What’s a homeschool mom to do when her kid starts asking to go to public school?
Should she give up and give in and send them off on that yellow school bus?
Should she stand her ground and say too bad?
Or is there an in-between that would work best for everyone involved?
I’ve been homeschooling for fifteen years, and I’ve encountered that push for change with each of my three kids. We answered each kid differently for various reasons, because the blessing of homeschooling is the freedom to do what’s best for each child. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.
When They Want to Go to Public School
Answer #1 – Yes… and no
When we first started homeschooling, my husband was not fully on board. He did, however, agree to let me give it a try on the condition that the kids would have the option to attend public school when they reached high school.
As my oldest neared high school, we agreed to let him enroll in high school his freshman year. It started out well, but it didn’t stay that way. I won’t go into detail, but it was a really bad run. He tried to stick it out, but it didn’t ever improve. We pulled him back out shortly after Christmas his senior year.
At that point, we decided that all the kids would finish out homeschooling through high school.
Answer #2 – I guess so…
When Isaac was in middle school, we didn’t know very many people that homeschooled. Therefore, there weren’t many opportunities for us to socialize with other homeschoolers. In fact, we only knew one other homeschool family. This can be a blessing or a curse depending on your personality. For Isaac, this was a negative. He is my most extroverted child. He needs other people. And, his siblings and me just weren’t enough.
But, as I mentioned above, public school was just not an option. It was not open for discussion.
However, at the end of his eighth grade year, a brand new charter school was being built just down the road from us. After much prayer and research we decided to put Isaac’s name in the lottery. I wasn’t 100% on board, but I really didn’t think he’d get in. He was one of over 200 applicants vying for 50 open Freshman slots. He did, however, get in!
I have to say that it was hands-down the BEST decision we could have made for him!
When we moved to Ohio at the end of his freshman year, we decided to go ahead and enroll him in the local public school on a trial basis. He graduated from there in May. Again, I still say that for him public school ended up being the best decision.
A couple of thoughts before answer #3…
Over the past few years, I’ve learned some things about our local school district and our local homeschool community that have further solidified my thoughts about Emma and public school.
- Our public school district has lost so much funding that they keep cutting teachers and classes at all levels. Who knows what that will look like when Emma’s in high school.
- We have alternative education options here. There are quite a few co-ops and university model schools here that we didn’t have access to in Texas. Even if they were available, however, we were not in a place where we could afford to send the kids there. Today, we are.
- We have access to dual enrollment classes at the local community college. She can take classes that will give her high school and college credit at the same time.
- Our school district allows homeschoolers to take up to two classes on the public school campus. I haven’t researched this option, but had a discussion with another homeschool mom last week about this very thing. I’m not sure this is the solution I’m looking for, but it is definitely worth checking out.
Answer #3 – Not now (maybe not ever)
Public school is not in my plans for Emma. I know she’s getting a great education here at home. She’s also attending a co-op where can participate in some electives – namely pottery and creative writing. She’s on a waiting list for another co-op where she can take some of her core classes – namely science.
With the option to tailor her education to meet her academic and health needs, I don’t see a reason to send her to public school full time. We are content with homeschooling, co-op classes, and maybe even dual enrollment classes eventually.
I don’t know what the future holds for Em. But, I don’t see full-time public school in her future. Right now, what we’re doing is working well for us. For the future, the co-op that Emma currently attends has a spring formal/prom for their high schoolers. They also have a formal graduation ceremony with caps/gowns and certificates of graduation. With these opportunities, she won’t feel so much like she’s “missing out” of the fun stuff high schoolers get to do.
How do you handle it when your kids express an interest in attending public school?
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