Monday, March 22, 2010

Homeschooling saga...part one hundred

Some of you may know that I homeschool my oldest (an eighth grader), and that she's a smart cookie in the math department. We've had problems dealing with our school division in that they've not allowed her to move ahead. We found an online option so that she could get credit for 10th grade math, but because we're not in the same school division, the tuition would be $500. Our school division finally acquiesced and said she could take their online math course...for $500 - and after she wrote the 9th grade final (on material she took 2 years ago).

I found it rather insulting that they would extend this offer, particularly since she could take the course for free if we withdrew her from this school division and enrolled her at the online school in the other school division. The problem with doing that though, is that she attends band at one of the middle schools here. So, no school division, no band. Now, understand that when she goes to band once or twice a week, nobody takes her attendance, and she kind of comes and goes as she pleases. If I hadn't gone to the principal at the start of the year, he wouldn't have even known she was there, and if I hadn't submitted it to the school division on her year plan, they wouldn't have known she was even taking it.

However, I did both of these things - neither of which were actually required on any sort of official level; I just thought it was the right thing to do. So when the superintendent of home school put forth the extra effort to call and let me know that she wouldn't be allowed to take band if we decided to pull her out of the school division, I was a little upset. She loves band, and I was hoping something could be worked out. Schools have guests come in all the time, and I know as a parent, that I'm able to be in the classroom as much as I desire, so I didn't think it would be an impossibility. After all, she already knows her pieces, so it's merely a matter of being able to come in and play with the other students.

I went and talked to the principal to see if something could be worked out. He is a great guy, and was shocked that she wasn't allowed to take the online course here (after all, "regular" students of the division have access to the courses - for free - if they need them) and he thought it'd be a very good idea, but would eventually have to check with his supervisor. He told her to keep coming until he found out otherwise.

Well, a few short days later, I got a phone call from him. He asked if I had received the official letter stating that she was no longer a student of the division. I hadn't (and still haven't, over a week later), but he had. Darned if they didn't send it to him first to make sure he knew that they wouldn't allow her to attend. He talked to his supervisor, asking if our girl could take a bit of time to "transition out", but they are trying hard to send a message to us. (I imagine the voice of the beast in Beauty and the Beast saying "You're not welcome here!")

Anyway, the principal was very sorry, and said that he found the situation to be extremely unfair, but that it was way over his head (which it is - they were pretty abrupt with him). Honestly, this school division has been terrible right from the get-go. I don't understand how they can behave in this way, and I plan on writing several letters once I do a little research into how other school divisions deal with their homeschoolers. From what little I know, I've seen that they at least allow their home school students to take the online courses that mainstream students can access.

In the meantime, our daughter has begun the Math 10 course with the online school, and in 4 days she has already completed 2 of the 7 units with an average of 99%. Her goal is to complete it as soon as possible so we can re-register here so that she'll be able to finish out the band year and go on their big trip in June. This is something we hadn't even considered, but at least it's an option. I hate to go back to our school division when we've been welcomed with open arms to this online school in the other school division, but I'm leaving the decision up to her.

Thanks for listening to me rant a little bit, but it feels good to get this off my chest!



Getting My Words Out said...

Let me say...welcome to public school red tape. There's a REASON you are home-schooling. I would HS my daughter in a second if she were even remotely interested. But, since she's been in private school 11 years, this last 2 will be finished out there as well. We're dealing with AP testing issues and insubordination of students in the couple of her non-honors classes.

I commend you for doing what you knew was the right thing to do, even though your daughter had to "suffer" an unwanted consequence. You're setting an excellent example--sometimes the rules don't make any sense, but we still have to live by them and do what's right. Not to mention, she's showing you a mature level of problem solving by coming up with a solution you didn't think of before.

Good luck to you.

Tracy said...

Thanks, Dana. I appreciate that!