Monday, August 29, 2011

Choices Made

Those of you who know our family or who have been reading this blog know that I have been warring internally for some time whether or not to homeschool Elizabeth.

I think I have found a good answer between the two. It is Washington Virtual Academy. It is a public school, with teachers, and special education counselors, however, she does her schooling at home. It still gives her public school credit, but I can monitor more closely what is going on and see for myself what she is grasping or struggling with on a regular basis.

I had always held off while we lived in Wichita, because between the team at Spaght and the fact that Lizzie and Mrs. Silveous were a good team together, opting to not homes chool was better for her. However, after we moved, Lizzie went from working to catch up with her class (she was considered about 1/2 a year to a year behind) to being considered almost completely caught up with her peers. Somehow that didn't sit right. It really made me stop and think and while I know she needs the socialization of school, she is getting it these days here at the apartment complex and we are going to be here for a while, so there meets her social skills requirement. She has friends of all ages in the apartment complex.

Then there is the fact, that her public school in our district has larger classrooms, and somehow it has never sat right with me. Something just seemed wrong about putting her in there. It is also an area of concern since Washington doesn't have any magnet/charter schools. How can you meet the needs of my child if you aren't meeting the needs of your gifted students? And the desire to re-evaluate her, why? And they'd discussed mainstreaming her in ALL of her classes. Her reading level at the time was not as good as it needed to be. So this Summer we have worked on spelling, reading and learning our math facts. Learning to do math without fingers is something we'll need to keep working on, but I know she can do it. Plus she thrives better in a small group and the class size at Madison is in the 30's. Mrs. Silveous and I have both discussed this and that we are concerned. When your child's former teacher offers curriculum ideas, that's a good sign it might be time to heavily consider home school.

So after doing some research I discovered, Washington Virtual Academy. It is public school, and registered as a public school. This means they have a special education counselor, and a teacher who will oversee Elizabeth's progress. It also works on a Mastery Based System. This means she does not move forward until she masters a lesson and she is evaluated at the end of each lesson. I like that, it means they don't push her forward if she isn't ready yet. It also means the teacher and I will have regular conferences about how is Elizabeth doing? Is she being challenged enough, too much, or too little? These are all things I worry about - hence the joys of being the parent of a special needs child. This also means she will see more of Chris. If she attends a traditional public school, she will miss he most of the time. He'll be gone to work by the time she gets home and that takes a toll on her.

So after years of considering home school and wondering when would the right time be, it is now. There is a teacher and an accountability system so I can't slack off. We have flexible hours, so she can spend time with Chris before settling down to do her schooling and the average school day is three to five hours. That means she shouldn't get tired out as quickly and have more energy to run, jump and climb like the little Monkey she has been all of her life. It also means we can work on memorizing Bible verses, her reading can improve since we'll be able to spend more time working on it and she will benefit from the one on one time she really needs. This seems like a good option for her and for me.

I hope you all have a good week.
Love in Christ,

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