View Full Version : One of my kids wants to try public school!

Michelle Conaway
11-04-2011, 09:42 AM
Hi Everyone,

I have been homeschooling for four years. My youngest son, nine years old, has expressed a desire to try public school. He has friends who are in public school but he has never been in school. Although I do my best to get him with other kids who homeschool, he tells me he wants the experience of being in class with other kids every day.

My ten year old son went to public school for two years and is very happy with our homeschooling experience. He is very self motivated and seeks opportunities to learn a lot of times on his own. He is more of a "loner" and enjoys being and doing things by himself a lot.

Of course my nine year old is extremely social. I have tried everything to give him opportunities to be with other kids but it doesn't seem to be enough for him.

My question is are any of you homeschooling some of your kids while others go to public school? I live in Texas and the homeschooling laws are very relaxed. We don't have to submit any type of paperwork or testing. Can I let him try public school and then pull him out again if he doesn't like it?

If anyone has any experience with this I would so much appreciate hearing your viewpoint. I am not real excited about the thought of him going to school but I also respect his viewpoint and want to respect and honor his desire to try it.

Thanks in advance for your input.

11-04-2011, 02:52 PM
I'm sure others will tell you that it's great that you respect your son's wishes and to go for it. I try to honor my 9yo boy's desires, but I personally view public schooling as bad for a kid's health as letting him play video games all day, or eat chocolate all day, or handle poisonous snakes. But I'm pretty radical in my views on public education. So I guess it boils down to your beliefs.

But I'll admit - If his feelings were super strong about it, and I felt that not letting him go could damage our relationship, I suppose I'd have to reconsider my stance.

Michelle Conaway
11-04-2011, 04:06 PM
Thanks Gabriela,

I probably have some of the same views about public school as you do. I do believe though that there is not a one size fits all learning for every child and he could possibly be one of the kids that thrives in school. I sure wasn't one of them and my daughter who is 24 wasn't one either. My 10 year old went to school for two years and wouldn't go back if you paid him.

But my youngest son is very social and very structure oriented. While I have tried to meet his needs in this area, it just doesn't seem to be enough for him. So I guess I will let him try it, keep my close relationship with him and be ultra aware of his well being while he is trying it out. An open communication with him will be key in seeing if this is a good environment for him.

I would never choose to send my kids to public school but I also feel as though I need to trust my kids to know what is best for them. I will let him go and leave the door open for him should he choose to come back to homeschooling. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for me because it will be difficult, on many levels, for me to send him.

11-04-2011, 04:18 PM
I don't think a kid can know that something is better if he has no real first hand knowledge of it.
My kids have occasionally asked about going to school. When I dig deeper to find out what they are really after, it is usually not something that is provided by school anyway (like Joseph wanted to go to school to have access to a lab when he was in 2nd grade). When they expressed an interest in wanting more "classes", I have found classes to register them in that interested them.
If the issue was "social", there is no way that I am going to send my kids to school for that purpose after I spent 12 years being told that "school is not for socializing" ;).
I will take under advisement any concerns that the kids have about going to school, but they are not going to be the decider. Really, that goes for any decision that needs to be made that has to do with them.
Having one in school and the rest out is actually like my worst nightmare. LOL That would mean that not only did I have to get up and get one to school and make sure we were available to get him home, I would also have to homeschool the others and then do homework AFTER school.

11-04-2011, 05:05 PM
I agree with Teri...School is NOT for socialization...the one thing he wants will be the one thing that gets him in the most trouble.

It does sound like your mind is made up on this though. I know you want to follow his wishes but I also think maybe you should ask him what he thinks goes on in school. My 6 year old son said that he wanted to go to school and it turns out that he thought that school was an endless party because he watched a slideshow of his cousin's Last Day of Kindergarten party. I just would hate the idea of seeing my spunky little boy tied down for a desk for 11 hours (OK-maybe it isn't really 11 hours...)

And I'm sorry and hope that this doesn't sound rude-but since I don't really know you and your situation I don't really know what to say as far as advice goes. Personally, I respect my children and their desires...but sometimes those desires are just not something that I can accomodate. As the adult in the situation it is my job to draw the line.

I do wish you all the best though. I think it would be incredibly hard to try to have one at school and another at home....losing that freedom to pick up and go...or just lay in bed on cold days? No thanks.

11-04-2011, 05:50 PM
I have had kids in school and homeschooling at the same time and it was fine. It will make scheduling a PIA, but if it works for your family go for it. Every family has to find their own dance and the educational dance can easily include school.

Stella M
11-04-2011, 05:52 PM
This is my situation. My middle daughter, homeschooled for the last six years, is going to high school ( Grade 7 ) this year.

For me, it came down to a choice between insisting on my ideal ( home education ) or respecting my daughter's needs and desires. I decided respecting my daughter's needs was more important, and more likely to keep a good relationship between us. In the end, I care more about our relationship than I do about where she is schooled.

My dd has spent a fair bit of time at the school she'll be attending - open days, enrichment days, performance days, orientation days, and she is in a dance ensemble run by the school, so we've both had time to dip a toe into the reality of what school is and can be.

Social issues can be a real problem for some kids. Most kids are in school. That is where the friend pool is for some kids. No point in judging. Just see how serious he is about going to school. Will it meet a genuine need for him ? Find a school you can be somewhat happy with.

