Parents and families have more educational options today than ever before. And sometimes all those choices mean your homeschool family might decide to switch schools midstream—from home education to a private school or even to public school.
That’s the decision Melanie Wilson and her husband made when their 15-year-old son said he wanted to go to a public high school. It’s also the decision thousands of other homeschool families make at some point during their children’s school years.
That transition can be hugely intimidating, and that’s why we’re addressing it in today’s blog post. If you’ve thought about making the change to a public school, this post is perfect for you. But even if you plan to homeschool all the way through, don’t tune out the tips below! You never know when life circumstances will dictate a change. Let’s dive right in!
1. Keep detailed records
All homeschoolers should keep detailed records, even if you never plan to put your kids into a traditional school setting. Some states require that homeschooling parents keep an attendance log and maintain certain hours of school each day. Others are more lenient. But regardless of what your state requires, it’s best to maintain records of attendance, curriculum used for each year of school, grades earned, and any exam scores.
Being able to provide this information to the public school could make the difference between your child being placed into the grade level they should be or having to repeat a year or two of school.
2. Prepare for a classroom setting
Give your child experience taking notes and taking a variety of types of tests. The typical homeschool student usually doesn’t need to take a lot of notes, but it’s a valuable skill to teach your child once they are capable of reading and writing. If they end up in public school, you’ll both be glad you took the time to train in note taking!
The same goes for teaching your child how to take tests. You may want to make sure at least one curriculum you use in your homeschooling has a testing component to give your child some experience in being tested and understanding how to take tests. HSLDA has an excellent article on their website about teaching your child to take tests.
You may also want to have your child take a yearly standardized test such as the Stanford Achievement Test. Many private schools open up testing spots to homeschoolers. You also have the option to do the testing at home if you wish. One option is to sign up with a service such as Homeschool Testing Services.
3. Get the timing right
Some grade levels are better than others for enrolling your child into public school. I homeschooled my oldest daughter from 2nd through 8th grade and then decided to let her try public high school. It was quite easy to put her into 9th grade because we were not claiming that she had earned any credits. This put her on the same footing as all the other incoming freshman.
I have friends who enrolled 10th and 11th grade students from homeschooling to public school and it was not as smooth of an experience. Their children had to repeat courses already completed, which was frustrating to the parents and kids. Some schools will test students to place them, whether you’re enrolling in elementary or high school.
In Texas, where I homeschool, each school district makes their own decision on how to handle students who are coming from unaccredited schools. One way to get around this problem is to enroll your child in an accredited online school, so that if or when you enroll them in public school their previous work will be accepted.
4. Smooth the transition with an online public school
If you know for certain that you are going to enroll your child into public school, then you may wish to enroll in an online public school so that your child’s transition to public school is seamless. Be aware that online public schools are basically school at home, and expect the student to be in attendance for certain days and hours, to take standardized tests, and to adhere to other requirements that public schools have.
This is a good solution for many families who only plan to homeschool for just a year or two. An online public school is usually free, while an accredited online school has tuition.
5. Get wisdom from other parents
Talk to parents in your area who have put their homeschooled students into public school. They will be knowledgeable about the whole process and can advise you on what was helpful or what not to do. If nothing else, they’ll be able to be supportive and understanding of what you are going through.
Your family and friends who don’t homeschool may have a hard time understanding all the emotions and stress you and your child are under during this transition, so it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded folks.
Whether planned or unplanned, transitioning from homeschooling to public school can be an emotional journey for your whole family. Hopefully the tips we outlined will help you to navigate this transition as painlessly as possible.
How can I transfer her homeschool credit so she doesn’t have to repeat the same class
You only need to worry about transferring credit if she’s in high school. You’ll need to ask the school she’s transferring to whether they will accept her homeschool credit. They may or may not. It’s up to each individual school system. If they do accept the credit, you may need to prepare a partial high school transcript for her. The school may be satisfied with a simple list of courses she’s completed along with grades and credit hours in which case you can skip the transcript.
Can I transfer a homeschool girl into 6th grade or will that be not-seamless?
Enrolling kids who aren’t claiming credits is usually pretty straightforward. Some schools may want to test them to place them. You should ask the local school
what their policy is on this.
Great read!!! Thanks for sharing such a great blog, blog like these will surely help each and every homeschoolers in homeschooling their children in best way.
[…] 5 tips for transitioning from homeschool to public school […]
My daughter is having issues with homeschooling and is wanting to go back to regular school. She’s in 4th grade and is struggling quite a bit, will she need to test to move on to 5th grade or will they have her redo 4th? Should we have her tested anyway?
Some schools have a policy of testing children that are returning to public school to see where the child should be placed.
