I haven't posted in ages, but thought I'd share my experiences with putting kids in (and out) of school over the years.
First I should say that we're in Canada, and the public education system is probably a bit different.
With my first child, I put her in a private school for 2nd grade (I was feeling overwhelmed with baby #4). She did fine. She asked to come back home after a year, and so I brought her home. In her case, continuing in school probably would have made her feel "dumb", because she was a bit of a late reader compared to other kids her age. My son was in K at the same school, and it was becoming clear that he would be better off at home too.
Fast forward five years: My dh started his own business, and needed my help with the office and bookkeeping. I put all four kids (grades 8, 7, 5 & 2) back into the same private school. The two older kids hated it because of the clique dynamics in a small middle school. After a few months I took them out and put them in an online program that allowed them to be home without me doing the teaching. The two younger kids stayed at the school for a full year. Again, it was "fine", but I could see that the school culture was wearing on them, and after a year I brought them home again.
Fast forward two years: After attempting multiple math programs, I realized that my math skills were not going to be adequate to prepare my oldest for university entrance requirements (my formerly "behind" reader was now an amazing reader, but her math was a struggle). Our local public high school allowed her to attend 10th grade for math, science, sewing and sign language every second day, and she worked on her other subjects at home. She went to that school full time in 11th grade, and is now completing 12th grade with online courses. My second oldest asked to go to school in 9th grade, and has been in school full time since then (currently in 11th grade). He's doing fairly well - probably better than he would be doing at home, since his personality doesn't learn well from his mom:glare:. I was feeling very burnt out at this point (low iron, but didn't realize it), so I put my other two in public school as well. My third born was in 7th grade, and the school noticed a problem immediately, and diagnosed him with a learning disability (dysgraphia). They were very helpful and supportive, but he began to develop severe anxiety, and begged me to bring him back home. He is now in 9th grade doing all of his courses online, and doing quite well (thanks to having everything on a computer - dysgraphia is a written output LD). My youngest was in 4th grade when she started public school. She is now in 6th grade, and is doing very well. She thrives academically in school, and has had amazing teachers, but the peer dynamics can be brutal, and I'll be keeping a very close eye on things in middle school next year. Middle school is always the "wild card". Even great teachers and staff aren't always enough.
In all of my school experiences, the most difficult parts have been the peer dynamics for the girls (starts as young as 2nd grade), and the academic conformity for the boys (if they're quick learners, it doesn't challenge them, and if they're struggling, they feel "dumb"). I think the key is to pay attention to how they are handling things emotionally. It's easy to get into the school culture, and feel as though you need to "make it work", but sometimes you need to make changes. I often felt like a flake, and I know people didn't understand my reasons for moving my kids in and out of school, but I always just had to go with what I knew was best for them (and me) at each stage in our journey - and it's been different with each child.
When I look at how my two oldest kids are doing, I know that the years of homeschooling gave them an amazing sense of confidence in how they face life's challenges. My oldest (18) is a youth ambassador for our city, and has traveled to China, Japan, WA, and all over our province representing our city. She spends most of her free time volunteering, and is confident in public speaking. She amazes me sometimes (although she still can't seem to keep her room clean!). My 16 year old son has his first job, and I've had two of his supervisors physically come out to the parking lot when I've picked him up - just to tell me what an amazing, focused, conscientious worker he is. Yes, at home he's a typical, hormonally challenged 16 year old boy who gets mad at his siblings, but he's in a good place, and knows who he is. I feel confident that the time my kids have had at home has been worthwhile, and that the time they spent in school has also contributed to who they are becoming.
Well, that was long. I'm avoiding cleaning the storage room.:tongue_smilie: