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This might turn out to be long.  My apologies in advance.

 

My history:  I am a die-hard homeschooling mom.  I have homeschooled all six of my kids from pre-K through to college.  We homeschooled originally because of frequent military relocations, but then found that it meshed well with our religious beliefs and our vision for our family life.

 

Not this current school year, but next school year we will be living in a different place.  And for the first time in my 15 years of homeschooling, I am considering sending my kids to public school.

 

We will be moving to an extremely remote area of west Texas.  The county in which we will be living has no homeschooling support.  None.  I have been searching the internet high and low, and I'm coming up empty-handed. 

 

And it's no surprise.  The county (which is larger than the entire state of Connecticut) has a population of only @10,000 people.  About half of those people live in the largest town of the county (the county seat), which is about 100 miles from where we will be living.  The other 5000 or so people are spread out over a very wide area.

 

The settlement where we will be living has <100 people.  As such, it has its own K-8 school, and that school is entirely locally run.  It is its own school district.  There are a total of about 20 students in the K-8 school (so, about 2-3 students per grade level, average), and there are four teachers.  I have been impressed with the qualifications of the teachers, and one teacher is certified in special education, which we would need for my SN 12yo son.  I am considering this school for my youngest two children.

 

They would have to walk to the school, which isn't a big deal since it's less than 1 mile from our house.  They would also come home each day for lunch since there isn't a cafeteria.  There is daily PE, and twice a week they have either dance or gymnastics.  They also alternate days of music and art.  Plus, there is an 8000-volume library.

 

I am also considering sending my high schooler to public school.  His school would be in the next town over, about 30 miles away, which has a population of about 70 people.  The high school there combines the K-8 school I discussed above, plus one other K-8 school in the area.  (That other K-8 school plus this high school make up another, separate school district from the one stated above.  So again, very local control of the school.) 

 

The high school has about 50 students, so about a dozen students per grade level.  There is no bus service at all, so my son would have to drive himself to and from school each day.  And like the other school, there is no cafeteria, but they have an eating area with a microwave and refrigerator.  Incidentally, when this high school opened in 1996, it ended the nation's longest bus ride - around 200 miles each day.

 

The high school has all core classes, plus it even offers dual credit via technology.  The school has a track team, a golf team, and a basketball team when it has enough players.  There are eight teachers, and I noticed that four of them seem to be two married couples.  And there is a library.  Plus, it seems a lot of technology is used.

 

(I'm sorry this is turning out to be so long!)

 

I'm honestly torn about this.  I never thought I'd send my kids to public school.  However, given the isolation of where we will be living and the lack of other homeschoolers, I'm thinking we might more-or-less be forced into this option, if my kids are ever to have any friends.  And I really like that the schools are small and controlled so locally.  I've been in homeschool co-ops that are larger than these schools!  (LOL)

 

On the other hand, I would lose all autonomy over what, when, where, and how my kids learn.  I would also have to find out if my high schooler's homeschooled credits would transfer, plus I would have to see how accommodating they could be for my son with special needs.  (He would need an IEP.)  So there are a few unknowns at this time.

 

But given this information, would you:

 

A)  Keep homeschooling!  Don't rock the boat!

 

or

 

B)  Put them in school!  There's no other way to go, given this situation!

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If you decide to put them in school, you can always pull them out again later if you realize that it's not working, right? I'd do it... but then, my childhood dream was to attend a 1 room schoolhouse,

In your shoes, I would visit the schools several times and then let the boys decide which they want to do.

Given the situation you describe, I would be inclined to give it a try.    Anne

If you decide to put them in school, you can always pull them out again later if you realize that it's not working, right? I'd do it... but then, my childhood dream was to attend a 1 room schoolhouse, and that seems to be about as close as you can get without actually being in one room!

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Well, all things considered, I would put them in school. First, it will be the easiest way for your whole family to make friends and be part of the community. Which I think would be important given that it is so small and remote.

The k-8 school sounds like the perfect bridge from homeschool and your high schooler will be fine.

 

I say all of this as a homeschooled whose kids have never been to school, yet I am researching options for high school for my youngest right now.

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Is there a way for you and the kids to visit the schools and perhaps sit in on a few classes?