Others will put the child into the grade the parent says that the child should be entering. If your daughter is struggling,
you may want to have her evaluated to see if she has undiagnosed learning challenges. The bottom line is that each school district
has their own policies governing admission and placement, so you should reach out to them to find out what their policy is and go
My daughter is wanting to go to public school and she’s in 10th grade would she have to repeat classes? How could I transfer her homeschool credit?
Depending on where you live, your public school may accept her homeschool credits or they may not. Commonly, public schools do not
accept high school credits from homeschoolers. Some schools will have the student test for credit, some schools will have the student
enroll at their grade level and work on self-paced courses for earlier credits. Each school or school district has its own set of
policies. It’s best to contact the school where your child would go to find out what their policy is.
My child did home school for six months in the eighth grade now she want to go to high school will they except her
Each school district has their own requirements for placing a student who has been homeschooled. In general, if a child is not claiming any high school credits, they
are allowed to enter high school as a freshman.
My daughter will be homeschooling for her 8th grade year and returning to public school for her 9th grade year. I read that it’s best to let them attend an accredited online school, but unfortunately we were not eligible for free public school online since we just moved to Texas. They suggested private tuition based homeschool or traditional homeschooling. I can only afford the latter. How do I find out my district (Conroe isd) requirements for transitioning.
In Texas, for the most part, if you are putting a child into public school in ninth grade you will not have any problems because your child
won’t have any high school credits that you want the public school to accept. It’s a good idea to call your local high school to find out what
their requirements are.
Thank you very much. Its really so much informative.
My child is homeschool and was doing 11th grade how she wants to do matric in a public school will they allow her to attend school or should she have to repeat?
Every school district and state has their own regulations regarding accepting credits that a student earned while being
homeschooled. You need to check with the public school that your daughter would be attending.
My child is in the 1st and 3rd grade and I want to home school them the rest of the year due to MA COVID Mandates. We are moving to Texas and wanted to sign them up for public school this August? What should I do to guarantee that they will get in to the 2nd and 4th grade? They are exceptional in their perspective grades now. I am thinking of pulling them out and home schooling them the last 2 months. Do you think this will be a problem? Thanks for the article. It was excellent!
Hello, I live and homeschool in Texas. You should not have any issues placing your children in 2nd and 4th grade as it is typical for Texas
schools to place children in grades that correspond to their ages. The only time people run into issues transitioning from homeschooling to public
school is usually when the students are in high school and want to transfer the credits they earned while homeschooling. Good luck and welcome to Texas!
how can i get back in public school if i been taking acellus home school program for my 10th grade year now trying to get back in public school for my 11th grade year what are the requirements in Mississippi do i have to take a test or if i fail the placement test do i have to repeat 10th grade…. Need answers ASAP
Hello Makaylia, each school district has their own requirments, so you should contact the high school that you would be attending to find out if they will accept the
credits you have already earned. Be prepared to find out that they may not and they could require you to test to earn the credits or re-take the courses. I usually advise
people who are homeschooling in high school to keep homeschooling until they graduate if possible. You should be able to do dual enrollment in community college to finish
most of your high school courses, earning high school and college credit at the same time.
I’ve home school our children in Texas due to covid. my son homeschooled for 3rd as and 4th grade. I also home schooled my twins for kinder and 1st grade. We are ready to enter public school again and wonder how placement is done. Do I need to provide anything? They should be entering 5th and 2and grade. Any advice please
Vanessa, generally in Texas the school will put your children into the grades that correspond to their ages. Some school districts will test for
placement, but that doesn’t happen often for elementary age students. Schools don’t usually ask for any documentation.
in AZ if i homeschool my grandchild in kinder can we have her attend certain classes like art etc on a part-time basis?
We are not familiar with the particulars of Arizona homeschool law or what your local school district allows. Your best bet is to contact the school that the child would attend
if they were enrolled in public school.
Hello, I live in Texas. I had homeschool my kids since covid came and now they want to go to public school. They are in 8th and 11th grade. What will I need to get them enrolled so they can go back to public school?
Hello to a fellow Texas homeschooler! In most cases, you can enroll your eighth grader without much of an issue since most eighth grade students
don’t have any high school credits. The 11th grader will be more of an issue. In general, Texas public schools don’t accept homeschool credits.
Some schools will award your child credit by examination. Some schools will make your child start in the freshman year, but give the student opportunity
to earn credits by doing additional self-paced coursework. I (Holly Williams Urbach, co-host of the The Happy Homeschooler Podcast) recommend that instead
of putting your child through the hassles of trying to go back to public school once they’ve earned high school credit, you instead look into
community college dual enrollment. Your child can complete much of their high school coursework while also earning college credit at the same time. If you are in
district for your local community college, the costs for dual-enrollment tuition are usually covered for some many credit hours and all you have to do is to
purchase textbooks. I would suggest you ask other homeschool parents about dual enrollment in your area.