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Srtepe

8th or 9th grade best time to start public school?

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My 7th grader would like to go to public high school, which I’m fine with. My husband thinks she should therefore go to public school for 8th grade so that she can get the hang of “school things” (lockers, teachers, tests, social stuff, etc.) before the grades matter in high school. I’m worried that’s a tough time to start, socially. Opinions from people who have been there done that? Thanks so much! 

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That is exactly what we did with my DD this year. 8 weeks into the school year and I think we made the right choice. I did call during the summer and talk to the school counselor about putting her in the "scholars" classes and advanced band. DD has needed to adjust to the amount of homework given, getting up early every day, and learn to self-advocate with teachers. Being in band and the scholars classes has helped her make friends, and so far there hasn't been any of the social drama I was worried about. 

Edited by amiesmom
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I think it depends on the school and the kid. 

My son told me he wanted to go part way through 7th so he started in 8th. That was a great choice for him because (1) he got acclimated to the school before the grades counted and the workload increases, (2) he really wanted to go and (3) with our particular school district it is harder to enter in high school and if he had entered in High School he would not have been able to do the honor's classes that he wanted and was able to do in 8th and continue in 9th. 

Many say the social scene can be harder in Jr. High they say, ds had no issues with friends at all, he had friends from Scouts and rolled into their friend group. He did get jumped at the beginning of school by a random kid, ds did not end up with any real injuries but it shook him up a bit, there were charges filed and there were no issues after that with that kid or any other. 

I've considered it for dd1, as of now she wants to stay home and I hope that continues. Part of me hopes that if she wants to go she knows by 8th grade, the other part would rather have her another year at home. IDK a friend just put her kid in at 9th and they were trying to put him in remedial math, he did well on testing and had already completed the material, the high school here is just not good to those that want to enter from homeschool, I'm not sure if they are jerks or if they just happen to see lots of negligent hs'ers put there kids in highschool and think that everyone is crappy.

I'd talk to others in your area- people with kids in public school and ones you know that have entered from homeschool, I'd also talk to your daughter about what her preference would be.

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I haven't btdt, but our district counts the first year of foreign language taken in 8th, and also the required health class. Not that you can't take them later, but nice to have them out of the way. There are also summer class options that some students take the summer prior to 9th - mostly gym class. Like pp, it is hard (very hard) to get on the honors track if they don't already know your student before 9th. 

I advised my older two that although they could always change their minds, 8th was the easiest time to switch.

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1 hour ago, SusanC said:

I haven't btdt, but our district counts the first year of foreign language taken in 8th, and also the required health class. Not that you can't take them later, but nice to have them out of the way. There are also summer class options that some students take the summer prior to 9th - mostly gym class. Like pp, it is hard (very hard) to get on the honors track if they don't already know your student before 9th. 

I advised my older two that although they could always change their minds, 8th was the easiest time to switch.

My twins both went to school for the first time starting in 9th grade. While it's true that some 8th grade subjects were counted for placement into 9th grade, they were both able to take placement tests. They both tested into Spanish 3 Honors based on the work they had done at home; one tested out of algebra and one tested into the second half of algebra which in her case was probably a good thing.  

My youngest did try school in 8th. She actually liked the 8th grade, but we actually had some problems getting her into the right math track and she had to take a second placement test before she went to high school. And after all that, she had a harder time managing high school then either of her sisters who had never been been to school before and ended up coming home after the first semester and did CC/DE instead. 

I think it depends very much on the particular kid, the particular school, and how all that works together for a particular situation.

Edited by Matryoshka
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I would do 8th. I know some people have issues with middle school but placement was so much easier for my 8th grader than my 5th grader and certainly a high schooler. The classes (including DO, WH, and WTMA) she was enrolled in were honored for placement purposes and she was able to earn credit (and meet state testing requirements) for Algebra 1 and Spanish 1.

Edited by Sneezyone
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My older son started in 8th grade and it was a mixed bag. He wanted to go, but the school was less than impressive so he’s now in 9th grade at a private school. I’m planning to send my second son to the same private school in 9th grade, bypassing public middle school in 8th because he has no interest in it. I am increasing outsourced classes for him, as a way to help him adjust to having outside teachers and homework. 

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DD17 switched from homeschooling to private school for 9th grade.
DS15 switched from homeschooling to private school for 5th. Then public school in 8th. Now in 9th in public school.
DS14 switched from homeschooling to private school for 4th. Then public school in 7th and now in 8th.
DD14 switched from homeschooling to private school for 4th. Then a dyslexia school for 5th-7th. Now public school for 8th.

I recommend starting in 8th grade, because if there are any issues with the transition, you can work through them before grades show up on a permanent transcript. It also allowed my kids to get a foothold in sports and activities and try some new things before varsity sports come into play. It allows some social groups to build before high school (social can be positive or negative, and we've experienced both), which can make the first possibly intimidating weeks in high school a little easier. Also, sign ups for high school classes happens in the spring, and it gives the student a chance at their first-choice electives and classes, instead of being placed in whichever things have room left over.

With starting in 8th, the student will have two big transitions, since the building and teachers and structure will all be different again in 9th grade. DD14's dyslexia school recommended that we wait to switch her until 9th, and that was one of their reasons. But we didn't feel that DD personally would have troubles with that, and that the above benefits outweighed that factor.

