By World Family Education
Transitioning from home education to traditional schooling is a major life adjustment and involves several phases of adjustment. Your family will need time to adapt to the new situation, new expectations, and new roles.
Read more about Transitions and how to handle them successfully from World Family Education.
Moving from the flexibility of learning at home to a strictly scheduled classroom environment will be a challenge for many students. Your child may struggle with sustained attention, following school rules, and stamina for the longer school day.
Your encouragement and positive attitude are probably the most important supports your child needs to make this change successfully. Children usually reflect the perspective parents express. Focusing on the benefits of going to school will help your child stay confident as they navigate a new learning environment.
Be prepared to provide documentation to the new school about your child’s home education experience. Closely documenting your home education studies and creating a transcript will help the school understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Most schools require documentation of courses and grades for admittance.
Below are some specific areas you will see differences between home education and traditional school followed by some tips to help with the transition.
Traditional school is rather stationary with most educational activities happening on a campus. Students move around from class to class or spend most of the day in one classroom. Students usually have defined spaces for themselves, such as assigned seating at desks or personal lockers. Some spaces are more public than at home, such as bathrooms and locker rooms.
A traditional school usually expects students to sit in a formal classroom where the teacher is the center of attention. There can be many distractions in a classroom, and social distractions can be especially challenging. The main teaching methods are lecture, group work, textbooks, and some hands-on activities. The teacher focuses on the “average” student and works to help all students master the same content and skills.
Traditional schools design their curriculum to meet national or international accreditation standards. It is meant to be systematic and consistent. Far more than just a collection of textbooks or resources, the curriculum includes all the classroom and extracurricular activities designed to meet these standards. Many international schools value academic challenges and achievement.
Traditional school assessments help teachers understand how students are meeting certain standards. These can be based on the school’s own standards or on a national standard. Within classrooms, teachers give tests, quizzes, and other assessments regularly to monitor progress and give grades. These grades are kept in student records and used to determine status in school.
A traditional school has a predetermined calendar and daily schedule. There is little flexibility in this, as most schools must complete a certain number of school days. The structure of a typical school day includes blocks of time that define the amount of time spent on a subject or activity. During class time, students complete timed activities and follow deadlines for assignment completion. Grades are impacted by not following these deadlines.
A traditional school has a standardized discipline policy, but within each classroom expectations may vary depending on the teachers’ culture and confidence. In a national school, these policies and practices will be heavily influenced by local culture and norms.
A traditional school will be systematic in its approach to building organizational skills and responsibility in the student. Schools will vary in how much support they provide for students and how much parental involvement they require. In general, students will be held responsible for knowing the routine, managing time, organizing resources, and completing tasks. Some schools will assist by offering organizational calendars and posting information in the classroom. There will be consequences for not being prepared or organized.
Any traditional school will certainly have a culture you will need to learn. In an international school, this culture blends the host country and the predominate culture of the teachers and staff. Interestingly, there is also a third cultural dynamic that can often be overlooked, and that is the general culture of international schools. The blend of international staff and students creates its own common cultural thread that’s felt in most international schools regardless of location.
The traditional school model offers a potential for rich social interaction and significant relationships with peers and adults. Most adults have been socialized in this way, so we are familiar with it and understand that there are challenges as well. Kids learn a lot as they navigate difficult relationships, deal with disappointment or conflict, and process social pressures.
Reentry: When Homeschool Students Enroll in Traditional Schools — PBS Kids explores the challenges of transitioning to traditional school and some helpful ideas.
How to help your home educated child adjust to school — Suggestions for the transition to traditional schooling from Expat Child.
Twelve Ways to Prepare for Middle School: Making the Switch from Homeschooling to the Classroom — TCKCare-ed.com provides helpful ideas to make the transition. Site is temporarily offline.
5 Tips for Transitioning from Online School or Homeschooling to a Traditional Classroom — Advice from Niche Resources for making the adjustment smoother.