Like many parents, you may be considering transitioning from public school to homeschool. The upheaval of the recent pandemic, along with the dangers of violence and bullying in schools, has prompted families to unenroll from school and seek alternatives to formal education. As parents are withdrawing their children from traditional school, they are looking into deschooling or immediately switching from public school to homeschool. Many of these parents are dissatisfied with the quality of education at public schools or want more time at home with their children. Whatever the reason, switching from public school to homeschool is a big decision. To ensure you’re ready for your decision, let’s look at why you might make the switch and how you would go about switching successfully.
5 Reasons to Transition from Public School to Homeschool
- More one-on-one time with your child. Instead of spending 7-8 hours a day away from home, your child can enjoy more time with you. Homeschooling also allows families to pursue more activities together such as field trips, special family outings, sports, etc.
- Personalized education. Homeschooling allows you to custom tailor your child’s curriculum to meet his particular academic needs and learning style.
- Flexible time management. You get to control when and how school takes place, rather than having a traditional school calendar dictate your schedule.
- More control over social influences. You have a greater influence over the relationships and friendships your child forms.
- Bible-based education. Instead of your child being taught a curriculum from a worldly perspective, you can provide an education that presents all subjects through the lens of scripture.
When comparing homeschool and public school, or even private school, there is much to consider. It’s important to keep your and your family’s needs in mind as you consider your options.
How to Transition from Public School to Homeschool
In order to transition from public school to homeschool successfully, you’ll need to learn more about how to get started in homeschooling and about your state’s requirements for homeschooling. Homeschooling isn’t a blank slate for every family that chooses to homeschool. Many states have educational, testing, or other requirements that students must meet in order to be legally homeschooled.
What are the legal requirements for switching to homeshool?
Each state sets its own legal conditions for homeschooling. To find out your state regulations, visit the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Their interactive map gives a quick overview of each state’s requirements.
Homeschooling in most states entails the following:
- Officially withdrawing your child from public school
- A curriculum that includes mandatory subjects such as math, science, social studies, reading, etc
- End-of-the-year notice that you have completed 180 school days
- Regular completion of nationally approved standardized tests
Twenty-four states presently require you to provide some sort of regular evaluation of your child’s schoolwork. This evaluation typically includes one or both of the following: a portfolio review or standardized testing.
In a portfolio review, a certified teacher may assess and approve samples of your child’s work such as tests, research papers, book reports, and reading lists.
You can arrange for standardized testing either independently or through local schools.
How to Withdraw Your Child from School
In most cases, all you need to do to withdraw your child from school or to unenroll from public school is to send in a written letter. Children who have never attended public school will not need to be unenrolled, but you may still need to send a letter of intent to homeschool. Although not all states require you to give the school a “heads up” of your intention to withdraw your child, it’s a good idea to notify your local school officials and teachers. It demonstrates courtesy on your part and will also give you an opportunity to get input and advice from school faculty.
Your letter should clearly state that you are withdrawing your child from school on a certain date and will begin homeschooling. Certain states request that you specify that the curriculum you will be using meets the basic subject requirements for your child’s education in your withdrawal letter. You have the legal right to withdraw your child from school at any time, even if it’s during the middle of the school year.
The Difference Between Homeschooling and Deschooling
In a nutshell, deschooling is the transition period from traditional school to homeschool. Switching from traditional school to homeschool is a huge change, and your child will need time to adjust to a completely different routine. You will need this time as well to prepare yourself mentally and physically. During this deschooling period, encourage your child to keep learning outside the classroom while allowing them to enjoy things like sleeping in and extra free time. This deschooling time is ideal for you to begin choosing which curriculum you will use in homeschooling.
Is homeschooling right for you?
Homeschooling is a huge commitment of time and effort. As your child’s primary educator, you are responsible to choose a curriculum, plan the school calendar, assign daily school work, and keep track of grades. Time management and organization are critical to a successful homeschool. Homeschooling requires discipline, consistency, patience, and flexibility. Before you decide to withdraw your child from school, consider all the benefits and disadvantages of homeschooling. Discuss your education goals and priorities with your family. Encourage your child to share their questions and concerns about homeschooling. Seek godly counsel, search God’s Word, and spend time praying about your decision as a family.
How to Prepare for Homeschooling
It can seem overwhelming at first when making the switch from public school to homeschool. Here are a few steps to help you prepare:
- Decide when you want to officially begin. Do you want to make the transition during the middle of the school year or wait until the beginning of the new school year?
- Designate a specific room or space in your house for school. This is very important since it will greatly help your child focus on school and not be distracted.
- Plan a general daily schedule to follow. Some families prefer to have school in the morning and finish by early afternoon; others choose to have it later in the day. Setting a daily routine will help you structure your time and meet your school goals.
- Choose your child’s curriculum. This can be the most daunting decision to make in homeschooling. Fortunately, BJU Press can help point you in the right direction.
- Make a list of school supplies you will need. Remember, you don’t have to have everything on the list when you start, just the basics.
Resources to Help you Start Your Homeschool Journey
- Homeschool vs. Public School vs. Private School
- What Is Homeschooling and How Does It Work?
- How to Start Homeschooling
- How to Choose the Best Homeschool Curriculum
- What is a Biblical Worldview and Why is It Important in Education?
Resources for Successful Homeschooling
- How to Create a Positive Learning Environment in Your Homeschool
- Homeschool Accreditation
- Assessments in Your Homeschool
- Homeschool Credits and Graduation Requirements
- How to Prepare Your Homeschooler for College
• • • • •Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves homeschooling them. During her own twelve years of being homeschooled, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.