For DS15, big transitions are a larger issue, so I thought we would wait until 9th to switch schools for him, but we had to do it in 8th (his private school shut down their middle school division after his 7th grade year). Even though I thought 9th would have been a better year for him to make a change, I'm am 100% glad that we did it in 8th instead.

DD17 had no issues starting brick and mortar school in 9th grade, but we chose a small private school for her specifically because we thought the transition to our huge local public school would be difficult for her logistically. (She was a ballet dancer who had to be in dance class every afternoon and would have had limited time to connect with other students outside of class time. Knowing that personal connections were important to her, we selected a school that would give her a community).

You can call the school and ask to tour both the middle school and high school. We found that seeing things in person really helped us make decisions.

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We did a soft start in 9th and actual start in 10th.  In 9th, and toward the end of 8th, my kid did an online school.  Different teachers, tests, learning to study and follow a syllabus...because his online school was accredited all his work transferred to the brick and mortar school in 10th.  I think it was a good experience for him because we stressed learning how to independently study before he even stepped foot in a high school classroom.

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We weren't sure if my twins (current 9th graders) were going to public high school, but I chose not to do public school in 8th grade.  Mine applied and were accepted into a specialty program for 9th grade, they did a full shadow day, and came home saying I would be harder, but they wanted to homeschool -- LOL.  They were tired from the early start, but did fine in the classes and with the kids.  It was a big school though (2500+ students) and a lot of messing around (on phones and Nintendo Switch during class) and too much busy work.  I think if they had decided to go, both would have been fine with the transition in 9th.  For us here, many of the kids that are in middle school together get split up depending on school boundaries and the multitude of specialty programs offered at the high schools around here.  That made a transition in 9th grade a better option because many of the 9th graders were starting at new schools with new people.

 

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I think there are pros and cons to either way- as people have shared.  My kids ended up in public school because I had some health issues going on.

My older one home schooled through 8th and entered public school in 9th- he transitioned well.  It helped that he knew several people and joined the cross country team which starts before school did.  In 8th grade he took a couple of online classes so he could get use to another teacher and different expectations.

My younger one did 7th and 8th at a middle school and socially it was hard.  But we learned she is also easily influenced.  She went to high school for a couple days found it overwhelming and so she goes there part-time and home schools part-time too.  This is working well- a balance we have enjoyed so far.

It might just depend on your student- I think the more independent they are and if you can try to outsource some classes for 8th grade she might be fine to enter 9th grade.  Or you maybe she can try first semester 8th grade and if it does not go well pull her?  Also maybe do some research in your community to see which classes, if any, could count towards high school, or can test out of for credit etc. as people have pointed out- I think that is by area and if that is important to you.

I think there people have posted too about what 8th graders should know before entering high school- such as, name/date/class period on assignments, etc.

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I've been encouraging my kids to "decide" what they want to do by 8th grade, because I would really love for 8th-12th to be in the same situation.  My state also begins counting required classes in 8th grade (state history, for example, ONLY being offered in 8th).  And like others have said, it gives a year to adjust before grades start to matter.

I feel similar to 5th grade, in that I'd hesitate for a child to start public for the first time in 6th (in my area this is the first year of middle school and a huge jump in responsibility).  

So our big switch years tend to be 5 and 8.  So far I've only had one choose to transition to public.

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Thanks everyone! A lot of good information to think on and share with my family.  It seems like 8th is probably the way to go, but will take the advice of talking to our school first and have her shadow a day before she decides. 

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On 10/1/2019 at 4:58 PM, threebyme said:

 

My older one home schooled through 8th and entered public school in 9th- he transitioned well.  It helped that he knew several people and joined the cross country team which starts before school did.  In 8th grade he took a couple of online classes so he could get use to another teacher and different 

This is almost exactly what happened here minus the knowing kids beforehand.  My son is doing very well in public school 9th grade.   I think it helped that the school is smaller and very accommodating.  

I also think it depends on the kid.  My son would have gained nothing from public school 8th grade.  My daughter on the other hand, would absolutely need the 8th grade year.  

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I also think it depends and I especially agree about getting a sense of whether it matters in your specific district. In the vast majority, it won't for placement - you'll be able to place into things. It can be a hard time, or a perfect time. Depends. But a few things I didn't hear.

I'd let her take the lead on deciding.

One way to conceive of 8th grade is her last chance to do the cool things that homeschooling can allow. If you feel like you're all over it, you did that stuff, she wants to go to school, then that's one thing. But if you have projects, trips, fun stuff you'd like to do, this is your last shot.

Whether you're at home or at school, there's likely very, very little learning that has to happen this year. If she goes to school, she'll get math and foreign language that she might be able to use for placement. And the foreign language might be new. She'll mostly just learn "school" skills and be focused on that. The learning will likely be mostly old news to her unless she's behind. And it'll probably be pretty rote. For better or worse, she'll likely have ephanies like, "you don't even have to take notes/do the homework/pay attention to ace the test!" If you're at home, getting her through algebra I if she's advanced enough, and making sure she's ready for the volume of writing could be a secondary goal. But mostly... it's an open time. So pick the experience you want, not based so much on learning, but on the social decision of which will be better for easing her in and what will make her happier.

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