I’ve been reading a lot about people having issues with this recently. So here’s my advice, as I literally just went through this.
*** If you have an IEP for your child, make sure the school is adhering to it. If not, call a meeting to address it right away. Make requests even if you think they’ll say no. They have to accommodate your child within reason. Always push for whatever your child needs to have the best learning experience possible. ***
I’ve had an IEP for Scarlet for several years. She is autistic with Tourettes, DMDD, ADHD, anxiety, and more. At her own enthusiastic and long thought out request, I switched her from five years of specialized online school to in person learning this year. However, the first day was entirely too overwhelming for her. As much as she wanted to do it, she only made it a few hours, and didn’t return for a week. In the meantime, I requested partial online, part in person learning with shorter days, plus a few other accommodations. They took the day to review it with the director since they don’t do this for anyone else. They approved all of it!!! As she gets more comfortable, or if it doesn’t work out, we can make further adjustments. She went back to school yesterday and loved it!
I am really glad that my girls convinced me to let them do online school so many years ago. Especially with how everything is right now. Honestly, I was already partially on board from the start. I just needed to make sure it was right for them. They are both extremely intelligent (like all moms say), but they really are brilliant.
I let my oldest Haley try it first and she excelled. It worked out perfect for her. Scarlet started shortly after Haley, because she is younger and has special needs. She was going through a lot in general, already having trouble in school, and also being bullied at the time. Scarlet was always the one to stand up for anyone being bullied and stood her ground. Now, no one stuck up for her, and even her best friend was nasty to her. She had been missing a lot of school. They put her on a 504 Program to help get her through the rest of the year. I then had her start online school through our district, but we moved and had to start again at another cyber school. Eventually, I found an one that anyone can attend, no matter where they live.
The new online school has been great working with us. She now has an Individualized Education Plan and gets one hour of school counselling every week via Zoom. Scarlet hates the camera, so they let her turn it off. Physical and online school has been a major struggle for her. She doesn’t understand something, then quickly gets overwhelmed, and her tics get a lot worse. Once that gets to a certain point, she shuts down and nothing gets done. I had to find ways to prevent that, but also make sure she is still submitting her work.
Scarlet is definitely doing a lot better now in Summer School. I monitor all of her assignments and make a new list for her daily. It shows how many assignments are in each subject and her current grade. I am learning the lessons with her so that I can teach her in other ways that she understands. We just have to get through another week this summer. She will then be in a new program where she will enter seventh grade in the fall, then graduate eighth grade in the spring. Some subjects are grouped together so it’s not as much work. For example, Science and Math are one lesson.
All of this sounds like a lot. I understand that online school is not for everyone, and not everyone is able to do it. It’s especially tough in case of special needs. There’s pros and cons either way. Honestly, when I compare it to sending her to a physical school, I’d take online any day. I just have to work harder to make sure Scarlet is managing things better. Who is better to do that than Mom?