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Part time school?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

After years of reading on these forums, I made an account just so I could ask this question!


My kids are in kindergarten and 2nd grade at the local public elementary. I'm generally very happy with the school, but they're in the process of implementing Common Core and I'm not thrilled with that. My older daughter is quite advanced with her reading, yet she received "2"s on her recent report card because that's all the further they were expected to be at this point in the year. A "2" was the highest grade the teacher could give. So her report card does not reflect her actual knowledge or ability and, since she has to move at the same pace as everyone else, she's getting bored in class.


I'm considering homeschooling, but the 2nd grader loves being in the school choir and the kindergartener just blooms socially when she's able to work in groups... so here's my question...


Has anyone successfully done a public school/home school hybrid? I feel like it might work out well if the kids were home with me part of the week so that they could work at their own academic pace and then at school part of the week so that they could participate in the programs that they love and have different interactions with other kids and adults. Is this even possible?


Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 19

I've been through a lot of part-time years with my various kids. With my current part-timer is my youngest who just turned 11, and she goes to school for math (4+ grade levels up), for downhill ski days with her age-mates (5th grade), and for occasional week-long "immersion electives" with the 7th through 12th graders. She's also doing after-school dance with the high schoolers. The rest of the week she is a homeschoolers and does various arts and sports related things that she's passionate about, reads, travels and stays busy with hobbies and interest-led explorations. 


The down-side for us is juggling the transportation. It's a lot of driving back and forth from the school for some pretty brief blocks of time. My 15yo and 17yo are at the school full-time, no busing available, no public transit, too far and too dangerous to walk for most of the year, so I have to do 2-3 round trips a day for them, plus with the 11-year-old going part-time I typically have to make at least two extra round-trips a day to deal with her schedule, and that really breaks up the day. The other wrinkle is that she is expected to do standardized testing, which doesn't match her working level at all and seems pretty meaningless. 


So ... it really ties our days and weeks to a school schedule and disrupts the flow at home. That limits our homeschooling flexibility, though in our case it was already limited to an extent by her older siblings being in school. But for us, on balance it's worth it for now. Next year her siblings will be elsewhere, so homeschooling will offer more freedom and she may decide to drop the school component. 


We didn't try part-time schooling at the elementary school level because we felt it would be too disruptive to the teacher and too difficult to manage as a student. At our school the K-6 classes do a lot of cross-curricular learning and there's no such thing as "math period" or "science class." Most learning is integrated across several subject areas, and even when they have focused subject-oriented work the teachers don't plan it by the clock. If a student decided to attend just mornings, or three afternoons a week or something, they'd always be coming into wide-ranging projects and activities already in progress. 



post #3 of 19

Check out your area options. In ours, we have many part-time schooling programs. Some are public charters where kids go in for classes 2 or 3 times a weeks and home study the rest. There are several religious groups with schools like this as well. Some traditional public schools allow homeschoolers to come in for a selection of classes. The only problem with this is the schedule... if you want to take band and math... they might not be back-to-back. Start looking around and asking questions.


Not all of common core is bad and report cards really don't matter. They will never really tell you much about where your kid is at the elementary level.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions and recommendations! I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about the whole thing.


*I* know that the report card doesn't really matter, but I worry that my daughter will stop trying very hard if she realizes that she can get the same grade with a lot less effort. She's almost 8-years-old and takes everything very literally. Everything is very black and white in her world, no shades of grey. 


I'd like to find a co-op school of some sort, but we live out in the boonies and are not particularly religious, so that limits our options there.


School should not be this complicated!

post #5 of 19
My kids are in school full time, but I 'homeschool' them for math. The school math curriculum is terrible. We use Singapore math at home. They like the ability to be at school, play with friends, and participate in school activities.
post #6 of 19

With regard to the report card, if your daughter got the highest grade she could have gotten, I don't really understand the problem. I have 3 kids, all in high school now, and I am also a high school teacher. I have found that much of my own kids' attitudes towards school come from ME. It's how I react to and present things to them that helps to shape their reactions- this was particularly true when they were in elementary school. If you make a big deal about the fact that she got the highest grade possible through her hard work and intelligence, she will be satisfied and continue to work hard. I doubt the teachers are even talking about the grades, etc. I would supplement what she's learning at school with stuff at home, if she wants to and you feel she needs to be challenged. My youngest was always reading books way above grade level; she's also been writing stories since 3rd grade.


