Geeky Parent Guide: Back to Public School Life - What’s That Look Like?

A new school year has arrived, and things might look different for parents who are sending kids back to school after homeschooling. I homeschooled my kids (ages 8 and 9) for the past two years, but this new school year sees my kids reentering public school. Clearly, homeschooling and public school life have unique vibes, so switching from one to the other might seem daunting. It’s normal for parents or their kiddos to feel nervous with this big change.

I had the distinct pleasure of homeschooling my kids, and it presented me with a unique opportunity to explore education alongside Adelaide and Marshall. It was fun to see them learn as they grasped different math and language arts lessons. We also explored different cities and countries across the globe as they learned geography and zoology. As my kids reenter the public school system, it’s important to recognize their desire to connect with their peers and dive into extracurricular activities that will enhance their experiences as young kids.


                   


The Return to Public School & What to Expect


It’s important to note that going to public school does not mean everything will be easy. Our kids have had to adjust back to a daily routine that’s not the same as their homeschool life. During those years, we were able to schedule our days and get into a rhythm regarding each subject for each day, but we could be flexible. If they needed to sleep a little longer, sure. If they needed a break sooner than most days, okay. Some days, we could push through and wrap up early.

Now, they will need to adjust to a different teacher and how each subject is taught along the way. Plus, they will have longer days. On the flip side, my kids are experiencing lunch and recess with their peers, going to different classes for their specials (e.g., music, P.E.), and the overall independence that comes with being dropped off in the morning and not having “dear old dad” around all day.

Being my kids’ teacher was one of the best experiences, because I could literally watch my kids learn and grasp different lessons. It’s an incredible experience to see your kids gain a hold of subject matter and then tackle it with ease. There’s a sense of comfort knowing they’re able to deal with such things like word problems or multiplying fractions. It might not seem like a big deal, but I’ve been a very proud parent watching my kiddos handle such things on their own.

As the kids go back to school, things look so different. They need to get up earlier to be ready for drop-offs; they need to make sure their lunch bags are ready to go, while also putting them into their book bags. On top of that, they’ve had to deal with forgetting water bottles at school or falling during recess and massively scraping both knees. Everything is different, but letting them jump back into public school lets them learn on their own and further expand their social wings.

Also, my kids have found a renewed love for Play-Doh since being back in the classroom. We still have some in the house, and they’ve spent many afternoons after school at the table, molding various different things, talking about their days, and being silly as their creations will sometimes go into battle against one another. So, Play-Doh for the win, parents.


                   

 

                   


Ways Our Kids Have Jumped into Social Activities

Our kids have wanted to (re)join the Scouts since the pandemic started; Adelaide has previously been a part of the Girl Scouts as a Daisy. She’s wanted to return, but her experience also shined a light for Marshall wanting to join the Scouts. So, both kids have joined their own local troop, and they are all about playing with their friends, while learning fun activities and skills during their meetings. Oh, they also have camping trips planned already.

On top of that, Adelaide has joined an afterschool club for running. It’s something she’s always talked about wanting to do, so she’s excited to start that next week. It’s still early in the school year, so we haven’t discovered all of the available afterschool programs; however, Marshall is hoping they have some type of board game club. If your school doesn’t offer a program your kid wants, this might be a great opportunity to tag along with whatever your kid wants to do.

If they didn’t have a running club, I could go running with Adelaide. If they don’t have a board game club, I’ll make one for Marshall and maybe that could be a way for him to invite his friends to join outside of class. And, if my kids want to go camping, I’m happy my wife will gladly go with them. We all have our limitations, and I can admit when something just doesn’t jive with me, and camping does not jive with me at all.

Another great activity is having neighborhood socials. Parents get together in someone’s backyard, while the kids run around playing tag, badminton, soccer, or any number of other things. You can also divide your living space where all of the kids can play a board game, while the parents sit around and chat.

It’s also a great way for parents to disconnect knowing their kids are having fun with their friends, while also taking a break themselves. It’s been a difficult past couple of years as we’ve adjusted to all of the changes within a pandemic, so it’s safe to say finding ways for everyone in the family to have some downtime is a very good thing. This is especially true at the start of a new school year, so please know you’re not alone with the tornado-like pace the fall season begins with.

Parent time: One routine helps me navigate the lightning pace of the school year. You’ll find this geeky parent back in the car rider line to pick up my kids at the end of the day, and you’ll find me with a comic book in my hands. If you get a chance to dedicate 15 – 20 minutes doing a quiet activity, it definitely helps to provide a calm respite during the day.


What activities have you or your kids dived into to start off their school year? Have you found ways to get some downtime yourself, and, if so, what activities have helped you as your kids dive back into school? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below, or feel free to share on Facebook and Twitter to start a conversation with all of the geeky parents out there.

Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.




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