As soon as our decision was made, we started the process. I made the appropriate calls. I sent in the appropriate paperwork. I registered him on the appropriate virtual learning website. I turned in his books. Then, we waited. He had to be approved and assigned to his classes. It only took a few days so I have to applaud the school system in this case. It was a simple transition and the home school department was very nice.
There is one thing that we could have done without. We could have done without the letter warning us that William couldn't go back to public school and wasn't even allowed to be on other school grounds until he did his time at the alternative school. Or the home school guy telling me that he couldn't come back to public school until he did his time at the alternative school. Or the school counselor who called with good intentions to check in, only to find out that we had pulled him out. When I updated her, she told me, (you guessed it!) that he couldn't come back to public school until he did his time at the alternative school.
We get it! We got it when we were told this by the vice principal, the discipline committee, and our next door neighbor. Ok, maybe the next door neighbor didn't tell us but my memory is getting fuzzy. ;)
Don't even get me started on the ridiculous fact that he still won't be allowed on a public school's property, even though, he is now home schooled. We assumed that rule would be irrelevant when he transitioned to home school, but turns out...not so much. So, William can't go to his Lizzie and Antwan's plays, Kaleb's band performances, or even ride with me to pick them up from school? Seriously?
For the record, I get that they were covering their bases by making sure that we had all the information; particularly, the counselor who is sweet as honey. (Did I really just use that phrase??) But, after awhile, it just felt like bullying. They have all the power. They had made a decision about our son and that was it. We had to do what they want or else.
Yeah, we took "else."
So, yeah, I took all my adrenalin and ran. I printed out educational worksheets while William waited to be assigned to the virtual classes. I checked his former class websites and had him work on the same stuff so he wouldn't fall behind. I had him write an essay about an episode of Doctor Who. And, not just because that I meant I got to sit and watch Doctor Who. :)
Once the adrenalin wore off, I started running a little slower. I started to really feel the gravity of our decision. Not regret, mind you. Just feel. When I dropped Lizzie and Antwan off and Kaleb left for the bus, I would come home and he'd be there. Gone was the option of mindlessly sitting in my recliner until I was good and ready to get up. I had a kid here and I had to do something with him.
So, for the first few days, I let him play on the tablet until I got food in my tummy and then printed out more worksheets. I knew that it was going to be ok, but I knew that it was going to take some getting used to.
Within a couple of days, he had been assigned to all but one of his classes. We're still waiting on Science for some reason. I was pretty impressed with how easy the website was to navigate and how nice the teachers were when they called for the welcome calls.
It was my quite incorrect belief that William would do most of his computer work on his own. I assumed that I would then supplement his learning with inspiring, educational experiences. You know, the kind that he would always remember. I even bought a bunch of supplies for some cool at-home science experiments.
Then, he got 3 F's on his first 3 assessments. It was clear that he needed help and also clear that he wasn't listening when I had asked him, after 2 F's, to stop submitting assignments before checking with me.
I gotta say, that didn't feel good. I was freaking out a little. But, with guidance from his teacher, we were able to reset the grades and re-do the assignments. with a whole bunch of hesitation, I sat with him and we went through the first lesson step-by-step. And, would you believe that I understood it? (This is when I mention that I find math intimidating.) And, after fighting William's lack of focus and frustration, we got through it and he re-took the assessment.
And, he got an 80%! And, he was proud of himself!
It wasn't all easy. I discovered how quickly William gets discouraged and how easily he loses focus. (I already knew the last part.) When he had to answer a question, he would struggle to answer for fear of being wrong and then get very upset if he was. I remember, in one case, he put his face in his hands after making a mistake. As I continued to read from the computer screen, I realized that he wasn't looking. And, of course, he had no idea what I had just said. When I asked him if it was how he acted in class, he said yes. Well, no wonder he was missing stuff! When the teacher had moved on and William hasn't, he can't learn.
Little by little, he gained knowledge and confidence. By the time that he was finishing the last lesson of that section, he was getting A's and figuring out the answers faster than me. I finally just stopped my own calculations and just let him do his thing.
So, basically, yeah, it's going well. I have discovered that he is the perfect candidate for home schooling. With the ability to take his time and a mom who will re-explain things (possibly clearly, possibly not, ha); William's grades have soared and it's nice to have some time to talk to him alone. It was and still is a transition. And, man, do I miss my me time! But, ask me if I still think that we did the right thing? :)
(That's rhetorical, of course. You can actually ask, but you might end up with a whole post in response. You take your chances...haha.)
Plus, he gets to take a Photography class as an elective and he's having a blast.
I've also discovered some unfortunate candids of me....which I will not be sharing. ;)