Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to partially home school in APP

In another thread, a few parents were asking about home schooling just for a subject or two, especially math and science. Another parent offered this:
Let the registrar know in the Spring that you intend to part time homeschool for the upcoming school year. It makes it easier to schedule a late start or early realease. Note your intention on the class choice sheet. Prior to the beginning of the school year, get a "Declaration of Intent to Provide Home Based Instruction" form from the homeschool center (now called Cascade Parent Partnership Program). Submit the completed form to CPPP and a copy to the registrar at your school. You can also do it right before the semester.

That's about the extent of it. Your child will need to be dropped off late or picked up early. Another alternative is taking more electives to maintain a full 6 period schedule and transportation.

I'd contact the CPPP for the paperwork details and the school for scheduling details and other info.
I thought that was useful information and worth a new thread. So, here you go, a thread to discuss partially home schooling, how to make that happen with the district and teachers, how to make it work well for the kids and parents, and whether it's a good idea.


Anonymous said...

Parents at HIMS thinking of homeschooling Alg 1 should keep in mind that the principal is saying that kids must take an accredited Alg 1 class in order to move to Geometry next year.

There are 7th graders in Geometry this year who did not do an accredited Alg 1 class last year, so the rule is new for this year. Last year's principal did not require this. I don't know if this new rule came from the district, or if it's the principal's rule.

It will be interesting to see if she'll really keep kids out of Geometry next year for lack of an accredited Alg 1 class even if they pass the Algebra 1 EOC.

-waiting to see

Anonymous said...

Uh...that's definitely new and I'm not sure they can require that, especially if they pass the Algebra 1 EOC. If they are requesting high school credit, then there are requirements about having an accredited teacher, etc.

Anonymous said...

Note that when scheduling for an independent study/homeschool class, there are certainly no guarantees you'll be able to get an early release or a late start. We couldn't for sixth, but did for seventh.

If you end up with a free period midday, you have to leave campus--so unless you live nearby, it's often preferable to take an extra elective instead. It means for a longer day overall--especially if the independent study course is high level and pretty intense--but it's worth it for some kids. It's a shame they won't let motivated kids just sit in the library and work, though...


Anonymous said...

There's part-time homeschooling, meaning a student is not in school for the full 6 periods, then there is independent study. If a student takes an extra elective and does a class outside of school, would that fall under independent study rather than part-time homeschooling? Do they then have different requirements, i.e, independent study requires more documentation? There is also the "opt up" contract if a student chooses to accelerate beyond the recommended math pathway, but the contract states that a 6th grader may not opt up beyond Math 8, so it's not written for APP students choosing to accelerate further.

If there is not a district policy about math placement for homeschooled students in general, can they hold kids back just because? This needs to be clarified with the principal.

dw said...

If you end up with a free period midday, you have to leave campus--so unless you live nearby, it's often preferable to take an extra elective instead. ... It's a shame they won't let motivated kids just sit in the library and work, though...

There are multiple problems with leaving "motivated" kids in the library to work on their own.

1a) "Motivated" means different things to different people, and for almost all middle school kids motivation varies from day to day. If left up to the parents to decide, it would almost certainly lead to a whole bunch of kids in all grades, which gets unmanageable. How do you decide who gets to take advantage of something like this and who doesn't?

1b) Just because a kid is a good student doesn't mean they are able to work independently day after day after day, every day of the school year, especially if the library ends up with 10-15 other kids doing the same thing during the same period. Way too easy to goof off with friends or play games on the computers. I've seen it firsthand even when there are just a handful of official 8th grade "TAs".

2) Supervision. The school is responsible for assigning a teacher to each student for every period of the day. Even TAs that work on independent study are required to be assigned to a specific teacher, which is why there's typically a limit of 2-3 per teacher per period. Library falls under the same rules, although they may get a little more flexibility.

3) MAP. This is killer. MAP basically shuts down the library for roughly 3 weeks at a time in many schools, HIMS included. It's (barely) feasible to have a couple kids working very quietly in one corner, away from the testing, but just not manageable if it were to grow. Where would those kids go for several weeks out of the year?

If you think the demand wouldn't be a problem, and that there wouldn't be parental pressure for something like this grow, you'd be mistaken. Every year there are LOTS of parents that ask for this (especially in math, for various reasons), and as far as I know the rules are that the kids must wait until 8th grade and work it into a TA position. That said, TAs are often able to arrange independent study time, but it's done on an individual basis with each student/teacher.

I wish there was a better way, but frankly I'm not sure what would work within the rules and realities of middle school.

Anonymous said...

to dw:
You are quite right about the reality of a part time home schooling in middle school.
I have a possible solution for the supervision: the interested parents could make up a group like the music/band parents do and meet in the beginning of each semester to see everyone's schedule (or they could do this online also). If there are enough parents in each period they could make up a schedule with the parents for each week to supervise the students in the library (or anywhere else in school). This would give a break for those parents who are there to pick up their students in the middle of the day every single day and would give them one period once a week or even once every two weeks when they have to be there to supervise. Also, this would be a solution for part time home schooling for the families who live far away and so far didn't even think about this option.
HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

HIMS mom-

When we were researching homeschooling at HIMS this year, we were told kids must be OFF campus for the entire period.

You could organize and have the parents switch off talking kids somewhere locally, but I don't believe the kids can remain on campus for any reason. There is no district employee in charge, so I expect it's a liability issue. I also think the district likes to make this hard on families.

-another HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

Yes, I understand the realities of middle school supervision and uneven student motivation and all, but still, it's hard to believe the best solution is that a kid doing independent work may have to leave school, get set up elsewhere, only to quickly pack up again and get back to school for their next class. Really, how productive can they be in that limited time?

I'm not really suggesting the librarian should have to babysit all such kids, but in an ideal world, shouldn't the school be able to support differentiation some way? Just because a kid is particularly advanced in a subject, does that relieve the school of a duty to provide an appropriate class for that student? If there are so many students working independently each period, why not offer an independent study class, where they can all sit in a room with a teacher who may be able to provide assistance if need be? Those kids would otherwise be bodies in a class anyway, right? Or, how about let them sit in the math class they would otherwise have been in, but with an understanding that they are doing their own work in the back of the class instead of what the teacher is teaching? My son did that for years in elementary school with no problems, but now that he's in middle school--and old enough to be responsible for his own learning--there are more obstacles to doing just that.

I'm not saying there aren't potentially legitimate reasons for the current policies, but I do think the schools--and district--could be much better at providing an opportunity for kids to at least have appropriate level core class opportunities on campus.

But, in the end, we deal with the headaches and adjust, right? That's what parents of gifted kids have to do.