Big Damn News

Wow. I don’t even fully know how to wrap my head around it. Actually, I can’t. I’ll probably be able to later, but after today, I am still in shock. I’ll get to today later.

Our daughter is 16 years old and starting her junior year. She has been homeschooled since the start. She is now officially a public school student.

She still won’t be attending a traditional school. As a matter of fact, for people who have always used mainstream schools, she will still seem like a homeschooler, but for somebody like me, who has been homeschooling for a very long time (and for the vast majority did so as a willful underground homeschooler), it is a big psychological difference. Filling out all those forms in triplicate and sitting there while office people were handing out detentions right and left almost made me explode in hives.

While it is possible to homeschool for free (especially if you put a massively massive amount of effort into rounding up free resources and scotch taping them together into a complete curriculum) it is much easier if you pour some money into it. Like with so much in life, money gives you quite a bit of access and freedom. Right now we are in a place where we are putting money into starting a new business, so the smart financial thing to do is at least check out the government funded option.

So, we looked at the charter schools that offer online schooling, and we found an interesting hybrid option, that seems fairly idealistically education focused (I think many of the major online players are highly financially motivated). I am hoping it will be a very good fit for her.

Tonight, we go attend our first parent night. The horrors.

Anyhow, today… Ugh, today. I… eew. Today, we went in to complete enrollment, and I was completely mentally unprepared for how dreadfully long it was going to take. While the curriculum she is using is online, it is tied to a real brick and mortar school. A LARGE brick and mortar school. We had already been in to speak with the people who run the online program, and had been given a few papers and told to take those and a set of papers to prove we are who we say we are, to the main school attendance office. It took a day to assemble all the “show me your papers” papers, and then we dutifully made our way to campus. We arrived and went to the attendance office with our stack of paper work, and had to wait over a half hour just for somebody to talk to us (People there for enrollment needed to take a red number ticket). From what I overheard, the dean of attendance had made the office staff send out “summons” to every student who had missed one period or more since the start of the school year. The office was being overrun with students who were being written detention slips. It was all very disturbing, because the staff member would say something like, “Were you here yesterday?” To which the teen would non-respond by standing there. The staff person would repeat themselves. The teen would slowly shift their weight from one leg to the other. The staff person would repeat themselves and the teen’s mouth would drop open and a noise like “uuuuuh” would come out. The staff member would ask yet again and the teen would mutter “no”. Then the staff would ask if they had a note for the absence, which would then start the painful process of getting that question answered. We watched this happen dozens of times. Ouch.

It was finally our turn to speak to somebody (yay red ticket 61) and they handed me a new giant stack of forms to fill out. WTF? Why not hand that to me when I arrived? I sat and filled out the forms, which took another 30 minutes, and then I turned those in, at which point they gave me a gold piece of paper with check boxes, and I was supposed to go from the attendance office to the special programs office. At that office, a person checked one of the boxes and signed my form. Then we were sent to the health office. At the health office a nurse came and removed 3 pieces of paper from our giant stack. Then she gave us a new piece of paper to take home and fill out. Then she tested the kid’s hearing and eyesight and weighed and measured her (she appears to have grown an inch in the past 6 months since her last doctor appointment… seriously?) and then she checked the little box on our gold piece of paper and sent us to the counseling office. We went to the counseling office to unlock our next achievement, and a woman with excellently applied eyeliner, and a complete disdain for us, sorted our stack of paper into separate smaller stacks and carefully stapled those together in some magical fashion. This allowed her to check off a box on our gold paper and send us on our way to the cafeteria, when we were thwarted by the ringing of a bell.

We had to leave campus and go have lunch because the lady guarding the cafeteria couldn’t check our gold sheet while handling feeding time at the zoo.

We went and ate some crappy fast food, and made our way back to campus and unlocked the lunch room achievement. We went on to the last level to discover that the boss monster had already left, and we’d have to complete a portion of our quest another day.

In the meantime, she did get some classes picked out, and supposedly we will soon have an email explaining her userID and login information, so she can go check out the interface.

I am very hopeful that this will work out well. Supposedly there are multiple teachers to interact with via email, chat and phone, so she can get help fairly rapidly, which, in theory should free up more of my time so that I can work and potentially earn more money. We are still negotiating a few of her previously earned high school credits because national standards and CA standards don’t quite align, so it looks like she is going to need to squeeze in an extra semester of world history. Also part of her previous math work won’t be credited as math, but they will give her elective credits for it. My only concern is that she is so easily exhausted as she is still feeling the brutal effects of mono, and we homeschooled year around, meaning that on any given day, her total work load was typically lighter because she was working less hours, but more days. We are letting her take 1 AP class, even though she still isn’t back to full health.

After spending several hours on campus, it appears that I hate high school even more now than I did when I was attending it as a student.

Now I need to go nap, or soak in Benadryl, or perhaps just drink a lot of alcohol. Maybe all three.

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  1. #1 by Stacy on September 16, 2011 - 8:03 AM

    Ironically, the only response my brain considers appropriate is “My prayers are with you in this difficult time”.

    Good luck!

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