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7th grade public or continue homeschooling...


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Looking for pros/ cons of public vs. homeschool for my 6th grade daughter for next year.   I've homeschooled her since Kindergarten, and she is excelling academically.. but I'm tired.  And, I wonder if she might thrive in the public school because of her outgoing/ social personality.  We will be moving to the country soon, and she will no longer have her two homeschool best friends across the street.  My biggest concern about placing her in public school is that she's doing so well academically at home.  Also, as an introvert myself, her high energy drama is wearing me down.  Granted, I'm getting over being sick, but I'm tired.

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I was in a very similar situation this year with my 3rd grade daughter who also is very social and has very big emotions (I’m also tired and introverted!). I ended up putting her in a hybrid program through a local Montessori school that is 3 days a week at school and 2 days a week at home. We are very fortunate to have this program in our area because it’s just what we both needed. Might there be anything similar available to you?

However, I will not put her in public middle school if I can help it. She’s already very susceptible to social drama, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and low self-esteem. I myself had a difficult time in middle school and I don’t want to subject her to that if at all possible. Her current school has a very positive environment that helps counteract her negativity. 

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I homeschooled my daughter through 6th grade and put her in school last year for the first time in 7th.  I had various reasons but I was able to get her into a small school, so I think that helped with the transition.  It has not been perfect but overall we are happy with it.  I would look into the options that will be available in your area, the small school we put her in had a lottery in the spring, so we had to plan ahead.

 

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I put my daughter into 7th grade last year after homeschooling her from kdgtn through 6th. She has done really well and loves it. Her school is a junior high so it is only 7th and 8th grades. I've been very happy with her teachers and she has also made a few good friends. It's been a great experience for her!

Maybe you could look into the school she would go into and make your decision then? You never know, it might turn out really well. Good luck!

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Dd16 started school in 8th grade, and dd12 this year, in 7th grade. Both transitions went well, though it was easier and involved less drama for my extrovert than my introvert. The school was small, which helped. I'd definitely scope out the school in your new area--can you do a parent visit, or have your daughter do a shadow day? 

About the academic transition, my girls were extremely well prepared and thus little bored in certain subjects, but challenged in others--for example, at home I couldn't offer the experience of discussion in a diverse classroom on the civil rights movement. I also think learning and practicing social and emotional intelligence is essential, and that for many kids this age that's at the forefront developmentally. 

I know many people have a tough time in middle school and that kids are all over the place at that age, but I had a blast in junior high and stay in touch with several jr high friends. High school ended up being more socially complicated for me--which is just to say it's not a universal truth the middle school is hard for kids.

We're a couple months in with dd12, and it's been a good transition and positive next step for both of us. It is comforting to know you can always bring them home if that looks like the better option after trying it--and it would get you a break, at least!

Amy

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 My son went to brick-and-mortar school in eighth grade. In retrospect I wish he had gone into the brick-and-mortar school in seventh grade. However the specifics about your situation, and the local school, could make how things are for you very different. 

I think if you and your daughter are inclined, you could be a good time to try the public school. If it didn’t work out well, and returning to homeschooling seemed like a better idea, you could do that.

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I would not put a kid into public middle school or junior high school.  I have had parents of kids in such schools tell me all about how that is the worse age for bullying and generally horrible behavior.  I know that my only experiences with bullying (some of me which I blew off, but mostly of other kids) but so many others have told me how that age group is the hardest to teach and control.  I know teachers who specifically made sure their kids did not go to junior high or middle school--- we have some schools locally that are K-8 which has a different dynamic usually.

Socialization does not have to be in homeschool groups- scouting, sports, music, etc are often also organized in non-school related groups.  

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Thank you so much for your thoughts...  There is a local private, Christian school that's only about $3,000 per year, but I'm not crazy about the curriculum they use.  I know many of the moms involved, and her involvement would naturally give her opportunities to grow in social/ emotional intelligence.  I just don't want her to lose academic ground she's gained.  I suppose I could supplement...  This school only goes up through 8th, and then she'd go to the high school.  Our local high school offers an IB diploma.  Does anyone know much about it?  I've heard that some kids take AP exams at the appropriate time while earning their IB diploma, just to boost their credentials for college admissions.  Is that really necessary anymore?  I'm also already wondering if my daughter should self-study for AP exams, or go the IB diploma route through our local high school...  Any thoughts or experiences with this?

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When it comes to middle school, I really believe that if it's at all possible to homeschool, you should homeschool. End stop. I know there are things that make it hard for some people and it's not always a real option. But when it is a real option, it's worth it. Kids don't learn in middle schools. Even good middle schools are filled with bullying problems and false rigor in their assignments. They're just not the best option for kids. If you can wait for high school, I absolutely would.