 

The small school thing can be great if the kids are nice, but having only a few kids per class can also limit the opportunities for friendship. It can go either way.

 

Ditto for the teacher situation. If four of the teachers are two married couples, and one of your kids has an issue with a teacher, that could be a problem in the future if your child gets the spouse as a teacher the next year. Also, if there is a problem with one teacher, there is no opportunity to have your child transferred to another classroom, because there is only one classroom per grade.

 

So... I think this could either be wonderful or awful, and I don't think you'll be able to tell until you and your kids have met the teachers and the students in person.

 

Even though I have always homeschooled my own ds15, I don't have any general anti-ps sentiments, so I don't think it is a bad thing to consider ps for your kids. I understand your concerns about the isolation of the area where you will be living, and wish there was a way to live a bit closer to a larger population. It sounds like this will be a huge change for your family. :grouphug:

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I don't think either of the options would be terrible, so I would probably investigate the credit transfer and IEP issues and then make a decision.  Also, are their non-home school social activities that would be available outside of the ps system?  Would the ps be open to allowing partial enrollment, etc?

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If you decide to put them in school, you can always pull them out again later if you realize that it's not working, right? I'd do it... but then, my childhood dream was to attend a 1 room schoolhouse, and that seems to be about as close as you can get without actually being in one room!

 

I happen to know that there are six rooms in the high school.  (LOL)  But I don't know how many are in the K-8 school.  I would guess fewer than six.  It's a smaller building.

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In your shoes, I would visit the schools several times and then let the boys decide which they want to do.

 

 

Is there a way for you and the kids to visit the schools and perhaps sit in on a few classes?

 

The small school thing can be great if the kids are nice, but having only a few kids per class can also limit the opportunities for friendship. It can go either way.

 

Ditto for the teacher situation. If four of the teachers are two married couples, and one of your kids has an issue with a teacher, that could be a problem in the future if your child gets the spouse as a teacher the next year. Also, if there is a problem with one teacher, there is no opportunity to have your child transferred to another classroom, because there is only one classroom per grade.

 

So... I think this could either be wonderful or awful, and I don't think you'll be able to tell until you and your kids have met the teachers and the students in person.

 

We will actually be visiting the schools in about two weeks from now.  I think that will tell me a lot about the atmosphere there.

 

Cat, good points about the teacher-not-liking-you possibility.  Hmmm...

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This would be a situation where I would be more likely to keep home schooling than put them in school. And we actually put our girls in public school for high school, but that is because we think they can offer more than I can at home--APs, band, great electives. And we think our kids should be out in the world before going off to college. In your situation, I would look long and hard at what kind of education they can provide and see if it's better than what I could do with at home with some help from online classes.

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I don't think either of the options would be terrible, so I would probably investigate the credit transfer and IEP issues and then make a decision.  Also, are their non-home school social activities that would be available outside of the ps system?  Would the ps be open to allowing partial enrollment, etc?

 

 

I do not know the answers to these questions, but I truly doubt there's much else going on in the community beyond the school events.  (There's nothing else there besides houses, the school, a convenience store/gas station, and the place DH will be working.)

 

It would be nice if they allowed partial enrollment.  That's something I may inquire about.

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I'm with those who would really like to visit, extensively, before signing up for this.

 

There is going to be one culture in such a tiny, inbred (sorry) system, and any new family is either going to fit in or not. If your family isn't a good fit, the school/town is not going to bend just for you. (Of course, OTOH, it might be a really good fit, although I'd still be very concerned about lack of diversity in an academic setting.)

 

Some of our WTM friends live in back-of-beyond locales and homeschool because of it; making about three weekly pilgrimages to more urban centers for hs groups, classes, etc. I've often figured I'd do the same in this situation, and hope we were charming enough to get along with our neighbors without enrolling in school.

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I have to know where you're moving, lol - it sounds LOVELY (I kid, I kid - kind of - if you don't mind dropping me a PM, I'd be obliged; if not, I understand).

 

Honestly, if we lived in a similar type of area, and there were no other homeschoolers, I would put them in school. Well, THAT kind of school. Uber small is my preference.

If it doesn't work out, what's the worst case scenario? Right - you pull them out; no harm, no foul.

