Homeschool and Public School—Our Journey
My homeschooled kids had never really been in a public school until a few years ago. It started because we thought my oldest son needed some speech therapy. We called our elementary school, left messages for the speech pathologist and she took care of getting him evaluated and setting up an IEP for him, so he could receive services. Then I was taking him to speech once a week. At that point we didn’t really consider him dual enrolled.
Our oldest, in the way of oldest children, broke the trail for us. She wanted to take violin lessons, and after a year, we thought it would be good to have her play with other students too, so we inquired about having her take orchestra at the junior high. The process was pretty simple, and suddenly I had a child enrolled in school.
About halfway through that year, I learned about a program called Book Share. It’s a website that has nearly every book imaginable read out loud, and it’s completely free. In order to be a part of it, you have to be officially diagnosed with some sort of disability or impairment. While my son had been taking private tutoring for what we knew to his dyslexia for several months, he did not have a diagnosis. I contacted the school to find out whether he could get one through them, so we wouldn’t have to pay for a psychological evaluation. It was easy enough to set up the testing times with the special ed director and meet with the school members for him to get an IEP. I still wasn’t planning on him receiving special ed services when I walked into that meeting, but when I met the teacher and principal, I almost immediately changed my mind. Our elementary school staff could not be more dedicated or helpful. I knew he would thrive in a one on one setting with the dynamic special ed teacher, and could only benefit from the school’s approach dovetailing perfectly with the Barton Method tutoring he already was doing.
I love it when I’m so right.
Then this year my second son’s reading was just not taking off like I felt it should be. I spoke with Cadrian’s teacher about it, and after being tested, we discovered he also has some disabilities, but not as profound as my older boy. It worked perfectly for him to get on the bus with his brother, head to local public school, and the special ed teacher works with them individually, during the same time frame. Denton has also started private tutoring.
As of this January, I have half of my children dual enrolled. The school has been an absolute dream to work with. I’m delighted with the experience and maturation my students are achieving through their “real” public school involvement. My kids also realize how lucky they are to be able to quickly get their homeschool and chores done early in the day so they can move on to their preferred pursuits later on.
My junior high daughter has benefited by accessing opportunities and extracurriculars the school offers. She is a participant in National History Day, and wrote a killer 2500 word paper, which, after achieving a top score at the regional level, she will be taking to the state competition. She has qualified for honor orchestras and been able to participate in field trips of her choice, like a visit to the Hoover Museum. She also has learned how grateful she is for her homeschooled friends who possess high caliber character.
Our journey into the public school has been nothing short of fabulous. I’m curious about your experiences in your district. Tell me about them in the comments!