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  1. #1

    Default Not sure if I should throw in the towel (long and blathering)

    My ASD son(13) has been homeschooled for the past 4 years. He recently expressed an interest going to a brick and mortar high school next year. I wanted to get him used to working on a school's schedule and being accountable to others. I enrolled him in the online version of our local public junior high because I thought it would be a good transition. The program they use is a version of the Florida Virtual School. He actually did well in the courses and seemed to understand the material, but failed most of the course end exams. The courses are designed to complete a semester's worth of material in 9 weeks, so a lot of information is packed in there. New concepts are introduced daily and the work,(including projects and writing assignments)are due within 24 hours. On top of that, the exams have to be passed or else the student gets a zero for the entire course, even if they had an awesome gpa up until that point.
    He has the opportunity to retake the exams, but has already failed one retake. I can't see the questions, so I can't help him work on the areas he struggles with. He also cannot remember or articulate what the questions were about. Knowing him and from what I gleaned from our post- test conversations, he couldn't decipher some of the math word problems and has trouble with open ended questions. I am not sure if retaking them is really going to make a difference at this point
    I can't decide if this type of course is just not going to work with his learning style and abilties or if he just needs to get used to a new normal. He is actually quite smart, but always has to work at remembering things that he has no interest in. There is also the issue of being tested on a lot of material that he didn't have much time to work on. I want to help him work on this so that he can succeed in any type of school or work environment, but I am concerned that it is pointless. I am not sure if I want him to try another "semester" to finish out the courses, but I don't want him to think that we are giving up bc it was too hard.
    I am mostly stressed because I feel like our options for high school keep dwindling. Our public high schools are huge and I worry about his sensory issues and quirks. He would be a huge target for bullies and for teachers who aren't that understanding. The private schools are not likely to offer the accomodations(more time for tests/work, typing rather than writing,giving him a break when he is overloaded sensory wise) that the public school would. There are some schools for ASD kids that get mixed reviews and are very new. He is also not thrilled by the idea of specialized schools. I really wanted the online thing to work because he does seem to enjoy learning on a computer. I still looked at every lesson and helped him when he needed it.
    I am just really discouraged and don't know what our next step should be.

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  3. #2

    Default

    I wouldnt even finish out the semester (or the week!) with the online thing. It sounds atrocious. Go back to homeschooling, or try the junior high in person. Itd likely be the same group of kids as he would encounter next year, so you might as well see if there are problems there now. If he hates it now, then its not an experiment during the more crucial high school years.

    If you need to work with him on every lesson anyhow, what advantages are you getting from the online school? The benefits of their scheduling, pacing, and lack of help and accomodations?

    Snark aside, we have started doing more tests with my older DS for experience. Hes gotten far better at multiple choice, true false, and short answer in the past year.
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.

    Atheist.

    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  4. #3

    Default

    Putting him in school right now would not work due to his various issues. My plan was to get him accustomed to this style of schooling and then ease him back in by using their blended learning option. I am not opposed to homeschooling him again. He wants to try retaking the exams and then making a decision about the next step. It's so frustrating because he did fine on the chapter tests and the practice semester test.

  5. #4

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    I guess see if he can retake the exams and see what happens next. Are you in a place where he could take one class at school, say something like art, or music, or whatever he might be most interested in? Going for just one class might let you see whether more is feasible. There is also the option of shadowing a student, just basically going in for a 'day in the life of a student at our school' without committing or enrolling, just to see how it goes for him.

    Hope to hear from you how it goes, and what solutions you might find along the way.
    40-something mom of 4 kids who haven't been to school, taking it one year and one day at a time.

  6. #5

    Default

    My DS has always been behind academically and had an IEP so we didn't do the virtual school because I was told they aren't good about accommodating and slowing things down. Does your son have an IEP? We moved this year prior to high school so DS is now in PS high school. Because of the sensory issues he had some behavior at the beginning of the year which required him to be moved to a more self-contained area in the school, all children with special needs not necessarily autism. He has adjusted pretty well to this.

    So I guess I would fight for an IEP to get accommodations with the online school and that way you will have an IEP ready to head in to brick and mortar next year. My DS really struggles with math so that has always been a resource class for him, but we find that even social studies which he excels in content-wise he is just not at grade level for because of his expressive language issues with getting it onto paper. He can verbalize it, just not write it. So using all resource classes really helps him with processing and decreasing the incredible amount of homework they now have in high school. It also helps with executive processing, so he is learning how to organize some but not as much as if in traditional classes. Obviously I don't know you son at all, just some things that have worked for us.
    Beth
    DS14 with ASD, DD11 and DS8

  7. #6

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    He has never had an IEP. He attended private school b4 we homeschooled and I don't think they offered them. When I enrolled him this year, I met with guidance counselors and the principal. They were very open to accommodations and an IEP. He had no issue keeping up with his daily assignments and his grades were excellent. He just didn't do well when it came time for exams. I think it was a combination of his issues and, quite honestly, a lack of preparation on his part.
    I insisted the school allow me to see the tests he took and how he answered so I could have a bettter idea of what he struggled with. Unfortunately, I have to make an appointment and view them in their office. I am assuming that is to prevent me from posting them online.
    My DS wants to continue for another quarter. Apparently, he finds this easier than my homeschool curriculum. I've agreed to let him give it another shot, bc he rarely wants to keep on trying after he fails at something. If it is still not working, we are going back to homeschooling. I am already researching computer based curricula bc he prefers that.

  8. #7

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    If he is going to public school, I would definitely get an IEP. Just because things are promised doesn't mean it will happen unless you have it in writing. An IEP gives you more rights and ability to change things as needed especially at the high school level.
    Beth
    DS14 with ASD, DD11 and DS8

  9. #8

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    I am not even sure of how an IEP or a 504 would work at this point bc everything I would want for him is automatically included in the program. All his classes are at home and on the computer. They gave him the option to take the end of course exams in one of their conference rooms instead of a classroom. This allowed him to have as much time as he needed since he could come in around 9 am and stay all day. The regular exams are held at the highschools between 3-5pm. I would want him to have the option of being excused from super noisy activities and from regular PE. If he is asked to do normal gym class and sports stuff, it will be a disaster.
    One of my reasons for choosing online public school was getting an IEP/504 set up for the future. I still don't know what will work for high school, but I wanted to have my bases covered.

  10. #9

    Default

    An IEP would just get it in writing that yes he has ASD, he needs to take tests in a conference room, that he needs to be exempt from traditional PE etc. If you end up moving, it is good to have all of that set in the IEP then the new school can not change it without your consent. The IEP is a Federal Law so it is transferred from state to state.
    Beth
    DS14 with ASD, DD11 and DS8

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Not sure if I should throw in the towel (long and blathering)