Our first day of school: transitioning out of homeschooling to public school

Can you spare a share?

If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been pretty quiet on here lately and I’m going to bear it all right now and tell you why.
After many months of discussion, research and soul searching, we made the decision to end our time homeschooling Oliver, our oldest. We decided this for several reasons, but primarily because we want to be sure that Oliver grows up with the skill of not just being friendly, but actually making friends.
You might be saying to yourself “Yes! Homeschool kids turn out weird, so good on you!” Or you might be in the camp of “There are lots of ways to help homeschool kids make friends. You didn’t try hard enough.” You know what? Maybe both views are valid in some way, but right now it’s just all about him and making sure that he’s happy and set up for success in life.
“But public schools don’t educate kids like world travel does.” That’s true, but there are skills and lessons in school that we can’t make a curriculum for. “But you can tailor his learning to really support him and help him flourish.” That’s true, but there are systems in school to help super smart kids like him succeed.

Our fears about going into public school

“What about gun violence in America and school safety NOT being taken seriously?” Believe me, I know. Here’s where it gets complicated: on the very first day that Oliver was supposed to start the school actually had a Code Red/Dangerous Intruder drill scheduled. That’s not something I’m going to let my kid experience on the very first day, so the school changed his official start day for us. To today.
And that brings us to this moment. I was a wreck this morning, unable to function really or do anything productive. I actually felt like I failed Oliver and my solution was sending him to school. That’s not true though and I know how crazy smart and creative he is. I felt like I had told my best friend to go away and make new friends. I feel like I’m placing him in harms way, either regarding safety or opening him up to awful kids (they still exist).

Being a two-dad family in a small town

And the thing that I worry about too, is that he’s going to be questioned or teased about having two dads. Yesterday when we met his teacher she told us that there was a kid in a higher grade that has two dads… Great, there’s another kid in the whole school. I’m sure the school has a zero tolerance policy around bullying and chances are it might not even come up in conversation with the other kids, but what if it does? Or what if the teacher isn’t aware that it comes up.
What if kids ask Oliver about his family and some kid is a jerk about it? Oliver has never had reason to think his family is weird or not acceptable or anything, what if that seed gets planted today? Or tomorrow? And what if it happens and then Oliver never tells us about it?
I’m sure every parent has something that they stress about, but for us, coming out every single damn day is tiring and stressful, particularly living in a small town. I don’t want that to become something Oliver has to get accustomed to.

First day of public school positives

Anyways on the positive notes: the dude was super excited to start school and he was thrilled to bring a lunch. He was so helpful getting ready for school and was stoked that he got to wear sweats on his first day since today is PE. He is really looking forward to riding the bus starting next week and loves being in a room that has both a snake and turtle as class pets.
Also a big win: Elliott and I have endless time together. I’ve never had that with him. Me and O had three years of 1 on 1 time, but Elliott has never had such focus on him. Already I’ve learned that he is a skilled Duplo builder on his own without Oliver stepping in. I’ve learned that he is good at independent play time. I’ve seen how he speaks when Oliver isn’t there answering for him or translating for him (you should read our January newsletter…).
We’re very excited to see how this first week goes and I know that I’ll get over my hurdles in time. We’ve been raising two incredible, strong little boys and this is a time for them to shine.
We still very much support homeschooling parents and very much would like to do it again. There’s no reason we can’t pull him out of school in the future if we need to or want to. We know that we have the skills required for teaching school topics and there is plenty of technology to support us.
If you’re thinking about jumping into homeschooling or worldschooling, we still have lots of good resources. Check out our articles about how we’ve been managing education for the last two years:

And please feel free to leave comments and questions. We want to encourage other parents who are struggling to talk about their hopes and fears about having a first day of school or ending the homeschooling process. 


Can you spare a share?


