We're done with school for dd9 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 01:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We've been trying for the past few years to make ps work for dd9. She'll be starting 5th grade tomorrow and I am fairly certain that we will be withdrawing her by the end of the month. She's been asking to hs for 2 yrs; I've been wanting to hs her for about the same length of time. Work, the need to not put my family in a really tough financial situation, and life have made us keep trying, but I think that we are at the point where the straw has broken the camel's back.

Her class size went from 18 to 30. They are doing away with half of the science and history instruction and bringing special ed into the classroom to work with the students b/c some are really struggling in writing (not dd). I also just found out tonight that they don't have room to continue accelerated math for all of the students who tested accelerated in math b/c of teacher reductions (three classes instead of four from last year) and b/c they just have too many kids who are advanced to serve them all.

I need to get my ducks in order: give notice at work, work out the loss of health insurance through my employer, figure out a way to replace some of the $ since my web business isn't a major money making venture at this time, attend the local hs assn meeting next week to discuss social opportunities, co-ops, etc....

I'm just so upset on dd's behalf on how much the school is failing her that I'm finding it hard to sleep right now. She'll still have the GT reading class for 45-60 mins/day, but an hour of learning in a 6.5 hours day just isn't enough. Her self image is really suffering as well b/c she is feeling like she isn't smart enough to be placed somewhere where she might learn something.
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#2 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 09:10 AM
 
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Oh Christa!
I am so sorry that this is all happening. I hope that all of your ducks get in a row easily and that you can do what you know is best for your dd.

Mother of two. : 4/05 and 1/07 Wife of one. : 7/01
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#3 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 09:53 AM
 
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I'm sorry. How frustrating. Those cuts sound awful. I'm sure you have looked into this, but are there any options to request a transfer to another school? We have them here, but the school board certainly keeps very quiet about them. Could she go half-time and HS half-time?

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#4 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry. How frustrating. Those cuts sound awful. I'm sure you have looked into this, but are there any options to request a transfer to another school? We have them here, but the school board certainly keeps very quiet about them. Could she go half-time and HS half-time?
She actually was choiced into this school b/c it is better than our neighborhood school. I have applied at another school but this late in the game it is unlikely that we will get her in.
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#5 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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I'm sorry. How frustrating. . . . Could she go half-time and HS half-time?
I had this thought, too. I wonder if it would be possible to do this and still keep a work schedule, benefits, etc.
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#6 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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Is there maybe a private school you could try? It may still be a financial burden, but you could keep your job and health insurance. Some privates have "rigorous" academics and they might welcome and accommodate a gifted student. Just another thought. Good luck.
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#7 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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I am so sorry you are being put in this position. I am also doing the same thing with my dd, who is also going into 5th grade. By the end of 4th grade, the teacher, just blatantly stated that the school wasn't a good fit for her. But the reason behind it isn't just academics, it's behavioral; which, I think, was actually related to the lack of appropriate academic challenge and true peers. But I couldn't get the school to see past the behavior to the root cause.

We are still thinking about how to implement homeschooling. We are going through a HS charter so we'll have a teacher, but the school is flexible with curriculum so we are deciding whether to use classes through John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth for some courses, continue with Alek's for math, and what we are going to do for history/social studies, etc. They have said that they will let us accelerate her academic level within her chronological grade level, so I hope that they are as flexible as they have indicated.

Oh, and I am going to work full-time while HS, so trying to find places for our girl during the work day when we are both working is something we are going to have to work through as well. I hope you are able to figure something out.

I'd love to hear about your plans. I also checked out your link for Galileo Homeschooling. What a great idea.

- Sky
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#8 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 12:51 PM
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Ugh, just for you. What a shame that a public school is not meeting her needs. As a teacher I know how schools struggle to meet all the diverse student needs, but when a school lets your kid down... Good for you being able to step in for her.
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#9 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and I am going to work full-time while HS, so trying to find places for our girl during the work day when we are both working is something we are going to have to work through as well. I hope you are able to figure something out.

