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Home > Support > Homeschooling > Switching from home school to public school...
Question: Dear Sandra, I was encouraged to write to you after reading your response to the family who wants to put their 8th grader in the Catholic middle school for socialization. I see a similar need in my daughter who will be 12 this summer and going into the 7th grade. She is a bright and happy girl, but suffering from lack of relationships due to being an "only". We have used CHC curricula exclusively these past 51/2 years and loved it. But she is a little bored with it and I don't want to change curricula. I know her boredom is based on lack of relationships more than real dislike of your workbooks (in actuality she loves them and the religious flavor but is "going on 12"). We have a Catholic K-8 school nearby that has just opened it's new building but my daughter doesn't want to go there. Her friends at church in her youth group go to the middle school. Last year we allowed her to participate in a daily band class at the middle school (through our home school group that is affiliated with the the middle school) and she learned to play the flute very well and played in 3 school concerts. She loved it. She also loves playing basketball on the community Park and Rec team. I love homeschooling with her, but would like her to have a year or 2 with children her age. I would love her to be able to continue in the local middle school because of its music program and proximity to our home. The Catholic school 25 minutes away is new and doesn't have too many programs right now, what with paying for the new building. Our church has quite a growing youth group with Loaves and Fishes lunch every Sunday; then they break into age groups for faith formation. Our daughter takes part in this and loves it; she was even the kindergarten teacher's assistant last year as a 6th grader, and she loved it (I am the coordinator of the K-5 Faith Formation program at our church). She is also an altar server once or twice a month. To me this all adds up to a good support for her, in that I think she could handle the public middle school influence. There are a number of our parish children who attend the middle school who no longer attend faith formation on Sundays that my daughter would tell us about last year. The fact that she does attend might be a good influence on them. My husband is hesitant about the non-Catholic atmosphere, but the school is good, safe, and we are VERY active in our church (he belongs to Knights of Columbus and we both sing with our 10:45 Mass choir); that I feel we need to trust that what we are already doing is a good thing and trust in the community around us. It is a difficult decision and I've actually been discerning it for a year and never would have thought I would be the one to suggest the public middle school because I was a Catholic grade and high school child. (through 10th grade, and then Catholic Jesuit college). I would really like to have your opinion on this...thank you in advance for your response, and God bless you for the work that you do.

Dear Parent,

Thank you for your question and your comments. Socialization can become more important as children become older. It is natural for them to want to reach out to the world. Some children may feel this more keenly than others, especially an only child or the last child to leave the nest. I think of Catherine of Siena who wanted to live a withdrawn life at home until she received the inspiration to go out into the world. She was ready to do so. God can be served in various ways.

Based upon the information in your email, you seem confident that your daughter may be ready to go out into the world as well. You know her best, and the whole point of home schooling is to do what is best for our children. Your daughter has already had some preparation for making the switch, and if she is agreeable, I would let her try it.

Not every middle school is the same, and schools can change rapidly depending upon changes in the administration. You will want to keep the lines of communication open between your daughter and yourself and between the school.

You should not be surprised to see some changes in her as the influences will probably work both ways. We cannot help being influenced by others and by changes in our environment, but at some point, your daughter will be out in the world and will need to understand differences in education, traditions, culture, and morality. She will need time to adapt, and you may wish to set some boundaries for her. While certain behavior may be acceptable or tolerable at school, you do not have to accept that behavior at home. For example, it is not uncommon for middle schoolers to whine, but you may make it clear that whining is not acceptable at home.

Switching to public school may be good for your daughter for a while or for the rest of her schooling. You can always switch back if serious issues arise. You can also supplement the public school program if necessary, but I would not overburden your daughter with extra work. Looking further into specific topics together or finding out what the Church has to say about issues together may be sufficient.

May God smile upon your family and grant you peace over your decision.

Sandra Garant





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