I'm teaching using common core. I don't love it, I don't hate it. It's a set of standards that are pretty vague, IMO. I don't let it stop me from teaching what my kids need to know. Good teachers do what they have to in order for their kids to be successful. This is true whether they have no set curriculum or common core. Don't let stories in the media scare you. My opinion about common core is that it will go the way of most educational fads, "This too shall pass." In 18 years, I have seen numerous things come and go in education; common core is just the latest and is getting more media attention than most. If you like your child's school, if she likes it, if she has friends and is generally happy, don't stress about this. :)

post #7 of 19
A lot of homeschool things are Christian based, but I've not found it to be overly so. Mostly, they want the kids to be polite and.dress modestly. (Shoulder to knee covered, not form fitting) Maybe it.could still work for you?

That said, I have found more opportunities than I thought. My kids are in choir, and are taking piano, gymnastics, and.horse riding lessons. They are beginning gymnasts, so they are working hard to get through the first levels and then join the homeschool class there. In the spring they are running track, and.in.the fall they play soccer. We are working out swim lessons. So far all I can find is.expensive yet doesn't have clear expectations.

My point is that maybe you.don't need the school.
post #8 of 19
I am also interested to see what part time options are out there.
Edited by busybumblebee - 2/19/14 at 6:20am
post #9 of 19

There was a student at our local school for a couple of years that was part time school/part time homeschool. One thing I noticed is that he never really gelled socially with the group. A class becomes kind of a community of kids, for better or worse. The teacher's skill in creating community plays into this, so sometimes the quality of the community is better and sometimes not as good. When a student comes and goes, arriving for what other kids see as 'the good stuff' (specials), they can sometimes not become part of this community. Kids feel like they 'go through' stuff together (we have to write that 5 page paper....groan) and see the part time student as outside of this. In the only experience I know of, the child ended up leaving because he just couldn't make consistent friends, and the students didn't really absorb him into their community after two years. 


I know it's "just" school, but these other components seem real, and definitely were real for my daughter who provided me with these reflections about the part time student. 

post #10 of 19

The could only give a 2 thing sounds weird. That's not a Common Core thing to my knowledge. I'd take that up again with the teacher or the principal. If it's the same 1-4 scale we use, a 2 would mean she "inconsistently meets grade-level expectations". A 3 would be "consistently meets grade level expectations". A 4 is "exceeds" and  a 1 is "fails to meet". She should be able to get a 3 on the material or a "not assessed" if they haven't gone over it. 


I would follow-up on that and ask for more clarification. My dd2's 3rd grade teacher last year did not seem to give out 4s at all, but dd2 consistently had 3s (even though she was reading and comprehending and writing many grade levels ahead and also in the gifted reading program). For whatever reason, that teacher just didn't give 4s, but her teacher this year has given her 4s almost from the get-go. I'd say the can only give a 2 thing might just be the teacher this year. There will be another teacher next year.

post #11 of 19
Subbing- I love that many of you have made PT school work. DS is only 3.5 and not in school yet, but all of this is already on my mind. Welive in Peru for a few months out of the year- hoping to eventually make it 6 months. I've considered putting DS in school here (the US) while we're here and then homeschooling while we're in Peru. Anyone heard of an arrangement like this?
post #12 of 19
Originally Posted by gitanamama View Post

Subbing- I love that many of you have made PT school work. DS is only 3.5 and not in school yet, but all of this is already on my mind. Welive in Peru for a few months out of the year- hoping to eventually make it 6 months. I've considered putting DS in school here (the US) while we're here and then homeschooling while we're in Peru. Anyone heard of an arrangement like this?

One of our local senators does this. They are enrolled in the local school district but when the house in session, they move to the capital and homeschool their kids.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Beanma- that's it exactly. It says right on the report card that a 2 means "inconsistently meets expectations" and my daughter read that and was upset because she knows that she's doing fine in reading and math. I explained to her how they were grading this year and she doesn't think that they should say that kids aren't meeting expectations when they actually are. According to her, they should either change the grading back to what it was or change the interpretation to match the grading. I totally agree with her on that. I have plans to meet with the principal about it, but first I'm trying to figure out exactly what I want to ask beyond just the grading.


I really appreciate all of the input and different points of view here! I'm still not sure what would be the best way for us to go, but all advice helps!

post #14 of 19

I think it's a really valuable lesson for kids to learn that report cards are deeply flawed. 