I'd love to hear about your plans. I also checked out your link for Galileo Homeschooling. What a great idea.

- Sky
Good luck with making it work for your family too and thanks on the website ! I'm making a very little bit of $ when people click on the google ads or buy products through the links on my coupons page, but not enough to replace my work income. I do work part-time but the hours are really erratic and change daily with short notice. Dh is a commercial truck driver so I can't count on him for a lot of help either unfortunately.

I wish that you lived locally and we could help each other out!

At this point we are planning to use EPGY for math and language arts/writing as a supplement. I signed her up through a hs coop so we got the killer bargain price through the Open Enrollment plan. I am leaning toward Jacob's Ladder for more LA and maybe buying the Homeschooling Your Gifted Child: Lesson Plans for the Middle School Years book. I'll use some of Edward Zaccaro's Challenge Math series as a math supplement as well.

We already belong to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science so I can use that for some of the science. I'm going to enroll her in a forensics class there for fun. It's just a one day thing. Even if I don't get farther than that, I'm quite certain that I can do better than the school will do.
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#10 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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What a frustrating situation. It very upsetting when schools face these kinds of extreme cuts.

Best wishes as you transition to homeschooling. I hope you can find some good options for part time income. Tutoring pays surprisingly well in some areas - would that be an option?
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#11 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 06:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I did do a little tutoring for homeschoolers last year. I should probably start working on expanding that and working with kids in school as well since their parents probably have more money if nothing else -- lol!
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#12 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 06:25 PM
 
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. Losing health insurance because of this must be really scary. I hope you will be able to expand your web business or make money tutoring, to have the financial side covered at least.
From what I remember, your older DD seems much happier at her middle school - is there a chance that this will be a very temporary situation?

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#13 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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From what I remember, your older DD seems much happier at her middle school - is there a chance that this will be a very temporary situation?
Maybe. They are very different kids and we're not sure if dd9 will be attending the same middle school. She also has self image issues and erratic performance issues that dd11 does not.
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#14 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 09:13 PM
 
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Does she have an Accellerated Learning Plan? Have you been in touch with http://coloradogifted.org/index.html ? I know that you probably know all of this but I'm pretty apalled they can't meet the needs of your kiddo but I get bugets and redistricting.
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#15 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 10:02 PM
 
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ChristaN,

I wish we lived closer too! It's so challenging. Thanks for the ideas on curriculum. There is a EPGY co-op that I am aware of through the DYS discussion boards. I'll have to keep any eye out for it for next term. Let me know how it goes. I am enrolling my dd in the Charter HS tomorrow and will check out some more of the curriculum items then. Hopefully we can meet with her teacher sometime next week. School for us starts after labor day. We'll have to check in with each other and see how it's going.

Love,

Sky
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#16 of 23 Old 08-17-2010, 10:28 PM
 
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I need to get my ducks in order: give notice at work, work out the loss of health insurance through my employer, figure out a way to replace some of the $ since my web business isn't a major money making venture at this time, attend the local hs assn meeting next week to discuss social opportunities, co-ops, etc....

.
I would not automatically quit my job. Many people (myself included) juggle working part time and HSing.

How many hours is your part time work?

Is your DP home for any of those hours? Is her sister - and can she babysit? Is your 9 an old 9 - can she stay home for a few hours by herself? Can you bring her to work? Telecommunte? Change hours? I would not have her stay in school as clearly is not working for her - but I would try hard not to quit a job with health insurance.
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#17 of 23 Old 08-18-2010, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Does she have an Accellerated Learning Plan? Have you been in touch with http://coloradogifted.org/index.html ? I know that you probably know all of this but I'm pretty apalled they can't meet the needs of your kiddo but I get bugets and redistricting.
The GT coordinator said that she wrote her one, but we've never seen it. I know that we are supposed to have signed it, so that was something on my f/u list if we were going to stay. She has a GT id for Language Arts, but not math despite one ability score in a quantitative area in the 99th percentile, an individual achievement score in math in the 98th and an EXPLORE math score from 4th grade that would qualify as gifted for a 5th grader. We've had to fight tooth and nail for even the LA id. Her data for LA was stronger (99.7 for verbal on one IQ, 99 on another IQ, 99 on ind. writing achievement, 95 and 98 for ind. reading achievement).

