Saturday, October 27, 2012

What the Public School Said

I waited fifteen days from the day of the blow up over the computer hacking to wrap my mind around the fact that I had said that we may give up and quit homeschooling. I let the idea sink in. It was an emotional issue and I didn't want to act rashly or to rush into it. In those fifteen days I would say the days were good days, not fair, not excellent, but decent and acceptable. So suddenly I was not in a rush to push my son off to school.

In one conversation in that timeframe, my older son said that he thought maybe he would perform higher if he were pushed harder and by someone that was not Mom. I felt that what he wanted was for me to be just Mom not teacher because he felt someone else may drive him to perform better. He said he did not like that homeschooling was causinf me stress and to become physically sick. I was dumbfounded because when I gave him a hard courseload, even with online classes last month, he could not/would not perform, and when I gave him some middle of the road load he still was not doing it. I had to keep narrowing down the workload to finally reach a level that could be accomplished in one day. So now he wants more work?

When I phoned the public school the registrar was pleasant and professional. She explained what I needed to do in order to enroll my son.

I had to leave a message with the guidance counselor who was in charge of dealing with homeschoolers. She was also professional and pleasant when she spoke to me the following day.

I really wanted my son to do a shadow day but the school prohibits is "per federal HIPAA law". I personally question the validity of this but I did not question her about it. I was also told my son's visit would present a "security threat" to the students. I kept my mouth shut on that one also.

If enrolling mid-term the student is required to know all the past material learned this semester. The easiest thing to do is to enroll at the mid-term or at the start of the year. I had no idea that was the case and for best success my son should wait until after the December break to enroll.

Incoming homeschooler high schoolers must show a list of curriculums used with details such as a scope and sequence. All scores and grades must be turned over. Examples of work done must be shown also. Another professional would be assigned to the tast (not the guidance counselor) to scrutinize the homeschool materials to see if it matched with Texas state approved curriculum. At that point the student would be told if what they did was home was acceptable. If they think a course is acceptable they do not give instant credit, the student must pass the current course then at the end if they pass they get retroactive credit for the homeschool course. For example, pass English II and then get credit for English I. Do not pass English II and there is no credit given for English II or English I.

I asked about course availability and rules, such as could my son continue to take both Geometry and Algebra II this year and the answer was no. Students can take ONLY one math per year, period. Students who fail math can take a summer remedial course but no one can take a summer course to get ahead. (The cookie cutter analogy fits here.) This reminds me of the fact that public schools tend to have an easier time keeping students back instead of finding a way to customize the education to give each individual student the best prospect for advancement and higher achievement. Our goal with my son's math is to finish Calculus before high school graduation which is a pre-requisite for some colleges for an engineering major. Since he did not finish Algebra I in grade eight he trying to fast track the studies to catch up.

To enter in a grade other than freshman, six credits must be accepted for each grade level. So if my son did 5.5 credits in his freshman year (due to illness that he had), he would not be allowed in as a sophomore, he'd be knocked back to grade nine. This is despite the fact that if all goes well in homeschool grade ten my son would earn more than six credits.

Homeschoolers don't always have to care about getting an exact number in a calendar year, what is more important is what happens by the end of high school for graduation requirements, or what courses and tests should be finished by the time the college applications are made. In general, some studies can be slowed down, repeated, or sped up. Students can work through the summer on a longer course. Homeschooling has so many freedoms that I sometimes forget about and take for granted. Some of these my son never realized were things to feel grateful for and to appreciate.

As soon as I knew all this I had a talk with my husband over the phone and a talk face to face with my son to report the facts. I'll share more in an upcoming blog post.


Aya Katz said...

The rules about enrolling in high school after home schooling sound daunting and designed to discourage.

When I was home schooled, many decades ago, I was given to understand that my decision to stay home was irrevocable, and that if I tried to return to the mainstream I'd be knocked all the way back to kindergarten. Nobody actually said that in so many words, but that's what I believed at the time. So I never asked to go back.

It's nice that you and your family are exploring all the options and that there is no choice that you consider unthinkable.

My name is Tiffany said...

Wow, this is a lot to take in. Waiting for the next post.