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Public Schools Here They Come


Beginning in January, both of my younger children will attend the local public schools. My heart breaks just thinking about it. It brings up all the sense of failure I have pushed away the last two years as we have struggled so much financially, with housing and then with this move to our new tiny town. And I am scared. But in the end, I want what is best for them, for all my kids, and right now with our current town, my work issues and the need for me to pick up a lot more work and continue to job hunt…this is what is best for right now.

We have visited to two schools they will be at, met with the counselors and Gymnast has completed the required testing.  (I also tested them independently to make sure I am very clear on where they are at.)

We will still have quite a few logistics to work out with gymnastics and volleyball training and competitions going on through April and us needing to on the road 15 minutes after school lets out. But we will take it as it comes, and figure it out.

Saving Money

I know this is a bad thing, in general, but it will save me some money…maybe.  The majority of the school Gymnast will attend qualifies for free breakfast and lunch, so they offer it for free to the entire school. My guess is he will not want to take his lunch, and he rarely eats breakfast, so that will save me some grocery money. That is not the case at Princess new school, so I don’t know if she will pack a lunch or purchase, I don’t even know the prices yet.

The Silver Lining

With my work situation, this will really free me up to search for jobs and work during the day. It will really be a new experience for me since the little kids have always been homeschooled.

I don’t know if it is the “rest of our lives” school option, but it is the “for right now” option we are going with. But I will be honest, I will most likely be like a mom of a kindergartner and come home to cry after I get them to school.


  • Reply Angie |

    HUGS! You’re not a failure Hope. You’re doing what you feel is right at the time. Keep your head up.

  • Reply Mindy |

    You are NOT a failure! You’ve hit a rough patch. I’m proud of you for giving this option a try as I know it isn’t easy for you. If it works for them, great. If not, it can be temporary. Good luck with the job search!

  • Reply Laura |

    It’s not a failure to re-evaluate and do what’s best for your kids based on current circumstances. I hope they like school.

    • Reply Hope |

      Me too, thanks, Laura! I am very please that both tested several grade levels ahead in most subjects. I know they are going in at a good place academically so I won’t panic over that this semester as they get accustomed to the school culture and social aspects.

  • Reply Walnut |

    Hope, you’re exercising all of your options. There’s a chance that the kids will go to school, make friends and LOVE IT. They’ll get involved in the fabric of the small town and you’ll build an awesome support system.

    There’s also a chance they HATE IT. And it’s not a good solution. You’ll have some teaching moments, but also can exercise the option to return to homeschooling at any point.

    You’re a tough mama who loves her kids fiercely. Don’t let the demons in your head tell you anything differently.

  • Reply debtor |

    how come they have to go to different schools? They are 2 years apart no?

    Anyway, not a failure. I’m actually hoping and praying they love it. It will make life so much easier for you and anyway you taught them the foundations so in terms of learnings from home schooling you achieved something.

      • Reply Hope |

        They will be in middle school and high school. There is only 1 year age difference (12 and 13) however they are both pretty advanced academically. Princess is essentially skipping a grade or two based on the districts acceptance of her transcripted high school classes (she began high school classes at 10 years old.) One of my greatest fears with public school, other than the negative influences and exposure, is that their love for learning and exploration will be dampened. So far, the district seems willing to work with us. I am keeping Gymnast out of the gifted classes and keeping him on grade level based on age for now to give him time to adjust to the routine and social setting. That will be the most challenging for him with all he has going on.

    • Reply Hope |

      They are one year apart, but both are pretty advanced academically. Princess is so far advanced, she will be skipping a grade or two; therefore, she will be at the high school while I am keeping Gymnast at the grade he would be at age wise for social reasons. They do say boys mature more slowly than girls. That is definitely true with these two.

  • Reply Alexandra |

    I second all of the above comments! Good for you for reevaluating the situation and taking the action you deem best for the time being.

  • Reply Jean |

    You are NOT a failure for putting the kids in public school. There have been so many changes in your life over the past two years that you NEEDED to re-evaluate the kids’ education path. I think this will be a positive change, at least from a social perspective. The kids are feeling isolated in your small town so this will be a great opportunity for them to get out and meet new friends. If it doesn’t work out, you have options and can re-evaluate at the end of the school year.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you for the encouraging words, Jean. I think the timing to try this is good. Both kids are well ahead academically so hopefully the academics will not be a challenge while they adjust to the social and structural change. I just don’t want them to lose their love of learning and exploring.

      • Reply Jean |

        I think you’ve already given them (or helped develop) their love of learning and exploring. I don’t think that public school will take that away from them. If they get bored, encourage them to do more studying on a subject outside of class, or ask the teacher if he/she can recommend/give them additional work. I remember going to the library as a junior in high school and getting books on Abraham Lincoln because I wanted to know more than what we learned in US History class. So talk to them about what they’re learning and encourage them to go beyond the classroom if you see that they have more interest in a subject.

  • Reply Tami |

    I hope it is a great experience for them and you. My experience with public schools for my kids was overwhelmingly positive. I hope that’s your experience too.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you, Tami. I am pretty impressed with what the high school offers. I am praying the kids have a positive experience.

  • Reply MA |

    Of all of the things you’ve failed at, this is the one you are worried about. There is absolutely nothing wrong with public education and no kid is too good for it. I went to public school. I have a masters degree, work, and know how to manage my finances which is more than I can say for some. So far none of your decisions make any sense and the one time you make a smart decision you are hung up on it. It’s mind boggling.

    • Reply Anna |

      MA, I find your comment incredibly rude and think you owe Hope an apology. Her personal goal and preference was to be able to homeschool her children and that’s where she feels like she failed, not in the fact they are going to public school. Homeschooling allowed them the flexibility to focus on their extra curriculars etc—it’s not that they’re “too good” for public school.