 

The only one I would keep home may be the high schooler if his credits do not transfer.  

 

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You left out the most important information I'd need to before I can chime in -- What do your kids want?  And especially your high schooler?

 

The lack of homeschooling support wouldn't bother me one whit.  We live in a well populated area but never had any support as far as co-ops or play groups or anything like that (plenty of those exist; we weren't good fits for any of them)..  But our area does have opportunities for kids like rec league sports, Little League, etc.  The area you describe sounds so sparsely populated I'd worry about what kind of social interaction your kids would have if they don't go to school.  I'm guessing a LOT of social activities are  school (or perhaps church) related in such a rural area.  And I do think socialization is an issue, especially for older kids.

 

Long way of saying -- If it were me and if the kids were on board I'd let them give school a try.

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It's Texas, right?  So put them in, see how it goes, and pull them out if it doesn't work out.  It's not forever.

 

Heck, we tried a public charter middle school for 4 days.  We pulled our dd out.  No biggie.

 

I do think they could at least make some social connections that may then continue if you decide to pull one or more of them out.  My dd went to private school for her 8th grade year, after homeschooling 2nd thru 7th (not counting those 4 days in 6th grade at the charter school), and now back to homeschooling for 9th, but she made a couple friends that she sees still and instagrams a bunch of other kids.

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Personally I'd stick with homeschooling unless your kids need to be around other kids. Given how far everyone sounds like they must travel to and from school, it's unlikely there will be any time for socializing or really forming deep friendships. I definitely wouldn't want my teen to drive 60 miles a day to and from the HS, especially just to take distance classes he could as easily take from home.

 

You are probably right that there won't be many other opportunities to get together with other kids, though. For some that's important and for others not so much, especially with such a limited pool.

 

It's good you are keeping such an open mind about possibly sending them. I can imagine it must be a difficult decision.

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You left out the most important information I'd need to before I can chime in -- What do your kids want?  And especially your high schooler?

 

The lack of homeschooling support wouldn't bother me one whit.  We live in a well populated area but never had any support as far as co-ops or play groups or anything like that (plenty of those exist; we weren't good fits for any of them)..  But our area does have opportunities for kids like rec league sports, Little League, etc.  The area you describe sounds so sparsely populated I'd worry about what kind of social interaction your kids would have if they don't go to school.  I'm guessing a LOT of social activities are  school (or perhaps church) related in such a rural area.  And I do think socialization is an issue, especially for older kids.

 

Long way of saying -- If it were me and if the kids were on board I'd let them give school a try.

 

The kids don't know.  All they've ever known is homeschooling, so of course that's what they want to keep doing.  But they really don't know what it's going to be like out there.  (And truthfully, I don't know yet either.)

 

As to the bolded, there is NOTHING like that there.  Nothing.  In a response above, I mentioned that our settlement has houses, the K-8 school, a convenience store/gas station, and the place DH will be working.  That's all.

 

Thirty miles away is the town with population 70.  They have one church, a mom-and-pop grocery store, a bank/post office, and a gas station, in addition to the schools.  There's no such thing as rec sports, etc.

 

From what I understand, even people with no children go to the social events at the schools.  Because it's all there is.  I'm under the impression that the schools are the social hub.

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Personally I'd stick with homeschooling unless your kids need to be around other kids. Given how far everyone sounds like they must travel to and from school, it's unlikely there will be any time for socializing or really forming deep friendships. I definitely wouldn't want my teen to drive 60 miles a day to and from the HS, especially just to take distance classes he could as easily take from home.

 

You are probably right that there won't be many other opportunities to get together with other kids, though. For some that's important and for others not so much, especially with such a limited pool.

 

It's good you are keeping such an open mind about possibly sending them. I can imagine it must be a difficult decision.

 

Re: bolded.  This is a good point.

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Under similar circumstances I sent my dd to ps high school last year. The place we were living in Oregon had a terrible local high school that she was dying to go to, but her older sister had gone and I was really unhappy with the character of a lot of the teachers and administrators. Fast forward to we moved to a remote area of CA. We are sixty miles from the nearest city, forty miles from the high school dd is districted to. That school is AMAZING for a public school. I think we would have to spend a lot of money to get dd into a private school as good and I don't think there are many private schools that are better for any price.