Even if he goes it isn't a forever thing. A child who knows they have a choice is not going to end up damaged by their experience at school. Imo.

Good luck, it's really hard emotionally. At least it was for me. Just put your relationship with your son in front of anything else, even your desire to or belief in, homeschooling.

Eta: before it became a serious issue in our home,. I would have said something similar to Teri or Gabriela. I don't think, unless you are faced with a child for whom home ed is not working - even'just' for social reasons - people really get the issue. The issue is maintaining a good relationship with your child. Imo that means listening to them and respecting their choices. I didn't take my kids out of a school system that relies on compulsion just to have a family situation that compells my children to do what I am most comfortable with.

It will be OK. Do what you think is best for both of you.

11-04-2011, 07:10 PM
My daughter is at school, and my boys are home. For her it is the best decision, and even though I do not like the decision, I respect it. She was homeschooled for her early years, she then went to public school for fourth grade. It was just something she wanted to try. She came home at the end of fourth, and is now back at school for seventh grade. She was perfectly happy at home, but she got into a high school of the arts for voice, and it was an opportunity she did not want to pass up.

I have very strong feelings about schools, and I never thought a kid of mine would go to one. But she is her own person, and it was important to her. I had to respect that.

11-04-2011, 08:53 PM
See, I didn't take "expressed a desire to go to school" as meaning that homeschooling is not working. I totally get that homeschooling does not work for some kids or some parents. But, this sounded like a case of "hmm....I wonder what THEY do all day and if it is better than what I have?"
If homeschooling isn't working, then absolutely, put the child in school. I couldn't do it just because a child expressed an interest in it, personally.

Oh and also being in Texas, experiencing school is an all or nothing thing here. We cannot access any extracurriculars or take any classes at a public school at all. So there is no real way to know what goes on there without being a student.

Stella M
11-04-2011, 09:32 PM
I read the OP differently. To me she was saying that she had been unable to meet her 'extremely social' son's need to be with peers, despite having tried everything to do so. That's just one of the ways homeschooling can cease to work for a particular child.

It's a shame the OP can't have her son involved part time, but if school ends up not being what her son wants, the good thing is she can always bring him home again!

11-04-2011, 10:01 PM
Qualifier: Iím coming from the other end of the experience, where school has traditionally been the norm, not home.

I have my daughter at home now, while my son remains at school.

The biggest challenge, with her at home and him not, was that initially, when my DD came home DS was kind of jealous and wanted to stay home too. Endless days off!! My response was, if you want to come home, Iím happy to support you, and we will formalise it, but if youíre enrolled in school, youíre at school. He just didnít want to take that step. He was afraid he might be missing out on something. The other thing that persuaded him it wasnít such a bad deal, was seeing how much his sister actually did at home. (You wonít have that problem though, he knows whatís happening at home.) He still moans about it sometimes. But he has my support to come home if he wants to, so he knows school is not being forced on him. Itís a choice.

Heís pretty happy at his high school. He doesnít love all of it. I think heíd probably do better academically if he was at home, but school is giving him something. Girls? Access to junk food? A different environment to home? DD is way more social than DS is, but he is getting something from his time there. So... my more social kid is at home and my ďlonerĒ is at school and they are both pretty happy with that. (Touch wood.)

My view is that it doesnít have to be an either/or proposition. It can be more fluid than that. Letting him experience school may be what he needs. He can always come home again.

Others with more or different experiences may disagree, of course.

Also, very much concur with Stella M.ís comments regarding the quality of your relationship with your child being paramount. The decision is, of course, yours. But genuinely listening to and responding to (not necessarily accommodating) what they are expressing is a good thing.

Having to get someone (13 yo boy) to school on time and all the scheduling, homework, functions etc. is a pain. Maybe it's just 13 yo boys?!? But at the moment it feels as if everyone is where they need to be and it is working.

Good luck!

Michelle Conaway
11-04-2011, 10:04 PM
Wow! Thank you all for your input and encouragement.

Yes, it will be inconvenient to get one to school and have one at home. Yes, it will also be inconvenient to have to arrange our schedule around his school schedule. I have given this so much thought though and am pretty sure that it's not the end of the world if he goes to school, hates it and wants to come back home. I told him he would need to commit to at least 4 months. It will also not be the end of the world if he thrives there and enjoys all that school has to offer.

For me, it is up to him. Yes, I am the adult. Yes, I do have final say. But just because he is 9 year old does not mean that he doesn't know what he would like to try. I would never consider not listening to his input.

Thank you all so much for the comments and different perspectives. I know that all will be well. Thanks especially to those of you that are doing both homeschooling and public school. It is so nice to hear from those that are experience somewhat the same situation as I.

Nothing is finalized by him going to try school. I feel honored that he felt he could come to me and be honest about desire to try school. He said I was still the best teacher ever! He just felt that he would be happier if he was with other kids, learning the same things at the same time. I value his honesty, our open communication and his feeling of safety at telling me the truth about how he feels. In or out of school, I want that relationship to stay the same. If I can accomplish that I think maybe, just maybe I will have accomplished my job as his mom.

Enjoy your weekend everyone and thanks again for all of the support. I will post later about our experiences in and out of school!