Going public

So, I did something today that many moms have done hundreds, probably thousands of times by now. But it was a first for me.
I sent my kid off to public school.
Up until last week, we were planning to make this an easy year by sending all four of our kids to the same private school they’ve been attending. The baby will be in 4 year old preschool, our oldest will be in 8th grade and the middle two are going into 5th and 6th. I would drop them all off together. Pick them up together. They would all have the same days off. And other than the private school tuition for four kids, it would be nice and easy without any big changes.
This made sense for three of the kids, but we have debated all summer if it was the right decision for our second born. We know that we plan to eventually transition all of our kids to public school for high school. The oldest will start next year. We definitely didn’t want to force him to make that change in 8th grade when he has a great group of friends at his current school. It also made sense to let our daughter go to 5th grade at her current school.
But our son going into 6th grade has been feeling more and more like he’s ready to give public school a try. He wants to get to know kids in our new community. He wants to play baseball with kids from school. He has a very small class at his old school and his two closest friends both decided to go to public school this year. He wants to start building relationships with kids in town before he gets to high school.
So last week, after he was already enrolled and tuition was already paid, he made his case to go to public school this year. After discussing all of the pros and cons, my husband and I also were on board and felt that making that transition in 6th grade would be a good move for him.
Suddenly, instead of having another full week of summer (their other school starts on the 26th), his school would start on Monday.
I called the registration office, thinking it would be an easy process to get him signed up. It IS public school, right? Don’t they have to let you join anytime? Well, it turns out I’m not the only procrastinator in town! They couldn’t get him registered until Friday, which meant they wouldn’t be able to process his paperwork in time for him to start the first day. I almost killed the idea right then and there. But then we visited the school and felt really good about the super nice staff and the facility.
We went back on Monday while other kids were having their first day and got to find his classes and practice opening his locker and we got to see some really important stuff like how the lunchroom works and what everyone was wearing! One of the most exciting aspects for him about public school was that he wouldn’t have to wear a uniform. We went shopping for new clothes last week, but this morning, he opted to wear his athletic shorts, an old baseball T-shirt and the Bulls sweatshirt he wore every single morning to fifth grade. (He can finally wear it DURING class!) I didn’t argue. 🙂
It will be a few more days before he gets the OK to take the bus, but he’s excited about that as well. We live less than two miles from the school, so he will have a quick bus ride.
I can’t wait until I pick him up at 3 p.m. to hear all about it! In fact, after all of our experiences with two different private schools, home school, and home school co-ops, our whole family will be curious to hear about this new and mysterious place knows as public school! 🙂


  1. OH, WOW!!!!! Such excitement! And butterflies for sure, but what huge kudos to you & Capable Dad for being open to this last-minute change. It sounds like such a logical transition for him, with his other two BFFs no longer in the same private school class & right after a move, getting to meet the “new locals”. Well done!!!

  2. Wow! What a change! I am sure he did great, though! Anxious to hear all about it! And- what did your other 3 do with themselves on his first day? I think my boys would have been pacing the floor! 🙂

    1. Kelly, He had a great day! The others were just glad they don’t have to go to school yet. 🙂 I had to work all day, which was good because it kept me from worrying too much!

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