If you are just tuning in, this is the third post in this series. Check out the first post, Public School – Not the Enemy to see how this all started, and Public School – Decision Time to see how we came to this point of planning.
Now, Let’s Talk About Those “Ducks”
All the “ducks” you need to get in order before making the physical transition to a public school can seem like a HUGE undertaking. However, we will work through it and in the end you will wonder why you thought it was going to be such a daunting task.
The first thing is to contact your Home Study Department. Each state handles homeschooling in different ways, and believe it or not, entering into a public school after homeschooling, can be just as different with each state. You will need to find out what you need to get to them and if there are enrollment deadlines.
In our state to homeschool, we have to send in a list of what we are planning on teaching in each subject and at the end of the year, we have to prove in one of 3 ways that we did accomplish those plans. Once we enroll our kids in a public school we are not allowed to homeschool again without going through this same process. HOWEVER, there is a little trick that most people wouldn’t think of that the state has for rules. Once you go to a public school you can’t go back to homeschooling without first proving you finished your old homeschool plan up to the date of entering into the public school.
So, what that all means is that if I had just enrolled my son in the public school without contacting the home study department, I wouldn’t have known I still had to send in an end of the year homeschool report/evaluation. It seems silly to do it mid year but they want proof that we did homeschool from the beginning of the school year till the day he entered the public school. If we couldn’t prove that, then they would not allow us to homeschool again. Pretty serious stuff. Imagine even a year later trying to track down papers, answers, grades, and proof that your child did indeed do the homeschooling work you had planned out. Having that bit of information could have saved us a huge heartache down the road. So this step is very important!
Always leave your doors open. You never know what the future is going to hold.
Next step is to call your local public school. At this point you just need information. Find out if they have a procedure for starting homeschooled kids in their school. Each school is different, so find out what they will need from you. It might be test scores, it might be samples of their work, and even others might have your child come in for some simple testing to figure out the right placement for them. So set up a meeting with them. Meet them face to face. Introduce yourself, and get the information you need to start down this road.
Does your child have a disability? ADHD, ODD, etc.? All these and others can qualify your child for extra help at school, with simple things like added time on tests, permission to stand instead of sit while working, along with many other adaptations. Now is the time to talk to the school about what things they are willing to put in place to help your child succeed. This type of help would be listed as a 504 or IEP, depending on the severity of your child’s needs. You as a parent have rights in this area. Get a copy of them from the school. Read up on them and start advocating for your child now. Better to see what you could be dealing with, than to enroll them and find out it is going to be a fight.
So if you have gotten to this point in the process and are still on board with going ahead in enrolling your child in public school than congrats! If you decided not to enroll, than congrats also! Just making the decision that is best for your family is a feat to be celebrated. You are one step closer to enjoying the journey God has you on. If it is to continue to homeschool, than from this moment on you are going to appreciate your freedom to homeschool so much more. If it is to continue on this journey of starting public school, than you are probably feeling a sense of relief. Either way is fine, because God has each of us on a separate journey. Only you and him know what is best for your family. So kudos for following your heart and listening to God.
We are going to dive into the last steps of planning, preparation, next time, so stay tuned.
In the mean time, comment below with what type of adaptations you think your child might need or already has in school. This might get some parents thinking about what they could be asking for.