  • Chris

    I’m excited about this for two huge reasons… Oliver gets to make some real friends vs grown-ups and cousins and Elliott gets that serious 1×1 time and focused attention. I love you Rob and you’ve done an amazing job teaching Oliver

    January 29, 2019 at 2:23 pm
  • Rachel

    AWE BUDDY!!! I hope his first week goes well Why do I want to cry?!

    January 29, 2019 at 2:24 pm
  • Wes Carlson

    Hi Bob, very well stated. We have both talked about this day a lot and have been anxious to hear about Oliver’s reaction(s). You guys are very good parents with a lot of options.

    January 29, 2019 at 4:39 pm
    • 2td-admin

      Thank you, Wes. Yes, it’s just like a part of me is leaving and I don’t know what to do or if he’ll be safe. He loved his first day though. He made friends, he did PE, he loved recess… 🙂

      January 29, 2019 at 5:13 pm
  • Susan

    I don’t think there’s such a thing as the right or wrong decision when it comes to this. I didn’t have 2 dads, but I was only one of two Jewish kids in school growing up and having or “being” something different definitely stood out. But it’s about how you present it and help them understand it’s something to be proud of. I was definitely made aware of this difference by teachers and students, but in the end, I came out stronger in my identity and proud of who I was. Knowing the two of you, I’d say the boys will be just fine and come out strong!
    On a side note, being the youngest, that one on one time you get now with Elliot will be priceless and something he will cherish forever. It will help shape him into the little human he becomes!
    Even though I never see you two, love you both! Keep being amazing!

    January 30, 2019 at 6:02 am
    • 2td-admin

      Thank you Sue! It just comes down to knowing that he’s amazing and strong already, but not knowing what might hurt or break him. He’ll be fine, I’m sure, but in the wee hours of the morning, my brain just keep thinking of all that could go wrong. Anyways, thank you for the words and example. I’d say you turned out alright (but you are truly socially awkward in the best ways). 🙂

      January 30, 2019 at 1:09 pm
  • Shobha

    Definitely better to have the snake as the class pet than at home! For that alone, I’d send him to school 🙂 On the serious side, we believe that the (coping?) social skills learned at school, for better or worse, is helpful for later life as adults.

    January 30, 2019 at 6:12 am
    • 2td-admin

      Same page, totally, about both the snake and the coping skills. I’m sure if we could’ve found or been welcomed into a co-op here we could be learning those skills, but that just hasn’t happened despite our best efforts.

      January 30, 2019 at 1:06 pm
  • Kelly

    We are contemplating leaving our lives in France, in a small Alpine town where we are the only LGBT parents that we know exist here, to return to the U.S. because of the schools here. It’s such a difficult decision. We have such wonderful opportunities here for travel, but the rigidity of the school system is making our son miserable (plus the fact that they actively discourage and do not allow parental involvement). We have decided to focus on the positives such as getting to know the U.S. better and traveling around the Western Hemisphere more. Sigh. It’s never easy. I wrote a post about the anguish.

    January 30, 2019 at 8:33 am
    • 2td-admin

      Unrelated to the schooling aspect, something I’ve personally struggled with in living in the USA and doing domestic travel is feeling like I’m not seeing the world. People ask if doing so much domestic US travel with the kids is as good as international. Here’s the thing: the USA is ENORMOUS. Touring the US is like touring Europe, considering each state to be like another country with different geology, history, and cultural aspects. Feel okay about moving back here… and know that Trump won’t be around forever. #resist

      January 30, 2019 at 1:05 pm
  • Heather M

    This long time homeschooling mama says good for you thinking long and hard (and agonizing) over what’s right for your son – and doing it. Good luck and I hope he and you have the most fabulous school year with lots of positive experiences for all of you.

    January 30, 2019 at 12:18 pm
    • 2td-admin

      Thank you Heather. I think we talked about it a bit in NY a few months ago. The discussion was indeed agonizing. In our second day now and besides the homework on day one (I have thoughts and opinions on homework) Oliver loves it. And Elliott and I are loving it too.

      January 30, 2019 at 1:01 pm


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