I'm getting tired of banging my head against a wall honestly. Even if I could get her something in math, it wouldn't be enough and she is more an an artist than a technician in math. I think that she needs something really different in math presentation rather than just more of the same faster. She devised a new way to divide last year that was quite interesting and which worked as well as a slightly different way to find the area of a triangle which, again, works. I would like to see her mathematical creativity supported which isn't going to happen in school right now.
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#18 of 23 Old 08-18-2010, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How many hours is your part time work?
I work approx. 20 hrs/week but what the job is isn't very conducive to juggling kids at home. I coordinate a program at a hospital and my hours change constantly. I might be planning to work 5 hrs on M, W, and F and then someone calls me on Monday and says that they need to me to be in at 7 a.m. on T for two hours. I need to go in and cut hours out of another day. I work anytime btwn 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. any day of the week (Mon-Sun) depending on the week.

I'm already having a hard time juggling it b/c dh also is rarely around to help out and I cannot count on him making it home any night or actually being off on the days he is supposed to be off. He is a commercial truck driver who works a rotating schedule (4 on, 2 off). He sometimes gets stuck in snow and doesn't make it home when he is supposed to and sometimes gets called in on his days off.

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Is your DP home for any of those hours? Is her sister - and can she babysit? Is your 9 an old 9 - can she stay home for a few hours by herself? Can you bring her to work? Telecommunte? Change hours? I would not have her stay in school as clearly is not working for her - but I would try hard not to quit a job with health insurance.
My dd11 is an 8th grader and in public school. They can stay home together if I get called into work on weekends or evenings as dd11 will be 12 soon and we have two large dogs who make them feel pretty secure.

Dd9 is an older 9. She will be 10 in just under two months. She is not comfortable staying home alone without her sister, though. She gets really bored and tends to get scared.

I can take her to work sometimes, but not always. If I have an emergency or it is a day off school, I can make it work. She gets rather bored watching me teach the same classes over and over at the hospital, though, and can be a bit of a pain. Heck, I get bored teaching the same classes myself but I handle it better (at times).

Since at least half of my job entails teaching classes to employees, I cannot telecommute. My supervisor is not seeming open to the idea of my doing even the paperwork part of it at home. I, honestly, do a lot of work from home off the clock already (answering phone calls, emailing, scheduling classes, communicating with my relief instructors and other depts) but they aren't going to start paying me for it. If I loved my job, I'd try harder to find a way. I am unhappy in the position and have been for some time, though.

I am interviewing for some online teaching positions which might replace part of my income. We can go on dh's health insurance as well although the premiums are higher.
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#19 of 23 Old 08-18-2010, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There is a EPGY co-op that I am aware of through the DYS discussion boards. I'll have to keep any eye out for it for next term.
Yep, that's the one dd is enrolled through. You can join mid-year if you want, just so you know.
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#20 of 23 Old 08-18-2010, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry for the multiple replies to my own thread! I just wanted to mention that dd will be at the school for probably two weeks as we work this out. I am trying to be reasonable so I did email the principal and GT coordinator to lay out our issues and to suggest a solution to the only one they could fix: her math placement. Class size, friends or lack thereof, teacher fit, the reduction in some subjects... those things aren't going to change.

