How to Switch from Public School to Homeschool

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How to Switch from Public School to Homeschool | Faithful Farmwife

Three years ago our family took a huge leap of faith. We switched from a double income family to a single income family and we started homeschooling our son who had completed pre-k through 1st grade in a public school. I want to share a little bit about our transition from public school to homeschool, curriculum choices, and the dreaded question of socialization as well as give you valuable tips that can help you make the switch for your family.

Making the Transition from Public School to Homeschool

Homeschooling had never felt like an option to me in the past because I didn’t think that I was qualified, I didn’t know any other homeschooling families, and I was so busy. It wasn’t until after having my second child in 2014 that I really started to consider it as a possibility.

I dreaded going back to work from maternity leave so badly because I knew that my calling and my purpose was to raise our children and take care of our home…I am not saying that every woman has this same calling so please don’t misunderstand.

My husband and I ran the numbers and prayed like crazy about what step we should take and we were led to the decision that I should resign from my position to become a stay at home mom.

How to Switch from Public School to Homeschool | Faithful Farmwife

Our oldest child (referred to as Q1 from here on) was finishing up first grade at the tiny school that I graduated from. The teachers were great, but Q1 wasn’t thriving. He needed a lot of one-on-one work in reading and he wasn’t able to get that in public school. He was falling behind, but he was being passed to the next grade to fall behind even more. At the end of 1st grade he was reading at about a pre-k level. I had worked with him at home, but it just wasn’t enough.

I started looking into the idea of homeschooling for a year just to see if the daily one-on-one interaction would benefit him. (pssst…After a year he is reading on a 2nd-3rd grade level…whoop whoop!)

How to Switch from Public School to Homeschool | Faithful Farmwife

I felt like it would be such a blessing to be the primary influence on my kids and to be able to see their struggles, their accomplishments, and the “ah-ha!” moments first hand.

I was very excited, but my husband was on the fence about it. Luckily for me, we were planning to move about an hour away from the home we were in at the time and our son would have been switching schools mid-year. We didn’t want that so we decided that trying this out wouldn’t hurt anything.

My husband was still concerned about it a little bit, but I was extremely excited. I had always wanted to be a teacher & a more involved mother and now I had the opportunity to teach my own children full-time! Let the public school to homeschool journey commence!

8 Tips for Making The Switch From Public School to Homeschool

1. Know Your Why

Why are you choosing to homeschool? Do you want more time with your children? Is the public school system just not working for you? Are you wanting to be the primary influence for your kids? Do you want to be able to focus on each of your children’s individual interests in their education? Decide what homeschooling means for you and your family. Write it down to pull out on tough days that make your question your decision.

2. Find Support

Find local homeschool families by searching Facebook, asking your librarian about homeschool groups, and doing Google searches. Having a like-minded community is so important to making a smooth transition from public school to homeschool. Contact HSLDA to help you find a local group and  for information on the homeschooling laws in your state. You can also join homeschool mom Facebook groups for large non-local support communities.

3. Choose Curriculum

Don’t overwhelm yourself with this step. Do a little bit of research and choose a curriculum that sounds good to you. You will be discovering your teaching style, your child’s learning style, and finding your groove over the first couple years so don’t stress.

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choice

I was that kid in elementary and middle school who just couldn’t wait for the Scholastic book fairs. My excitement about books and curriculum was over-the-top. Thankfully, I have held onto this quirky little trait of mine or I would be totally overwhelmed by the curriculum choices that are offered to homeschooling families.

If you are thinking about homeschooling, I definitely encourage you to reach out to other homeschooling mamas for advice because the curriculum world can be daunting at the beginning. I am blessed to live in an area with an amazing group of homeschooling families. They gave me tips on good boxed sets to start out with and I ran with that.

How to Switch from Public School to Homeschool | Faithful Farmwife

Boxed curriculum is great if you are just starting out because everything is laid out for you. You don’t have to plan lessons or activities…all of that is already completed. My Father’s World is the set that we chose for 2nd grade. This set included Bible, History, Science, Music, Art, and some Reading. We added in Math-U-See , All About Spelling, All About Reading, Apologia Science, and First Language Lessons . You can read about the changes that we made in 3rd & 4th grade by following the links. 🙂

We have just completed home school year one and we have discovered that we are eclectic homeschoolers. This means that we like to pick and choose what works best for us in each subject instead of strictly using one method or brand; however, we do lean more toward the Charlotte Mason & Classical methods



4. Deschool

Take couple of months to decompress and “deschool” after removing your child from the public school system. You both need some time to shift your mindset from a public school to homeschool learning setting. Treat this time just a like summer break. Hang out with your kids, get to know their interests, and observe how much they learn through play alone

The Deschooling Process

This was a big learning curve for me. Deschooling is taking your mindset from the formal school room idea to the idea of cultivating a lifestyle of learning. This is a critical step when switching from a public school to a homeschool setting.

When we started this journey, I wanted a school room set up (lots of parents do that and it is fine), a set schedule of when work would be completed, 8 hours of work each day, and I pretty much tried to turn our home into a school. I quickly learned that this  defeats the purpose of homeschooling.

