I love this question because it really makes me think. I don’t think that this question really entered my mind when we were making the choice to send our kids to public school, so I like thinking of it in retrospect.

One aspect of having our kids in public school is that it brings about a direct and tangible connection to our local community. My husband and I both particularly wanted this. We have been able to find new friends for the kids and get to know families that live in our neighborhood with such ease. Almost any time we go to kid-friendly places or events, the kids spot friends from class! I enjoy getting to know the families of the students in my children’s classrooms. I am volunteering with the Parent-Teacher Organization and can meet other parents and caregivers and feel that “we’re all in this together feeling.” Homeschooling felt more isolationist to me with a greater focus on our kids and our home and our family. With the kids in public school the care and love has extended out beyond our own home.

We feel that the scope of our “world” as a family in this community has only ever increased since the kids started going to public school. And we really value that.

Other than that, there isn’t anything where I felt like homeschooling was failing us. The kids were both doing great with it. I was able to find curriculum that worked for them and for me. In terms of education there were a few insecurities I had about where my kids were at but I also trusted the process and that they would learn things in their own time. Spelling was one thing my second grader struggled with and I struggled to teach him, but he has been doing amazing with that in public school and his interest in spelling has increased greatly just in a couple of months. His ability to spell has exploded in just a few months of public school. It could be because he’s being taught by someone not his mom … or it could simply be that he was ready to advance in that area at this time.

How do you cope with the homeschool bashing of public school?

Here we go…

It’s part eye roll, part empathy.

This is something even as a homeschooler I really cared a lot about and said as much in a number of my Instagram posts: to celebrate one way of education NEED NOT come at the expense of the other! If you are a homeschooler and want to celebrate that, great! Please do. It’s a wonderful thing and for so many children it’s giving them a rich education in a loving home. That does not give you license to say that children in public school are worse off.

If you are a homeschooler: your children are not better off. Your children are not more loved. Your children are not better educated. Your life is not better. Your choices are not better. You are not a better parent. You are not a better person.

Yes, there are valid criticisms of the way we do public school but please do not suggest that your child is more loved than mine. Stop celebrating homeschooling by way of comparison! I see loads of homeschoolers celebrating their lives and children but in a generous and expansive way — it really is possible.

I acknowledge that adults and their kids have been hurt in public school and choose to avoid public school (if they can) for those reasons. I feel, again, it is valid and okay to have your own reasons for your family as to why you choose to homeschool … but that need not come by way of bashing those who choose what you did not or making blanket statements about “all public schools…” or saying things like “at least my kid isn’t ____.”

Back to privilege — please also consider that there are families who would love the opportunity to homeschool but are unable.

I do feel, however, it is important for communities to support and celebrate homeschooling and allow families the freedom and ability to choose that lifestyle if they want to! I do understand that it does go both ways, that homeschooling can be judged unfairly.

Why the Heck Would We Choose to NOT Homeschool If We Have the Means To?

I suppose there are a few who will think “I bet she couldn’t hack it” about me. I can appreciate this because homeschooling is indeed a challenging thing to commit to.

Overall the decision came down to a number of factors:

  • I never wanted to homeschool their entire education. I always envisioned at some point our kids would be in public school, it was just a matter of when.
  • I was increasingly burnt out by trying to do two full time jobs at the same time: homeschool and run my Etsy shop. We felt that structuring our days where someone else could be in charge of the education part would allow me to do my job while they are at school, then then JUST BE MOM when they are home. This is huge! Both for our relationship and for my mental health. More on this below.
  • The kids wanted to go! I’ve told them if they ever want to homeschool again we can talk about it, but they both were a part of the decision to go and both are enjoying it right now.
  • I think my oldest in particular was reaching a phase where he could really benefit from someone not his mom being his educator.
  • We felt that with our kids in public school we could be more integrated into our local community.
  • Both my husband and I were public school kids and had positive experiences. I’m not going to pretend it can’t be terrible or won’t be at some point for my children, but I think acknowledging that it can be wonderful is an important first step for a homeschooler considering a transition to public school. Also: to some degree it is what you make of it! There is a lot I cannot control but there are a lot of tools we can empower our children with.
  • We have a number of public school educators on both sides of our family and understand there are challenges but we have always supported it. I like being a part of the system and supporting educators in their amazing work.
Q&A: Why Choose Public School?
Was it the kids’ decision? If so, why did they want to start school?

