• Attendance

    July 2019
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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

  • Subjects

  • Portfolio

I actually have lots of thoughts on homeschooling…

I write posts in my head about homeschooling all the time. And then they don’t get done. Partly because to a degree, the kids are getting too old for my to pontificate on their progress and challenges publicly. I have lots of thoughts on learning disabilities and neurodiversity and the services provided for them, but I can’t figure out how to write those without being One Of Those Moms who gets off on her kids’ issues with no respect for their privacy. I need to think on this and maybe see if I can write something more generally.

I also want to write about homeschooling while disabled. I have a lot of people comment that they think homeschooling would be good for their kid but since they are disabled, they can’t do it. I have never said that homeschooling is right for everyone and it is a very personal, family lifestyle decision, because it is a lifestyle choice; and one not everyone can make. However, I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions as to whether and how disabled people can homeschool. It may or may not be for you, but at least know the facts if you are a disabled parent.

Also, I’m losing a student this fall! Naim has decided to attend an alternative public high school called Hillsboro Big Picture. They see themselves as very innovative, but it is just unschooling in a building and calling it alternative. It is a thing where they have to make up their own learning plans and do internships (a la John Holt, a la, Sudbury, a la Windsor House, a la Free School and many, many others) and then those activities get plugged into the right places in the standard curriculum. I’ve already seen a bit of evidence that the staff there JUST DOESN”T GET IT in terms or flexibility and creativity. Either that or they are doing a lot of compromising and dealing with some forces (in administration, I imagine) that just don’t get it and put pressure on them to conform. We will see how it goes. I hope he likes it. I think one of the big plusses will be that he gets a consistent community of kids, which sometimes is lacking in the homeschool world. Its not socialization per se, there are plenty of opportunities for that. It is more about developing deeper, longer-term relationships.

Aaron will be coming home to me almost full-time, since doing a lot of stuff with Hillsboro Online Academy. I admit to having neglected him academically the last year or so. It doesn’t matter as much as you’d think, the kid can learn anything and everything on his own. But I have a goal to put in more time and attention this next year. I’m hoping for a lot of growth and maturity for him.

Avery is coming along nicely and takes the most time, because he is still not able to independently read many things that are where he is academically. Naim had this issue as well, although I do not think Avery has a true learning disability, I think this is just where he is. Which brings me to my “arc of school” thought process. It seems like my kids, not so much Aaron, but the Ns, came to a few skills later than others. I applied steady opportunities but did not push too hard, and then we adapted in other areas where we needed to. But by 8th grade, it doesn’t seem to matter…because I don’t think you do much academically in 7th or 8th grade that is all that new in the normal school system. It is all just holding the advanced kids back so the slower kids could catch up. So, for Naim, we largely skipped the receptive 7-8 grades, and he is good with it. And for Aaron, we were able to skip 7-8 grade stuff and just move ahead. So, Aaron is finishing up 9th grade Algebra this summer, while Naim is finishing up basic math and will be ready for Algebra soon. There is so much repetition in the school curriculum in middle school, you really don’t need it. And so it would be great to just let kids go at their speed and it doesn’t matter.

Again, I think my 10 kids per class with 1 teacher and 1 paraeducator would solve so, so many problems. Problems that, when solved, would even out the cost of this low ratio and individualization.

Along with that, I did my lawful duty and had Aaron and Naim tested this year with a standardized test. (Avery will test next year, due to the weird way they grade homeschool kids at my local ESD). Naim got average stanines and percentiles in every area, whereas Aaron got above average in every area. Then I look at the scores and go, hmmm, and file them away because that is all that is required of me in this little theater. (Except it costs me $60 per kid to do this.) So, in a way, yes…the average to above average scores make me feel justified. But in the other way, I get that it doesn’t matter and doesn’t really measure hardly anything that matters. Because of the odd, rare story of a severely abused kid who went under the radar because of the “homeschooled” excuse, and because of kids who–although not abused in the traditional sense, miss out on any type of decent education and opportunity because of very fundamental religious beliefs, I am ok with some level of homeschool accountability. If it will save a kid from abject abuse, I can put up with some state interference. The only problem is, this is not it. I can’t see that this does anything to prevent that type of situation. Its just theater, and I think there could be a better way to balance freedom in education (and religion…to a point) and accountability.

On the logistics level, I used the Homeschool Buyer’s Coop Homeschool Planet planner last year and it went pretty well. I really like that thing (with a few minor quibbles) and it kept me totally digital for everyone. And I love it when I can be totally digital. I’m also saying goodbye to Oak Meadow, largely because of the lousy way they have gone digital is not accessible to me. We came up with a workaround, but it was a very clumsy workaround and after two years, I’m done wrestling with it. All those stories and more! are floating around in my head.

So, those are some of the topics I would like to cover in the future and put here. The challenge, as always is balancing and prioritizing time.

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