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Friday, August 17, 2018

The High School Decision

Kayla has graduated from 8th grade and is now a high schooler! How did that happen?!

She was so proud to get her diploma ... mile wide smile!

Mr T taught her for 6th grade social studies and Lit, 7th grade SS, and in 8th grade was the principal. Wonderful, encouraging educator to all his students!

Our intent was for Kayla to go to the Catholic high school that all the local Catholic elementary/middle schools 'feed' into. They have a great inclusion program that would continue the same type of educational setting she had at the middle school. They also have an archery club so we were excited she would be able to continue with that.

Unfortunately things just didn't work out for that to happen; the stars didn't align and all that. They only accept 4 students each year into this program and Kayla was on a waiting list.

Once we realized she most likely wouldn't be going to that high school the hunt was on for where she would go to school. It was like the million dollar question. A question I didn't have an answer for because the choices were ... almost nil.

The first, obvious, choice would be going back to the public school district. That was choice #73 ... let's just say it was way, way, down on our list. We knew what kind of placement the school district would recommend; it would be the same fiasco we had transitioning to middle school. It would have been 3 steps back from what she just had for 3 years. It would have been more restrictive. We also know how this whole game works. We know the school she is zoned for, but we know there would have been a meeting to determine if that school had the services/placement to educate her (and we know that school doesn't have an archery team). There is only 1 school in the district that has an archery team that we thought might be a possibility, but again, we know the placement there would have been restrictive.

Another issue is I was told that if I registered her for the local school district she would have to have full testing, to include IQ, again. She has had her IQ tested 3 times and the results haven't varied much, and they aren't going to change now. Her IQ is what it is, and I take that with a grain of salt (or try to anyway). I didn't want to put her through that battery of testing again, and honestly, I didn't want to sit through another meeting hearing what her IQ is. They don't make typical students take an IQ test for placement in the general education classroom, why do students with disabilities constantly have to be subjected to this test and reduced to this number?

So, no, public school was not something we wanted to entertain any real thought about.

We considered having her repeat 8th grade; although not at the school she was just at. We thought it would be a little strange for her since she just graduated from there and went through the whole ceremony and everything. I did some research on the other Catholic schools (at least 4!) and found one that was a possible fit, and they have an archery team. (I know archery isn't the make or break for school, but it is something I felt was important for her to continue with - and she wants to). I thought it might help her "priority" when applying for the Catholic high school next year (coming from a Catholic school). However, I talked with the admissions person at the high school and she told me it is in Kayla's records that she did graduate from one of their partner Catholic schools and that would 'count' even if she was at a non-Catholic school for 9th grade.

Since it wouldn't really benefit her to repeat 8th grade and go to a new school for only one year, we decided not to repeat 8th grade. We also found out that more than likely, no matter where she was for 9th grade, if she gets into the Catholic school next year she would have to repeat 9th grade. I'm not thrilled with that aspect, because she's already repeated Kindergarten, so to repeat 9th grade she would then be 2 years older than her peers. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.

SC has scholarships for students with disabilities to attend approved schools that have classes/programs so I looked at the approved list for all the high schools in the towns all around us. I called several of them to inquire about their 'programs' since they accept this scholarship. What I found was that "students with disabilities" meant students with learning disabilities like ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia etc ... not students with intellectual disabilities. So these other schools pretty much said they did not have the resources to educate students like my daughter. Needless to say, that was a disappointment.

So where did this leave us after all of that research and scramble to figure out what to do for Kayla?


That was really the only option I could see that would work. I asked Kayla several times, as I wanted her to have input on this decision, whether she wanted to go to a new/different Catholic school and repeat 8th grade, or try homeschool. I also explained, over and over, what homeschool would mean and look like. She consistently chose homeschool. I was actually surprised as in the past she has always said no to homeschool. She loves going to school and having the routine of school.

So yeah, I feel like a fish out of water as we embark on this new adventure! I know there are so many resources out there for homeschooling, and that is the problem! It's overwhelming! I did the most important thing though - I registered with a homeschool accountability group so I could make sure I was legal! Haha!

I know there are resources where I can order a whole curriculum, but I'm not sure how well that would work. It would work for me because it would have everything we should be doing and the lesson plans and all of that - but I would want a high school curriculum to keep her exposed to what she would be doing if she had gone to the Catholic high school (or public school). However she needs a bit of modification so I'm not sure it would be worth it to get a whole curriculum if I'm going to have to modify the lesson plans and coursework anyway.

Right now we are just taking it day by day, (and Khan Academy is my friend!) and see what we can do and work on. I will be getting involved in local groups and hopefully have her take some classes etc so she's still getting the social aspect I know she likes from school.

On the plus side there is a homeschool archery team - so yay! - she will be able to continue with archery.

So please pray for us as we start this new journey that will be a big adjustment for both of us!


Cindy said...

Wow! What a scary, exciting time for you! I know you're going to do great and the adventures you'll have while homeschooling will be priceless!

Adelaide Dupont said...

Congratulations Kayla for graduating and Michelle for homeschooling this year.

Prodigy is also good for Maths practice along with Khan Academy. You can set it to the curricula of various nations.

Yay for archery and the social aspects of school.

Seems like Kayla really wants to homeschool.

Another thing I wondered is do freshers in South Carolina take a term or two out to develop bonding and lifeskills among the students in that year to another setting like houses or camp?

Anonymous said...

prayers are always with you!! it will be a new adventure...and it is good knowing Kayla is on board with this decision and she will still be able to do archery. lovemom/grandma

Anonymous said...

Maybe get the syllabus for the school /classes that Kayla would be exposed to and make a lesson plan from that? It could help keep Kayla in mind with the staff of the school and she would already seen the material if she actually attends school there next year.

Anonymous said...

So sorry the first school did not work out. Good luck with homeschooling and for better admissions news next year. Can't believe she is a high schooler now! Been reading your blog since she was very young.

Mardra said...

OK - So I haven't been "around" the blogosphere to catch up for a while and everyone's kids aren't little anymore!
Next - We homeschooled for one year, very different circumstances, but it turned out to be a great "jumpstart" for Marcus' next phase of school. (I surmise part of the reason for that was that I bored him to death, he couldn't wait to learn in the school environment again. You will, I'm sure, be a much better teacher/partner for/with Kayla than I was at that gig.)
Lastly - I hope between the "work" you two have fun motivating and discovering what's next!