Episode 1 “How did we get here?”

To those who came on over and want to read on my crazy shenanigans blog series called “Homeschooling: Are you cray?”, Welcome!

Before I continue, I want to explain, this is our journey, no one’s journey is the same, nor do we shame here. This is a safe space.

No seriously. I didn’t come to this decision lightly. Back in 2016 we were struggling with school curriculum for Xan. I hadn’t fully started back to college because I was still dealing with my possibly losing sight. We were just hanging on.

After surgeries were done, we tried to get back to normal, Xan graduated elementary school and started middle school. It was kinda a struggle just to get them to that point. I wasn’t sure what to do, and tried asking for help, but nothing was panning out.

Now, I was hopeful for 6th grade, because it seemed like there was more help and the communication would be better. Just for context, their former class was a class of close to 40 to 1 teacher. The main issue I saw was that classes were overcrowded. One of the things that their middle school sold me on was smaller classes, which meant more help right?

Not exactly.

It was just as bad if not worse, but we did realize that they were quite the artist. Performing arts to be exact (remember this as we go forward). Now, here in California, you have quite a bit more freedom when it comes to the educational choices for your children. You can completely homeschool, where you develop your own lesson plans, transcripts, etc. You essentially become your own school. You also have charter schools, where you could have independent study or actually have a hybrid type of setting.

We first tried the independent study through our district. I made it a point that I think Xan has learning disabilities and possibly ADHD. I thought it would be best to establish an IEP (Individual Educational Plan). This would get them the help they need in classes.

Of course, that was a task with the district, so it didn’t work out. Now during this time, they were attending this program, we also choose dual enrollment with our local community college. I had them attend college courses with me so I could keep an eye on them.

Lesson two that I learned: Xan was a hands on learner. The core classes they struggled, but in theatre classes……..pure genius. Making the note that whatever this child chooses to do, a trade program would probably be their best option. I wasn’t too surprised as robotics was a great outlet for them.

As we headed into 7th grade, the regular classes were still a struggle. I still tried to get them help, but they were falling more and more into the hole versus straight As in college courses. I had to make the hard decision to search for a charter school that would do what I asked.

After looking we found k-12. Now, here’s the thing. I don’t have anything against the school, in theory. If your child is really self-taught it will work. If you guys remember, Annie was in independent study for high school when we moved. I’m not stranger to the IEP process or that way these schools work. I will say this, I appreciate the fact that not only did we find out that Xan was ADHD but also dyslexic. The problem is they went 13 years struggling and even with finding this out, they still didn’t receive the help they needed.

On the flip side, this child at this point earned a makeup proficiency certificate, making them a makeup artist, and an invitation to the honor society.

Again, hands on learner.

Again, I sat up at night trying to figure out what I could do because they still have 4.5 years left at this point.

Being a homeschool parent is never an easy task or decision to make. Not only for the stigma you get when you say you are homeschooling your child, but it also blurs lines. The teacher and parent in most cases are two different people. In this case, I was afraid of so much. That I may fail them or stunt their growth. One of the silver linings was seeing that I could use the college courses to double as their school curriculum.

Again, it’s not for the faint hearted. You are the parent, guidance counselor, teacher, bus driver, lunch lady, accounts receivable and principal.

We made the big step. Gave up the IEP and became our own school. We are registered with the State of California as our own school. I’m responsible for all supplies, lesson plans, and everything they learn. With that being said, I plan the lesson plans which that part earlier of knowing they are hands on with the learning process was a beautiful thing. Though it’s tiresome at times, it was freeing to file our paperwork.

We are now going into Junior Year of High School. They have completed a lot of course work, and only have two classes left towards their major. We now look to the real test of general education classes on a college level. What I like is we have access to help they will need on campus. One of the programs is literally named ACCESS, which helps students with disabilities take classes without suffering. They work with teachers, so no one is left behind. Between that and free tutoring, it’s the first time in a long time I feel like Xan has a fighting choice.

This is our story. How we got here. I’m not here to condemn either side. Both has it pros and cons. I’m here to share our story. I’m here to advocate for my kid. To debunk myths that folks have on homeschooling. I’m here to say “do what you have to do for your kid. You know them better than anyone else”.

We took Special Effects Makeup class together…….they are a ham.

Tonight, we are selecting their classes for this semester. Intro to Theatre, African American History and Mind Body Fitness (P.E. course). They picked their classes. I told them they need to start their general education classes. The choices were English, Math, History and Science. They also needed the last two classes for their major. I will say choosing classes is a tad bit different when you are homeschooled/dual enrollment.

In the next episode, we will go over how their classes are broken down, and how I figured out their balance because is truly important when you decide to homeschool.

See ya next time!

~CSM~

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