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Danielle Bean

Danielle Bean
Danielle Bean, a mother of eight, is editor-in-chief of Catholic Digest and Faith & Family. She is author of My Cup of Tea, Mom to Mom, Day to Day, and most recently Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Though she once struggled to separate her life and her …
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Rachel Balducci

Rachel Balducci
Rachel Balducci is married to Paul and they are the parents of five lively boys and one precious baby girl. She is the author of How Do You Tuck In A Superhero?, and is a newspaper columnist for the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia. For the past four years, she has …
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Lisa Hendey

Lisa Hendey
Lisa Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa is also enjoys speaking around the country, is employed as webmaster for her parish web sites and spends time on various …
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Arwen Mosher

Arwen Mosher
Arwen Mosher lives in southeastern Michigan with her husband Bryan and their 5-year-old daughter, 3-year-old son, and 1-year-old twin boys. She has a bachelor's degree in theology. She dreads laundry, craves sleep, loves to read novels and do logic puzzles, and can't live without tea. Her personal blog site is Read My Posts

Rebecca Teti

Rebecca Teti
Rebecca Teti is married to Dennis and has four children (3 boys, 1 girl) who -- like yours no doubt -- are pious and kind, gorgeous, and can spin flax into gold. A Washington, DC, native, she converted to Catholicism while an undergrad at the U. Dallas, where she double-majored in …
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Robyn Lee

Robyn Lee
Robyn Lee is a 30-something, single lady, living in Connecticut in a small bungalow-style kit house built by her great uncle in the 1950s. She also conveniently lives next door to her sister, brother-in-law and six kids ... and two doors down are her parents. She received her undergraduate degree from …
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DariaSockey

DariaSockey
Daria Sockey is a freelance writer and veteran of the large family/homeschooling scene. She recently returned home from a three-year experiment in full time outside employment. (Hallelujah!) Daria authored several of the original Faith&Life; Catechetical Series student texts (Ignatius Press), and is currently a Senior Writer for Faith&Family; magazine. A latecomer …
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Guest Bloggers

Kate Lloyd

Kate Lloyd
Kate Lloyd is a rising senior, and a political science major at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire. While not in school, she lives in Whitehall PA, with her mom, dad, five sisters and little brother. She needs someone to write a piece about how it's possible to …
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Lynn Wehner

Lynn Wehner
As a wife and mother, writer and speaker, Lynn Wehner challenges others to see the blessings that flow when we struggle to say "Yes" to God’s call. Control freak extraordinaire, she is adept at informing God of her brilliant plans and then wondering why the heck they never turn out that …
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From Home School to the Classroom

Tips for Transition

The best advice I got about homeschooling? Do it one year at a time. The whole enterprise was a lot less overwhelming once I realized that I wasn’t making some kind of 12-year vow. I was just teaching my kids at home that year, because it made sense that year. Next year?  Who knows?

As it turned out, it made sense for five years. Then we did one year with two kids in private school and the rest at home. And this fall, my four oldest will go to a charter school, one will be in homeschool, and the three youngest will just be taking long, long baths all day. (Everyone asks me, “How do you do it?” Well, that’s how I do it: They take long, long baths.)

Here’s what we learned in our transition from home school to the classroom. (The following will be most helpful for parents of kids in elementary school.)

Before the year starts

1. Be positive in front of your kids. Many former homeschooling parents have mixed feelings about sending their kids into a classroom. Children soak up emotion and magnify it, so be optimistic and upbeat about the changes ahead.

2. Take your kids to meet their teachers and get a look at the classroom. They’ll feel much more secure if some things are familiar on the first day.

3. Ask if you can preview the books they will be using. In math especially, teaching systems vary widely, and you might need to prepare your child a little bit. It won’t kill them to do flash cards for a couple of weeks in August, and it will help alleviate that “Help, I don’t know anything!” feeling. (You’ll want to see the books yourself, so you’ll know how to help with homework.)

4.  If possible, try to meet some of your kids’ future classmates. Go to any local events or parks around the school—even to the school playground. Knowing classmates ahead of time is another great comfort.

5. Make sure your child knows about classroom manners! Many home schooled kids are used to getting attention the moment they need it. We actually already had a hand-raising policy when we homeschooled, but I still made sure they understood that, in a classroom, they might not always get called upon.

6. I’m not saying that your kids do this, but some kids say stuff like, “Give me that rosary or I’ll KILL YOU.” The school may have a zero-tolerance policy about certain kinds of language. Things that are taken for granted or considered jokes in your family might not be acceptable in the classroom. This is okay! There’s nothing wrong with learning to moderate your habits out of respect for other people.

Day-to-day operations

1. Make lunch the night before. Get your kids to make a list of things they like and don’t like, and tape it to the cabinet for easy reference. Older kids can make their own lunches, and you can always sneak a cute note in if you want to add a motherly touch.

2. Lay out clothes the night before. Make sure each kids owns at least one pair of shoes, and know where they are.

3. Have a box, drawer, cubby, shelf, or other designated, contained area for each kid to keep important papers in. Your child will still lose and ruin important papers routinely, but at least this way it won’t be your fault.

4. Let your child’s teacher know that you are on his side. You may feel overprotective at first, and inclined to see injustice where it doesn’t necessarily exist. If you establish a friendly, helpful relationship with the teacher, you will get a much better idea of what really goes on in the classroom.

5. Limit extracurricular activities for the first few months, especially if you were homebodies while homeschooling. It’s enough to get used to someone else’s basic schedule, without adding extras. You can always join in more activities later, when your family has adjusted.

6. Be open to seeing benefits. You made the decision to send your child into the classroom because you thought it was the right thing to do—so pay attention, and you are sure to see some good things come of it. Even if you’re not thrilled about the change, remember that God can bring good out of anything. Focus on what is good. It won’t be perfect, but neither was homeschooling.

Remember, you are still the primary influence in your kids’ lives. What goes on at home is at least as important as what goes on in the classroom. You’re turning their formal education over to someone else, but you’re not turning over your children.

Good luck, mom!  Your kids are going to do fine, and so will you.

—Simcha Fisher is a mother of eight who writes from her home in New Hampshire. She blogs at I Have to Sit Down.


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