 

I work too much to home school anyway, I shouldn't have home schooled her the last year that I did because I worked too much and she was too lonely even though I fit in all the academic time she needed I wasn't there to supervise her down time and she made friends she should not have. The last year we home schooled we did TPS and it was not a good fit for us. The internet connection and data limits we have in the middle of nowhere are not good and TPS needs a good connection. We spent as much time keeping dd online as woe would have if we just home schooled her, and she was unable to take some of her tests. She got a D in French because she tried and tried to take the final and just couldn't due to our crummy internet. 

 

So my advice is, do it, I did and am very glad  I did. It may not be a good fit for each of your kids and you may have to bring one or more of them home anyway, but it is worth the try. My dd made no friends the year we lived here and she did TPS. She made great friends the first day of school and is with them setting up for the fair right now. It is hard to live so far from the school that I can't be involved, but I work too much to be too involved anyway.

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Almost everyone thus far has said something that strikes me as useful and worth considering. 

 

You don't say if this is a "mandatory move" or an "optional move".  The answer to that question may influence your children's perspectives and preferences.  It may, just as much, influence your own. 

 

The lack of IRL homeschooling local support can be weathered.  Here I am in the Metroplex (DFW) with none at all available to me these twenty years. 

 

Regarding the high school level, one primary concern of mine would be the academic resources and the class choices available in so minute a school.  Homeschooling, particularly making use of some of the excellent online/distance course choices, might far exceed the quality of high school education available where you are going to move.  You do mention "technology", but that can mean many things.  Truthfully, the prospect of public high school in this described environment gives me pause. 

 

We Texans would love to know where this is, if you wish to tell us!

 

 

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I've lived in rural, suburban, and urban school districts. The big city schools were the only ones where I did not give my kids the option as they were too unsafe.

 

Rural schools can be good based on small class sizes and close teacher interaction. The negatives are they can be insular and close minded. I'd let my children decide with the understanding they can always come home.

 

If a child would like something different than what's offered at the local school, Texas Tech has an independent, accredited school district. My son's public school offers a few classes through TTISD. He's used the TTISD credit-by-examination, and I've found the people to be fairly responsive.

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From what I understand, even people with no children go to the social events at the schools.  Because it's all there is.  I'm under the impression that the schools are the social hub.

 

There you go, should that be a good fit for your family! 

 

I would be writhing with unhappiness, though, if there were only one church within realistic distance.  I guarantee it would not be a church of my family's faith! 

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I taught in a district that was similar to this.  Somewhat larger, but not a lot  Let's put it this way:  the homecoming parade was about 3 minutes long.  LOL

 

We had a few married couples on staff and it didn't really make that big a difference compared to other districts I taught in.  Frankly, by the time you are this small, you're all pretty much "married couples" anyway--as far as communication about school, being "tight" as a group, and so on.  I think the school I was in would likely have better access to research materials today than when I was there because of the internet, and access to books online and so on.  That was the biggest bummer was the library and resource materials.  

 

The kids in the school were tight, as well.  That would be something to watch for--if the school is in an area where there is a lot of in-and-out, they may be more adept at receiving new people than if it is a frozen community.  The school I was in had a lot of transients, but in an odd way...  They were families which showed up every fall and then moved on in winter because they were shepherds and their flocks needed different pasture in the winter.  So you'd see them year after year, but only for awhile.

 

I had a new kid show up one year who had pretty noticeable Tourettes (the swearing barking kind) and I think he fared better in this school than he would have in one of the Big City Schools I taught in later.  The kids knew that all they had was each other, and they really stuck together.  Oh, yeah, they teased each other--all of them--but it was a lot less malicious than what I saw later.  

 

There were still problems.  Guess what:  the people were *humans*.  :0)  I had issues with a couple of kids -- the superintendent's daughter, for one -- but it all just worked out.  

 

I'd be tempted to try the schools.  You'd be amazed at how much the parents were involved in our school, and that includes the social activities.  Eg. for the Senior Prom...the whole town came.  Moms and Dads and everyone over age 15 or so.  It was great.  

