Undoubtedly if you are a homeschooler reading this article your child’s education is important to you. However, you may have encountered a type of situation where it may be beneficial or necessary to send your child to a public school and you are unsure about what to expect during this transitional period. The following information is based upon my experience with the process of enrolling my homeschooled daughter into a public school.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are no federal vaccination laws. However, all fifty states require certain vaccinations for any child entering a public school. It will vary by state but children may be required to be vaccinated against rubella, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, mumps and polio.
State laws may also require that your child receive a physical before enrollment. Additional examinations may also be required. According to the Illinois State Board of Education there is a required child health examination. Additionally, children entering kindergarten are required to have an eye examination, all children entering grades two and six are required to have an oral health examination, and state law requires diabetes testing to be included in physicals for students in kindergarten, first, fifth and ninth grades.
If your child is entering high school placement testing may not be required. However, in junior high or elementary levels they will most likely want to test your child. This is not a bad thing nor is it necessarily a reflection on how well you taught your child. It is an attempt to place your child appropriately. Are the tests accurate or comprehensive? The ones my daughter took were not comprehensive. They were short tests primarily focused on math and reading comprehension and fluency. While the school did place her where I thought she should be placed I felt one test in particular was not an accurate reflection of her abilities. The problems she had with the test were more about understanding the intricacies of taking timed tests.
To find out if testing is required for your child to enter into a public school you should contact your local Regional Office of Education.
A positive aspect of attending a public school is the availability of additional resources. These resources may be something practical such as a day planner or donated school supplies but also may include other things like access to free or reduced school lunches, guidance counseling, testing and evaluation and progress reports. Are the programs perfect and do they fit every child’s needs? Probably not. However, parents should make an effort to know what resources are available for their child and make an effort to utilize them if necessary. Of course, they should also keep in mind that if a particular resource or program isn’t working for their child they should and can seek out other options.
State Vaccination Requirement, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Health Requirements/Student Health Data, Illinois State Board of Education