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Susan Wise Bauer

If you've had/currently have a child in a classroom, I'm interested in your story.

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My oldest did an intensive this summer which the PS system counted for half a credit. It was 3 weeks and they crammed a half year of work into it. It was for private pilot ground school. My husband and I were very hands on. We checked up continually on her reading and retention as well as checking on her test scores. One test she got a C and that was unacceptable. Thankfully , they had a test re-take policy. She retook the test and got an A. We made expectation adjustments along the way and she ended up getting the 3rd highest score in the class. I was quite satisfied with that because it was a rocky road. It was a lot for all of us to adjust to, but we adjusted and maneuvered and all in all it was an excellent experience. Come fall she will take Math, Science, and English at the Highschool. She will do History and piloting with her private teachers.

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Some experiences from a variety of sources.

1. My son (after being homeschooled from K-9) went half days to public school last year.   (I needed to make sure he could perform for other teachers better than he could perform for me before he went to Running Start this year.)  I was able to hand-select the courses he took (not the typical 10th grade classes) because I didn't care about meeting the graduation requirements.  The counselor at the school was MORE than happy to work with me and my goals.  I explained my goals to each of his teachers and they were wonderful about working with me.  I was actually surprisingly impressed with the rigor of the courses and the their willingness to keep me in the loop.  It was a great experience and he did very well; it was the perfect bridge year before he started college this year.

 

2. I teach in a 2 day/week public school co-op for homeschooled kids.  I find that most parents are happy to be hands off once they know someone else is teaching their child.  As a teacher, I wish it was more of a partnership since I only see them twice a week.  

 

3. In teaching at WTMA I find that there is a higher percentage of parents who are pretty directly involved, but many prefer to be hands off. 

 

It does take quite a bit of effort to stay involved in the classroom when you are not the primary teacher because (surprise, surprise) the students don't usually give parents/teachers all of the information.  :-)  I'll be interested to hear your synthesis of this info!

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I am re-posting now that my youngest has been at a public charter for a few weeks.  He's in ninth grade and it's his first PS experience.  First, I will say it's a Bard Early College high school (google for more info), and he chose it over some other schools, including private schools, because he thought it would be most similar to what he had already been doing. I am just SO impressed with this school, and ds loves it.  He IS my "bloom where planted" child so he might be just the same anywhere.  

 

What is apparent is that the classical education he had, such as it is, at home, was very good preparation for Bard.  The classes are taught by PhDs and so far, he doesn't even have any textbooks, though his Chinese teacher does employ workbooks in class that the students use for writing and translating practice.  And he has brought home a few worksheets; they've been history maps and packets of math drill\very short problems.  There is a physics text, Hewitt's Conceptual Physics (a personal fave of mine), but they only use it in class.  The biggest reason ds is so well-prepared IMO is just that he knows how to think through a question, he is not afraid to speak in class, and is thoughtful and can write decently.  The school treats the students like adults.  There are no petty rules like dress codes, bathroom passes, or detention for unfinished home work or anything or that matter. One sad result of that is that there are a couple of students that have been significant behavior problems, but in general the kids have all risen impressively to the occasion.  Not surprisingly, at least 3 of the students are former home schoolers.  There may be others that I do not know about.  And all are thriving, which makes me very happy.  

 

So to revisit your first question, Susan, I will say that customizing the classroom situation for my son is pretty limited in his situation, because he is high school age and has no particular special needs.  At least, nothing that we've needed to address yet, though that may change.  Because he missed part of the summer bridge week, he did not take the math placement test, and I was disappointed that no one at the school had this on their radar.  If I had not asked about math placement and advocated for him, he would have simply been placed in algebra with most of the other ninth graders.  A second trip through algebra wouldn't have done him serious harm, but I kind of hated to waste that entire year we spent on it, and he aced the placement test for geometry.  So I did learn a lesson to pay attention; it has not been needed again yet.  

 

As far as the ripple effect, I have no doubt that the fact that parents now have home education as a choice has an impact on schools in my area.  I think the private prep schools are probably affected more than the public schools, because they are catering to families that care a lot about education and those are also, logically, the ones more inclined to home school.  Some of them went out of their way to validate our choice, and I assume that means they are hoping to build a reputation of friendliness to former home schoolers.  4 years ago one of the private schools advertised as offering classes to home schoolers in language and the sciences; they proposed both after school, separate classes and allowing home schooled students to attend their regular classes during school hours.  It never happened; the few classes they actually offered were cancelled at the last minute for low enrollment.  The price they were charging was honestly exhorbitant and I doubt the current parents whose children attend the school would have been receptive if it had been any lower.  And why would a home school parent pay a fortune for high school bio when they can enroll their kid in CC for a fraction of that cost, plus get a more advanced course in the process?  It was an interesting little revelation for me-it made me think the schools charging $25K per year for first grade are struggling more and more to find people to pay for it.

