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Old 12-07-2009, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Chicagoland
5,649 posts, read 8,632,531 times
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Here's the background....

My 5th grade son likes school and is thriving socially. He is in an excellent Math & Science program which challenges him. However, his Reading/LA teacher (who is known as the "fun" teacher) does not seem to be challenging him at all. She has a very laid-back attitude (my hubby calls it "slacker attitude") though she has gifted education credentials. I believe the quality of my son's writing (e.g. topic development, grammar, spelling) has declined since being in this class. He has also become less interested in reading and participating in class discussions.

He has admitted that he is bored of the stories and, since she doesn't grade for spelling/grammar, he thinks he doesn't really need to worry about that either. Of course, I told him that his parents do not accept him taking the easy way out as we know he is more than capable of good writing/grammar.

He recently took an assessment test and his Reading/Writing/Grammar scores had actually gone down! But he got straight A's on his report card! I asked him whether he thought he deserved A's in Reading/L.A. and (with a devilish smile) he responded that he met his Reading goals (which were unbelievably low) and got A's on all his assignments (which were never marked for grammar/spelling errors). He knows he's getting away with minimal effort!

I've never encountered a teacher like this before. I gave it a few months thinking she had some bigger plan of which I was not aware. But after meeting with her, I believe we may just have a slacker teacher on our hands.

Last week, I met with the teacher and Principal to explain that, since both his Reading/LA SAT scores AND his motivation have declined, some sort of intervention was necessary. (Yes, I am the crazy parent who complains even though her child gets A's). The teacher half-heartedly offered to do a weekly assessment test/report. I offered another solution - I would take my son out the first 2 hours of the day (during Reading/Language) and I would homeschool him (probably through a virtual school). I then presented the Principal with the recent statutes that supported this. He said this was the first partial-homeschool request he had received and he'd need to research it.

Well, the School District just e-mailed me and my partial-homeschool request has been approved. I will be able to homeschool my child in the morning and they will allow him to attend school the rest of the day.

So now I have a decision to make. My son is open to being homeschooled and I think the 1:1 intervention will get him back on track. He also likes the idea of selecting his own texts (e.g. Science novels geared to his interests instead of those fragmented stories from the basal textbooks). If we go through one of the virtual schools (e.g. Stanford), he can also receive teacher/peer feedback on his writing. He'll also improve his typing skills (unfortunately, his school does not use computers for writing assignments).

We still need to work out the details (e.g. grading). I don't know anyone who has partially homeschooled or used a virtual school. But it seems like the best of both worlds.

So any thoughts, advice, potential pitfalls? Any advice is appreciated!

p.s. I forgot to mention that there is a new student in my son's Reading class with extreme ADHD (the parent told us he is trying to get the right medication/therapy). This child has been very distracting to my son and the other students in the class. This may also be affecting his performance and the amount of attention my child receives from his teacher. When I observed the class, the teacher spent a great deal of time trying to control the one student. Another reason why it may be better to remove my son from the class.

Last edited by GoCUBS1; 12-07-2009 at 11:33 AM..
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:18 PM
 
1,428 posts, read 2,827,865 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCUBS1 View Post



So now I have a decision to make. My son is open to being homeschooled and I think the 1:1 intervention will get him back on track. He also likes the idea of selecting his own texts (e.g. Science novels geared to his interests instead of those fragmented stories from the basal textbooks). If we go through one of the virtual schools (e.g. Stanford), he can also receive teacher/peer feedback on his writing. He'll also improve his typing skills (unfortunately, his school does not use computers for writing assignments).

We still need to work out the details (e.g. grading). I don't know anyone who has partially homeschooled or used a virtual school. But it seems like the best of both worlds.

So any thoughts, advice, potential pitfalls? Any advice is appreciated!
I am interested in hearing of your experiences. We have used BYU, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Indiana for high school distance education in language arts, and quite honestly, we haven't been particularly impressed with the quality of writing instruction because there's little to no feedback. If EPGY works better, that would be wonderful for you. I would directly call them and speak to them about this specific issue.
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Chicagoland
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Originally Posted by Charles Wallace View Post
I am interested in hearing of your experiences. We have used BYU, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Indiana for high school distance education in language arts, and quite honestly, we haven't been particularly impressed with the quality of writing instruction because there's little to no feedback. If EPGY works better, that would be wonderful for you. I would directly call them and speak to them about this specific issue.
Thanks for the info... I am also looking at K12 (uses The Great Books program) and Northwestern University's Center for Talent/GLL program which also has a nearby campus with writing classes. Have you heard anything about these programs? I'm just beginning the research but I do hope to find a program that can offer some good feedback. I also believe I can provide better feedback than what my son is currently receiving from his teacher...
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:56 AM
 
1,428 posts, read 2,827,865 times
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Originally Posted by GoCUBS1 View Post
Thanks for the info... I am also looking at K12 (uses The Great Books program) and Northwestern University's Center for Talent/GLL program which also has a nearby campus with writing classes. Have you heard anything about these programs? I'm just beginning the research but I do hope to find a program that can offer some good feedback. I also believe I can provide better feedback than what my son is currently receiving from his teacher...
I'm very much in favor of the Great Books as a general rule, but my guess -- and I definitely could be mistaken; this is just a general impression -- would be that the focus there would be more on literature and literary analysis than on the craft of writing itself. However, I don't know. I don't know about NW, so I'm interested to see what your impression is.
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Old 04-27-2010, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Chicagoland
5,649 posts, read 8,632,531 times
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Default Update on Partial Homeschooling

Just thought I would revive my old thread so I could give you an update... We have been partially homeschooling my son in Reading/LA since January and it is one of the best things we ever did for his education! He now has the best of both worlds - a great public school gifted math/science program coupled with an individualized homeschool Reading/LA program. He also has lunch, recess, P.E., music, art, field trips, sports/clubs, etc. at the public school with his friends which is a very positive social experience for him...

