Families choose to homeschool for many different reasons. It’s not always a planned educational path from the start. There could be circumstances involving a move, health, or other life events that create the need to homeschool temporarily.
To be fair to all families on different paths, this article is directed to anyone who may be homeschooling short-term and plans to return to public school.
These are tips on how to homeschool differently when you plan to transition from homeschool to public school.
If your family ultimately decides to homeschool long-term, some of the tips may still apply according to your state’s homeschool laws and others could be optional.
10 Useful Tips When You Plan to Transition From Homeschool to Public School
A note from The Fervent Mama: This is a guest post. While we are a homeschool-only family, we know that this doesn’t fit every family and it’s important to know your rights and options.
1. Know your state’s homeschool laws
Each state has a different set of laws for homeschooling. Some may be as simple as submitting a form. Others may require permission and participation in certain forms of testing.
You can typically find the rules for your state by searching on the state’s Department of Education website or by contacting the district office for your local Board of Education.
Knowing the state’s homeschool laws helps avoid any potential issues with a transition from homeschool to public school later.
You could also contact the registrar’s office for your local school district and ask what documents are needed from a homeschool education when you are ready to re-enroll.
This preparation up front will save you time and minimize frustration later.
2. Teach the state standards
If you plan to send your children back to school eventually, you may want to know what it is they are teaching there.
Every state has a set of standards that you can find on the Department of Education’s website by subject and grade level. This is the content the public school teachers are required to cover.
Again, you are the parent and can choose how and when these things are taught- if at all. In most cases, they will not list the tools to teach the content (books, websites, etc) as that is often left up to the local district.
If you plan to transition from homeschool to public school, use these standards to guide the content you cover at home. This will help avoid gaps later when your child returns to traditional schooling.
3. Keep a structured schedule
One of the many advantages of homeschooling is the ability to structure the schedule around your child or family’s needs. However, that is not an option in the public school setting.
In the traditional setting, a rigid schedule is set in order for a large number of students to have lunch, extracurriculars, and/or change classes.
Once your child returns to public school, he or she will have a set amount of time to eat lunch and have free time. For this reason, you may wish to keep a more structured schedule so that it’s not too drastic of a transition when they return to public school.
4. Keep in contact with peers
If you will be homeschooling temporarily in your local area, it would be helpful for your child to keep in contact with peers in the same school.
Homeschool students can participate in clubs, sports, and other local community events where they will still be able to interact with friends at the public school.
This will especially help older children when they re-enter the classroom.
5. Include regular testing
Traditional school settings regularly test students in preparation for state-mandated tests. Homeschool students typically participate in the required testing and not ongoing routine testing.
In the traditional classroom, teachers will be assessing students on a regular basis for grades and other data collection. You may want to include some traditional testing format in your homeschool to better align with brick and mortar classroom practices.
6. Follow local curriculum trends
Call or email your local Board of Education’s Curriculum Director. Ask them if they are adopting any new curriculum this year in your child’s grade level.
Ask for names of programs and software that are widely used in your child’s grade level.
This information would guide your decisions on choosing a curriculum that your child will be familiar with once they return to the public school setting.
For example, does your system use Everyday Mathematics or Singapore Math? They both use different ways of teaching math concepts with one being more of a spiral curriculum and the other more linear.
There are very different approaches to teaching mathematics in particular and it would be to your child’s advantage to know the resource being used in his or her local school.
7. Utilize technology
Today’s traditional classroom is largely dependent on technology. Many school districts have a device for every student.
Students spend a good portion of their day on programs or even completing lessons in a “flipped” format where the teacher has them enrolled in a Google Classroom.
Google Classroom for homeschoolers is an option as long as you have a Gmail account. It’s a free learning management system (at the time of writing) that allows you to set up daily lessons and activities in an organized way.
It even allows you to include quizzes and grades. Using this platform at home will help your kids easily navigate the platform once they return to the classroom.
8. Schedule Independent Work Time
A homeschool environment has the advantage of one on one support from a parent as needed. In the typical classroom, students have long stretches of independent work while a teacher divides her time and attention for twenty or more students.
If you are sure a return to the classroom is in the future, it would be beneficial to have stretches of time reserved for independent work with minimal guidance. This is often in the form of independent reading and writing in a traditional classroom.
9. Keep required records
Homeschooling families do keep records but they may be minimal to comply with state laws. Your local school district may request records such as grades, attendance, or a specific transcript upon re-entry to the classroom.
It’s important to know what they will need before you homeschool if you intend to return to the traditional setting.
10. Keep a morning routine
If you allow your child to sleep longer in the homeschool setting, please keep in mind this is not an option when they return to brick and mortar.
Many school buses run as early as 6:30 a.m. to get students to school in time for breakfast and starting the day at 8:00 a.m. or earlier.
A morning routine with breakfast, getting dressed, and starting school lessons at a specific time will help ease the transition later.
Are you choosing to go back to public school after homeschooling? We hope these tips for transitioning help!
Many families overcome reasons not to homeschool during this experience and decide to continue indefinitely. In that case, you would have to follow the state laws and many other aspects become your personal preference.
However, there is a demographic of parents who do intend to return to public school and it’s a fair question to ask how to homeschool differently with the intention to return to the traditional settings.
This article serves as helpful guidance to families in those situations.
This post was written by Misty Martin from Homeschool Toolbox.
Homeschool Toolbox will always be a place that advocates for finding a child’s best educational fit. If that happens to be the homeschool path, you’ve found a place for helpful information and ideas to fill your homeschool toolbox along the way!