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We’re Transitioning from Homeschool to Public School

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We’re transitioning from homeschool to public school this year. We’ve done a mix of home and public schooling over the years, but I’ve never had all four of my children gone at the same time, and for the last two years, they have all been at home with me. But after a lot of thought and discussion, we really did it. We sent all four kids off to public school this year. *pinch me!!Back to School 2016-2017

Transitioning from Homeschool to Public School

Sending homeschooled kids off to public school can be really scary for homeschooling moms {at least it was for me}. There are so many questions and fears … some of them related to the kids, but some also related to me.

What if they don’t like it? What if they DO like it?

What if they are “behind” academically?

What if the teachers judge me for the way I homeschooled?

What if there are bullies?

Am I being selfish for wanting some me time?

Why couldn’t we make it work at home?

I homeschooled initially because I have different philosophical and educational ideas about school and learning. I’m afraid our current system pushes kids too fast, too soon and emphasizes testing too much. I wanted my kids to have time to be kids. To play in the dirt, create art, explore music, play creatively, and learn on their own. I wanted to be able to travel and learn on the road – to have control of our time.

But the truth is, I’m tired. Tired of the fighting. Of the arguing, of the yelling. Of all the noise. I had this idea of a perfect homeschool with motivated kids who wanted to learn and could work on their own. But, that wasn’t our reality. In an ideal world it would have been, and we’d still be homeschooling. But it didn’t happen that way.

I just need a break this year to focus on grownup things {like blogging, ha!} because I just can’t do it all. And someone needs to look after their education a little bit more than I have been. I also think they might work harder for someone else. They’ve been really fighting me a lot even though I didn’t push them that hard academically.

That means, I sent a first grader who’s not really reading when the others in her class are. I didn’t push reading on her last year when she was five. I wanted her to play creatively. My oldest child learned to read on her own around 6 and is a voracious reader. My son had a much slower start with reading and caught up around 8. And my third grader is reading, but not like her older sister was at her age. I really think kids will learn to read when they’re ready and pushing them too soon just isn’t a great idea.

I can focus on what my kids can’t do and blame myself and my shortcomings as a homeschool teacher, because I’m really good at blaming myself. But, I’m trying to focus on what they can do instead:

They can talk to and interact with people of all ages.

They can play piano and are way ahead in band and music.

They can create art like nobody’s business.

They are kind and caring {to people outside our family anyway}.

They can have intelligent conversations and think critically.

They’ve traveled well beyond Iowa and have seen many historically important places.

That’s something, right?!

We're Transitioning from Homeschool to Public School

All four kids just finished the first week of school, and so far so good. The girls are having fun and enjoying their days.  The teachers seem nice and concerned about the kids’ education and well being. The 7th grader is pushing herself physically by running cross country and her coach is really great.

My son is on the fence though. He misses having control of his time. He likes the kids and enjoys some of the work, but he wants more time to play with his rabbits {one of whom died over the weekend}, practice the piano, and create duck tape weapons. He’s sad to have to spend so much time inside, but each day he seems to like school a little bit more.

So far, sending them to school hasn’t been as scary as I thought it might be. But next week, the testing starts. And it continues every 15 days for the rest of the year. All kids in K-3 will participate in Intervention Blocks for customized literacy learning. Forgive me while I gag a little. Intervention just sounds like the wrong word to use in an educational setting where we’re teaching kids to do their best. That’s probably why they’re calling it iBlock instead. I’m anxious about these iblocks for sure.

Their testing will be my real test. We’ll see if I can handle it, because the kids seem to be doing fine. I’ll keep you posted. I suddenly have a lot more time on my hands. At least for now. 


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About Michelle

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long time green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.


  1. blankJenni says

    Testing every 15 days?! That seems crazy! I was really worried about sending my daughter to traditional kindergarten, too. My mom has been a Montessori teacher for 30+ years, and my brother, husband, and I all had a Montessori background. I love the philophophy behind it and we have been employing the same sorts of techniques and activities in our home. So sending her to a school where she had to sit in a desk all day was my worst nightmare. But, miraculously, her teacher has a “flexible seating arrangement” that includes things beyond desks – like bean bags, a couch, yoga balls, etc. They can pick where to sit, and she has a really active day. Her teacher is amazing, and she is loving it!
    Sometimes its so hard to relinquish control, but sometimes it works out of the bet!

  2. blankChantal says

    I love that you are focusing on what they CAN do instead! That is what matters. And if they can think critically, they can certainly succeed at anything that public school might throw their way. I agree that kids blossom on their own time and it shouldn’t be rushed. The testing is crazy, I agree! I look forward to updates on your journey (and theirs!). And don’t forget: bon bons, not lawn mowers!! 🙂 <3

    • blankMichelle Marine says

      I’m trying. But it’s hard. It’s so easy to place all the blame squarely on myself, even though we originally homeschooled so we were not bound my arbitrary learning standards set by No Child Left Behind. 🙁 I have no doubt that Sara’s reading will be up to snuff when she’s ready. It’s just not on their timeline. So now, she’s left behind. 🙁

  3. blankCrystal says

    I look forward to hearing about how things go as the year progresses. I’ve no doubt it’s a big change for everyone. Tests every 15 days sounds awful, and a bit like it is here in NI and where an unofficial test at the age of 11 determines whether you’ll go to university or not.

    Schools are tough as the system does think that every child should have the same skills at the same time, regardless of the 12 months’ age difference in each class, and developmental growth as well.

    Keep up the great home life and I’m sure they’ll continue to grow and learn as they have been.

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