How to help homeschoolers transitioning to high school
Transitioning to high school for homeschoolers can be a good experience or a bad experience depending on the amount and quality of information provided to the homeschooler by the school and by parents. it is best to help to make it a good experience for the homeschooler and for the parents. If the homeschooler has a good transitioning experience, the parents can be relieved that there child is now doing well in the public school system and will continue to do well; and the parents can begin to relax a little.
Homeschooling may have been an extra burden for the parents, and high school teachers should do everything they can to ease the burden on both parents and their homeschoolers; and to also help the transitioning homeschooler fit in and feel welcome.
High school is a whole different experience from home schooling. High school is a community of a student’s peers who come from all walks of life and all the many cultures represented by their country. High school is a “hustle and bustle” of gong to different rooms for classes and getting to classes on time. Storing books in lockers and getting to classes through packed hallways is all part of the high school experience.
The homeschooled student typically receives one on one instruction from their parents. Therefore the transition will be from one on one learning where the student received almost total attention to high school learning where the teacher has to divide her attention among many students. There is a lot of competion in high school with students competing for grades, sports teams, and recognition for various activies.
* Introduction and orientation
To make it easier for homeschoolers to transition from homeschooling to high school, homeschoolers should be told all about the rules, classes, and teachers they will have before starting school. In other words, the homeschooler should first be introduced to the culture of high school. This can be done by the school in conjunction with the parents and the homeschooler himself.
First of all, a handbook should be sent to the parents and homeschooler. This handbook outlines all rules of the school. There is a map in the handbook showing where all rooms are including lunchrooms or cafeteria, music room, auditorium, and the principal’s office.
A special orientation for any new homeschoolers should be made available for the homeschooler. This can be attended by the parents also. The parents should be fully informed of all activities and classes. The homeschooler’s schedule should be sent to the homeschooler and his parents well in advance of classes, in case the homeschooler and his parents would like to make any changes to the schedule. Any needed changes should be available to the homeschooler. The parents have worked closely with their homeschooled student and know what are the best activities and classes for the homeschooler.
The class schedule should be sent well in advance to the homeschooler and his parents along with the rules handbook. This way if there are important accommodations the student needs, or if classes have to be changed it can be worked out with the school personnel, administrators, and teachers.
All classes should coincide with what the student has been learning as a homeschooler. Classes should be approved by the homeschooler and their parents.
Teachers should know in advance about the students in their class that are transitioning from homeschool. This will enable the teacher to better help the homeschooler in their transition.
Teachers should be aware of the differences between homeschool and public school, and take this into consideration if a problem arises.
Teachers should notify parents immediately of any problems they are aware of. Also extra meetings between parents, the homeschooler, and the teacher are advisable. Parents in the case of homeschoolers are very concerned with their child’s education and are interested in working closely with the school and their homeschooler to help them in their transition.
High school rules and policy are very important and homeschoolers must be made aware of all school rules and school policies, so that they won’t be surprised by something they didn’t know about.
Lunchtime is quite different than lunchtime at home. It is not lunch at the family dinner table, but lunch in a large cafeteria that is noisy and filled with students. There can be cliques and friends who gather together in the lunchroom. There might be groups who shun other groups.
It is a good idea, to locate any of the homeschooler’s friends so that the transitioning homeschooler might have lunch with people they already know. If this is not possible, then it might be a good idea for the homeschooler to sit with students who are similar to the homeschooler – other homeschoolers – students with similar grades and interests. In any case the homeschooler should be totally informed of things that could go wrong while at lunch in the cafeteria.
Homeschoolers may be used to a special diet, and may not always be able to eat the school lunch. School lunch menus should be sent home with the homeschooler about a week beforehand, so that they can take a lunch to school in lieu of the school lunch.
Driving a car
Homeschoolers may be learning to drive or actually driving. High school administrators should make every effort to accommodate homeschool drivers. Homeschool drivers transitioning to high school may need a special parking section. This is not totally necessary, but homeschoolers transitioning to high school should be given every opportunity to make their transition smooth and unstressful until they have become familiar with the new situation of high school.
Socialization – making friends
Both teachers and parents should endeavor to provide healthy socialization activities for homeschoolers transitioning to high school. Teachers can reinforce students’ choices of good friends. Parents could make sure to keep their children involved in any socialization activities their children were involved in while homeschooling. Socialization activities that your homeschooled children were engaged in do not have to stop because the children are now in high school. You can continue parties and get-togethers with other homeschoolers. You can also bring new friends they have made in high school into the fold for greater congruity in friendships.
Staying away from the bully
Homeschoolers should be informed about any sort of bullying activity and instructed to stay away from the bully. Homeschoolers should report any bullying activity to teachers and parents immediately. Also, teachers and parents should speak to the homeschooler to find out how the homeschooler is doing and whether any sort of bullying behavior is occurring. Often children feel so manipulated and scared by a bully that they will not report it. Every effort should be made to know what the homeschooler’s school life is about in order to stop any sort of bullying before it gets started. Bullying can seriously demean a student into feelings of worthlessness and despair.
Staying away from drug dealers
Drug dealers have infiltrated the public school system. Children should be warned about the consequences of being lured by drug dealers who would attempt to destroy the morals of any student. Parents, teachers, and students need a good reporting system.
Homeschoolers would greatly benefit by any normal high school activities
* the school newspaper
* school play
* Junior and Senior Prom
* athletic activities
* professional organizations and clubs
All of the above activities are usually on the agenda for any high school and the homeschooler should be encouraged to join all of the above. These activities are all educational and will help the student fit into school life. The transitioning homeschooler should be involved in at least three extra-curricular activities for each school year or each semester.
Also, professional organizations such as Future Teachers of America, Future Nurses of America, and Future Farmers of America are all great clubs to join in high school that can help the homeschooler in their quest for fulfilment in school, life, and a future career.
Professional organizations such as the National Honor Society and organizations involved with the National spelling bees for English and other languages are also important organizations for the transitioning homeschooler.
After school activities
Homeschoolers transitioning to high school should have every opportunity to indulge in normal after school activities, such as going out on dates, going to the movies, going bowling with friends or family, going to high school dances and athletic events. These are normal activities that help children grow and develop into normal, active, and mature adults. Teachers can help here by always informing students of after school activities held at school.
In conclusion homeschoolers should be informed before they start high school of all the amenities of high school with a rules manual or handbook and perhaps an activities handbook. They should know through a good map of the school beforehand where everything is located. Most of all, teachers should recognize any students that have been previously homeschooled so as to help make their transition a little better than it would be without a little extra attention.