Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why I Chose A Charter School

I have had many people accuse me of thinking I'm to good for public school because my kids go to a charter school.

My kids started out in public school in Southern California.  I soon learned it wasn't for us, but I had very few options down there.

Before we decided to move friends were telling us about the school their kids go to.  Its small, very tight knit community, and a parent involved school.  Meaning there is always a parent there to help the teacher.  They loved it because the kids were able to get more 1 on 1 time and the help they need when they need it.  They actually put our names on the waiting list before we had decided for sure we were moving.

By 4th grade Warrior was constantly in trouble at school because he was so bored he would find things to amuse himself.  He would finish his work/test long before the rest of the class.  I bought him workbooks to do, but teacher wouldn't give them to him.  She always had the excuse that she was to busy during class.  Yet she wasn't to busy to call me almost everyday. 

We moved right after Sugar Peas finished Kindergarten.  Her teacher was awesome, but the rest of the support wasn't.  I realized that right away, but didn't find out just how much they didn't do until later.  The start of 1st grade we came up with an IEP for speech.  That's when we found out that the speech therapist that was working with her twice a week in Kindergarten didn't do anything he was supposed to.  You know, like the required testing at the start of the year and again at the end to see how much progress she made.  He was retiring and basically just used her as a body in the class.

The first year at this school we realized this was what the kids needed.  Warrior was able to break off into a group and work at his pace instead of the pace of the class as a whole.  By 6th grade he was in a group working out of the 7th grade math book.  When he was in 8th grade he was taking his math class at the high school.  So when he entered high school, he started out with 20 math credits already.

The teachers, speech therapist, and resource teacher have been awesome with Sugar Pea.  Almost immediately they realized there was something going on, and had her tested, which was when she was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder.  She did great in 2nd grade, but then in 3rd grade things changed and she was struggling again.  The teacher and I talked almost every week about what was going on.  Finally in 4th grade we had her tested again and that's when she was diagnosed as having the APD, Visual Processing Disorder, and issues with short term memory.  Meaning memorizing things is very difficult for her.

Finally we knew what was going on and could help her.  She gets the extra help she needs, work is modified (not so many problems, sentences, etc on a page) and her IEP states that she needs to use a Kindle to read because she can blow up the font and easier for her to read something with 20 - 30 words on a page instead of the small font.

When Tin Man had his transplant, everyone was awesome.  The teachers, the administration, the parents, and the students.  I was amazed at all the support we received.  Then when he passed away the support from everyone doubled.  They would come and mow my grass for me.  Brought dinners for us.  And let us know they were there if we needed anything, and most actually meant it.  In the last 10 months I haven't asked for much help, but when I needed it, like fixing all of my screens, they were there to help. 

I am so glad that we had this school community there for us during the worst time in our lives.

Sugar Peas is now in 5th grade and doing great.  She's almost where she needs to be where as this time last year she was working at end of 1st grade level.

Warrior is a freshman in high school, at a public school.  We had the option of putting him in a charter high school, but he liked the health/science program at the public high school better. 

I don't think there is one right way or wrong way as far as schools go.  Public, private, charter, homeschool.  Its what's works for the child that is the right way to go. 

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