If you are a long time reader, then you are aware that our oldest started attending public high school his freshman year. If you are new, welcome! Our oldest is still attending public high school. Our decision to make the transition from homeschool to public school was NOT an easy one.
Deciding on Public School
The great public school debate started with his request to attend school. After much prayer and consideration we decided that part time for 9th grade would be a good option for him. Florida is extremely flexible with homeschool students. He wanted to play golf on the high school team and was eligible to play either as a full-time homeschool student or as a part-time student. Jacob made the golf team in the summer of 2015. The golf team was a good segue into starting school and helped him to meet a few kids before school actually started. It proved to be a good year for him and helped us all adjust (okay, mostly me!) to him being away from home during the day.
For the 2016-2017, he opted to go to school full time and we agreed it was a good decision. Do we love public school? No. Do I wish he was still homeschooled? Yes, but that’s me and my selfishness. Honestly, he has challenged himself at school much more than he ever did at home. He has a nice group of friends that are involved in school activities and take academics seriously. His friends parents that are equally concerned about their children’s education.
Homeschool Mom Guilt
We place a lot of guilt on ourselves when our children ask to go to school. We immediately feel it’s our fault, we haven’t done enough, we haven’t done the “right” things, we haven’t “truly reached their hearts”.
The fact is that we take the request too personally and make it about US instead of about our student, our child. My son didn’t want to go to school to get away from me, he wanted to go to school to experience school. Plain and simple.
Announcing to your homeschool circle that you are thinking about sending one or all of your children to a traditional school is a challenge. Some people don’t believe in giving children that option about their education. That is their prerogative, however, for us I know we preserved our relationship with our son because we honored his opinion about his education. Trust me, we say no to him about a great many things. He is not in charge of everything, but our kids also need to learn to make good decisions and weigh the pros and cons about choices. Decisions have consequences. Yes, this was a big decision, but if he tried school and didn’t like it he could ALWAYS come back to homeschooling. Believe me I made that very clear!
Preserving the Relationship with Your Teen
You CAN have a good relationship with your teen even when you aren’t homeschooling anymore. Our relationship with our son has improved because we are no longer are butting heads over school. We still have our normal teenage squabbles of course, but not the constant struggle over homeschooling.
At this point none of our other children are interested in attending school. Not because I’m such a fabulous homeschooling mom, but because none of them want to get up early, spend the day in school and come home to do homework. They see the realities of traditional school and want no part of it! That’s fine with me. We still have a lot of years of homeschooling left so this may change for a couple of my kids, but we will take each year as it comes.
What about you, do you have a child asking to go to school?