    • Reply Malady |

      They say that for everything, there is a season.
      A time to speak, a time to stay silent.
      A time for kindness, and a time for constructive criticism.

      I’m assuming there must also be a time for cruelty, but I don’t think this is it.

  • Reply cwaltz |

    Changing things up to make the budget work doesn’t make you a failure it makes you a mother that has to make choices and prioritize. By the way, you’ll find you will still be responsible for teaching your children, the only difference is that now you will share this responsibility with others. There will be parts that are good about that(it frees up time) and parts that will be a challenge(communication sometimes is challenging when you have to deal with people who may have different opinions than yours.) Anyway, hopefully this will free up some of your time so you can get your ducks in a row and enjoy more time with the kids like the time you had a Universal without the stress that comes with financial concerns.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thank you for your encouraging words, cwaltz. I have certainly made it clear to both of them that academics are first and if I see those suffering, I will not hesitate to pull them out. But I am looking forward to hopefully a little less demand on my time for school and more dedicated, alone time for work and projects.

  • Reply Mindy |

    I’m so proud of you for making this decision. I know it was a hard one, but it really seemed like the best option given yiur current situation. Best of luck to the kids! If it’s helpful to hear, my best friend was not able to homeschooling her daughter this year either because she needed to bring in additional income and her daughter is loving the friends and activities that she’s getting to experience now.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thanks, Mindy. I am trying to stay positive. It’s just scary and all my dreams of our homeschooling life are hard to give up, but so much has changed with this move. I know it’s the right decision for now.

  • Reply JayP |

    Just curious, what is it about public school that you dislike? Have you had negative experiences there? They may really like it. Hope it works out.

    • Reply Hope |

      It’s not so much disliking public school, it’s about losing what we have in homeschooling. But alot of that we lost with this move, the resources and groups. They just aren’t here.

      And yes, I hope they like it. But it still scares me. An 11 year old at the middle school where Gymnast will be going just killed themselves last week. And he is definitely my “I want to be poplar” “I need people to like me kid” – I’m sure my worries are shared by parents everywhere when it comes to that stuff.

  • Reply Kili |

    Hi Hope,
    Kudos for making that decision.
    I assume it was not an easy one.
    I think it will definitely be beneficial for your kids to interact with peers/teachers in a new environment.
    Assumably not everything will be ideal – but when is a situation ever totally ideal?

    Best of luck for the kids + their new adventure.
    Will a school bus pick them up? Or will you drive them there?

    • Reply Hope |

      We will have to work out the logistics of getting there. Thankfully the bus will stop at our house to pick them up in the morning because it’s dark outside. But it’s an hour before school and all grades ride the same bus. I will definitely be taking them the first week or so until they are comfortable with it.

      And I will have to pick them up every day since we must leave for sports training before the bus would arrive home.

  • Reply Pam E-P |

    I guess I don’t understand why public school is seen as a failure. I have 2 kids who are products of public school. One is writing his dissertation and works for NASA, while the other just finished cosmetology school and is working at a very nice salon. One had some struggles and the other did not, but you can’t put your kids in a bubble. I work at a small, private college and see homeschooled kids who were so sheltered that they either have trouble relating to the other students or go crazy with their first taste of independence. This is not ALL homeschooled kids, of course, but I see enough to think of them as trends. I applaud you for making a decision that goes against your heart, but understand that it can be insulting to those of us who are products of public school and who put our children in public school to describe it as a failure.

    • Reply Hope |

      I am not describing public school as a failure. I am describing myself as a failure. For not maintaining the life I planned for us. For having to go against everything I believe is best for my particular kids. For giving up so many of my dreams and goals for my life/our life. That is where I feel a sense of failure.

      I too am a product of public school. This is a personal choice for my children, not a judgment on how others raise theirs.

      • Reply Pam E-P |

        Maybe try to think of it in less black and white terms. While you might think it “best” that they be homeschooled, think of it in terms of advantages and disadvantages. There are advantages AND disadvantages to BOTH forms of schooling. There is no perfect situation in real life, and if you live long enough, you’ll have to redefine your goals many times. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve failed. It often means you’ve come to understand that there really is no “best,” and that success and failure do not have rigid and narrow definitions.

  • Reply debtor |

    Coming back to add – Hope I think all parents feel this at some point in their lives about their kids on a variety of issues. From teaching a child all about being an independent thinker and spending money on tons of sports to instill self confidence and then they go off to high school and start hanging out with the potheads or drug users because they want to feel cool.

    It won’t make you feel better right now but just remember that at the end of the day your kids will be who they will be. You can only try and lay a solid foundation but you honestly can not really predict how they will turn out. If say one of them goes off to school now and then loses their love for learning, well then even if you had stayed homeschooling it would probably have happened when they went of to college or when they started making their own decisions.

    At this point you have invested a good number of years so have faith that something will stick (even if it’s not everything). Your kids are smart and as with all kids can handle soooo much more than their parents ever give them credit for (probably because you remember when they needed you for everything).

    Anyway, just saying this to let you know that this fear is normal and it will pass, i’m sure if you have some readers who were say from a small town and had their kids go off to college in “the big city” they probably felt the same. You might see it as a loss of innocence but it’s just inevitable growth.

    Like I said, I really hope they like it as that will make it all so much easier.

    Good luck!

  • Reply Kate |

    I don’t think you are a failure at all! Just trying something new. This must have been a hard decision for you. I too tend to get caught up in being attached to certain outcomes in life… the most helpful thing a therapist ever told me was to “live my life as an experiment” – just see what happens if you do something different. It has helped tremendously when things don’t go the way I hoped or expected.

So, what do you think ?