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Meadowlark

Oh man, the school district just royally screwed up our plans.

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It happened. Some of you may remember me posting about this before, so bear with me.

So, my 6th grader is at a private school and doing well. Really well. The plan was, to put my 5th grader there next year.

However, they just announced that the whole 6th grade has to do Summit Learning (aka personalized learning). They have been dabbling in this for a few years (and I've written a few posts on it) but I really never thought that they would totally switch to it, thus excluding many families. It is simply not an option for us due to many months of research, talking to people, and prayer. If you want to know more about it, google 'Summit Learning' out of CA.

The only other option is the public school-which my husband says is a hard no. It's in a bad part of town and I've heard scary things about it. There are no other options-no charters, no Christian schools, no other schools remotely around us.

It's down to 3 choices-private school with this new learning method that we are 100% against, the scary public school, or....homeschooling (which he doesn't want to do).

My other son has been grandfathered in, so he can still attend next year without this personalized learning. And, like I said-he's thriving there.

But, how can I tell one child he can go to school, and tell the other child he cannot? I am absolutely miserable trying to make this decision. I think we know in our heart that he should stay home, but he is absolutely not on board and I know how hard that would be.

Thoughts welcome. Thank you.

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I just quickly glanced at the website for Summit Learning, but I'm wondering if they only have to do this for 6th grade?  And, if so, is it something your current 5th grader can deal with for a year (with maybe afterschooling that year) to get through to 7th grade and not have to deal with Summit Learning after that?

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Is there anything that would sweeten the deal for the younger child, would actually get him excited about homeschooling next year? For the cost of private schooling (even an inexpensive private school) you might be able to afford some great out of school experiences for him. What is he interested in? 

Things that might be exciting depending on the child:

A chance to participate in a paleontology excavation.

A robotics kit and the chance to compete in robotics competitions.

A study of flight and building a drone.

Taking a musical theater class and participating in a musical production.

Some really cool science kits.

A new musical instrument and lessons.

Monthly field trips to neat places like aquariums, zoos, historic reenactments.

Making costumes and attending Comic-Con.

Etc. I'd look for what appeals to my kid and find a way to incorporate that into his schooling.

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It's interesting because I'm in Silicon Valley, and one of my more affluent students is currently homeschooled (I tutor math) and will next year attend the local Waldorf School, which is notorious for being opposed to screens.  (There's another NY Times article about Silicon Valley executives who severely restrict screen time for their own children.)

 

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2 hours ago, Meadowlark said:

But, how can I tell one child he can go to school, and tell the other child he cannot? I am absolutely miserable trying to make this decision. I think we know in our heart that he should stay home, but he is absolutely not on board and I know how hard that would be.

It sounds like he wouldn't even really be going to the same kind of school, and he's old enough to understand if you explain that he would get an education that's not as good because the school is treating the two age groups differently--that's the school's choice, not yours. But as maize said, this opens up a whole world of possibilities to do something amazing.

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Have you ever visited the public school? Before ruling it out completely, you should ask for a tour and check it out yourselves, rather than relying on other people's scary anecdotes. (I went to a private school that was extremely well-regarded, I could tell you stories that would make your hair curl.)

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3 hours ago, mlktwins said:

I just quickly glanced at the website for Summit Learning, but I'm wondering if they only have to do this for 6th grade?  And, if so, is it something your current 5th grader can deal with for a year (with maybe afterschooling that year) to get through to 7th grade and not have to deal with Summit Learning after that?

No-he would have to do it for 6th, 7th and 8th. Then, switch back to whatever the public high school is doing because we can't afford the private HS that this one feeds into.

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1 hour ago, Noreen Claire said:

Have you ever visited the public school? Before ruling it out completely, you should ask for a tour and check it out yourselves, rather than relying on other people's scary anecdotes. (I went to a private school that was extremely well-regarded, I could tell you stories that would make your hair curl.)

Usually, I would have the same thought-don't judge until you've been there. The thing is, this school is in the paper a lot. And, I taught in that part of town and can tell you just how scary it is from firsthand knowledge. Drugs, gangs..it was closed this year due to a shooting scare. This particular kid is also a kid that tends to gravitate towards the not so great kids because he really needs to be accepted. My fear is that he would go right toward them.

