Many homeschoolers have to face that moment when their children go to a public or private school. Even though they have decided the time is right and have researched all the schools, the transition can be tough for families. Here are a few traps that some home school parents fall into after they have committed to sending their child off to school:
1. Expecting a Miracle. This is the one of the biggest disappointments for many home school families. Some expect that a child's social or academic weaknesses will be overcome in the first quarter at a public or private school. Usually this attitude comes from home school parents who have doubts about their own teaching. Maybe home schooling wasn't all they had hoped for. Maybe they found that although some subjects went well, others had not been easy. Don't expect that the school you have chosen will be able to make up for your child's weaknesses quickly. Be sure to talk to his teacher ahead of time, to highlight areas you perceive as weak, so the teacher can be attentive and proactive.
2. Don't Take It Personally. When you teach your child at home, it is a very personal experience. It's sometimes difficult to see an F on a paper that your child completes for her new school. You may take it personally, feeling like you earned the F. Please don't. Even if you helped your child complete the homework, it's not all about you. Don't let your pride get in the way of your child's education. Look through the homework when you're calm. Then set up an appointment to discuss it with the teacher, if you don't understand where the failure occurred.
3. Expecting a Teacher to be Just like You. There is no one that teaches exactly like you. Don't expect them to! You may have done science experiments with every lesson, but your child's science teacher prefers to lecture with a weekly lab. You may listen to your child read aloud for an hour a day. That is impossible in most schools. Your child is no longer the primary focus of the teacher, and that's hard for some homeschoolers to remember. When you call the teacher and ask if your child ate all her carrots for lunch, realize that the teacher will most likely have no idea. That's more of a parenting issue (or one of individual responsibility for the student.) It's not a teaching responsibility, nor do most teachers have a memory for so many little things.
4. Do Not Attack the Teacher. Always keep communications open with the teacher. Ask for a meeting every other week, if you like, but don't use that time to attack the teacher's teaching methods or abilities. Writing a five-page manifesto and making the teacher cry and flee the room are ways to alienate yourself and make the teacher never want to attend your meetings again. It would be better to address only one or two things per meeting. Give your observations (not judgments) then let the teacher talk. Continue to observe and give your opinions in a heartfelt way. Then, give the teacher time to think about what you have said. You may wish the principal and other teachers to attend, depending on your concerns. Larger groups often come up with solutions and strategies and don't deteriorate into personal attacks.
5. You Won't Like Everything. Realize that you have chosen the best school for your child, but that does not mean it's perfect. Maybe you preferred a school that meets your religious education expectations, but they give more homework than you think is necessary. Perhaps you chose a school that has a more personal style of education, but you find out that the they aren't structured enough for your child. Try to think through everything that is a high priority before you register at the school. Then, commit yourself to stay at the school for the entire year (barring anything that violates your high priorities.) Even if things get tough, you'll probably find that it's worth the minor disagreements and disappointments to get the benefits that your family really values.
It is never easy to make such a big transition, but if you think about these five traps as you switch from a home school environment to a public or private school, you may be more successful and less stressed than some home school families who have gone before you.
Visit Stephenie's site http://faith-filled.com/tag/classroom/ for many subject-specific tips tailored to classroom teachers and homeschooling parents.
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