He has been taking courses through Northwestern University's GLL online program. We've also been using elements of the K12 virtual school and we've customized his reading list to his interests. His love of learning, motivation, and quality of work has greatly increased in just a few months.

Just thought I would relate our positive experience in case anyone else is considering this option...
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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That's awesome! Thanks for the update!
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:51 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
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How does the partial enrollment work in regards to grades from the homeschooled portion of his education? Since he is an A student anyway, obviously it's not a concern, but I am just curious how the school is factoring it all in? (For example, if a student was failing Reading for a semester at school and then was homeschooled for Reading for the next semester, do they take the grades from the online sources and/or grades from the homeschooling parent at face value or do they do some form of assessment?) I am intrigued by this format and am just curious how the school handles it.

Has he experienced any negative comments from classmates?

I am glad to hear this experience has worked out so well for you. Will you consider returning him to full-time enrollment next year or are you planning on maintaining the current schedule?
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Old 04-28-2010, 08:00 AM
 
433 posts, read 1,088,585 times
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Originally Posted by buffy888 View Post
How does the partial enrollment work in regards to grades from the homeschooled portion of his education? Since he is an A student anyway, obviously it's not a concern, but I am just curious how the school is factoring it all in? (For example, if a student was failing Reading for a semester at school and then was homeschooled for Reading for the next semester, do they take the grades from the online sources and/or grades from the homeschooling parent at face value or do they do some form of assessment?) I am intrigued by this format and am just curious how the school handles it.

Has he experienced any negative comments from classmates?

I am glad to hear this experience has worked out so well for you. Will you consider returning him to full-time enrollment next year or are you planning on maintaining the current schedule?
Our daughter is doing this for homeschool. She is taking writing and a teacher is grading what she does online, through the Florida Virtual school system.

The school district will probably like this more than the homeschool portfolio as to what grades she is assigned.

She starts next year full time public school.
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Chicagoland
5,649 posts, read 8,632,531 times
Reputation: 6758
Quote:
Originally Posted by buffy888 View Post
How does the partial enrollment work in regards to grades from the homeschooled portion of his education? Since he is an A student anyway, obviously it's not a concern, but I am just curious how the school is factoring it all in? (For example, if a student was failing Reading for a semester at school and then was homeschooled for Reading for the next semester, do they take the grades from the online sources and/or grades from the homeschooling parent at face value or do they do some form of assessment?) I am intrigued by this format and am just curious how the school handles it.

Has he experienced any negative comments from classmates?

I am glad to hear this experience has worked out so well for you. Will you consider returning him to full-time enrollment next year or are you planning on maintaining the current schedule?
I have not submitted any grades nor has the school requested grades from me. His recent report card listed grades in all subjects except Reading/LA (they were left blank). I'm not sure if I should try to submit a grade so that it is on his "official" 5th grade transcript or if it matters. I plan on addressing this with the Principal. Maybe someone has advice on this?

Another issue is access to school testing. The school will not allow him to take state tests (ISATs) in the subjects for which he is homeschooled. He can, however, take another Natl. normed Reading assessment test at the school.

At the beginning, I was worried about negative comments from peers but this has not happened at all. Kids have told him he is lucky (they probably think he is at home just playing!). Some parents have told me their kids have also asked if they could be partially homeschooled. Other parents have told me they wish they could do it.

When we first started this process, I planned on it being a short-term solution to a bad class/teacher situation. We planned on going back to full-time enrollment next year. However, this has worked out so well, it may now take an extraordinary teacher/program to motivate us to go back to the traditional program.

There just have been so many unexpected benefits to this situation it may be hard to let it go... The academic benefits of providing a completely customized and accelerrated curriculum, the ability to immediately address specific learning needs as they happen, the flexibility to change direction as needed, the stronger bond/understanding I now have with my son, the interaction he has with classmates from all over the world which brings such unique perspectives to online discussions (e.g. he is now studying Roman mythology with a boy who lives in Rome and can give him personal accounts of the architecture).

This has just been such a wonderful experience for us. I've met many homeschool advocates and also public school advocates. I haven't seen much information on partial homeschooling, yet it can be such a wonderful approach.
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:58 AM
 
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Can you just work with him at home on Reading/LA? Or can he skip a grade in those subjects? I was in a similar situation as your kid growing up, but with Math instead of Reading/LA. (I am 24 now, but this happened to me growing up) In middle school I was allowed to skip two grades of math classes. In the beginning of 6th grade I took a test and skipped over 6th grade math. I did the same thing next year, so I took '7th grade math' in 6th grade and '9th grade math' in 7th grade. I don't know if your school district allows something similar, but for the school I was in, I wasn't allowed to test out of grades for any subject until middle school. Would he have the option to do that at some point? If next year he could take 7th grade reading/LA instead of 6th, that might challenge him a little more.

Just a thought! Good luck with whatever you do.
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