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If you can figure out *why* the dc objects to homeschooling, you could use the money you would have used for the private school to pay for something that would make homeschooling work better. There are paid online, dvd, etc. homeschooling services, programs that are high structure. Some have online social components to them also, like the BJU online. 

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4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

If you can figure out *why* the dc objects to homeschooling, you could use the money you would have used for the private school to pay for something that would make homeschooling work better. There are paid online, dvd, etc. homeschooling services, programs that are high structure. Some have online social components to them also, like the BJU online. 

He told me it's because he wouldn't have friends. Unfortunately, this is just not a school issue. He struggles. It's something about trying too hard, not being very outgoing, and always seeming to say the wrong thing around people. In contrast, his older brother gets along wonderfully with just about anything that breathes. It makes for a stressful, often times conflicting home environment. He's been in school for the past 2 years, but was homeschooled before that. Now, nothing horrible has happened and he's generally fairly happy. But every now and then, I can tell that someone is making fun of him, not including him in groups/games, etc. It's heartbreaking. He's a great kid with a sensitive heart, but he just has a hard time socially. There's also a jealousy issue with his brother so that's another bummer that his brother gets to go, and he doesn't. For no fault of his-just that the stupid district thinks that kids on their screens all day is the next best thing since sliced bread. 

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Can you  fight the private school on this?  They tend to listen to parents.  You could just outright make it clear that you will enroll your son if he learns the traditional way and you will absolutely not do it with Summit.  If they hear this from enough people, perhaps they will change their plans.

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2 hours ago, Meadowlark said:

He struggles. It's something about trying too hard, not being very outgoing, and always seeming to say the wrong thing around people.

https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?name=Social Thinking Social Communication Profile  You might find this article interesting to see if he fits into any of these social communication profiles. The profiles then have suggested types of intervention, etc.

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2 hours ago, Meadowlark said:

The only other option is the public school which has a terrible reputation.

Is the terrible reputation due to something the school does (or does not do) or to the student population? 

Low test scores do not equate to a bad school.

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1 hour ago, EKS said:

Is the terrible reputation due to something the school does (or does not do) or to the student population? 

Low test scores do not equate to a bad school.

It's a little of both. Poor leadership ( I know, because I taught for the principal 10 years ago!), a HUGE teacher turnover (because of the principal I heard), and the student population. As for what the school does-I think there are actually some positives here. They get funding for extra activities because of the population, so they're able to offer some neat after school activities. One huge drawback to me is that kids can carry cell phones everywhere, including lunch. I talked to the asst. principal and he actually said "we have less behavior problems now that we allow phones". Well, duh. That was a total dealbreaker to me. All I could imagine was a lunch room full of kids staring down at their phones at God knows what.

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Wanting friends is understandable. What opportunities for making friends are there locally? Are there kids in the neighborhood? At church if you have one? Scouts? Does he like sports? Do you have a local homeschool facebook group or some such where you could find parents with other kids his age to get together regularly? Someone near us has started a live action role playing game group so their child could have a group to spend time together with. I know you have littles and that can make it hard to create a group but even just getting together with a handful of families every week for a structured activity of some sort followed by playtime could maybe fill some of his social needs.

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21 minutes ago, maize said:

Wanting friends is understandable. What opportunities for making friends are there locally? Are there kids in the neighborhood? At church if you have one? Scouts? Does he like sports? Do you have a local homeschool facebook group or some such where you could find parents with other kids his age to get together regularly? Someone near us has started a live action role playing game group so their child could have a group to spend time together with. I know you have littles and that can make it hard to create a group but even just getting together with a handful of families every week for a structured activity of some sort followed by playtime could maybe fill some of his social needs.

I know 😞 It's the one thing about homeschooling that I've never felt good about, or done well with.  We have 1 boy in our neighborhood-that's it. Our church is huge and the youth group starts in 7th grade. The only thing i know I could offer him would be the opportunity to play sports at this middle school that we aren't fond of. I know I have to make some concessions somewhere, so this could be it. In my state, we can dual-enroll-meaning he could play sports or participate in after school activities. When I threw that out to him, still wasn't enough.  Our homeschooling group doesn't have many kids his age. It's a struggle honestly and one of the reasons that I put my older kids in school 2 years ago.

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