What's it like to go from homeschool to public school?

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As homeschoolers, we like to talk about how amazing it is to switch from a public school to homeschooling. But what's it like to transition from a home education to a "normal" one? How do homeschoolers do in a classroom setting?

I can only speak for myself. I'd love to hear your story in the comments. Here's mine:

A Brief History of Luke's Homeschooling
After a year of Kindergarten at a private Christian school -- the sum total of my memories involving recess and the giant cardboard blocks in the corner -- I was homeschooled. From 1st through 8th grade, I grew up on the incredible literature and style of Sonlight. I struggled to learn how to read. I did fine in math. Several years in, my mom discovered that my spelling was terrible and took steps to correct that. I enjoyed the free time homeschooling provided. I was involved in many extracurricular activities. I had friends.

Entering Public School
Sonlight did not yet have high school programs when the time came for me. That was fine. I was ready to go into ministry at my school. Public school was very different. I remember following the crowds down the halls for registration and feeling frustrated by the inefficiency of it all. I felt lost. I felt very out of place. I felt awkward.

Soon, however, I was no longer a newbie. The adjustment to classroom life was stressful but not difficult. In fact, I had a very similar experience four years later when I entered college. It was the change that was hard, not the content or the pace or the structure. The school was new. The expectations were new. But public school was easy after being homeschooled.

Finding My Stride
I enjoyed going to many of my classes. I excelled. My teachers loved me. I hated homework. I rocked on tests and papers. I mostly had fun in cross country, band, swimming, theater, debate, wood shop, the school paper, and all the other clubs and teams and activities in which I participated. I was even Homecoming King.

But for all the people I knew and who knew me, I didn't have any close friends. This had nothing to do with my homeschool socialization; high school just was not a great place for me to find a kindred spirit.

Four years after entering the public school system, I graduated Valedictorian. In other words, I had no real trouble switching to public school after being homeschooled.

Homeschoolers do great in college too.

Do you have a student who has made the switch from homeschooling to a traditional school setting? I'd love to hear your story.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian

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