Tuesday, May 22, 2012

School Tour

Kids tour colleges they're considering, right?  It's not as common to tour high schools, largely because most people don't consider the options and then make a choice.  Well, Maggie and I toured our local public high school yesterday.

There are a lot of nice things about it.  Most of the classrooms have many huge windows!  I also like the block scheduling they use: instead of 8 classes per day, taken all year, kids take 4 classes per day and finish the whole course in a semester.

There is a policeman who spends his days at the school.  I have mixed feelings about that.  It's creepy that it's considered necessary.  And yet, if it is necessary, I guess it's good he's right there.

The guidance counselor has worked with homeschoolers before.  He's worked with special-needs kids before.  He's never worked with a special-needs homeschooler transferring in.  So if we do this, we're breaking new ground.  He also reminded me that Maggie could take one class at the high school if we preferred that over full-time enrollment.  That's something to consider, although the transportation would probably be a problem. 

The hallways are full of posters promoting environmentalism.  (And no, I ought not be surprised.  My logical head knew it would be that way.  But I was still surprised by how many posters!)

There's no microwave in the school cafeteria for nuking lunches.  Either buy lunch there (which doesn't look like a good plan, from what we saw on the menus) or take a cold lunch.

Classes start at 7:25.  In the morning!  The school bus picks up at 6:30.  This would mean Maggie should be hitting the hay around 8:00 if she goes to school next year.  Yikes!

The hallways and the classrooms seemed bright and cheery.  But not in the special-ed area of the school.  No windows in those classrooms.  Small rooms.  Darker rooms.  Drearier hallway.  That seems wrong.

Maggie and I are both finding ourselves in this weird Land of Unknowing.  On the one hand, we're talking about next year as if she's going to school -- what classes she'll take, what to do about lunch, how she'll figure out her locker combination, etc.  And yet we're also assuming that we'll go on with homeschooling -- looking forward to APT next fall, considering which curricula we'll use for various subjects, thinking about fieldtrips and volunteering at the library, etc.  It's strange to be expecting both mutually-exclusive things to happen.  Hopefully we'll know a lot more after next week's big meeting.


  1. How well I know that feeling of being in limbo and not knowing what you need to plan for or expect. It is nerve wracking and very draining. And I am not at all surprised by the environmental posters. At least (I assume) there weren't Day of Silence posters. Or advertisements for the student GLBT club.

    You and Maggie have been in our daily prayers as a family and will continue to be as you work through these questions!

  2. I think I missed something along the way. How come you're considering public school for Maggie?

  3. Primarily because of health insurance. Secondarily because of "transition" issues.

    She won't be going to college. This fall will be senior year for kids her age. If she were in public school, she'd be attending until age 21, not merely until next spring like her age-mates. But how do we show that she's a full-time student (for medical and dental insurance) if she's homeschooled at age 18 or 20? That's probably not going to fly. And if we've got any chance of it, it will only be due to a school evaluation that determines her to be "in need of services" ... whether or not we obtain those services from the school.

    There's no way any health insurance company would take her. Until Obamacare is repealed, she will have insurance through her dad until her 26th birthday. But what happens after that? I don't think she'll have the kind of job that will have health benefits. So we're assuming that whatever she has will be publicly funded. (This does not meet with my approval. But I keep telling myself that it was the government that created the mess of unaffordable health care, and so sometimes I may have to kowtow to the system. Yuck.)

    There's also the possibility of help finding employment that's appropriate for her.

    I'm also wondering if trying School would be a way to test her immune system. I honestly don't know if she is healthy enough to have a job someday. If she's exposed to germies, gets sick easily, and then misses work for a month because of illness, that ain't gonna be fair to an employer. Maybe school would be the attempt to be occupied all day, every day, with people, and see if her immune system can take it. If she can't, that will have a large affect on many decisions.

    Next week is the IEP meeting. One of the school psychologists I spoke with suggested that the evaluation and the IEP might be enough to prove her "in need of services" so that we can continue schooling her as we have been, but then still be able to go to the State when she's 22 or 25 or whatever, and try to get help with finding a job and obtaining Medicaid at that time. We'll know more next week.

  4. Such a complicated world we live in... I'll be so glad when you have some of these questions answered!