Yes! A part of what went into our decision as a family is that our kids were interested in public school. Since we moved into a neighborhood and they gained so many non-homeschooling neighbor friends, it was clear that they were interested. I talked with them about what public school looks like (and how their days would be very different), and around October 2021 we started thinking that the NEXT school year would be a good time to transition (Fall 2022). Well, the more we talked about it the more excited the kids got. They asked if they could go … immediately. I said we could go meet the principal and tour the school and then make a decision. Again, the excitement only ever increased and so we made the decision to allow them to transition mid-school-year in January 2022. Both their teachers were more than happy to integrate them at that time, and actually in my 1st graders’ room there was another child starting at the same time as her!

My kids were excited about being around a lot of other kids their age. As a homeschooler, I honestly bought into the idea that with homeschool my kids could interact with children not just their own age and this would be really positive for them. I still feel this is important, but I see now that (a) there is value in them being in a classroom environment around lots of kids their own age and (b) there are lots of ways to get experiences playing with older and younger children outside of the public school hours. We have close family with lots of cousins with a range of ages from my kids and our neighbor group of kids is actually wide range as well – from Kindergarten to 6th grade. It’s really neat!

My kids were also excited to have their own independent experiences — independent of me and independent of their sibling. They didn’t explicitly say this but I do think this was something they were contemplating. I personally love that we homeschooled our children during their preschool and kindergarten years especially because it allowed them to spend so much time together. They are truly best friends and continue to look out for each other at school and on the bus ride. And, they still play together so well when they are home.

Oh, and of course the kids were excited about school lunch and gym class and riding a bus — those things you can’t quite recreate for a homeschooled child. It’s one of those “grass is always greener” things, though. It’s clearly not essential for a child’s development but certainly a fun perk!

How Is Mom Doing?

Well, I still love my kids. I’m still a good mom. That hasn’t changed!

Overall I’m feeling super positive about our decision. I think a part of what goes into that feeling is how well the kids are doing. I think, honestly, if they were having a hard time, then I would feel differently. I had so much anxiety about those first few days of school and friends: my kids were TOTALLY fine! I cannot even describe to you how fine they were and I didn’t need to worry at all.

I said before I really loved homeschooling. That is true, but I also was finding less joy in the whole homeschooling thing. A part of that was the stress of doing two full time jobs and realizing I didn’t have to be homeschooling. I had another option! I think it’s popular among homeschooling moms to be martyrs for their kids and there’s a philosophy and culture upholding that at the expense of the mother’s health. I’m not here to convince anyone of seeing the dark truth of that (because you won’t see it if you’re in it), but just to say that I LOVE MY KIDS but that I wholeheartedly believe that my health and needs and wants matter too. No one wins if a mom just digs in and does something she doesn’t want to be doing “for the sake of her kids.” That’s awful for her and awful for the kids. Truthfully, I wasn’t personally in that dire or extreme of a mental state, but I did feel a little pull towards “Hey, I don’t think I really enjoy this as much and wish things were different.” Now that they are, I do indeed feel better about our relationships.

I feel like I’m a better mom when I’m not a homeschooling mom.

Q&A: Mom First, Former Home Educator
How do you feel your relationship with the kids is now? Do you like just being mom?

Friends, this is huge for me. HUGE.

I was trying to homeschool and run a small business at the same time. This meant that often when my husband got home from work AND on weekends I would be spending time alone painting peg dolls while my husband and kids were off having adventures. Adventures without me. I got to have my own time with the kids during the days but a lot of that was in this mode of homeschooling or trying to multitask. My kids literally started saying to me “Mom, you don’t play with us anymore.” And they were right.

