If I would have written about Holland's IEP placement meeting right after I got home, it would have looked something like this:
The district rep and the principal both felt that a placement at the Charter School was not a good fit. The district rep is worried about Holland's behavioral issues; the principal is concerned they won't be able to meet his academic needs. I brought up Holland's current school behavior, how he's not the one throwing chairs, running out of the room or needing physical restraint; he's the only student in his class that qualifies for the summer program based on academics and not on behavior. They are worried about withdrawl when he is frustrated with the academics (his withdrawl looks like him putting his head down on the desk and not working. What kid NOT on an IEP hasn't done that?). The principal said that the teacher would most likely not be able to adopt a whole new curriculum for just one student.
I basically get no support from his current school. If I decide to pursue placement at the Charter School, they will not help me. The district rep wants to keep him at his current program. I do not want him around kids with that kind of behavior. I do not want him doing busy-work. I don't want him doing a sight-based reading program that takes every word out of context. The placement I want, they don't want; the placement they want, I don't want. It was suggested that he could do a transitional program in the mornings and then go to the charter school in the afternoons for the hands-on activities. But after considering this, I felt the settings would be so different that he wouldn't be able to adjust to such opposite expectations.
This afternoon, I emailed a former co-worker about my situation. When I taught at a deaf school, she was the special education teacher there. When her kids were born, she quit teaching and now homeschools her two children. She started up a program that links homeschooling families with the local science museum. She also helped write a charter for a school in our city that pairs the idea of homeschooling within a structured school setting. I asked her what she thought I should do. She thought with Holland's special needs that he was in a program that wasn't addressing his current learning abilities and also wasn't recognizing his need to build and create. The whole reason I want him at the charter school is for the hands-on approach; the whole body learning experience. What she made me realize, is that once again, I'm the one who can provide what he needs. Now that his mood is regulated, we can focus on the learning part. I'm hoping to supplement homeschooling with classes at the homeschooling charter school. If we got in full-time, it would mean being able to meet with an educational support person weekly to monitor progress and help with the academics.
I know that his current program is not going to like me pulling him out of there. They think he needs the socialization (what public school doesn't frown upon the 'socialization' needs of a homeschooled child?) and that he would get more benefit out of a transitional program. I do not feel that way. I want him in a place that he will be able to move about, and explore and experience nature and science. So for now, I will keep Romania at the environmental science charter school, homeschool Holland and use the homeschooling charter school as a supplement program.
This next school year looks nothing like what I pictured last year. I will again have two kids in two different locations, getting out at two different times. Oh, the craziness of education.