Our purpose with our kids isn’t to drill them until they can properly complete a test or stand in a single file line, it is to teach them to LOVE learning!

How to Switch from Public School to Homeschool | Faithful Farmwife
Canoeing with a local homeschool group

The overused phrase, “the world is our oyster”, couldn’t be more relevant to the path we have chosen.

After the deschooling process, we discovered that learning happens in so many places other than a desk. Q1 does book work at a little school desk in our dining room and then we read on the couch or outside on the porch or patio. He searches for new things to explore in our backyard and he makes his imagination come to life when he builds with Legos or in Minecraft.

We might replace our constellation lesson with a trip to the planetarium. Our Biology lessons might just take place in a field or by our pond as we fish, hunt, and process livestock and wild game. Anything and everything can be turned into a learning opportunity. I am so glad that we are out of the 8-hours-a-day-at-a-desk grind.

How to Switch from Public School to Homeschool | Faithful Farmwife
Helping to make sourdough bread at a local bakery

5. Make Time to Socialize

This is the number one question that I hear about home-schooled children and it baffles me. Sitting in a room with 20 kids of the same age not being allowed to move or talk to others doesn’t sound like socialization to me.

Since moving my son from public school to homeschool, I have seen amazing improvements in his behavior and social skills. He is able to interact with people of all ages and we have no lack of time with kids his own age. We are involved in multiple clubs, classes, activities, and a co-op. Check out these photos if you don’t believe me.

How to Switch from Public School to Homeschool | Faithful Farmwife
Building with public school & homeschool kids at our town’s Lego Club
How to Switch from Public School to Homeschool | Faithful Farmwife
Playing Minecraft with our library’s Game On program
Trail Life | Faithful Farmwife
Learning to safely start a fire with Trail Life
Clay Mine Tour | Faithful Farmwife
Digging in a clay mine on a guided tour

6. Be Flexible & Simplify

There will be curriculum changes as your move through your homeschool journey. You will probably switch up where you teach lessons in your home. You might even switch to an online curriculum. Be flexible to make changes when changes are needed. Also, don’t try to adhere to a rigid schedule. I need some structure in my home so I do have a daily routine written out, but it is a very loose guideline that doesn’t make me feel trapped.

7. Give Yourself Grace in Your School & Home

Not every day will live up to your homeschooling day dreams. You will have some really tough days where you really consider changing your mind about this homeschooling thing. Give yourself and your children grace on these days. Review your “why” for homeschooling. Take a day off from school if you need it. Breathe and start again tomorrow, mama.

8. Take Care of Yourself in the Process

Homeschooling takes a lot of time and energy. It is easy to lose yourself in the mix of mommy/teacher/cook/cleaner activities so it is very important that you take time to care for yourself each and every day.

 >>MORE HOMESCHOOL RESOURCES<<


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20 Comments

  1. Great article – I really needed to read this to encourage us on our journey as well. I have one little guy (just turned 2) and have every intention of homeschooling him, but zero experience with it! Curriculum selection is definitely the biggest hurdle for me so I appreciated reading about your choice. At the end of the day, I know no one else will be as invested in their success and wholesome development as me! Love meeting other moms who are doing it 🙂

    1. I went into the process totally blind until I found the homeschooling community in my area. It is scary and overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t take long to figure out your ‘groove’. I will be posting more about curriculum in the future so keep an eye out and if you have any questions feel free to ask!

  2. Hi there,
    I am stopping by from the Girl on the Move Link Up Party 🙂

    I don’t have children yet, but I have thought about homeschooling in the future. I am currently a second-grade teacher at a public school and see a lot of benefits to homeschooling.

    Looks like you are doing a great job!

    Abby

    1. Thank you! I have several friends who are public school teachers and they have all shown interest in teaching their children at home. Homeschooling has definitely been a blessing to our family and I hope that I can encourage other mamas who are curious about the process.

  3. Hi

    I’m stopping by from #bloggybrunch and was interested in your views on home schooling. You seem to be doing so well and have a great approach and mindset in the way you want it to be delivered. I would be a huge jump for me and not quite right but I do love the philosophy behind it.

    Mainy

  4. I love reading about homeschooling! I’m a teacher and we currently don’t have kids, but the idea of homeschooling intrigues me. I’ve seen so many students who get lost in the classroom because of the way our school system is set up. Public school and a classroom setting is definitely not for everyone. “One size fits all” doesn’t work in any facet of life in my opinion. I love that you took the initiative to what you felt was right for your child! It looks like it’s been a huge success!! Thanks for linking up with us at Bloggy Brunch – I’m excited to have found your blog. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Awesome Educents Homeschool Deals! | Faithful Farmwife
  6. Oh my word. I felt you were talking right to me!!!! I start homeschooling for the first time next week. Like you, we are going from two incomes to one, and I’ve scoured reviews in curriculums online and we ended up with an eclectic mix as well. Best wishes this year!!!

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