Transition from Homeschool to Public School at Young Age

Updated on March 12, 2011
M.M. asks from Round Rock, TX
13 answers

I homeschooled my son from age 3 (just starting with basic stuff, phonics, etc) then more structured when he turned 5. However, after my second son was born it became too much for me, so we enrolled him in school. This was at age 6 and he had already completed 1st grade curriculum at home. The principal tested him and placed him in 2nd grade. He was the youngest and smallest in his class. He did fine, however, when he started 3rd grade at age 7 he began to display a lot of symptoms of stress and said the kids were not his friends. At this point we took him out of school to assess what to do. My mom told me that him being out of place socially was too much for him. Well - I wish the principal at the school would have had the wisdom (or cared enough) to point this out to us. My husband and I being new to the whole school system - we had no idea how the social aspect might affect him. We have switched to a private school now and he has been in the 2nd grade for a week now but the kids are still bigger than him and are already picking on him. So, to sum up.... Would he be better off in 1st or 2nd grade? I know several of the boys in 1st grade are 7 as well. However the teacher thinks he will be bored academically. But what is more important? That he can relate socially? I don't see the point of pushing him if he is not happy and making friends.
Thanks for any wisdom you can share.

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So What Happened?

So, we went ahead and put our son in 1st grade and have been very pleased with this decision. He seems much less stressed, and is making plenty of friends now. It definitely makes a huge difference for him to be with his age group and maturity level.
Thanks for all of your advice!

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answers from Dallas on

I would put him in his age group with children who can be his peers.

If he gets bored, the teacher can give him more work, more responsibility, etc. You can test him to see if he needs to be in the PACE class which is basically "gifted/talented" class which meets weekly and usually has higher level work to do in class.

I've been in the classroom as a sub over 10 yrs and it is heartbreaking to see a child be pushed to another grade academically when they are not ready emotionally....... especially in the younger grades when children are bonding and making friends.

It is also tough to see a home schooled child come into the classroom for the first time and the adjustments they have to make because they are not accustomed to the classroom environment with children sharing knowledge, friendships, and all growing emotionally/socially.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

Being bored academically is far better than being neglected and not maturing socially. I am shocked that the principal would have advised you in this way! Being a teacher and a kid skipped up a grade, I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Think about school dances, sports, and all the related that will be happening starting in Middle School. If you advance him that is only three years away for him and he would be 9?? You are right, social skills are way more important. I had a student last year who wrote and read in both English and Korean!! She was doing math that some 3rd graders can't do and she was not bored, she loved every minute of Kindergarten. 1st grade is the best place, he can become a teacher's helper or get on AR. There are many possibilities! Explore and ask the school to work with you to get him in the best possible place for him:)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Our public school has some "challenge" periods AND extra challenge work. (Even in 1st grade.) I think he should go in the class where he fits socially and has similar maturity, not based solely on academics. I understand that your son tested out of first grade, but I suspect many kids would IF they were all tested before they begin. There's a wide range of academic level within ANY grade.
Just the change in atmosphere and routine might keep "boredom" at bay. Just a thought...

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answers from Austin on

I agree with most, not to push him academically. As a high school teacher, I see the difficulty of being the youngest/smallest. Take his situation now, multiply it and add all the hormones - that's high school for boys. Talk with the 1st and 2nd grade teachers at your school and get their take. It's really annoying for a parent to come in and tell them what they want instead of having the teachers assess the situation. Private schools are great because you have a little more flexibility (they don't have as many students per teacher and they can personalize your child's education a little easier).

To help with his self-esteem, put him in karate. He will gain confidence and learn to "walk tall" and command respect. All this change is hard on a kid. And stop all the conversation around him that he is too young, too old, too smart, too little, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I noticed you're in Round Rock ISD schools...over here in the LISD schools, they have what is called Quest. It is a program for the more intelligent/advanced kids. My son is bored like your son and he's a little younger than the kids in his class like your son. So we put him in Quest and so far so good in that it keeps his brain functioning along and socially he gets what he needs at his age by staying in kindergarten. His teacher has him reading above most the other kids when it comes to taking home certain things to work on . So he's sort of found a middle ground, if you know what I mean. Perhaps if you and your son sit down together and find a middle ground with his teacher, that would work? He could take home a little more advanced homework, hopefully be involved in a program like Quest at his school, and then just be patient with the other kids his age in the 1st grade when it comes to learning the curriculum.
Hope this helps,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

For me, the emotional and mental maturity & development of a child, is more important.

Your son basically skipped a grade.

ULTIMATELY, it is the Parent, that decides. And you then tell the school, what you want for your child.

Keep in mind, that from 2nd grade to 3rd grade, there is a BIG jump, in complexity of the school work, and in the development of the kids. And in expectations... academically and socially/emotionally.
Even my daughter's Teachers said that.

2nd grade, is nothing like 3rd Grade.
I saw that with my daughter. Who is now in 3rd grade.
My Daughter's Teacher said, 3rd grade is no longer primary school. It is secondary schooling... in terms of the academics and social/emotional interactions.

Then, from 3rd grade to 4th grade, it takes ANOTHER leap, in expectations academically and in the social/emotional expectations of a child. BIG difference, between 3rd and 4th grade.

Next, MOST schools have a gifted and talented program. So academically, your son can be in that. Since he is academically, ahead.

