You made the decision to homeschool. Yet despite your resolve, all those first day of school photos got to you, didn’t they? We are on our fifth homeschool year, and they still give me a tiny twinge of something I can’t quite put my finger on. I always enjoyed school. Am I depriving my own children of the experiences? What about your own life? How are you going to survive?
One aspect of homeschooling that I think was the hardest to adjust to was finding friends. Most of my friends sent their children to school. Sure, we did after school playdates for a time, but they can’t go to the park mid day. They didn’t understand curriculum struggles and asked questions like “How are you going to socialize your children?” This question always amused me and still does because, well, we were at the park playing, wasn’t that socializing?
The first year we homeschooled, we joined a park play date co-op. I wasn’t ready to commit to an academic co-op yet. The park co-op was a bit awkward as all new things are. A lot of the moms knew each other so I felt like the out of place newbie. Thankfully, because it was the beginning of the year, there were other moms standing around equally as shy. My oldest, thankfully, is super social. He started playing with a little girl about his age. Her mother was one of the other newbies so I sucked it up and introduced myself to my first homeschool friend, Deanna.
I only went back to that park co-op one more time. Deanna and I decided we hated being new and struck out on our own. Our children got along fabulously as did we. Then they moved away, and I may have cried. Hopefully your first homeschool friends won’t move away so quickly! Making friends with Deanna’s family encouraged me to try again. Finding these gems of homeschool friends isn’t hard, it just takes a bit more effort than you may be used to.
One thing I can promise you, is that you will find friends.Good friends. Fast friends. Friends you can call in the middle of the day and get it. Friends who help you rationalize why you decided to homeschool and who remind you that one bad day or week doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel.
If you’re lucky your first homeschooling friends may find you. You may have to awkwardly introduce yourself to someone. They may awkwardly introduce themselves to you. I’ll let you in on a secret, we’re all a bit awkward in the friend making department! I have usually let my children gravitate towards others and then I start the first date like ritual of talking to a random stranger. But I have also made some amazing friends this way.
Next year about this time of year, you’ll see the first day of pictures again. That little weird twinge won’t be as big. Instead of second guessing yourself, you’ll text one of your homeschool friends about going to the park later that day. Then you’ll lie back down and try to grab a few more zzz’s before you try to to make your child understand long division.
This post is written by Kristina Roegner, a homeschool mom of 3. She enjoys sharing about homeschooling with others and is always happy to help local homeschoolers connect. Visit her website at www.dfwhomeschoolresource.com to see all DFW has to offer for homeschoolers.
If you are new to Plano or just have younger kids it’s a good idea to learn a little bit more about Plano schools. Plano schools are structured a little differently from other surrounding school districts. Here is some more info about Plano schools that might help you.
Early Childhood Programs: Plano has a number of options that you might not know about for preschool aged children.
Elementary: Once your child turns 5 (on or before September 1) they are ready to start Kindergarten and one of the local elementary schools. These schools will be for grades Kindergarten- 5th grade.
Middle: Middle school serves grades 6-8th.
High School: This is for grades 9-10th only.
Senior High: Senior High Schools serve grades 11-12. Plano has 3.
Academy Programs: In the last few years, Plano has incorporated some academy high schools for some qualifying students. Right now there are 3 academy programs at different locations across Plano.
Finally, there is a program called Special Programs for PISD. Special programs serve students that are referred by an intervention team from their home school, that need some special behavioral training and assistance. For older students, they help with at-risk students that are in danger of dropping out or students that need some accelerated instruction.
When your child is of kindergarten age you might be worried about whether or not they are fully prepared. There can be so many things to do and prepare for this big transition. You will want to make sure your child can do some self-help skills on their own to function for the long day. Here are some self-help skills to make sure your child knows before starting kindergarten.
*Use the Bathroom Independently: Children should know this basic independent skill and this should include wiping and flushing. Most classes allow students to go into the bathroom area on their own so this is an important skill to have.
*Wash Hands: Teachers will not be standing there washing all the hands of every single student! Being able to get soap and wash/dry hands is important.
*Blow Own Nose: This is a skill that can take some time to learn. It can be easier has parents to just grab a tissue and wipe their own nose but teachers will not want to do this for every child. Teach your child how to hold the tissue over their nose and blow! (Then go wash their hands!!)
*Open containers: This is big!! Show your kids and practice before schools starts with opening lunch containers. Some things might be hard and will require teacher assistance but if they can open their own lunches not only will they get to eat faster, but they will have more self-confidence. This should include opening straws and water bottles!
*Put on Coat and Zip: On chilly days going outside will require wearing a jacket. Imagine a teacher having to put on and zip up all 20-24 jackets! That is so time-consuming!! This will require some practice but it will help in the long run.
*Tie Shoes: This might take awhile and not happen before kindergarten but it’s a very important life skill. There are so many videos and cook tricks so start them early on this!
It must be noted that children develop at different times. The above is just a guideline for some ideas of things to work on with your child. You know your child and what they are capable of. Use modifications as needed and these are just some ideas of self-help skills to work on with all children.
Plano is named for being one of the best cities to live in. Not only is the cost of living reasonable, but the schools are rated some of the best in the state. Starting school is a huge milestone for kids. You want to find the right school to serve your child’s needs. Here are some ideas on how to find the best school in Plano for your kids.
If you are just starting your search or new in town it’s important to give yourself some time do some research. Think about your children and what might be best for them individually. If you are just moving into the city then take some time to learn about the schools zoned in the neighborhoods you are most interested in.
Plano has 72 schools across the town that include early childhood, elementary, middle, high school, and senior high schools. So where to begin? A good place to start your search is by looking at the district’s website. Here you can find out more information about all the schools. You can also do the school finder to help you find the schools that you are zoned for according to your address.
One of the most important things though is to consider the needs of your child. When my daughter was about to start her elementary years in Plano, I wanted small class size. Maybe you have a special needs child or a high achieving student. Every school in Plano has their own page that will give stats and list additional resources and classes offered at that particular campus.
If you are looking to get more into school rankings then consider School Digger, Great Schools, and Neighborhood Scout. Though it’s good to get a variety of input from the community, these sites may not be able to tell you everything that you are looking for. They might not give you real Mom advice, so it’s a good idea to join in on the school talk on Plano Moms Talk!
With over 4000 members, these real Plano Moms will give helpful advice and they love to offer suggestions. Moms on the school hunt or moving into the area are always asking and seeking tips and suggestions. Don’t be afraid to ask. Plano Moms are so helpful!