Jackson Children's First Year Without Dad

Prince, Paris and Blanket transition to real world, including school.

June 22, 2010— -- Since Michael Jackson's death nearly one year ago, his children have dropped their masks and veils, made public appearances at his memorial service and the Grammys and, come fall, may be ready to attend school for the first time in their lives.

Prince, 13, Paris, 12, and Blanket, 8, who have been homeschooled by tutors, will likely be enrolled in private school this fall by their grandmother and legal guardian Katherine Jackson.

In her first interview since her son's death, Jackson said she's doing what Michael would have wanted.

"I'd say I'm a little less strict but I've tried to follow the way Michael was raising them," the 80-year-old matriarch told the UK's Daily Mirror.

Though the children have been surrounded by their extended family -- including Michael's eight siblings and their children -- while living at their grandmother's gated compound in the San Fernando Valley, she says they remain isolated.

"They don't have friends. They don't go to school. They have private lessons at home," she said.

"To them, it's normal, it's the life they have known. They have a certain time to go to bed, then they get up and get dressed for lessons. They practice karate and swim, which they love," Katherine said.

Since their father's death, the children have continued the home schooling that he began. Katherine's lawyer, Adam Streisand, told The Associated Press that a room in one of the estate's buildings has been turned into a classroom.

That will change in September when the oldest child, Prince, leaves to attend private school -- a choice made by him and his grandmother.

"He is ready to branch out and have a more socialized experience," Streisand said.

He did not respond to requests for comment from ABCNews.com.

Katherine told the Mirror she is planning to enroll Prince's siblings in private school as well.

Jackson Children Ready for Real World

Jackson biographer Stacy Brown says the children are ready.

"They've had a surprisingly great upbringing up to this point. They've been trained very well for the real world," Brown told ABCNews.com. "Although private school is not necessarily the real world, they would thrive and it would probably be good for them."

"When I met them five years ago, the thing that always stood out for me was they were so well mannered," Brown said. "The way they carried themselves, you would think they were minature business people. When you think about all the craziness they had been around, they seemed very together, very astute."

In many ways, this year without their dad has been the children's introduction to the real world.

In their first-ever public appearance, at Michael's memorial service last July, they were seen huddled together crying. Paris' emotional tribute to her father, in which she called him "the best father I could imagine," was perhaps the most personal moment of the star-studded event.

Less than eight months later, the children appeared poised during a show-stopping appearance at the Grammy awards, where they accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of their father. Prince gave a brief speech, thanking his father's fans and God and his grandparents for watching over him and his siblings.

"Our father was always concerned about the planet and humanity, through all his hard work and dedication he has helped through many charities and donated to all of them," Prince said. "Through all his songs, his message was simple: love. We will continue to spread his message and help the world."

Jackson Kids' First Year Without Michael

In April, video clips of Paris and Blanket appeared on YouTube before Jackson family members had them taken down. The clips showed the children goofing around like any other kids. In one, Paris raps for the camera; in another, Blanket re-enacts a scene from "Star Wars" with a pretend lightsaber.

The clips likely came from older brother Prince's foray into filmmaking. An aspiring cameraman and producer, according to his grandmother, he has been making movies starring his siblings and cousins.

"They have props and sets, and one of them acts as director. They all have roles," Streisand, Katherine's lawyer, told AP.

It was the kids' moviemaking that brought child protection workers to the Jackson compound in March. Jermaine Jackson's 13-year-old son Jaafar reportedly purchased a stun gun on the Internet as a prop for one of the kids' movies.

According to a statement released by Streisand, Jaafar opened the package alone in the bathroom and tested the gun on a piece of paper. When household security men heard the stun gun they immediately confiscated it.

"Blanket Jackson never saw or heard the [stun gun]," concluded the attorney's statement. "Neither did Paris Jackson. Prince saw the [stun gun] in the possession of security. There is no second [stun gun]."

No one was injured but questions about Katherine's ability to care for her son's children were raised.

Biographer Brown said he has no doubt Katherine is capable. "She's the one that makes that engine go," Brown said referring to the Jackson family. "I think she's still running that family with an iron hand."

Brown said if anyone knew Michael's wishes regarding his children it was his mother.

"If he was still with us, this would be his course of action," he said about the children entering school.

Will Michael Jackson's Children Follow his Footsteps?

Brown said Michael strived to keep his children grounded, not letting them know until the Jacksons' 30th anniversary concert that he was such a big star.

And his strong guiding hand remains evident in the recently revealed details of his trust. Michael set it up so the kids would gain control of their inheritance in stages, from age 30 to 40.

Despite Michael's best efforts to keep his children out of the public eye, they could well follow in his footsteps. In addition to Prince's interest in moviemaking, Paris, who has built a shrine to her dad out of his photographs, shows a budding musical talent.

"Paris has that lovely way, just like him, and I see his talent in her," Katherine said. "Whatever she does, she is very good at it. She's a good artist, she plays the piano and she wants to be an actress."

"And Blanket is very playful, like Michael was," Katherine said.

Family members say the Jackson children miss him. Katherine said his boys will talk about making him proud, then lapse into silence. All three have spent hours listening to his hits.