 

 

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I taught in a district that was similar to this.  Somewhat larger, but not a lot  Let's put it this way:  the homecoming parade was about 3 minutes long.  LOL

 

We had a few married couples on staff and it didn't really make that big a difference compared to other districts I taught in.  Frankly, by the time you are this small, you're all pretty much "married couples" anyway--as far as communication about school, being "tight" as a group, and so on.  I think the school I was in would likely have better access to research materials today than when I was there because of the internet, and access to books online and so on.  That was the biggest bummer was the library and resource materials.  

 

The kids in the school were tight, as well.  That would be something to watch for--if the school is in an area where there is a lot of in-and-out, they may be more adept at receiving new people than if it is a frozen community.  The school I was in had a lot of transients, but in an odd way...  They were families which showed up every fall and then moved on in winter because they were shepherds and their flocks needed different pasture in the winter.  So you'd see them year after year, but only for awhile.

 

I had a new kid show up one year who had pretty noticeable Tourettes (the swearing barking kind) and I think he fared better in this school than he would have in one of the Big City Schools I taught in later.  The kids knew that all they had was each other, and they really stuck together.  Oh, yeah, they teased each other--all of them--but it was a lot less malicious than what I saw later.  

 

There were still problems.  Guess what:  the people were *humans*.  :0)  I had issues with a couple of kids -- the superintendent's daughter, for one -- but it all just worked out.  

 

I'd be tempted to try the schools.  You'd be amazed at how much the parents were involved in our school, and that includes the social activities.  Eg. for the Senior Prom...the whole town came.  Moms and Dads and everyone over age 15 or so.  It was great.  

 

Where's your "like" button?!?

 

And trust me, my kids have problems too.  Definitely no angels here.  (LOL)

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In such a small community, the other kids would still want to become friends with your boys if they were inclined that way, especially if they attended church together (or some other group, but that doesn't seem available). I would be more likely to homeschool while trying to make friends locally and make a monthly trip outside of town for a change of scenery, if possible. I do think either option would be fine.

 

I bet if you hosted a regular social night -weekly, bimonthly, or monthly - it would be well attended by the town kids whether the kids were in school or not. 

 

If we moved near my parents, we would be in a much smaller community. We would see other people, but we would mostly hang out with my parents and my sister's family. Even in the large town we live in, we mostly hang with the same families. If you become good friends with a couple of families, you probably wouldn't feel much more socially isolated than what many people feel in more populated areas.

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My sisters were homeschooled in a very small town (not that small though!). All town activities revolved around the school or the Baptist church (we're Catholic). My sisters are grown now and one is still very bitter about the isolation she felt as a child.

 

I have always said that if I ever had to move home (dear Lord, please no no no) I would not homeschool. I would not want to be the only people living outside the norm. Just throwing that out there.

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When are you moving? Could you decide to put them or not at 2nd Semester? That might give you a chance to see what life would be like in the community as a homeschooler before making a decision.

 

DH is moving there in a couple of weeks, while the kids and I stay behind.  (Various reasons why.)  We are planning to move out there with him at the end of next summer, just as the school year will be starting.

 

The good thing is that DH will have lived there for awhile before we get there, plus I hope to be making semi-frequent visits over the course of the upcoming year.  Hopefully we will get a feel for things out there before we all move out there.

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Where's your "like" button?!?

 

 

Hers disappeared recently, and that has driven me crazy.

 

She's a moderator. I'm guessing moderators don't have like buttons, just like SWB doesn't have a like button.

 

Wrt the OP: I think part of my reasoning would depend on what kind of homeschooler I am. If I'm quite the school-at-home type, I'd be more likely to try PS than if I'm a hardcore unschooler, if that makes sense. That said, I think I probably would put the kids in school and see how they do, and pull them out if it didn't work and just call it an anthropology project or something.

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She's a moderator. I'm guessing moderators don't have like buttons, just like SWB doesn't have a like button.

 

Wrt the OP: I think part of my reasoning would depend on what kind of homeschooler I am. If I'm quite the school-at-home type, I'd be more likely to try PS than if I'm a hardcore unschooler, if that makes sense. That said, I think I probably would put the kids in school and see how they do, and pull them out if it didn't work and just call it an anthropology project or something.