Now, I get to get my work done while they are at school and when they get home I can just spend time with them as Mom. And I get my weekends back!! I can spend an entire weekend ignoring my business and just enjoy whatever it is that is going on. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t do things for myself still and that I’m always on the kids’ clock … but this shift really is a wonderful change for me.

What do you miss about homeschooling?

I miss being able to go to busy places with my kids any day I want and avoid crowds — like the zoo or children’s museum.

I miss us being able to take a family vacation or randomly go visit family whenever the heck we wanted. Now our vacation time is relegated to the time period when everyone around us is also taking vacation. Not cool.

I do miss being able to see and witness all the things my children are learning firsthand. This was really hard at first and I felt like I overly-grilled my kids when they got home to tell me about their days. Now I don’t need to know as much. Their teachers do a great job communicating with us and we see their work when they bring it home.

That said, I have realized that even with public schooling I am still so much a part of my children’s education! I knew this intuitively because I watched my husband for years have a full time job and yet still be a part of so much of the kids’ learning. I know in the homeschooling world there is often (not always) an emphasis on child-led learning or interest-based learning. Friends, that is not exclusive to homeschooling! That happens even with public schooling, and especially in the home depending on the environment. Whatever the situation may be (and there are infinite), a family can still be a part of educating their children. For us this means that we do follow interest-based learning through books. We might go to events or museums. We might pursue a specific sport or extracurricular activity. We have a particular family interest in nature so we are often spending uninterrupted time in nature learning new things every time we do so! Learning knows no boundaries and is not confined within four walls. I still get to be a part of this even though I don’t homeschool anymore.

How Are the Kids Doing?

I think when it comes down to it, most of a homeschooling parents’ questions and fears surround around the child, right? Is my child going to be okay at public school? Can they hack it academically? What if we don’t like their teacher? Are they going to get bullied? What if something terrible happens to them and I’m not there?

When we homeschool we get to see almost everything and there are certain risks that can be avoided. When they are at public school there is so much of their day that we will not know about. There is so much a part of their day we cannot control.

I personally tried to make sure that our family’s reasons for homeschooling was never fear-based. I did not want to be homeschooling simply because I was afraid of what the public school experience might be for them. And so, when we did switch and send our kids to public school I tried to be realistic but also still child-focused. Yes, there is much I cannot control, but my children are full persons and capable of knowing, doing, and being so much in their own way in this world. I want them to feel empowered to face a variety of circumstances rather than spend my efforts controlling and limiting their experiences. Also, as I said before, just because a child is homeschooled does not mean they are free from negative experiences.

We talk to our kids every day about what they experienced at school (the good and the bad) but of course there are things that don’t come up and a lot we will not know about. One time my daughter told us three days later: “Oh, I went to the nurse on Monday.” Ummmm… WHAT? What happened? Why was this not important to tell me that day? Why did the school not call me? Turns out it was just a fall at recess and she was fine, but it is interesting to learn about what your child thinks is relevant to tell you.

It is a huge adjustment to make when you are used to witnessing so much of their lives. That’s just a note for any homeschoolers out there considering public school.

Q&A: All the Kid-Based ANXIETIES!!!
Was the full day at school a shock to the kids systems at first? How long to adapt?

Totally! They were exhausted the first week for sure but I do think by that second full week they started getting used to the new normal. The kids took a couple weeks to learn how to read day-by-day what they need after school. Sometimes they are full of energy and want to just run and play with neighbors. Sometimes they need some quiet LEGO play. We try to help them gauge that each day.

One thing I will talk about more with the next question is the social-emotional coping skills and how that in a way was more exhausting than just the actual amount of time spent in the school environment.

They stay busy and engaged in what they are doing in school and enjoy it, so I think that helps the time pass and not feel so much like a long drudgery of a day.

Obviously public school requires a decent amount of sitting as compared to homeschool. That kind of thing is an adjustment for kids who are used to being active or, in our case, having short lessons. We strove to not do long table-based lessons while homeschooling, but I just talked to my kids about this in advance so they were not shocked by the public school experience.

That said, I appreciate our kids’ school and teachers. It seems they really do what they can to get the kids moving and give them brain breaks. Both my kids’ teachers give their classes “extra recess” on nice days and get outside to do a variety of activities when they can. They play and dance and do things to move their bodies. They are not just sitting and doing worksheets all day. I realize that won’t be true of every public school situation.

What non-academic skills were most needed once they started public school?

On one level: nothing special was required of the kids to be “prepared” for public school! Really. I didn’t do any major sort of prep or training or whatever to get my kids ready. I got their supplies ready and told them to listen to their teachers, be kind, do their best, and ask for help when they need it. Oh, and drink water!

A good friend said something super helpful to me when I was thinking about this transition from homeschool to public school. She had already done the same thing, and she reminded me that the most important preparation is that my kids are loved. The love and stability we provide for them as a family is monumental in affecting their ability to thrive in any circumstance. They are capable and they do not need me to coach every tiny bit of their lives.

I really was blown away at how well my kids did with this transition! They’re thriving with their individual experiences and it’s wonderful to hear all their stories when they get home.

One practical non-academic skill that we later discovered was important for my youngest (first grade) to learn: keeping track of her things! This was something she didn’t have to worry about as much while at home. The first couple of weeks she’d come home with a different thing missing or forgotten at school. She figured it out eventually, but it was an adjustment.

There are indeed a lot of important non-academic skills we can talk about, but I think some of these things are behavioral norms that some children will not be able to match due to a variety of reasons and I want to be careful not to resort to labeling those things as “good” skills and the alternative as “bad.”

One thing that I think is important which we worked on as homeschoolers and still value now is coping skills. Mindfulness exercises, breathing exercises, visualizations, positive affirmations to name a few.

A family member with public schoolers warned me that my kids might come home with nothing left. Meaning, during the school day they’ve done their best and really honed in on those coping skills when necessary BUT then they’re done. They’ve got no coping skills left and so when they get home they might be more irritable or impatient or just plain mad or sad. We noticed this with my youngest — during the week she might have a good cry during the evening about something small that happens. The crying might seem overblown for what the situation is, but it’s good to realize that she is not just crying about that one little thing. She’s releasing so much of what she has been holding on to.

Adults are like that too! Right? We’re just done at the end of a hard day. It’s been important for me to not expect my kids to be totally at their best and happy from the moment they get home until bed time.

How do you deal with bullying?

This is, I’m sure, one of the major fears of parents sending their kids to school. I think what often doesn’t get said in these conversations, though, is that we should be equally afraid that our child might be the one who bullies as we are that they would get bullied.

There’s a lot of parental responsibility there and I’m not a parenting expert so I don’t want to dive too deep in to that.

My kids have had occasional disagreements with classmates but nothing on the scale of bullying. If that were something I was concerned about I would obviously be talking to their school about it.

To me it’s important that my kids feel like they can communicate with me.

I also think we aim to parent towards kindness and we expect our kids to keep an eye out for when others are being treated unfairly or harshly.

How do you feel about the kids being away from home for a lot more time?

I love that they are gaining their own independent experiences!

Even with the kids in public school there is still so much time I get to spend with them. Several hours every day, weekends, holidays, breaks, and summers. I think many homeschoolers value time together with their children and families as a whole, but I don’t see this as a huge loss to have my kids out of the house for public school. There is still so much time in our lives and in a way I value it more now.

The Constants Regardless of Circumstance: On Family Values

Homeschoolers. Public schoolers. We are still the same family. We love being outdoors. We love LEGOs. We love IndyCar. We love games and puzzles. We love soccer and basketball. We love exploring our town. None of that has changed.

We have certain family values that have stayed the same as well.

