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entry to PS in 8th grade this fall: advice?

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My DD12 is heading to public junior high for 8th grade. Not because homeschooling didn't work well for her, or because of anything negative. She shadowed a student for a day and that went reasonably well, and if she ends up hating school after a fair trial next year, she can always come back to homeschooling, though finding her a social life will be very hard because her best friend from homeschooling is going to public school also and definitely to public high school, and her other best friend is moving away, and local homeschooling groups seem no longer to exist.


Any advice on how best to prepare, from others who have sent always-homeschooled kids to public school around 8th grade? Any pointers on making sure she's covered all the scope-and-sequence so it will be a smooth transition?


She already knows how to put her name and date on papers, how to do math homework neatly and show all steps, etc. but I was warned by the guidance counselor that they do most everything online on their laptops so that textbook work was not likely to be something she'd encounter.


Would love to hear from those who have done this, any do's and dont's, and also from those who have taught or are teaching junior high.



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I don't have any good advice but want to echo the bureaucracy comment. That was the hardest thing for my son who entered into PS in 9th. The work was really easy so that wasn't an issue but I will never forget him getting into trouble because he left class to use the bathroom. That one really confused him ("you mean we have to ask permission to pee?") Haha! He also once for a snack out of his bag and was asked to put it away which also confused him. He was an independent and responsible kid so the many rules were so confusing to him.


He would also come home marveling at the disrespect and apathetic behavior of many students. It just had never occurred to him that people would actually behave that way. It was a learning experience for sure.

Edited by nixpix5
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If she is doing well with academics at home and you have provided her with a solid education it probably won't be the academics that will be an issue and she might thrive having a change in academic environment (unless they are using a VASTLY different scope and sequence for math or something or she gets really, really bored).  It will be all the rules and the bureaucracy and the change in environment that might be the biggest issue.


1.  There will be people around her every second of the day.   No down time.  No quiet alone time.  Some kids do well with that.  Some get drained by it until they adapt.  She may need a lot of down time when she gets home.


2.  Lots of rules.  Make sure she is aware of the rules.  As soon as she comes home the first day have her write down any rules that were mentioned in class.  Like mentioned up thread, she will have to ask permission to use the restroom (they may require her to only go between classes during that 5 minute window).  No eating in the classroom unless there is some special situation where the teacher gave express permission.  Raise hand to ask questions.  Etc.  Also, different teachers may have different rules in their particular class that do not apply in another class.  For instance, how they want a child to put their name and date on a paper.  Some can be militant that it be done their way in their class but it may be different from how another teacher wants it.  


3.  Make sure she is getting more sleep than you might expect.  Those first few weeks may be exhausting as she adapts.  Early bed, solid routine, healthy breakfast.


4.  Set up a routine for when she gets home.  It can be hard to keep track of multiple teachers' assignments, papers for parents to fill out, etc.  Plan on unpacking her backpack together right after she walks in the door during those first few weeks so if there is something you need to take care of it won't be forgotten or lost or if she needs materials you have time to get them and if she has a lot of homework she can pace it out instead of cramming at the last minute late in the evening.  


5.  Look over any assignments/homework with her (those first few weeks especially) to make sure she understands what is expected and when it is due.  Make sure you have an established time for when to start homework and where to put the homework after it is done.  Get it back in the backpack immediately.  See if there are forms to fill out and fill them out right away then put them right back in the backpack so they don't get lost.  


6.  Have a specific spot that the backpack goes once everything is finished and back inside.  Put it near the door she will be exiting.


7.  Have her lay out her clothes the night before (at least for the first few weeks) along with shoes/socks so if she is super tired the next day she doesn't really have to think, she just needs to get dressed.


8.  Plan out lunches for the week if she is taking her own lunch and have as much pre-prepped as possible before the week starts.


9.  First week may be confusing and a bit frustrating or it could be fun and she will be running on adrenaline.  Second week may be more challenging because she may be over tired.  


10.  Keep a calendar and write down deadlines where you and she can see them.  

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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My daughter went to public school in 6th grade. Academically she was ahead & transitioned fine. The biggest adjustment for her was just figuring out how to get around. Fortunately, that's true for any new kid (and all 6th graders) so she adjusted fine. She'll be in 10th grade & is doing great. She is very organized & a self starter.


My son entered public school in 5th grade. His biggest adjustment was how much writing was expected of him (but I had let him write his papers on the computer so that was my own doing). He figured it out though & everything else was fairly easy.


He will be in 8th grade in the fall & is returning to homeschooling. For him it's just a better fit, but our experience with public school overall was okay. He is very disorganized & needs reminders (a lot).


Im sure your daughter will adjust fine. :) Here, school starts off with review and they don't begin homework until the second week. Oh! And if she has a locker (gym and or hallway) practice! This was a huge learning curve for both of my kids!!

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Mine went to a parochial high school in 9th grade.

To get ready:


I finally let her use a calculator toward the end of 8th grade.  (At her school she was one of the only kids who knew how to multiply and divide by hand.)


I decided that she was less experienced in public speaking that she should be, so I found a toastmasters' kids group for her to join for a couple of months to get relevant experience.


I got her a planner to write all her assignments in.


We practiced taking the bus together, and that way it was an option.  I got her a monthly bus pass.


We talked about The Rules.  Not talking in class, being respectful toward all adults all the time, not eating, never letting the calculator out of her sight, ditto wallet/purse.