We homeschooled through the primary and middle school years, but my eldest dd did some standardized testing in 3rd grade. She scored well, but not as close to perfectly as she deserved, because of some pretty idiotic and overly simplistic questions. For instance, for one of the conceptual math questions there were four pairs of scissors illustrated in various configurations, and the question was "Which shows a slide?" The question made no sense to her, so after much head-scratching, she chose the one where the scissors were configured a bit like this: / \ because they looked a bit like a lateral view of a playground slide. After she completed the test (with me biting my tongue and saying nothing, rule-keeper that I am) I pointed at that question again and asked "Which shows a translation?" and she instantly picked the 'correct' answer. She knew the proper mathematical terminology for geometric transformations, but not the dumbed-down terminology, and thus didn't recognize the question as being about transformations. According to the testing she had incomplete mastery of transformations, but in fact her mastery was far beyond the 3rd grade level.


That became a really potent lesson to her about how tests and grades are imperfect. They try to be an accurate reflection of what is known and understood inside someone's mind, but true accuracy is impossible because you can't see inside someone else's mind. Some systems and approaches are better reflections than others, but they're at best approximations. When you get a report card, I think it's important to ask yourselves honestly: "Is this giving me meaningful and helpful information about something I didn't already know?" If not, your should try to the whole thing out of your mind. It gets easier with practice.


I have been careful to raise my kids with a healthy skepticism about grades. As I see it grades don't matter at all unless (a) they're going to have direct repercussions on future options or (b) they're giving helpful and meaningful information about something you didn't already know. And even when they do matter for either or both of those reasons, they're not the be-all and the end-all. As a result, my kids work hard in order to learn, not in order to earn marks. They're not completely nihilistic about grades, but they see them as imperfect reflections of complex learning. My ds17 got 99% as his interim senior math mark last fall and explained to me that it didn't mean much, that he felt his mastery was not at that level because the grade was based on a fortunate result on a single too-easy unit test. A very healthy attitude, IMO.


So rather than spending emotional energy being annoyed about the inaccuracy of your dd's 2's, I would use them as a way of helping your dd focus on what's really important in education: her learning -- and to understand that learning and evaluations at best correlate incompletely, at worst are completely at odds.



post #15 of 19

Slide? Transformation? I had to look that up. I think we just talk about rotation, flips, and reflections. I'm still not sure what a "slide" is.

post #16 of 19


Lol, stupid term, isn't it? 


A is a rotation

C is a reflection

B and D are translations.


In baby-speak,


A is a turn

C is a flip

B and D are slides.



post #17 of 19

Just thought of something else. The way I remind my kids not to get hung up on grades is to tell them that good grades are a fairly common side effect of good learning. Nothing more.



post #18 of 19

And on the flip-side, especially as they get older... that sometimes less-than-perfect grades can be a temporary side-effect of trying something challenging.


Just today, I had two of my English language learners say that they were really proud of their grades in 8th grade English. Both decided try regular English this year, rather than my ESL class, and both REALLY struggled at the beginning of the year. They begged me to switch back to my class after their first tests came back... let's just say "not awesome." I told them we'd talk about it after a quarter of hard work.


They are now, mid-third-quarter (with assistance from me, but mostly just hard work on their parts), pulling As and Bs in a class they thought they would fail, and when I asked them if they wanted to switch back to my class, they laughed at me. Ouch. ;)


And back on the original topic... different schools/districts/states handle part-time attendance differently. It's certainly an option in general, and a darn good one in a lot of cases, but it can be tricky. We have a few students doing it at the junior high and high school level, when it's actually a little easier because you can just schedule a student in back-to-back sections. The elementary level tends to be trickier because, as mentioned upthread, a given class's schedule may not match up with what a given student wants to attend. Social studies might be right before lunch, and music at the end of the day. It's certainly possible, but poses challenges as well.

post #19 of 19

Thanks Miranda. I did figure it out, but it's nothing that either of my kids (7th grade and 4th grade) have really had as a topic, at least not that I am aware of. They know all that stuff, but probably would have been easily stumped by that language [slide], too.


Thistlewitch, I really don't think the "can't give more than a 2" thing has anything to do with Common Core. We have never run into that here in NC and have been doing Common Core for the past two years. Hope you can get some clarification on that. Just seems weird, but I agree with the advice you've been given about not letting her get hung up on grades. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that, too. I like "good grades are a fairly common side effect of good learning" and "less than perfect grades can be a temporary side-effect of trying something challenging". Both great takes on it. 

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