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D (in 5th grade this year) elected to go TO an alternative school here in the district. He’s enjoying the time out of the house, away from his brothers who sometimes do more tormenting than anything else. This change makes us a hybrid homeschool family now.
Having homeschooled the boys for 7 years, I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to have one fly from the nest and go to a public school. He asked several times over the past 2 years to go to school and I have to admit that my bruised ego and hurt feelings kept me from fully exploring the option until this year.
I know that the Holy Spirit had a hand in it all.
It was a quick decision to make a ‘field trip’ to this alternative school when they had an open house last February for those considering the lottery for placement. We met the 4th/5th-grade split teacher who did not really impress D. Then, we met the 6th-grade teacher who impressed both of us. Walking out of the school, D asked if he could just go straight to 6th grade if he got into the school. I had to tell him, no, the school district might already have issues with his being categorized as a 5th grader when his birthday is after the cut-off date. And, I told him that entering the lottery was not a guarantee that he’d get a spot.
I entered him into the lottery drawing, even though my husband was still rather adamant that ALL the boys be homeschooled. He got the first alternate spot for his grade and within a day was bumped up for an open spot. #2 working of the Holy Spirit as some parents have tried for years to no avail at getting a spot.
Then, when we went for registration night, we learned that there was going to be a 5th/6th-grade split class this year with the 6th-grade teacher. We asked for D to be considered for that class and decided to not even mention the possibility to him in case it didn’t work out. The night before school started, we went to learn his class assignment. He got Mr. Smith. #3 working of the Holy Spirit.
Hubby went with us for back to school night to see the classroom. Mr. Smith was IN the classroom and hubby had a chance to meet him and hear more about his approach to things. Some of his fears were laid to rest that night. Hubby still thought D would be begging to return home within a week of school starting. That hasn’t happened. The Holy Spirit continues to work…
Instead, we are seeing a child who would hide from doing work for me turn into a more responsible individual. With the exception of one night, he is consistently coming home and doing homework right off the bat. He’s spending extra time working on cursive (which he’d shunned for the most part this summer) as Mr. Smith requires ALL work to be in cursive. D learned that if he can’t write neatly, his grade will suffer. Some things (e.g. the spelling pre-test on Wednesdays) are graded by another student. He was marked off for a few that he’d spelled correctly, but the other student couldn’t read.
I’ve also learned through this experience that I can’t let my own pride or fears of others dictate how to choose what is best for each of my boys. I’ve seen through the years that the boys tend to have better behavior for other adults. And, I have noticed that the amount of effort put into work is different if someone other than mom is seeing the finished product. So, P is using Write at Home again for his composition class with mom still having the final say on his grade. I’m seriously considering having him continue Homeschool Spanish Academy on his own as he is then forced to have one hour of interaction with the instructor.
All this change to a hybrid homeschool family brings some other challenges for me. I have to be up, dressed and drive D to his school as we are outside the boundaries of the school and the parent is responsible for transportation. It hasn’t been too bad so far, but I am already dreading the drive when the snow and ice arrive. That could make a 10-minute drive take 20 to 30 minutes.
I have to be more vigilant of the time to be there for pick up. Just this week, I had my first ‘fail’ as I was engrossed with homeschooling another brother and didn’t have a clock in the room. D called to ask where I was and I knew what had happened as soon as I saw the caller ID for the school. Thankfully, I know this happens to other parents at times and not just those of us who’ve homeschooled so long that we often lose track of the day let alone the time of day.
Also, I am having to find a new balance with homeschooling the other boys. My free-flowing environment is slowly being replaced with more schedules and placing more responsibility for the work on the boys’ shoulders. Considering they are in 8th and 11th grade this year, I don’t think that’s too much to handle.
But, so far, this hybrid homeschooling year is going reasonably well. And, I’ll be evaluating each child’s needs against those of the family’s and deciding what we’ll be doing on a yearly basis.
Have you ever split the kids between a brick and mortar school and a homeschool environment?
If so, how did that work for you?
For those that have kids in a school, have you ever ‘forgotten’ to pick them up?