 

 

:lol:

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She's a moderator. I'm guessing moderators don't have like buttons, just like SWB doesn't have a like button.

 

 

 

I am out-to-lunch.  I received the same answer not long ago when I asked this about another person.  How quickly the resumption of teaching drives out of the mind all previously-digested information!

 

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What is the Internet like? I would be concerned that planning to HS at home on Internet in such a rural area could be a problem.

 

I know that the internet is through the telephone company.  (There's no cable company.)  I don't know how reliable it is.  We were told, however, to bring a generator, as apparently the electricity goes out fairly frequently.

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What is the Internet like? I would be concerned that planning to HS at home on Internet in such a rural area could be a problem.

 

Forgot about that point! 

 

There always are conventional, paper-based, distance-ed programs.  Texas has more than one.  Some of the faith-based programs (Catholic/Protestant) also have paper-based programs with grading by program staff. 

 

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I would not do it. I would not risk the culture of the school and the possible clannishness being a poor fit and then being the family that rejected the school. I would not put kids who had never been to school into such an insular situation. And I would not make my teenager drive 60 miles a day for school.

 

Personally, I would continue to homeschool, join a homeschool group in a larger area, and commit to going once every two weeks even if it is a long drive. Depending on your financial situation, you could rent a hotel room and spend two days twice a month in a place that has homeschool support.

 

Honestly, I can't imagine going into a situation like what you describe. It would never, ever work for our family. Maybe you guys aren't as weird as we are and it will be fine for you. ;)

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I'd be inclined to let the younger kids walk to school and keep the high schooler at home unless he asks to attend the high school. If there are academic or other issues with the younger kids' school, you can go back to homeschooling them the following year (and just tell the school you missed them ;) ) and they will still have gotten to know people.

 

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Forgot about that point!

 

There always are conventional, paper-based, distance-ed programs. Texas has more than one. Some of the faith-based programs (Catholic/Protestant) also have paper-based programs with grading by program staff.

 

American School of Correspondence has a paper-based high school program in addition to its online options, so that may be another possibility for your high schooler if you are looking for options. They are also very flexible to work with.

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I would not do it. I would not risk the culture of the school and the possible clannishness being a poor fit and then being the family that rejected the school. I would not put kids who had never been to school into such an insular situation. And I would not make my teenager drive 60 miles a day for school.

 

I'm pretty sure that driving long distances for anything (for instance, the nearest place to get a haircut is 70 miles away) is going to be a part of our lives.  Thirty miles to and from the high school on desolate, country roads isn't something I'm worried about.  It would be about a 20 minute drive one-way.

 

Personally, I would continue to homeschool, join a homeschool group in a larger area, and commit to going once every two weeks even if it is a long drive. Depending on your financial situation, you could rent a hotel room and spend two days twice a month in a place that has homeschool support.

 

The nearest homeschool support is over 200 miles away, one direction.  And it's not a very large group.  The larger support  group is in El Paso, which is over 300 miles away.

Honestly, I can't imagine going into a situation like what you describe. It would never, ever work for our family. Maybe you guys aren't as weird as we are and it will be fine for you. ;)

 

I'm pretty sure we're the weird ones here.  (LOL)

 

:)

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Are you sure you will have to move there? Is there any chance your dh will transfer elsewhere within the next year?

 

I wouldn't be happy living that remotely. I hope you guys are wired differently than I am, so it will work out well for you if you have to go.

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What will you do all day with your kids in school, your husband working, an unreliable internet connection, and zero people around to interact with? I am an introvert, but after a couple weeks of no one else around all day I would go completely bonkers. In the olden days they called it prairie madness. I would be tempted to keep my kids home just to keep my sanity, lol.

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What will you do all day with your kids in school, your husband working, an unreliable internet connection, and zero people around to interact with? I am an introvert, but after a couple weeks of no one else around all day I would go completely bonkers. In the olden days they called it prairie madness. I would be tempted to keep my kids home just to keep my sanity, lol.

 

This is definitely a question I have asked myself.  I think I would probably be actively involved with volunteering at the schools, and possibly get a part-time job nearby.  (There are opportunities for such, believe it or not.)

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