Q&A: Family Values
What values you had as a homeschooler have shifted with the transition?

For the most part this has stayed the same. We have had to be more mindful how we spend our time outside of school a bit more. So, it’s not so much that our values have shifted but rather HOW we need to fight for those things has shifted. We are the same people, just in a new context.

How do you use after school time?

My kids adore Minecraft but we have a rule that they don’t do screen time on school nights. This was the same rule when they were homeschooling but I feel it’s all the more important now since they have less hours at home. Neither of my kids has homework yet but we thought setting a standard now would be helpful in the future. It’s not that we do no screen time every school night, but it is the exception rather than the rule. We do occasionally watch a show together or I let them use their school iPads for a bit, depending on the day. As I write this we are in to spring now with lots of gorgeous days so getting outside time after school is pretty easy!

We are currently doing piano lessons and soccer with both my kids. That takes up one hour on three days a week. It is important for us that they have exposure to new activities but we also do not want to overwhelm them or our schedules right now. There is a time where they will get busier with that stuff but ages 6 and 8 is not that time. We do want to still protect their after school time as a mostly unscheduled time. They can play with neighbors or we might do something together as a family.

Our family dinner time is important; this is something I personally grew up with. My parents had four kids and a set family dinner time was so valuable and protected. I feel that way to. Meals are a great way to be together in conversation and care.

Things About Public School That Took Me By Surprise

  1. All the germs. We haven’t even been affected by the pandemic, but of course we get exposed to all the other illnesses traveling around. It is what it is.
  2. Screen time. I think because we started in winter and there were also still some stricter protocols in place (e.g. classes ate lunch in individual classrooms) there was a greater reliance on technology and shows during the school day. Instead of outdoor recess on an inclement weather day, my kids play on their school iPads. For some time in January they would watch a TV show during lunch time instead of socializing with classmates. Initially this did rub me the wrong way but at the same time I’m not the one making those choices so I trust they are doing what works best. With improved weather and loosening of pandemic-based restrictions, the screen time has definitely reduced.
  3. I was first taken aback about how much I cared about the kids’ “success.” I honestly did feel anxiety at the beginning that my kids would be behind or something. Homeschooler insecurity for sure. I worried that if they didn’t “do well” then that ultimately came back on me and meant I was a terrible educator for them. Obviously these fears were not legit and eventually I came to see that they both are thriving in their own way in the classroom environment.
  4. They are exposed to SO MUCH in the course of a week! I know there’s always criticism about how much time is wasted in public school but MAN, I am blown away at all they get to learn and experience in a week. Taken as a whole, I do feel it was more than I was doing with them or able to provide for them at home — in a good way. I know more does not necessarily mean better quality but I do feel that my children are taking it in and are not information-overwhelmed. I just mean that even beyond their core lessons and beyond the extra stuff of music and Spanish and art and gym, there is the exposure to lots of life lessons and interactions with others that overall provide for a rich learning environment. We also live in a university town and have access to amazing cross-cultural learning opportunities. The kids have had some incredible guests recently.
  5. There’s not as much science as I would have hoped. I feel like we probably over-emphasized science in our home because it’s my favorite. I’m sure every homeschool family has their “thing” and if you switch to public school you’ll probably notice the gap in that specific thing first. For me it was science. They do science every week but I was basically doing it maybe 3-4 days a week with my kids plus our regular nature explorations meant bonus science. Actually, on the kids’ snow days I found myself doing science experiments with them because we all missed that.
  6. My kids’ bus driver is AMAZING! I hadn’t calculated this initially but it’s so cool to see how she and even the crossing guards and janitorial staff spend their time caring for each and every child that crosses their path. The staff at school do so much. I’m grateful for the people that choose these careers. I wasn’t expecting how emotional I would get feeling the gratitude for all the other adults besides my family that care for my two children. It’s beautiful.

