Once I had decided not to go back to my old public school I was completely lost. I didn’t know where to turn so of course I searched the internet! I checked out my state and it turns out we had two options for online public schools. I was sure this was the answer to my problem, because my problem was my old school right?? um..no.
I enrolled in Connections Academy. The school was great. They put the kids in the same grades they were suppose to be going into and they also used the exact same curriculum as my sisters public school.
The oldest had a really great teacher who listened and held him accountable. I no longer had the issue of him not bringing home homework because he was already home. I was there to make sure he did his very best and couldn’t skate by. He was doing fairly well in the school except for social studies. He just didn’t seem to remember the dates and events well and we ended the first semester with mostly B’s and C’s. He thought it was boring and didn’t want to do anything but chat with friends.
The youngest had a not so nice, but cooperative teacher who gave him accommodations based on what I was saying. Both children had their case conference and my oldest continued speech. My youngest was in speech. It didn’t seem to make a difference and so when I brought up concerns about the LD and how the other school wouldn’t test, they agreed they would. WOOHOO! I had already been looking things up and suspected Dyslexia. I had been in contact with Susan Barton and emailed her and asked her opinion. She confirmed the fact that he did have it and suggested I start her program as long as my son and I could pass the screening. By the time the school had testing done, I had the results, and they had scheduled a case conference, I already had a new teacher, the second semester had started, I was already teaching him the Barton Reading and Spelling system, and I was totally frustrated at the time it took to help a boy, who by my observation, needed it. I had to read everything to him including all test questions and answers so he could tell me the right one. We also had already taken ISTEP and IREAD without any accommodations.
No one at the school seemed to know anything about what was wrong, but I was already seeing improvements with the Barton system so I knew he had Dyslexia. The case conference rolled around and they had their “expert” there to explain the test. I had already emailed and talked to Susan about this test anyway. My son’s IEP had language impairment for expressive language and we all agreed he didn’t need that. He could express himself fine..it was his reading and spelling that sucked. So once that was removed, then started the fight among all fights for my child. They claimed that because his overall score on the testing was normal that he didn’t qualify for anything at all! I asked them what about his lack of reading and they said again tests scores showed normal. What they were failing to even want to see is that my son’s individual scores showed he had no working memory and his basic reading skills were at a 1st grade level. This child was already at the end of 3rd grade. His comprehension was 8th grade level so that averaged out the scores. I am not exaggerating when I say I fought for an HOUR to get them to say he had a Specific Learning Disability in Reading because of his basic reading score and the fact that his decoding and encoding of words was all below normal. I also tossed in the fact that he didn’t pass IREAD. He missed by one point and if he is average by one or two points on the stupid testing, then I’m counting the one point below as below on a state standardized testing.
It was horrible folks. A boy I had to read everything to because he couldn’t read well at all, a boy that had to ask how to spell basic words so he could type in an answer to a test, and a boy who had multiple accommodations already in school for things…didn’t qualify for anything until I knew my parental rights, fought for an hour to get them to count the individual test scores, used their own stupid state standard testing against them, and told them how to word it so he they would qualify for state funding through Article 7. How sad is that?! They even had the nerve to tell me that because he was improving using the Barton system that he will be fine, as a way of justifying the denial of service. I told them they are not allowed to use anything like that to determine eligibility. Besides, I had done the research and found out he was Dyslexic, I chose to buy the program out of my own money because they had none, and I decided to take the time everyday to help him. Since the school did none of this, they couldn’t count it because as far as they were concerned it didn’t exist.
After having all the issues with my district public school and after a year fight to finally get the online school to accept my youngest had an issue, I was done. I felt confident that I could teach on my own, I hated the schools at this point, and I decided to take the leap of faith to homeschool.
I have never regretted it since!
We now fall back under my district school for Service Plans instead of IEP’s. My oldest receives services for speech..still. The youngest is suppose to be monitored by the special ed department of the school every two weeks and I’ve been called once. As I write this it’s almost Christmas break.