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14 things I’ve learned by sending my homeschooler off to school

10.07.14

If you haven’t picked up on it already one of the big changes for our family this fall has been that we made the decision to send Emma off to middle school…no more homeschooling for my oldest girl. It was definitely a big decision. But I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as hard. I think we all knew the timing was right and once we found the place that was the right fit, everything seemed to fall into place. 

For her mama, it meant a lot of anxiety this summer. I felt like I needed to soak up every moment before sending her off for seven hours of her day, five days a week. And there’s nothing like sending your child off to school to dredge up all those homeschooling insecurities that are always swirling around in the back of your head. It was easy to let myself doubt all the things I’d taught her and start to panic about the things she ‘wasn’t going to know.’ 

Turns out, I was the only one who would have a bumpy transition, and she’d slip right into the routines of school days, homework, schedules and uniforms. 

I’m liking how this year is unfolding. I’m loving getting up early–making the school run and coming home to chores, a little laundry and an earlier start to our homeschool day.

With one month under my belt, I’ve learned a few things about sending my homeschooler off to school, (shared with you in list form because I live and die by lists these days). 

  • Every day is not an evaluation of my abilities as a homeschooling parent. Some things she’ll get, some things she won’t. But so will every other kid no matter their educational background.
  • When she gets home from school she’ll be hungry. Very hungry. Have a big snack.
  • It’s okay if she goes to school with homework she did all by herself, and it’s not perfect. That’s what her teachers are for. (Also. See bullet point number one.)
  • Teachers aren’t trying to trick her into failure. (These words were spoken at our parent night and I may have sighed audibly.) “We’re here to help. We’re on their side. We’re not trying to trick your child into failing.” Bless it.
  • Lunches get progressively more uninspired as the week goes on.
  • School drop-off outfits get progressively more uninspired as the week goes on.
  • Even though you taught her math last year, suddenly when she asks for help with homework, you can’t remember a darn thing.
  • On the days you’re on time to school, you’ll get all green lights.
  • On the days you’re late to school, you’ll get behind a school bus. (or a tractor.)
  • If you bring the puppy on drop off, he’s going to end up on her lap, in the front seat of the car, licking her face, spilling your coffee, and trying to jump out and see all the fun kids playing outside the school.
  • Despite all the things you read on what to say or questions to ask your child to encourage her to open up and share about her day, the thing that works best is a little bit of quiet and a little bit of space. It seems like she’s always willing to share, when I’m not prying for details. 
  • Even though you can’t wait to see her when the day is done, you’ll still need to set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to stop what you’re doing and go pick her up from school.
  • You will consider adopting school uniforms for the whole family. It’s so nice.
  • A really good travel mug is key. Because, coffee.

5 comments on “14 things I’ve learned by sending my homeschooler off to school”

  1. So glad that the transition has been a good one for you all. Despite all the MS horror stories, my oldest two had/are having a good experience. I’m hoping that holds true for my current 5th grader next year and for your daughter too!

    1. Thanks, Susan. A lot of people look at me sideways when I tell them we "put her in" in middle school, as if that approach is backwards. But I think we’ve given her the foundation and tools she needed before we sent her off. And I feel like we’ve found such a great, small school, with great kids. I’m sure it’s not perfect, it IS middle school after all, but she really seems to be enjoying it. So glad to hear of others having a similar experience!

  2. thanks for sharing your journey….our journey out of homeschooling started last year…..and it’s been a journey of trial and error for all of us since I’m now a single mom and back to work for the first time in 12 years, too! This year, I’ve got one in our local middle school (ah, 7th grade drama), one in a Montessori charter school in 5th-ish grade and a preschooler still at home with me on days I’m off from work. And everyone is doing well – not perfectly, but well…..and truthfully, nothing went perfectly when we were a two-parent, homeschooling family, either! There are good and bad things – just like there were with homeschooling, but all things considered, I strive to thank God every.single.day that my kids are loved, cared for, safe, and doing well where they are. Kids change, life changes, families change and I’m so grateful to live in a place and time where our educational choices can change, too. And, AMEN to the coffee thing!

  3. Oh, Molly, we are going through the same thing! An amazing school kinda fell into our laps and once we knew it was the right fit, she was way excited to go! And she’s doing well! I had horrible anxiety about it all summer, and we’re getting an earlier start to homeschooling the boys, too. funny how similar our stories! Glad yours is doing well, too. 🙂

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