Practical Tips

For those of you who are seriously planning to transition your homeschool children to public school, I do have a few suggestions:

  1. Find a local friend or neighbor to ask lots of questions! This helped me immensely to have a parent friend at our same school where I could ask all the questions. I had SO MANY QUESTIONS about the schedule and what to put in their backpack and what kind of lunch container to buy. It really helps to have someone walk you through it, if possible.
  2. Get to know your child’s teacher. Open communication is great. I’ve found that our teachers are wonderful humans and so gifted at their jobs. I love trusting them and letting them do their job and have no interest in being a helicopter parent. That said, I do feel it’s important to not be afraid to ask questions and check in if needed.
  3. Find ways to volunteer at your child’s school. This will help you still feel like you are a part of their lives in that way. In January our school was doing no parent volunteers due to the pandamic but now there are lots of things going on and opportunities for me to serve and help.
  4. Recognize your children are people and the initial transition will be a unique experience to that specific child. Be open to the possibility it will not go according to your plan or expectations.
  5. If possible, try and spend meaningful time in the mornings before school with your children. If it means setting alarms even 20 minutes earlier so you can have some unhurried time in the mornings, do it. It will help you all to have a bonded morning before the long day apart.

It also goes without saying you need to know your State’s homeschooling laws and requirements. In Indiana, I did not have to show any records nor did my children need to do any assessment or testing in order for us to send them to public school.

Thanks for Reading!

Feel free to comment or ask further questions below.

9 thoughts on “Deep Dive: Thoughts on Our Transition from Homeschooling to Public School

  1. We still do our Morning Time for about 20-30 minutes before school (yes, this means getting up a little earlier, but we all agree that it is worth it).

    And, a tip for teacher relationships: I always send an introduction email at the beginning of every school year (ahead of the first day) letting them know a little about our family, our child, and emphasizing that we are invested in collaboration and want to work in partnership with them, other staff, and our child to help her be a positive part of your classroom and community. (I also send thank you notes after parent-teacher conferences, and give a gift card for classroom supplies during the holidays.) I was a public school kid raised by educators so these gestures may be ingrained, but a little upfront communication and appreciation sprinkled throughout the year foster an excellent working relationship — after all, this is the person who is with my child 40 hours a week, and I want us to know, trust, and help one another as much as possible.

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      1. Thanks so much for sharing all of this. I’ve also been pretty sure I won’t homeschool all the way through with the thought that I’ll just take it year by year. I’m in a weird space where homeschooling does take a good amount of my energy, but I think the challenging parts are only as challenging as parenting, really. That being said, I have often times wondered if learning from a separate teacher would be beneficial, specifically for my second child. I don’t yet feel like we’re at the point of switching, and we’ll have many things to consider when we more strongly feel that pull, but I’m grateful for your insight!

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  2. I’ve consulted with your blog for a couple of years since my son is the same age as one of your kids. I’m happy for you that you have made the best choice for your family right now! I will selfishly miss your great ideas and thorough homeschooling posts 😜. Thanks for all or your contributions to the secular homeschool curriculum conversation!


  3. Thank you so much for this! I like your quote “find ways to celebrate the good in all circumstances and help our communities along the way face the challenges” because having people to talk to especially for this will really help parents decide on whether to have their children homeschooled or continue with public schools.

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  4. Was it harder for the kids to make this transition half way through the school year, rather than starting a fresh year with the other public schoolers?


    1. You know, I was really worried about that but it ended up being totally fine. Honestly, public school teachers and the kids there in general have been adept at dealing with the disruptions of the last few years so there was that element in play. Also, I’ve noticed it isn’t uncommon for that kind of change to happen anyway with moving or other transitions throughout the year. The kids in both of my kids’ classes were so great and welcoming to them, helping them through things like the lunch line and all that good stuff. I felt they got the extra help they needed. AND — they were entering 1st and 2nd grade at the time so academically we aren’t talking about anything too complex they were “behind” in. It was a good transition time. I think *maybe* if I was moving them into public school at a higher grade level we would have considered waiting to do it at the start of the year.


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