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Hi everyone, I'm Mary mom to Ben 13, Megan 10, Matthew 8 and Zachary 2. We're a military family and DH is currently deployed to Iraq.
Like many military families we face a great difficulty with switching schools. My oldest who is in 7th grade seems to be struggling the most, going from gifted and talented in one school to D's and E's at his current school. He also has Asperger's Syndrome and his school is very difficult to work with. He is very intelligent but gets bogged down with the amount of paper classwork on top of homework he has every day. On average he has 2 to 4 hours of homework every night including weekends. He's verbally bullied at school and just miserable.
I've been thinking about homeschooling him but the problem is that I still need to work. He is very computer savy and I believe if he had a set schedule he could accomplish the majority of work on his own with assitance in the evenings when I am home from work. I was told about Switched on Schoolhouse but I'm wondering how kid-friendly it is. If he gets stuck one one thing will it cause him to not be able to progress for the rest of the time until I fix it? How easy is it to review his work from my end? How independent is it? What about writing and projects? Writing paragraphs is not his strength. Are there virtual projects/experiments or is everything hands-on?
Thank you for your advice. If there are any other programs out there you think might work better I'd love to hear it.
Unfortunately I don't know anything about the program you mentioned. I have looked into K12 though, which is an online school, and they seem to have a very interesting program. I haven't used them, but they have teachers who help guide students via e-mail and virtual classroom software through the lessons. In some areas they have actual field trips and the teachers make "house calls" to meet their students. They also offer clubs and other extracurricular activities for older students - at least they do for students in states where they operate as a public school. I looked into working for them last summer and read a lot about them then. They operate in four states, I believe, as free public schools. Outside of those states you can pay tuition to enroll your child. I wouldn't be surprised though if they don't offer the face to face contact outside of those states. They do send all of the materials and books needed directly to you though.
I haven't used SoS, but I know a lot have and like it. The Duggars (19 Kids & Counting) use it, so I know it's pretty independent. I don't know if it would work with Aspbergers or not, though. I think it's worth a shot, given the current situation, though! As a homeschooler in 7th grade, you would expect 3-4 hours of work TOTAL, not just for homework! Generally speaking, you can expect about 30 minutes per grade level when homeschooling. I think if you can work it around your work schedule, it's very do-able.
I recommend looking into something like k12, or even a search online for "online schooling" in your state. In Ohio we have a few different ones. A lot of school districts actually have their own e-school options too, but this district is the main reason why I pulled them. So that is not an option for us.
I like K12 because it comes prepared for you. Even if you purchase the program(we don't, we use the free program through OHVA) the curriculum is the same. It's all boxed nice and pretty. The teacher manuals are soo simple, you have a "teacher" assigned to you. Basically that person just checks in here and there to see how things are going, make sure you don't need any help or if you have questions, etc. There's a heck of a lot of benefit, especially people who are new to homeschooling in general. Plus there's a lot of room for additional studies(if you want, or need them).
I am willing to bet that sort of curriculum very well may be what your son needs. Something he can get, can probably do most of it on his own and get himself into his own "groove". My middle kiddo, Alyssia has autism, she's also dyslexic. She was the only one of the three I worried about with regard to whether or not she could *do the work. Because of her learning style and her various quirks and tics, but she's doing wonderfully. She's far surpassed her grade level in most subjects now and we've only been doing this since December. K12(and probably most other online programs like it) are PERFECT for her. It can be tailored to her needs so easily. Not to mention *if we need help, it's available.
I really have nothing bad at all to say about the program. If it weren't for K12, Leo would be repeating first grade. Alexis would likely flunk and repeat 6th and Alyssia would have fallen completely through the cracks and been stuck in a special ed class.(even though she is absolutely brilliant-and not just cuz she's my dd, lol). It's just that teachers cannot, and will not, accommodate her and her learning style. I don't want her to fall through the cracks. Don't want any of my kids to, of course. But with Alyssia the possibility is much greater. Regressions are a part of life with her and she's hard enough on herself when they happen. Sorry that was long winded, lol. It's just that the home environment, with or without a teacher, is often times the best place for kiddos who have a not-so-average learning style. There are a lot of kids in our county that we met at testing. Most of them are with K12 because the schools just can't accommodate their learning styles without pawning them off to special ed. In most cases, it's really not warranted.
K12 isn't really super strict either, in *most areas. I've only found one person who had a bit of an issue with them, but it was an issue she brought on herself. Long as you stay in communication with them-it's all good. They can help you adapt lessons if needed. They can provide the structure your child needs while still allowing the child to self-learn as much(or little) as they want. They provide a gateway a lot of brick and mortar schools just can't provide. The confidence levels my girls have now is utterly astounding. They feel a lot better about their achievements now and aren't so upset about their downfalls. They know that's just an area we may need to find more help in. Or an area they need me to help them with. A great deal of their work they can do on their own with very little instruction from me(online and off, we opt to do more offline as my kids aren't fond of computers, rofl-and K12 doesn't mind either). But if they do need it I'm right here. Leo can read now, not super well, but he can read. He still needs me for most of his instruction and work. But he's only 7, I expect that.
AOP has Monarch as well as SOS, the only thing I don't like about the idea of it, is that you pay $400+ and it is available for only 18 months for that grade level...I like to have something to keep for that kind of $, but you get online support, which, if he is working alone..might be just what you need.
I did the k12 program in our state, if you are unable to be there with him to let him know that he doesn't have to do all the work placed before him, he may very well get overwhelmed and plummet.
I did not realize the ability to skip and jump with K12 (still don't see how since you are held accountable for all progress which means you have to take every daily quiz placed before you...even if you don't do the online lesson, whuch will shoe as uncomopleted work), so we got very frustrated early on..1ell that and the threats from our states program that I would be reported for non-compliance for falling behind. I found it ridiculously cumbersome, but the curriculum was very brick and mortar..4tick inside the box, but as well put together as anything you'll find in a public school building. I know our k12 program strived for the kids to be working ahead as much as possible.
Maybe you could call AOP and let them know your situation and they can let you know if SOS will work for your needs.
Mom to a half dozen
Girls: 19 with Down syndrome, 4, 3
Boys: 12, 8, 6
Homeschooling, frugal, finally not CDing, college student, co-op teacher, open minded, passionate momma who has been married to the love of my life for almost 20 years!!
I was pretty interested in the Monarch as well, but just cant afford the $400!! So that was out of the question. I haven't looked much at SOS though, but have heard a lot of really good stuff about it.