Open Communication Is Key To This Family Transition

Homeschooling your children can be a wonderful experience and the desire for parents to teach their children at home has increased significantly in recent years.

Some parents find it comes so naturally and is such a positive experience for the family that they homeschool for the entirety of their child’s education.

But for others, there are circumstances that create the need to transition their child back into a public-school setting.

And this transition can be hard for both parent and child, bringing feelings of guilt and worry about the child’s well-being.

Psychology Today reported in a recent article:

No matter what the circumstances, sending a child back to a public or private school after homeschooling can produce pangs of guilt. I’ve heard parents express these feelings on numerous occasions. If the homeschooling was an overwhelming struggle, parents often assume that they have failed. If a homeschooling Mom or Dad wants to pursue a career full time, they can feel selfish.

Parenthood is fraught with regrets. For me, the important thing to keep in mind is that the vast majority of parents are constantly trying to make the best decisions for their children based on the circumstances at hand. Every child has different needs, every schooling option has different strengths and weaknesses, and there is no single, right solution for everyone.

There can be many reasons for integrating a child back into a public-school setting.

But for many homeschool families, public school is the monster under the bed which the family had tried to avoid for any number of reasons.

Concerns about the breakdown of traditional values in public school, bullying, learning delays or disabilities, or religious beliefs are all good reasons to educate your child at home.

But what if they have to return to public school?

Parents may have no option but to return to work full-time.

Or families who are homeschooling multiple children may find they cannot adequately focus on each child’s education, especially if there are learning difficulties or other special needs in one or more of the children.

The decision to integrate into public school can be fraught with feelings of fear, concern, and guilt.

But there are ways to help your child — and yourself — make a smooth transition.

Education writer Lisa Ellis gives some tips on how to handle this difficult choice and its impact on your family:

*You can also remind your student of the importance of being flexible and that it’s okay to take different approaches to get to the same goal. Talking about such changes in advance can help your child embrace the differences and challenge herself to find new ways to adjust.

However, the strengths she gained at home to master new material and run with it can actually be a real asset in the larger setting.

*Some educators point out that your child may not need as much hand-holding as some of her peers and may be better able to absorb new concepts and apply them without needing as much help from the teacher. You can encourage your child to continue to apply the skills she learned at home and continue to grow as a student in the new environment

*You can help build your child’s confidence by reminding her to embrace her differences. Many kids will be curious about her past experiences; talking about homeschooling can actually be a good icebreaker to help her make new friends and be accepted.

*Communicate with the new teacher about your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses in this area. Ask for some extra help for your child to successfully learn the new guidelines.

*The Internet abounds with examples of former homeschooled kids who are now thriving academically. The transition may not be perfect overnight — but just as learning a new subject or concept can take time, so can adjusting to a new educational environment. The good news is that with your support and by keeping open the lines of communication, before long your homeschooled student should feel right at home.

The key to a peaceful and beneficial transition from homeschool to public school is about communication — being open and patient with your child, their new teachers — and above all, yourself — knowing that you are making the best decision available to meet your family’s unique needs.