Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Part-time homeschooling for full-time working parents

This school year started off extremely bumpy for my 11-year-old. The transition to 6th grade middle school for the H-man just wasn't going very well and his anxiety has been completely off the charts. He spent the first week+ hunkering down at home while we came up with Plan B and Plan C. Plan B was to homeschool him full-time, which neither my husband nor I was ready to commit to.

His middle school came back with a plan to have him slowly integrate into the mainstream classes. What this ended up being was him starting out with 1 class a day and working his way up to 3 classes over the course of several weeks. We'll call this, Plan C. It's where we currently are.

How does this work? Well, he does part-time at school (3 classes) and part-time at home (3 classes). We get the coursework for those afternoons by coordinating with the other teachers for what he should be doing. Since I work full-time, I've hired a tutor to pick him up from school, take him home and work on the missed material until I get home from work in the late afternoon. We've lucked out because his tutor is a certified WA state middle school teacher who is familiar with the material (although from a different school district) and really enjoys the one-on-one with him.

The benefit of doing this is that he still goes to school but at the comfort level he can manage. While I can't say that he is entirely comfortable even with 3 classes, it's better than nothing. I also can't say that it's working super well, since the curriculum for those 3 classes isn't exactly geared towards home study so we'll be discussing that with his teachers at his IEP meeting to see what other options we have.

The one thing I'm hoping that will come out of this is that we will follow a homeschool plan and drop trying to match the school assignments - it's just too hard to keep up with 10 hours a week of missing instruction. I'd much rather have his tutor design the material and instruct him based on what she usually teaches for those classes.

If I didn't work, I would certainly do things differently, but I'm constrained with having to keep my job due to my husband's cancer and his treatments. Plus, I love my job. At this point, I joke that he's getting a public school education at private school prices, but it's better than that. He has the comfort and freedom of doing schoolwork at home with a tutor who can cater to his learning style.

I'll let you know how it goes as this evolves. If you are interested in learning more about part-time homeschooling for kids with special needs, you can check out this book, Autism and Flexischooling: A Shared Classroom and Homeschooling Approach. If you want to read more about how to juggle working and homeschooling, read this great new book, How to Work and Homeschool: Practical Advice, Tips and Strategies for Parents.

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Wendy said...

Good for you! I think having options and trying to find the best fit for one's family is much better than trying to force one way or the other. We're full-time homeschoolers here, but I work from home, and so it works for us.

One thing: here in Maine, we have open access laws, which means that I can homeschool my children, but I can also have my children take some classes at the school, and homeschooled children are eligible for special needs services at the schools also. But we register as homeschoolers and develop our own curriculum at home, and then, the children would go to school for whatever specific classes we felt applicable. Do you have that option? I only ask, because if your son were a homeschooler who was taking some classes at the school, instead of a "schooled" kid who is doing some school work at home, it might take some of the pressure off you feeling like he is 'missing' instruction time. I know it sounds like half a dozen of one and six of another, but it really does change the dynamic.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Wendy - Yes, Washington State works the same way and that's exactly what we've been discussing. We're meeting with his school this week and will bring this up - I think it will be so much easier to manage and, ultimately, he'll learn more since I feel like we spend all our time playing catch up and trying to figure out WTH is going on in the classroom from week to week rather that working on actual material.

Jen said...

I just wanted to are doing a great job. You are a good mom and wife. Namaste.

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