First day of (public) school

Years ago when our three younger children were little, my wife and I decided that we’d homeschool them. Our oldest was already in public school and we decided to keep him there through high school. That worked out well for him.

My wife took on the primary role for homeschooling the three younger ones. For several years, it has been a season of trials, quite honestly, and for a number of different reasons. The next oldest child is now at the age of a graduated high school senior; the next child would now be considered a high school sophomore although still homeschooled; and the youngest is freshman age.

For our youngest, we decided to try to get him into public school so that he could complete all four years of high school at a public school. This meant a lot of paperwork had to be filled out, birth certificates requested (our two younger ones were born in a different state, and we hadn’t requested their birth certificates before), a physical exam, and arranging for him to take standardized tests so that the high school would know where to place him academically.

One thing we’ve learned is that homeschooled children don’t fit neatly into any kind of “normal” pattern as far as others are concerned, so we were pretty worried about all of these steps, especially the standardized testing. He’d never had to do anything like that before and we didn’t know where he’d fit academically. It turns out that he aced the tests and was eligible for honors courses, the highest level.

Yesterday was our youngest child’s first day of public school; he’s a high school freshman. He has a busy schedule set up, and he’s raring to go. One of the bigger changes that going to a public high school forces on him is to get up early every weekday, something he is not used to. But yesterday he managed it.

As parents, this is a little like that proverbial first day of kindergarten, although it’s actually high school. In other words, we are really pleased for him but at the same time, anxious that he adjusts well, and performs well in this completely new environment. It’s a big change for us as a family, too. After several years since our oldest child was in high school, our schedule is once again largely dictated by the high school calendar, for example. We hope (and believe) our youngest will thrive but worry about all of the things that are out of our hands.

Overall, though, I see this as a very positive step for him and for us as a family. He has several friends already in high school, and I think he’ll do well.

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