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My middle son is now attending a charter school.  He is 10th grade.  He was homeschooled up until the end of 9th grade.

 

We spent some time researching schools before sending him and after talking to a few people who were former homeschoolers whose kids transitioned to this charter well, we opted to send him.

 

For the past two years or so, I have gradually been more and more hands off in his education.  I would give assignments, but it was up to him to actually follow through.   In 9th grade we attended a HS coop that gave out grades and after a few "oh, I didn't realize she meant I had to turn it in THIS week" grades, he finally got that a deadline was a deadline.  I think that year of coop really helped him understand how a B&M school worked.

 

One thing I LOVE about this school is that they use a program that grades online.  I can log on to his account and see immediately how he did on a test or assignment as the teachers post grades often.  This has helped us tremendously as he knows when to beef up his study times to get a stellar grade to make up for a more mediocre grade, etc.....

 

I realize this immediate feedback won't be there in college but he has 3 years of high school to get it more together before that happens.  

 

He is also taking 2 honors classes.  He isn't used to that type of rigor, but he is a smart kid and doing ok in spite of himself.  We hope he will take 1 or 2 APs by next year.  

 

 

My youngest will go to the same school next year (sibling priority as they didn't have room for him this year.)  He is my gifted child so I don't anticipate any issues.  He is also very social.

 

Oldest is 17 and has LDs, and the reason we started HSing in the first place.

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I graduated from public school in 2012. In my senior year, our entire algebra class was failing. We could not understand any of the content. I was acing all my college and AP courses, but this algebra 2 class was so difficult. Our teacher always apologized, saying he knew easier ways to solve these problems but had to teach us the way he was told. One day we had a substitute teacher who actually retired from the high school as a math teacher long before certain standards were put in place. He was shocked at the textbooks we showed him, then angry. He spent the rest of class teaching us the "old-school" methods of everything we had learned thus far. And he had a few choice words about how education has regressed. Anyway. He began tutoring us after school every week. It wasn't homeschooling obviously, but he utilized the same principles to help us navigate the murky waters of modern public school education. Everyone started getting good grades after that.

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DD attended Eagleridge Enrichment Program, which is offered by the Mesa Unified School District in Mesa, AZ The years we homeschooled (1st-5th). I was mostly hands-off, though some of the class choices once she was in the grades where classes were chosen (3rd and up) I chose a few that played into things I wanted reinforcement for (AR proved a good motivator), and things we couldn't do at home (drama, choir).

 

Once she started a regular brick and mortar school, her familiarity with the classroom environment and changing classes helped. I provided her a lot of organizational support at first, and homework help, but by mid-year she had the hang of things and prefers to go to her teachers for extra help.

I thought I would follow up on this. DD regressed in math while in her one year of school. We tried an online school the next year, and that did not go well. We are back to homeschooling and DD will return to Eagleridge.

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I know I am very late to  this thread as I have been away for quite awhile. That said, it is an issue very fresh on my mind. 3 years ago we moved our children to a lovely village town where dh aunt was the elem and middle school principal. There is approximately one classroom per grade. We have loved it! Many of the perks to homeschooling as well as the perks of PS found in one place. Then some of the down sides crept in. There was a massive lack in electives, clubs, and strict (unwritten) rules not allowing them to dual sport in the same season. Further there wasn't a foreign language option for middle school. The excuse was that they just didn't have the funds or enough kids to allow these things. We discovered that in our state, by law, the school has to cover up to two online courses of the students choice per year. So, we enrolled our middle schooler in a foreign language instead of art (which I could do at home). I was a bit taken aback at the push back we received from the high school principal (not the middle school one). In fact, right before school started he wrote a massive letter that was posted to the main web page of the schools site explaining that while they did have to provide this opportunity he strongly discourages it. That the school would provide no help and most students fail. That failing would be permanent on their grades so please be VERY cautious about enrolling your child in online courses. 

