We have gone through thinking about these choices (Public School – Not the Enemy), making our decision (Public School – Decision Time) and how to plan for the transition to the public school (Public School – Planning). Before the bus pulls up to your driveway on your child’s first day of public school there are still a few things we need to work on.
So, Let’s Dig In!
Set up a Trial Day of School. Talk to the school about setting up a trial day for your child. Let them get a feel for what it is going to be like. Let them meet the teachers and students they will be working with. My recommendation, is to set it for a Friday, right before a school break. Most of those days the kids are turning in their completed projects, giving presentations, participating in electives or covering other none meaty material.
There are four main reasons to do this.
- This will give your child a good relaxed day to see what the kids are learning about and how a day flows.
- When they do start school, they most likely will be starting in a new unit of material in each class. This will help your child to get in on the beginning of something, instead of coming into the middle, where they could feel lost.
- The break will give you the time you need to complete the rest of this preparation process.
- At this point your child is not enrolled in the school. After that first day, one of you may want to change your minds about going down this public school road. AND THAT IS PERFECTLY OK! If you do change your mind, then you will have the break to regroup.
Now it is time for the Enrollment Forms. If everything goes well on your child’s trial day of school, then it is time to get all the papers from the school and start filling them out. There will be lots to think about as you go through the material. Take your time and consider everything. This is a big deal so make sure all your questions are answered.
Fun Tip: Be ready for a hand cramp with all that writing you will be doing. Work on one form each night, over the break, to avoid this. 🙂
One of the forms you will need to fill out will be the school lunch form. My suggestion is if your child has ADHD to sign them up for school lunches. This will be one less thing you need to worry about in the morning when you are getting them ready for school. AND it will be one less thing (the lunch box) your child has to worry about losing. They will learn the rotation of lunches and believe it or not, start trying new things. Now, yes you will have to pay for these meals (unless you qualify for free or reduced lunches, which if you do makes this option even better), however I strongly recommend that you stick with this plan. The stress of getting out the door can be a huge challenge (we will talk about this in another post). Making this choice can save both your mornings.
Time for the fun part…SHOPPING. Every kid that goes to school is going to need a backpack. If you have been homeschooling for a long time, that just might not be something you have at home. So guess what, you get to go shopping. Now before you head out to the store, talk to your school. Each school is different with what they require students to have for supplies. They should be able to give you a list to take with you to the store. Make sure to find out if your child will have a locker at school. If they will, add to your school list a locker shelf. This one little thing will help your child stay more organized. This is the fun part so let the kids come along. Make it a full day event where they can help pick out those supplies and backpack and you can even go out to eat and celebrate the new path you all are going to be on. Take the time at the meal to talk about the changes going to be happening. See how the kids are feeling and just enjoy this time.
Last, but not least is to set a new family schedule. Let’s face it, with homeschooling some days we do not start at the crack of dawn. We relax a bit and ease into school. Whether you have one child going to public school or all of them, your schedule is going to have to change. Figure out what time your kid/s will have to either be at the bus stop, leave to walk, or in the car to get to school. My guess is, that time is going to be much earlier than you are used to. You may have always been up, but have you been dressed and ready for the day by that time? I know I never was. If you have been following along, you were able to get that trial day of school done right before a school break. Now that you have a little bit of time before that first official day of school, start getting ready. In the morning you are going to have to wake the kids up, get everyone dressed, feed and out the door on time. How long will that take? Start getting up earlier by 30 minutes each day till you have got everyone up by the correct time. Just by doing this one thing you are going to be on your way to having much easier mornings when your kid/s do start public school.
Congrats on getting it this far! Next time we are going to talk about the official first day of public school. I have some tips to help the transition go smooth that you definitely will want to check out.