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25 minutes ago, raindrops said:

Thank you so much for your thoughts...  There is a local private, Christian school that's only about $3,000 per year, but I'm not crazy about the curriculum they use.  I know many of the moms involved, and her involvement would naturally give her opportunities to grow in social/ emotional intelligence.  I just don't want her to lose academic ground she's gained.  I suppose I could supplement...  This school only goes up through 8th, and then she'd go to the high school.  Our local high school offers an IB diploma.  Does anyone know much about it?  I've heard that some kids take AP exams at the appropriate time while earning their IB diploma, just to boost their credentials for college admissions.  Is that really necessary anymore?  I'm also already wondering if my daughter should self-study for AP exams, or go the IB diploma route through our local high school...  Any thoughts or experiences with this?

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I'd start with reading through some of the pinned threads on the High School board here, and then post those types of questions there. Lots of people with experience who will chime in on threads like those. 

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FWIW, my youngest (extrovert) daughter started public school in 5th grade and has had an entirely positive experience. She's in 9th now and at the high school. She has done fine academically as far as grades, though I do know I could do better for her as far as the overall quality of education at home (hard to beat a customized ed program.) So there are compromises to be made, but it doesn't mean it's entirely a bad idea.

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I think that moving to a rural area would be a good time to start school.  It will be hard to connect with other kids her age if there aren’t enough people for homeschooling groups.  And you indicate she’s highly social so moving and not being able to meet people could be really rough on her.  

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1 hour ago, raindrops said:

Thank you so much for your thoughts...  There is a local private, Christian school that's only about $3,000 per year, but I'm not crazy about the curriculum they use.  I know many of the moms involved, and her involvement would naturally give her opportunities to grow in social/ emotional intelligence.  I just don't want her to lose academic ground she's gained.  I suppose I could supplement...  This school only goes up through 8th, and then she'd go to the high school.  Our local high school offers an IB diploma.  Does anyone know much about it?  I've heard that some kids take AP exams at the appropriate time while earning their IB diploma, just to boost their credentials for college admissions.  Is that really necessary anymore?  I'm also already wondering if my daughter should self-study for AP exams, or go the IB diploma route through our local high school...  Any thoughts or experiences with this?

 

From what I know of IB programs they tend to be fairly rigorous and usually put the kids in them in touch with other academic minded kids. The ones I know of require substantial foreign language. Partial IB programs may also be possible. Some junior high programs may offer pre IB program classes. 

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I think it's not helpful to paint all middle schools as poor choices. There are so many variables.

We transitioned from homeschooling to private Christian school when my three youngest kids were in fourth and fifth grades. My oldest homeschooled through eighth grade and started at  private Christian school for high school.

After one year, DD13 switched from the private Christian school to a private dsyslexia school in fifth grade. We plan for her to switch to the public school in eighth grade. My two sons switched from their private school to public this year, in seventh and eighth grades, and it has gone really, really well.

So we have done a lot of switching in and out of several schools during these middle school years. And it's been fine!! If you think it might be a good thing for your family, it's okay to consider it as an option. Look at the particular school. Ask if your daughter can shadow there for a day. Take a tour. Talk to other parents. Investigate fully. And whatever you decide, you will know that you made the best decision that you could. And it's okay to factor in your needs -- I can related to being a tired introvert with loud and energetic kids, and how that made me less effective than I wanted to be as my children's teacher.

 

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15 hours ago, Farrar said:

When it comes to middle school, I really believe that if it's at all possible to homeschool, you should homeschool. End stop. I know there are things that make it hard for some people and it's not always a real option. But when it is a real option, it's worth it. Kids don't learn in middle schools. Even good middle schools are filled with bullying problems and false rigor in their assignments. They're just not the best option for kids. If you can wait for high school, I absolutely would.

 

While I think this is often the case and my own middle school hell is as close as I get to an ideologically driven reason to homeschool, in a very rural area school may be the only viable way to connect with peers.  They also may be smaller schools, which can alleviate some of the middle school issues if the staff is strong.  

In general I agree but the partculars of the school and setting should be considered too.  It could be very challenging for a highly social kid to move in 7th grade and be isolated becuase she’s homeschooled in a rural area.  

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I think that it would give her some social contact would be a good reason to give it a try next year. I also would not prejudge that all middle school is awful. At our local country public school rather than being a clique that could not be entered y outsiders the kids were eager for new contacts. (My son had 10 kids in his grade. And the largest grade group had 40. Most high teens or 20ish).  