 

Dd got an A, but true to threat, she was given no support at school and it was our history of homeschooling that allowed us to help her. Then next year (9th grade) we enrolled her in 2 online classes. Biology and Latin allowing her to take Spanish 2 with the 10th graders. Again we were met with massive resistance. Spanish teacher said she would fail doing two languages and there was serious tension between the biology teacher and our family. She again received A's in all classes while playing varsity level sports all 3 seasons and going to state as freshman in XC.

I did notice that as dd was successful more and more of her peers started taking online classes. Finally, at the end of last year as we sat with her school counselor discussing this coming year (10th grade) he finally admitted that he didn't think their was anything she couldn't handle and what did we want to do. The 10th grade science option (same lackluster biology teacher) was going to be Physical Science and I just about lost it. We decided on online Anatomy and physiology and Medical terminology through a local college as her elective. 

Over the summer things changed for us. It was subtle, but I found I was frustrated with the constant uphill battle of trying to provide and excellent education for my children. I was also frustrated that my dd was forbidden from doing both XC and equestrian team at the same time and that her brothers could not do soccer and XC at the same time when the village school 5 miles down the road could. Also, I cannot say they were being bullied, but there was a definite attitude of "do well, but don't do so well that you make others look bad by default." As a result, some students would find opportunities to drag them down to their level. 

 

We made the decision to enroll them via school of choice at a larger high school and middle school 45 min away. They offer everything. AP classes, a variety of electives, dual sporting if the child can handle it. Most of all they are not threatened by our children's desire to succeed and push themselves. I feel that homeschooling allowed us to both support our children in a unique way, but it also gave us a higher standard of education and provided us with the strength to seek out better options. 

 

Ultimately, I feel bad for our village school, I work with a lot of young doctors and they ask me about moving to the area (torch lake, mi is stunning) but these are people who will not settle for their children's educational options. They are losing families who genuinely support their children's education and are not attractive to this next generation of parent that is accustom to having options. 

Edited by simka2
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Mostly hands off when my last 2 finished in public school.  They said they wanted parental input, but really they only want it if you do it your way.  After them being at school all day for many hours I couldn't make them do more school for me too.  We just pulled my 8 yo grand  daughter out of school to home school. She is starting the 3rd grade. The school did not care that she was getting bullied all the time. With my experiences, I would say that most schools really don't want the parents to help unless you are volunteering to supervise a field trip etc.

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We have always homeschooled three out of four kids. My youngest enrolled in a two day school this year. We like the social and religious aspects of it, as well as some academics. We requested some customization that they advertise and there was pushback. We have now opted for nongrading options, and are happily customizing classes to him. We have a similiar experience with his next older sister online,

 

It feels like these places are taking advantage of homeschoolers,especially new ones. I hear the phrase "accountable" thrown around a lot. I don't pay people and expect them to hold me accountable. That seems weird and based on weight watcher experiences here...doesn't work. I am accountable to God and myself, but not to outsourced classes. Their grades aren't important, and they seem to want to ruin everything good about homeschooling. We opted for no grading in one, and the other left grading as there are papers, and i like to see if there my be feedback, These schools have an inflated view of their importance, we just want a few interesting classes, and PE, and recess.

I really don't need anyone to educate my children, they don't get that these are just fun extras. They advertize their accredidation and act like people can't get to college without it. Accredited by who? Why make a big deal out of the testing becase of accreditation,and then make it mandatory to retake tests until a certain grade is acheived, Ridiculous. In my state , it is better to apply as a homeschooler anyway. Why are homeschoolers drinking this kool aide?

Edited by Silver Brook

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I had enrolled all my children in public school this year, and already withdrew one because of the four days that he was there, three of those days he was denied his last recess because he didn't have his work done.  I had taught him cursive first, and never taught him to print - I didn't think it would be a big deal, but...........he wasn't getting his work done because they told him he HAD to print, so it was taking him a long time, and because his work wasn't done "on time," he had to stay in during his last recess to finish his work.  I went the whole route of talking and emailing to the teacher and then the principal to no avail - "that's the way we do things here."

I even told them that I preferred for him to have his recess, and send the work home to be finished with me, and yes, in cursive.  Didn't work.

 

Now I'm having an issue with one of my daughters.  There's a field trip coming up that she's not interested in, and I have no problem keeping her at home, as it's something we're already quite well versed in.  Her teacher has told me that if I call the school that day and keep her home, that it will be an unexcused absence - WHAT!!!???  I'm the parent calling in to expressly excuse her for the day!  I'll be posting a question on another forum in regards to this.

 

 

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