Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Meeting with the Principal

Himself and I went to meet with the principal today. I think the guy thinks I am a moron. "What do you know about homeschooling?"

"Absolutely nothing" is my succinct reply. Well it's TRUE! I explained that this is not something I WANT to do, it's something I feel I have to do for my son. I explained about the ADHD and what my goals are for this year (which is basically to teach him socially acceptable coping skills and then kick him out the next year back into regular school.) This guy is obviously keen on homeschooling.

Which is not surprising as that is what this school is about. They hold no regular classes. All children meet once a week for a full day (however he carefully explained that if the little guy can't handle a whole day, he can go 1/2 day either morning or afternoon), they also meet once a month for field trips. Apparently there is sports, music, drama and other "extra-curricular" activities that I can enroll Theo into as well.

I have to report in about every thirty days with what I'm teaching, how he's getting on and if he's not progressing well, I get called in and get the "how can we help" chat.

He continued on with "some parents ask us for the curriculum for teaching their children. Like there is a "One shoe fits all" program." Apparently there isn't. As the teaching parent I have to choose what books he will use and a "program" that fits him. Um, excuse me. I don't know how to choose a study course or books. Just tell me which books to use! I get that parents new to this don't even have a beginning idea and what just to be told what to use and what to do. This is a bit overwhelming.

Was then shown over to the "library" where they keep course materials. I found a puzzle that is the map of the U.S. Nabbed that. A spelling bee game. Nabbed that. Took a brief look at the math and almost left right there. Grabbed their copy of "Homeschooling for dummies and a book on course curriculum for the 4th grade and how to teach cursive. Oh and a "Brer fox and Brer Rabbit" book for reading and an art book. Called it quits.

Notice any social studies books? Science? Health? Nope... didn't get any of those. I took what I could manage for one day.

Friday I have to go back. I have to have a sit down with his teacher who will go through all the ins and outs of homeschooling and the program they use online. And if I have any questions, I can ask them then.

Do I have any QUESTIONS? ARE YOU NUTS??? Of course I have questions... Like am I nuts for doing this? Where do I find the books the kid needs? How do I go about ordering them? How do I get him signed up for other programs? ETC!

Tomorrow I have to go un-enroll him from his current school. Then I have to call Miss Wisconsin to set up his IEP.

One thing I did get from another parent who was in the library. McGruff books and Apparently I go find what I want on line, print out a wish list and take it to the school so they can order what I want, if they don't already have them.

I get the feeling that this is a fairly new program. Lots of books for kindergarten through second. Not much of anything after that.

I'm still worried that I'm going to screw this up. There is so much I still don't know. And have you noticed any actual teaching going on? Me either. He doesn't start to go INTO his one day a week until the 19th. And right now I'm not planning on starting until Monday. I might do some art with him, play with the puzzle and the spelling bee. But right now, until I talk to his teacher, there doesn't seem to be much point!

Oh, I did find out that Himself thinks I'm nuts. He's just going with the flow because he knows that once I make up my mind to do something, I'm going to do it come hell or come high water. He did say (to the principal) that he was glad that as a backup, real school was there. I don't think he has much confidence in me. Well, that makes two of us. Throw in my parents, that makes 4 of us.

One last piece of joysome news, the principal says it takes about 2 months to transition from kid to student role and to accept the "mommy" to teacher roll. He said this with a rather interesting expression on his face that I translated to "Mabuting kapalarem" Which is probably horrendously spelled Tagalog for "Best of luck!"

Gee thanks!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Holy COW! Can I do this?

I am 53 years old and my 9 year old son has been diagnosed with ADHD. Not a big surprise to anyone who knows him. I've always said and maintain that this is the WRONG kid for a 44 year old mother with 3 other children. I noticed from the beginning that the kid was BUSY. Busy, Busy, busy. He NEVER slows down, barely eats and getting to sleep is difficult especially without the 'white noise' of a fan. His focus is either non-existent or he's "hyper-focused."

This year he's supposed to enter the 4th grade. He's also been prescribed "concerta" a ritalin type drug. I'm one of those people who believes that doctor prescribed drugs have their place, but usually not in my house. That's not to say I don't use them, just very rarely. Now I have this bottle of Concerta sitting here in front of me. "Methypheidate". Lovely. I looked up the side effects; loss of appetite, increased aggression, mood changes, depression, can cause all sorts of health problems etc. and this following comment just kills me; "There have been no placebo controlled trials investigating the long term effectiveness of methylphenidate beyond 4 weeks thus the long term effectiveness of methylphenidate has not been scientifically demonstrated" 

Are you KIDDING me? FOUR WEEKS? And you want me to dump this in one of the most precious things I have? BITE ME!!!

So now I have decided to homeschool the little beastie. Am I nuts? I'm beginning to believe I am. While I am qualified legally to teach him at home, I'm beginning to panic. I took a few education courses in college, when at one point I thought I might go into teaching and I taught a pre-kindergarten class one year. And that qualifies me to do WHAT exactly? Exactly what I am, a bored housewife who thinks housework is for anyone else but her. Certainly not to teach!

I took a look at the course curriculum today and now I'm panicking out right. Holy SHIT I can't do this! Math alone is going to kill me! Okay, I took 207 not too long ago but THIS? Geometrical concepts? Huh? "Time to the second"? What the hell is THAT? Problem solving methods? Are those WORD problems? I think in my whole life (and sorry, this is NO exaggeration) I got ONE word problem right. I still remember it. The feeling of getting it right anyway. 

That's just math... I'm also supposed to teach basic anatomy and physiology, I can do that. Finally my aromatherapy course study is coming in handy... History of this state. i'm like "DUH" about WA state history and how this state relates to the rest of the country and world. Are you KIDDING ME? Reasons for our laws? I don't think "A bunch of overpaid whack jobs make arbitrary decisions that we have to follow" is what the schools are wanting our kids to learn.

Then there's art, science, health subjects and freaking P.E! Yeah, I'm in the perfect shape to be teaching P.E.! Holy CRAP!

Then of course there is the fact that I have my OWN problems concentrating and focusing. And I'm supposed to teach a kid with ADHD to do it? That's majorly throwing stones at glass houses. I'm as disorganized as they come. sigh.

Part of me want's to just throw in the towel. Quit before I get started. Just shove the pill down the kid's throat and shove him out the door. Let the teacher's deal with him. But then I look at his already underweight frame and sigh. Nope, I gotta do this. I have to figure a way to settle down, get the books, figure out a curriculum and teach the little booger not only the school work, but also how to manage his ADHD without drugs. 

Wish me luck, because I'm not sure I have the "right stuff."