You don’t need to decide high school yet, but I would tell school you are thinking toward IB so that if there are classes she could take as preparation she’ll have them. I know someone who could only do partial IB because she hadn’t taken foreign language or advanced enough math in middle school. 

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21 hours ago, raindrops said:

Thank you so much for your thoughts...  There is a local private, Christian school that's only about $3,000 per year, but I'm not crazy about the curriculum they use.  I know many of the moms involved, and her involvement would naturally give her opportunities to grow in social/ emotional intelligence.  I just don't want her to lose academic ground she's gained.  I suppose I could supplement...  This school only goes up through 8th, and then she'd go to the high school.  Our local high school offers an IB diploma.  Does anyone know much about it?  I've heard that some kids take AP exams at the appropriate time while earning their IB diploma, just to boost their credentials for college admissions.  Is that really necessary anymore?  I'm also already wondering if my daughter should self-study for AP exams, or go the IB diploma route through our local high school...  Any thoughts or experiences with this?

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I wouldn't count on supplementing. I know some do, it's not impossible, but she'll be in school all day and this is the age when my kids social lives ramped up and I was driving them all over creation.

Having said that, school may still be the best option for an extrovert in a rural area (possibly an introvert in a rural area as well, lol). I would strongly consider the public school, but I am biased bc so many of the Catholic/Christian schools in my non-rural area are hard to break into socially in later grades bc everyone has been there since preschool. Yes, that may well hold true to an extent for the public school also, but I have just found that the Christian schools around here have much more of a particular culture and dynamic. Again, that's a bias I have. 

I would do IB or AP, not both. Then again, I have a bias against universities that won't admit you with an amazing IB diploma just because you dont' have APs also. I have a lot of biases.

You have to have the interest to do well in and enjoy IB, imo, so read up on it for sure. If you love the global focus and other important factors, it can be amazing. On the other hand, AP gives you more ability to personalize your focus and what tests you take. I do not think one is better than the other for admissions (in general). 

With a move involved, I would likely let dd decide if she wants to try school for junior high. If she absolutely doesn't, then you sit and negotiate terms for homeschooling, because mama's sanity has to count for something. 

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The first time my kids ever attended a school was college, so weigh my words accordingly, but I remember reading here the post of a mama who did homeschool all the way through, but said if she could only homeschool for one season, it would middle school. 

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My dd started ps in grade 6, going to jr high for 7, and she's now in grade 8.  She was very keen to go, mainly for social reasons.  It's an immersion program which was what made us think it might be a reasonable compromise academically.  From there she can move to a French immersion high school, or an IB program.

I've had pretty mixed feelings, I'm really not crazy about the social scene, particularly how attached it is to social media - I don't see the same with the homeschooled kids here.  And some of the academics are worse than I had suspected, particularly social studies and English.  What's surprised me most I think is the extent to which the school system, as an institution, jumps on every social fad and promotes it to the kids.  Dogmatically too, not with any sort of selective quality.

I think what I've been most happy with is the chance for her to connect with leadership opportunities and activity in a community, one that's really her community more than one she belongs to with her parents.

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22 hours ago, raindrops said:

Thank you so much for your thoughts...  There is a local private, Christian school that's only about $3,000 per year, but I'm not crazy about the curriculum they use.  I know many of the moms involved, and her involvement would naturally give her opportunities to grow in social/ emotional intelligence.  I just don't want her to lose academic ground she's gained.  I suppose I could supplement...  This school only goes up through 8th, and then she'd go to the high school.  Our local high school offers an IB diploma.  Does anyone know much about it?  I've heard that some kids take AP exams at the appropriate time while earning their IB diploma, just to boost their credentials for college admissions.  Is that really necessary anymore?  I'm also already wondering if my daughter should self-study for AP exams, or go the IB diploma route through our local high school...  Any thoughts or experiences with this?

We stuck it out for dd's homeschool, even though she was an only (or pseudo only, brother 10 years apart) and living rurally, sigh. We had a lot of the same reason you do, that there were things I just knew were going to go better being at home. She excelled academically, got to do lots of special things that made her really unique, and she blossomed into an amazingly confident, capable woman. The things I knew we weren't going to do as well, we didn't do as well. There's just really no denying it or going oh it's equivalent or home is better or whatever. Now we've made up for it at this point, going away to college, her getting really active there, etc. 

I think that for some kids they'll be able to continue their self-education in the evenings and school won't get in the way of that. And for some kids the social interaction is more valuable en than what you're giving up with academics. If you're not happy with full-time enrollment, can you consider partial enrollment? Most christian schools are doing that now. So maybe do your work in the morning, she goes 1-3 and then stays for sports, that kind of thing. Think about how she could intersect without giving up the things that you would do REALLY WELL.

