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When to start public school?


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My kids are in 7th grade this year. I'm 99% sure that I will send them to public high school. I'd be ok homeschooling them again next year for 8th grade but I would also be fine sending them for 8th grade. I have one out of three that actually wants to go to 8th grade, one who does not, and one who is wishy washy. 

On one hand I think it could be good "practice" before entering high school. On the other hand, middle school is a tough age and it might be hard to go into 8th grade as a new kid.

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It’s so individual. 
I have a 9th grader who was homeschooled for grades 4-7. He requested to go back to school in 8th grade. Knowing what I do now, I would not have let him go. We are in a very highly-rated school district but the academics were subpar compared to what we were doing at home. There were minimal penalties for late assignments and retakes. Classroom environments were chaotic with little discipline. Most concerning of all, he completely lost his love of learning and began to see learning as a burden rather than a joy. While he had been self-motivated to learn inside and outside of his formal school subjects, he no longer has any desire to learn at all. We opted to send him to a smaller private high school with more traditional academics, a tight-knit community and more support. He is vehemently opposed to homeschooling again and likes the social scene at school, but he hates his classes. It’s a huge battle right now - he’s actually pretty smart, but he has no drive and is getting grades that are far below his potential.  
 

This is not something we ever anticipated as he seemed mature, grounded and self-assured prior to entering public middle school last year. I do regret that choice but am not sure how we could have known it wasn’t best for him.
 

I think the right choice for each kid will vary on so many different factors that it’s hard to make blanket recommendations. 

Edited by Gobblygook
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I haven't sent a kid to high school, so I'll just mess with your mind. Why do you want to send them? (I know you have reasons.) You've done an excellent job homeschooling so far and you could do high school. There are some pros to traditional school for high school (mainly social), and some cons (academics, less time to pursue niche interests, etc. etc.). If you're doubting if you could do it well, you could. So you could think about whether the things you're concerned about are solvable. Also think through where this is leading for your dc with DE (=dual enrollment), wanting specialized education or technical skills, apprenticeship opportunities, etc. Even social opportunities are available with some private schools (and public) bending over backward to lure people with partial enrollments.

So academically, without any regard to development, the effect on the dc, etc., it can be the logical time to enter in 8th, because that's when some of the more advanced tracks are ramping up. You want to look at what academics they'd be going into and when your schools do those to find a good jump point. And around here, there are schools (not my town, haha) that are so advanced they have kids doing calc and totally fried by their sophomore years! So clearly those kids were in an algebra1 sequence earlier, like 7th or 8th. So if you know what classes you'd like them placed in, then see when those are targeted for grades.

But like I said, if transitioning them is about a lack of confidence on your part, you should set that aside. You could definitely do it. :smile:

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Our 3 returned to ps within a year of each other. My oldest returned for 10th grade, the first year of high school. She was well prepared and went into most of the honors classes immediately. She opted not to do honors math, but within the first week asked to do honors due to the student attitudes and behaviors. She had an easy transition, especially because all the other students were making the transition from middle school to high.

Younger DD only took band the first year in 7th grade, but asked to do full time middle school the following year. Between hormones, middle school friends, and DH deploying for a year, that transition was pretty rocky. If there is a choice, I would not send a student into middle school for the first year in ps due to hormones and attitudes.

Ds went to ps for the first time in 5th grade. I could see struggles starting with continuing to homeschool and didn't want those to impact my relationship with him, especially since dh was deploying. That was such a fantastic year for him and directly affected his choice for his major at the university he's currently attending 10 years later.

Edited by wilrunner
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First -- why does it have to be ALL three, if only one is interested? Couldn't that one go, and the wishy-washy and not interested two stay at home?

Second -- if having to put students in public school, I'd say 9th, not 8th. Looking at your signature, I can't picture your children finding 8th grade at a brick and mortar to be very interesting academically: Your DS is advanced in math. (Would Geometry even be available to him in 8th grade?) You're using an interesting assortment of materials at home to cover a wider range of topics (like Logic and Civics) than what will probably be available at a middle school. You're getting to do a lot of fun and interesting things like art, music, and computer in your co-op (that will likely not be available at a middle school).

Honestly, I really don't see any advantage to your specific children (again, based on your signature) going in 8th grade. Rather, I'd do 8th grade at home and use the time to make sure all 3 are rock-solid with Writing, Math, and study skills, but especially, I'd use it as a last window of opportunity to explore bunny trails of interest to each student, do a ton of fun family outings and make memories, build a routine of a weekly family game night or special outings to carry forward into the high school years to help smooth when relationships have those strained moments.


And... JMO, and NOT what you are asking (LOL), but I'm with Peter Pan. You've got a great line up of things going so far, and your students are just reaching the age/stage where you get to reap the benefits of all the earlier hard work, and have all the fantastic discussions with them -- why put them in public high school? There are SOOOO many options now to successfully homeschool high school. SOOOO many things your kids can be involved in as extracurriculars and opportunities -- often times, being able to participate in public school sports teams and after school clubs. And if you homeschool high school you don't have to be locked into a public school's schedule, or watch your kids wilt under ridiculous homework loads, or deal with all the high school emotional drama, social media, or crisis issues.

If there's not an extenuating life circumstance necessitating public school, and if your DC are happy and thriving at home, and since there are tons of options for outsourcing and for supporting staying at home for high school... my choice would be to stay at home for high school. 😉 

Edited by Lori D.
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1 hour ago, Lori D. said:

First -- why does it have to be ALL three, if only one is interested? Couldn't that one go, and the wishy-washy and not interested two stay at home?

I'm a goober and missed that! Yes, yes!

1 hour ago, Lori D. said:

(Would Geometry even be available to him in 8th grade?)

Depends on the school. Some would, yes. Some of those kids are also so burnt out by 10th that they never want to see math again, lol.

Another thing to realize is a kid who is tracked that way is going to be expected to take a lot of AP. So the kids need to be very realistic about what high school at that school looks like for them. If they're used to very engaged, deep, self-driven learning, AP might be a big shock. Might be good, or it might be totally not what they thought.

So another thing to think through, if it's the most advanced dc asking to go, is what it would look like if he DIDN'T. He might not realize. I would expect that dc to be doing significant DE by his junior year, maybe earlier, maybe much earlier. Now in our state, ps enrollment gets you UNLIMITED FREE DE. It would be a reason to enroll for that dc. So in our area the most capable kids don't do AP anymore because they go to the branch school (with reciprocity all over the state) and do unlimited free DE. They can start in 7th I think. Homeschoolers have a smaller funding pot so they don't get unlimited. It's a reason some people will enroll.

If the ps doesn't offer free DE and only AP, then he might actually be held back for what he wants to do. It's something you can do the math on and think through.

Or, put another way, if you keep them home for 8th, it might only be two years before some of those kids are a mix of DE and independent study. So if there's something else going on like personal burnout, need to take a job, wanting to hit the gym more (I'm making this up), knowing that you're really only talking 2-3, not 5+, could make a difference. You'll have a lot more flex within two years probably. Their work style will become more independent and you'll be able to do some other things.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry for the really delayed response, but thank you for the replies, and the confidence boost. Yes, part of why I want to send them is because I always doubt that I'm doing a good enough job. But also, I think they'd all really enjoy going to high school. Parts of it anyway. I do also worry so much about other parts of it. 

And yes, I am open to doing different things with each kiddo. I'd keep one or two home if they wanted. It wouldn't be my top choice but I'd do it. 🙂

As always, you guys bring up great points and things I haven't considered! THANK YOU!

 

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