Next, you can also work with him, on personal and emotional aspects. Teaching him on how to have self-assurance, to be proud of WHO he is, to speak up and express himself, how to ask for help from a teacher, To SPEAK up when other kids pick on him etc. How to choose friends. How to be himself etc. ie: helping him, gain.... his sense of self and confidence.

IF kids are picking on him, ie: bullying, you NEED to tell the Teacher.
That is what I do. A child, needs to learn, via their parents and how they handle it... HOW to cope and HOW to correct, situations like that. Thereby teaching them, how not to be a 'victim' or think that they have to put up with it.
That is what a Teacher is there for. They will not necessarily know, if kids are picking on another kid, unless a parent or the child, speaks up about it.
That is what my Daughter's Teacher said. She said, to ALWAYS tell her, when things like this are occurring. She then, speaks to the ENTIRE class about it, and the instigating child, about it. She teaches the children, about behavior and what is INappropriate.

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answers from Houston on

My mom's (who was a teacher for 30+ year) theory on childhood/skipping grades is that "you only get 18 years to be a child, why push it". I agree with her. If, by age, he would actually be a 1st grader right now, move him to first grade, whether you keep him in private or go back to public school. He may be ahead of his peers academically, but socially, physically, and his maturity may fit more in with 1st graders. If he is bored in 1st grade, consult with his teacher and see if she can provide more challenging work for him to do as extra. To do this, you would be better off in a private school, as they have more leeway as to curriculum than public is allowed.

I would never push a child, especially a boy, to be in any other grade than what he would match with chronologically by age. The principal did do you a disservice by admitting him to 3rd grade. He may have been ready for it academically, but certainly not psychologically it sounds like. Kids pick up on those things real quick. There is a lot of difference in a 1st and 3rd grader mentally and physically.

Try him out in 1st grade and see how he does.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

These kids need to get to know your son. He is a stranger to them, he is younger and smaller. So in kid terms he's weird. I would not put him back to his grade/age level, he could become bored with school and not participate. I would invite one or two of the boys and their parents over for a cook out so the kids can get to know each other. Slowly you can plan 'playdates' for him and the other kids in school. I would also get him involved in sports, more kids to befriend.

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answers from Memphis on

So he tested out of 1st grade completed a whole year of second grade and started this school year in 3rd grade? You are really between a rock and hard place if I am reading this correctly. If you put him back 2 grades he is really going to be in a bad spot. You really have to have a motivated teacher to basically be a 1st grade teacher to everyone else and a 3rd grade teacher to your son. Try setting up outings/playdates for your son. Get him involved in a sport (which would definitely be with kids his age). These are things that you would be doing if he was homeschooled.



answers from Austin on

To me, it seems that we form opinions about ourselves through social interactions, kind of like seeing ourselves through the eyes of others. Oh how I wish that wasn't true, but unfortunately it is, at least for some. So, I think you should protect and nurture your child's emotional/social development as best you can. I'm thinking that would be to hold him one year so he can be "the smarted guy" instead of "the smallest guy"...especially in those awkward pre-teen and teenage years. I suspect it will only get worse when everyone starts spurting hormones! Missy has great points! I especially think the suggestion to transfer to another elementary school is one to consider. Warning, I'm biased. I waited one year for both my boys to join Kinder (at 6 rather than 5). So far, they're "the smart guys" in the gifted/talent programs, etc.... Tough decision! I wish you the best!


answers from Beaumont on

I have taught for 22 yrs and I have seen this over the years and also experienced it with my third child. She was very smart and could have gone into this program where they skip a grade but I knew the social aspect would be bad. It is bad at both ends of the spectrum. They do not fit in socially when they are the youngest in elem and then you have them graduating from high school a year younger than everyone and they are not prepared emotionally to go away to college and deal with all that either.
I do not know what to do about this year. It is now March., But next year I would put him back in public school although maybe in a different one than before and put him with the kids his age, would that be 2nd grade? I got lost. I advise most parents to hold their kids back before putting them in these days because the stress of testing is awful. It is better for them to be the largest and most mature then the least mature.
Sorry for your troubles, hang in there. I would not let him be picked on. Put him in first for the last three months or keep him home and start over next year in second grade.



answers from San Antonio on

This happened to my husband. He skipped 2nd grade. Things went OK for him until middle school when all the other boys started growing a lot and then by high school, he was socially, emotionally and physically behind. Several teachers wanted my oldest son to skip 1st grade because he was reading/ able to do arithmetic on his own before Kinder. We declined b/c of my husband's experience and his loneliness in high school. We kept him with his peers and found all the GT/ advanced classes that we could. In high school, he took all AP classes and got straight A's.

I feel bad for your predicament and know you'll get a lot of good advice. I would encourage you to stop blaming the principal. I sense your hostility toward him/ her above in your statement.
Not just you, but all parents, need to research things and take some time to examine all your options when they relate to your children. Especially important things about medical care and education.
So don't take this as flaming or criticism, but doing a lot of reading and asking questions probably could have avoided this problem.

And I wish you and your son well.



answers from Dallas on

NEw kids always get picked on , he will find his niche, and friends, it's only been a week, keep him in the 2nd grade, for definate. It doesn't matter how small he is - there are kids in my sons class who are small and popular - my son is big, and not popular!
I homeschooled until 1st grade, then my son went to school half way through 1st - it took him a while to settle in, and he gets picked on, because he is geeky, and eccentric.

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