I also think it's very real just to say you're done, you're tired, you're not going to do it well because you're done, whatever. That's really ok too. But for us, the parts I knew we'd do well, we actually did really well. If you have a vision for some things you're wanting to do with her, it might be worth the effort to find some mix there that lets it work. DE (dual enrollment) is your other path, but really online classes don't get you social. I never wanted to put my dd on a cc campus, yuck. Ours is a pretty mature place, a lot going on, NOT appropriate, oh my. Someone else's might be, but not ours. Wolves and sheep and all that. There can be pornography, older adults, all kinds of stuff. 

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Thank you... I've really resonated with, and have been comforted by your posts.  I have mixed feelings, but I think we might have to stick it out... at least for 7th grade.  I always take it one year at a time.  ?  Though we'll be living rurally, we'll be in the same community, and she'll still be in swimming, dance, Lego League, youth group, church...  She just won't have her best friends across the street anymore.   She's so much more independent this year, following her plan, and getting her work done, that it makes me believe she'll be able to continue self study.  She used to always say she wanted to go to school, but now she tells me she wants to stay home schooled.  She has more time to read for fun, and she loves learning how to code on her own on khanacademy.  I don't know if she'd have time to pursue other interests if she were in school.   She loves drama, too, and within a couple years, a local Christian theatre group is moving to our area.  I don't have it all figured out....not by any means-- especially how to better meet my own needs.

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1 hour ago, raindrops said:

Thank you... I've really resonated with, and have been comforted by your posts.  I have mixed feelings, but I think we might have to stick it out... at least for 7th grade.  I always take it one year at a time.  ?  Though we'll be living rurally, we'll be in the same community, and she'll still be in swimming, dance, Lego League, youth group, church...  She just won't have her best friends across the street anymore.   She's so much more independent this year, following her plan, and getting her work done, that it makes me believe she'll be able to continue self study.  She used to always say she wanted to go to school, but now she tells me she wants to stay home schooled.  She has more time to read for fun, and she loves learning how to code on her own on khanacademy.  I don't know if she'd have time to pursue other interests if she were in school.   She loves drama, too, and within a couple years, a local Christian theatre group is moving to our area.  I don't have it all figured out....not by any means-- especially how to better meet my own needs.

 

In this case, I’d stay homeschooling as well.  It’s not a big move like moving out of state.  

Also, provided the student is engaged in their schooling and hasn’t done something to merit questioning their ability to make decisions, at a certain point I feel the choice is as much the student’s as the parent’s.  For me that point is about 6th-9th grade depending on the kid.  If she wants to homeschool that says a lot about what should happen.  

 

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10 hours ago, raindrops said:

Thank you... I've really resonated with, and have been comforted by your posts.  I have mixed feelings, but I think we might have to stick it out... at least for 7th grade.  I always take it one year at a time.  ?  Though we'll be living rurally, we'll be in the same community, and she'll still be in swimming, dance, Lego League, youth group, church...  She just won't have her best friends across the street anymore.   She's so much more independent this year, following her plan, and getting her work done, that it makes me believe she'll be able to continue self study.  She used to always say she wanted to go to school, but now she tells me she wants to stay home schooled.  She has more time to read for fun, and she loves learning how to code on her own on khanacademy.  I don't know if she'd have time to pursue other interests if she were in school.   She loves drama, too, and within a couple years, a local Christian theatre group is moving to our area.  I don't have it all figured out....not by any means-- especially how to better meet my own needs.

It sounds like you've made up her mind and it looks like your making the best choice for your family. I hope you are able to get some rest!

I put my 2 oldest in this year, ds into 8th and dd1 into 6th. It was the absolute right decision for ds and I'm very glad he has a chance to get used to school before high school. I can see now after the fact that he was a bit depressed being the only boy at home with so few teenaged hs'ers around (too many of them anti-social). My dd1, I wish I had waited at least another year as I had originally planned. The decision was borne out of a whole lot of stress and wanting to let her have a say. For the younger ones, the youngest I'll consider it is 7th or 8th.

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We have needed to put some of our kids into school at that age, and we've moved when others were that age.  Looking back, I'm very sorry that we put them into school then. Junior high has to be one of the toughest transitions a kid can have, and I would try to avoid it if I could find another solution.

 

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If she will have plenty of social time with her old friends that makes continuing homeschooling sound more doable. I thought you would be in a whole new area.  If you are lucky, maybe some new friends will emerge in your new area. 

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