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Sent my dd to eighth grade. I second all of the advice given. We made her complete 12 weeks of full time public school. She was so far ahead academicly that was literally bored to tears. So, we ended up having her only going to the last two periods of the day. That was the perfect amount of time for us to complete home school work at home in the morning, a nice lunch at home, and she had her friends and social time at public school in the afternoon. She rode the school bus home so I was not driving back and forth all day.


This work out so well for my dd that we are continuing this for high school. Three credits in public and four credits at home.

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Be ready to coach her through the first few group projects. Our school is big on them, and they were (and continue to be) hair-pulling experiences. Teach her how to help organize the group, how to divvy up tasks clearly and set schedules, what to do when a group member isn't doing their part, what to do with a bossy group member who doesn't want to hear the ideas of others (and make sure she listens to others as well). If at all possible, get the right people (i.e., reliable students) on your team. And how to decide at what point you pick up the slack or have your own grade suffer. (I give kudos to teachers who make sure there is a way to evaluate the individual group members - some just judge the overall project.)


Right off the bat in 8th, oldest DS was assigned to a group of three on a major project that would culminate in a written document, poster, and oral presentation. On my advice, he sat down with the other 2 and divvied up research areas and tasks. He worked on his. He became alarmed when they didn't seem to be starting theirs. He organized little status meetings. He agonized over what to do when their status was "not started." He finally went to the teacher who said he needed to "learn teamwork." He was so frantic the night before it was all due that he ended up doing virtually all of it himself (although one team member designed a pretty cover  :angry:).

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Regarding a group project (as in the post above), to have it done well and get good grades, your child will most likely have to do the entire project without any help from the rest of the group. When my son gets assigned a group project in his courses at public school, he takes over the group and does it all himself without even asking for input from anyone. This is because he is usually the only one in the group who cares about his grades and is willing to work hard.


Of course, if there happens to be another student in the group who is smart and willing to work hard, then one could divide up the work. However, the teachers usually assign groups so that one good student is paired with poor students.

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My DS, homeschooled since Kindergarten, went to public school in 8th grade.  As others have mentioned the academics were not an issue.  The forms to fill out and the many rules took some getting used to.  SO MANY FORMS!  There were a couple times I had to come to the school to pick him up at the end of the day because the proper form to walk home or to take the bus wasn't filled out. (apparently we only turned in the "temporary form"...good for only one day...he needed the permanent one  :glare: ...times like that created slight panic in DS.)


He never used his locker...still doesn't in PS high school this year.  He finds it easier to just keep it all in his book bag.  He now has 2 book bags: one for "A" days and one for "B" days, which helps him stay organized, not carry such a heavy bag, and not forget books, work, etc.   


Almost all assignments are worked on and submitted using electronic mediums.  He's learned to check and recheck teacher webpages, school homework sites, etc. for assignments.  A couple times he missed assignments because teachers say they only post in one place but end up using multiple ways...now he just checks them all to be safe.  


He had to learn when was a good time to use the bathroom.  The first few days of school he would come running in the door and zip straight for the bathroom from holding it all day :laugh:


He hates group projects...precisely for the reasons others have mentioned...he ends up doing all the work because he doesn't wait until the last minute and cares about his grades and learning.  Unfortunately, the teachers plan a lot of group projects.


Despite all this, overall he has enjoyed having different teachers, meeting new friends, and now attends a STEM high school where he gets to specialize in his interests.  He says he liked homeschooling better but is glad he gets the opportunities this high school offers.


Good Luck on this new journey!  And it always helped me to know that nothing is set in stone...if it ended up not working for him, he could always come back to homeschooling.  :001_smile:

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However, the teachers usually assign groups so that one good student is paired with poor students.


That never happened at the schools I attended. We picked our own groups, usually by just grabbing the people who sat near us. Somehow, in every school and every class, this resulted in: one group of overachievers, one group of slackers, one group of wannabe comedians, one group of diligent students who weren't as bright as the overachievers, and one group of students who cared enough to do some work, but not enough to actually try, and which ended up with a pity grade and a lecture on working harder. (The slackers got the same effort lecture, but no pity grade. They just failed.) If the class was bigger, or the groups were smaller, there was also a group of kids with bad attitudes.

Edited by Tanaqui
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My dd is also heading to ps next year.


She's spending a half day shadowing there next week to get a feel for it.


They aren't allowed to carry book bags in the halls between classes, they have to stay in lockers.(not sure how that works with getting your gym stuff to your gym locker, maybe they can have a small gym bag? Gotta ask about that)


She'll need to learn how to use a locker dial lock

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Is your dd's friend going to the same school for 8th and high school?  My dds both started in 8th and 9th this year and the older was fine.  However, we found it was a little more difficult for dd in 8th socially because all the jr high friendship groups were mostly already formed from the previous year of jr high.  She had an ok year, but if I had to do it over again, I would have waited with her until 9th.  If your dd and her friend will be together, it will make for a smoother transition, though.  Perhaps you can see if they could get their schedules aligned somewhat?


7th/9th grades are a little easier because it is more common for kids to switch schools at the beginning of either jr high or high school, and thus, easier to make new friends. 


eta:  also, make sure to encourage your dd to get involved in the beginning of the year in some school activity, such as ASB or a yearbook group -- something not super demanding, but something that will make it easier to meet new people and participate in group activities.

Edited by amsunshine
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