Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homeschooling Tanya

Background: Tanya is my niece-by-choice. Her mother, Lisa, is actually not my sister, but one of my best friends. We choose to be family.

Last summer, Tanya did some summer schooling with us as she felt she needed some extra help in math. Boy did she ever. She was supposed to be going into Gr. 6 that September, but was struggling with grade 3 and 4 math. She decided right then and there that she wanted to BE homeschooled. My sister wanted Tanya to pass some expectations first and sent her back to school. I told Lisa that I would support whatever she chose, but if any time she wanted to pull Tanya, I only needed a few days to get together some assessing work.

Over the last 5 mths, Tanya continued to complain about not being helped in her problem areas and made to stay behind in areas that she excelled. When her bullying situation got worse, my sister went to the principal. However, Tanya's teacher insisted that the bully in question "would never do something like that" *roll eyes*

This progressed to the point that by Christmas, now even the TEACHER was bullying Tanya. Lisa decided, enough was enough, Tanya was going to be homeschooled. Tanya asked to go back for January in order to say goodbye to her friends.

The last week of January was the worst as the teacher was now constantly harassing Tanya about the fact that my sister "wouldn't be allowed" to homeschool. Now we live in a "no reporting" area, where the only thing we need to do is send a letter of intent each year. We reassured Tanya that she *would* be homeschooled no matter what her teacher said.

That week my sister got a phone call from the school requesting a case conference. Legally, we don't need to meet with the school, but wanted to for humour's sake and out of courtesy to the principal, whom Lisa gets along with. The day of the meeting we were informed that the school requested that CAS (Child Services/CPS) be involved. While normally this is a scare tactic pulled by the schools, thankfully in our situation, CAS was already involved in helping out with my nephew's issues and knew of and supported Lisa's choice to homeschool.

So the meeting was a bunch of "you have to do this" from the school board lady and a bunch of "here's what the LAW says" from Lisa and I. The board asked about socialization *roll eyes* and I explained that even in a town as small as ours, we have a fairly large homeschool group with many children to socialize with. When asked how we're going to stay with the curriculum for "when" she's put into public school (cause of course it's going to fail) we explained that first she needs to be assessed to see what blocks she's missing and "catch up". The board then, ever so nicely *sarcasm*, said that she could remain in school until the school board got (around to processing) the letter of intent and she could do assessment there. Um, no. This is the same school who has been giving a struggling child almost straight As.

Speaking of, I asked about how Tanya herself could complain about not understanding this and that and yet get good grades. How every report card she got said that she "needs improvement" on homework completion and independent work, yet still get good grades. The principal explained (while trying very hard not to roll his own eyes) that with the current grading system, grades are only given on completed work. Translation: a child can do really good on whatever work they actually complete and get good grades, even if they are only completing 1 of 10 pieces of work through-out the year! What great work ethics!

So we walked out of there knowing that they can't do anything to stop us from homeschooling Tanya. We even went so far as to hand deliver a 2nd letter of intent to the local branch of the school board. On Feb 8th we got word that (they finally got around to looking at the damn paper and) we're official!

Here's to a long and successful homeschooling career!

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