Question: I have three children. One is now in college, one is on a modified high school schedule due to medical issues; my third one is a 6th grader. We are currently in Tennessee, but just for this one semester. After this semester we will be returning to NC. I am a school teacher who has had to take a leave of absence from work due to my middle daughter’s medical issues.
My concern and question comes from my decisions concerning my youngest. He loves his temporary school, and so do we, but will be returning to his previous school system for the spring. The middle school in NC is not a good one. There is a lot of bullying and drugs, more than any other school in the district.
I would rather just keep my son home and homeschool him the next two years until my husband retires, his sister graduates, and we can move elsewhere. I have no idea how to even begin this process in the middle of the year for a middle school student who strives on social interaction. Any suggestions?
Answer: I certainly can understand this is a stressful situation for you given your description of the school system. Unfortunately, many other parents became accidental homeschoolers for similar reasons. According to North Carolina’s homeschooling law, you will need to file a notice of intent and choose which option to operate under. Trust you can start to homeschool at any time!
In your shoes, I’d talk with my son to discover what he is enjoying most about his temporary school?
Does he love the science center with hands on labs? Is he involved in athletics, drama or other clubs? Is there a specific style his teacher uses which he finds appealing?
Focus on those same aspects – in a simpler format. Typically, recreating school at home tends to flop but if you could capture some of those elements as you are transitioning to homeschool, you may find him more involved in the process. You have an almost endless supply of curriculum to choose from – from the more traditional textbook/workbook to a fully online version like Time4Learning! Whatever you choose, remain flexible! As a teacher, you understand this need more than most!
Next, introduce outside learning opportunities. My seventh grader loves volunteering in the community – almost as a mini-apprentice with some of his activities. He’s shadowed the music leader from set-up to break down; connected with the librarian to give him specific tasks and becoming immersed in learning basic coding from a mentor creating gaming apps (his latest dream job!)
In North Carolina, there is a testing requirement at the end of the year which you will need to comply with. The test may be administered at any point in the year and then maintained by you for one year. (You only submit the results if requested.)
As for the socialization aspect – no worries! There are tons of homeschool groups throughout NC to choose from! He may enjoy a co-op learning experience or perhaps join a group with a shared interest (such as a Lego Robotics club). There are athletic teams, debate teams, book clubs and much more! You get the idea!
Once you have settled on where you’ll be living, let us know and we can help connect you with groups in your area! Best wishes on this new adventure!
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