I did also speak with our neighborhood school just to see if we should even consider it. The principal and GT coordinator there are new since we left and dd would be in both the reading and math GT pull out, but the class size would be 31 as well. The GT coordinator is also brand new with no training in GT save for currently working on a certificate and whatever the district has trained her on thus far. She was totally unfamiliar with IQ tests & the WIAT and didn't know what the EXPLORE was. I am sure that the GT coordinator at our current school is more qualified, but dd would qualify for more GT support at the neighborhood school. Neither is probably good enough, though.
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#21 of 23 Old 08-18-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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Could you hire a college student to babysit/tutor your DD when you are working? Especially if you could find a math major (one who planned to go into mathematics, not a math education major.) Then you would only need to take her to work with you occasionally if you had a very sudden schedule change. This way instead of just quiting your job and having financial issues, you could take your time to look for a better more stable job.

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#22 of 23 Old 08-18-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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So sorry you are having to go through this - I know it is stressful.

My daughter decided to homeschool full-time this year and I was offered a new job with more hours/pay in July. I'm also working 20+hrs/week (but paid for 20). I hope to be able to control my schedule more in the future, but right now it is a little tough. We are setting up dd to do some online classes while I'm at work, usually at my work but occasionally at home alone when I only need to go in for an hour or two. (She is 12 next month) We will see how it goes, but we're both pretty excited about trying new stuff.

I like eepster's idea of a tutor for awhile until you line up other work. If I lost the ability to bring her with me to work, I would try that for awhile.

Good luck and hopefully it will bring you new opportunities that are fulfilling and it will be the catalyst for a great change.
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#23 of 23 Old 08-19-2010, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your continued thoughts and support . If anyone has the time to read more of my rambling thoughts, I do have another question.

In the interest of covering all of our bases and not just walking off in a huff, I did call both our assigned neighborhood school to see if it was worth reconsidering and emailed the principal and GT coordinator at the current school to let them know that she may be leaving and why & to inquire as to whether we could reevaluate her math placement.

The neighborhood school is probably not an option partially due to the reasons we left in the first place which are still valid and partially b/c the GT teacher wasn't likely what I am looking for as a teacher for dd.

I did get a response back from the principal @ her current school -- basically dd's NCLB test scores were on the cusp but there were enough kids with higher scores that she didn't make the cut for accelerated math. The GT coordinator on the other hand wrote back that she adored dd, would hate to lose her, and asked me to come in today and meet with her -- which I did.

She is suggesting that the straight accelerated math wouldn't likely be a good fit for dd anyway b/c they just push through the same curriculum really fast and it wouldn't support dd's divergent, creative learning style, which is probably true. She made it fine in a similar type of set up last year but it still wasn't the way she learns. It was the "least worst" option -- a phrase I've adopted from another discussion board .

The GT coordinator is going to speak with the principal and see if we could kind of double jump her and put her in her (the GT coordinator's) subject accelerated math class which has 9 kids in it. She'd be learning 6th grade math rather than accelerated 5th grade or regular 5th grade (her current set up).

We talked about how she isn't finding peers in a classroom of avg kids and that she is more likely to find peers if we set her up to bring up achievement on the NCLB tests to the "high advanced" area needed to be in these accelerated classes in middle school. While she does have an ALP which includes a lot of 99th percentile scores on everything from IQ to individual achievement, she isn't performing at that level on the group tests at school & that's what the schools keep looking at in terms of placement. Sometimes she's high, but she's also extremely erratic and it's hard to tell from one testing to the next how she'll perform.

Dd is in the GT teacher's reading class which currently has 16 kids in it. If she was also there for math with a small group like that, I am wondering whether it would be worth considering staying. For the record, I really like the GT teacher. She's a gifted adult herself and the parent of gifted kids. I've met some GT teachers who are just bright normal people and some who aren't even bright. This teacher truly is very intelligent and does get what gifted is. She's also a good teacher and dd does like her as well.

The class size in the homeroom, the reduction of science and history, and the less than ideal writing instruction that focuses too much on remediation remain the same of course. Dd's social situation also remains the same: she has no real friends at this school and is lonely. We are doing extracurriculars such as musical theatre to give her other social outlets and will continue with that either way.
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