After enrolling my sixth homeschooled child in middle school at CCS, I received an invitation to write this blog post. I assume that the eternal question of how and why to transition a homeschool child to a classroom setting is on a lot of people’s minds, and it should be. Statistics show that there are more homeschoolers in the state of North Carolina than there are private school students. So the questions of how and when are pretty relevant.
Most homeschooling parents I know homeschool their children so that they can meet the needs of each child on an individual basis. With that in mind, there is no single answer to the questions of how and when. The transition from homeschool to a classical Christian school is one that our family has made six times, and each time I have been pleasantly surprised by the unique joys and struggles that present themselves. Each transitioning homeschooler is, for the first time, faced with homework, timed tasks, and spending long hours in a classroom at a desk without checking out the pantry for a snack! It affects each one in a different way. One of my new classroom students once plopped down in the car in the CCS pickup line and quizzically asked, “Let me get this straight: are they testing me on how well I can do math or how fast I can do math?” Good question, and I guess the answer is both. It can be a hard concept for the homeschooled child to grasp but it is a worthy skill set for the future.
Classical Christian education is certainly a logical progression for the homeschooler. Most homeschooling families are classical by nature in that they see the entire child as being a fully formed person made in the image of Christ who thinks and learns by first learning the grammar of a subject, then by using logic to think about it, and finally applying rhetoric to discuss it. Those are the nuts and bolts of most homeschool environments. Children are encouraged to learn, think, and discuss. This encouragement to learn classically is fostered and nurtured at a classical Christian school while keeping Christ at the center of all learning.
I don’t know if you caught the wording used a few paragraphs ago but it was intentional-surprised by the unique joys and struggles that present themselves. With every child there will be amazing and exciting things awaiting them in a classical Christian classroom. Sports, friends (not that homeschoolers don’t have friends, because they do), organized activities, new teachers to learn from, and a lunch box! There will also be struggles. Learning to work at a teacher’s pace, remembering to write things down because you can’t just go ask your teacher at ten o’clock at night, and waiting to open that lunch box until after 5th period. The truth is that transitions are usually hard and uncomfortable in the beginning, but I can say from experience that they can also be extremely rewarding.
And who knows what you might find in a lunch box?