To drop classes, or not?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    difficult child 1's new-ish therapist recommended that we drop French and Biology and add a resource class. I told me to send a letter to the school requesting this under OHI (we have a 504 now and not an IEP, though he does have an IHP (H being Health) because of his medical issues). He said unless difficult child 1 wants to go to France some day or has some other practical application for French, he should take something like American Sign Language because he thinks it would be easier. And he thinks he should take Biology in summer school instead.
    I was supposed to request letters from our psychiatrist and GI attesting to the burden difficult child 1's IBS and anxiety put on him and the stress cycle it creates in school.

    Well, our home instructor thinks difficult child 1 would be selling himself short by droppin those classes. She said his French pronunciation is very good for a first-year student. She thinks there is some natural ability at work there. She also says he is very good with the concepts and terminology in Biology. She thinks he's a very bright kid that needs to be challenged and that giving him a lighter load would jeapordize realizing his full potential. Basically, it would be a waste of his talents.

    She also thinks that the resource class wouldn't really buy him much. He needs structure and she doesn't see that he's able to create this structure himself, even though he's very organized. She also didn't think that the independent study program our district offers would give him the interaction he needs and the challenge he needs.

    There IS, however, a virtual public school that's in our area that she said might be better for him. There is more interaction and feedback for the students.

    What I don't know is if this would preclude difficult child 1 from playing on his school's lacrosse team, which he really, really wants to continue doing.

    So far the homebound instruction is going pretty well. He's getting his work done, he's feeling better the past few days, he works well with this teacher, too.

    We go back to see the therapist on Saturday and I know he's going to be surprised that I haven't requested the resource class yet.

    I'm just not sure what to do at this point. I'm not sure what the next step should be after this semester ends and the homebound program ends (we only requested it through the end of the semester). Do we try to transition back to the regular classroom schedule he had before? Do we try the district independent study (which would allow him two classes on campus, one of which could be lacrosse)? Do we drop French and Bio so we can add the resource class like the therapist suggested? Do we try the virtual classroom?

    Marg or anyone else who's walked this path, I could sure use some feedback on this!
  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Chicken Lady, kt is attending an online virtual school; she still retains the right to attend any of the extra curricular activities at our local high school (tho she's not really wanting that for herself).

    I have to tell you I've always listened to the therapist's on school issues up until just recently. At some point, I had to force kt to face up to her anxieties. Saying that, she's not dealing with the physical issues difficult child 1 is dealing with ~ I expect that has to be an excruciating illness to handle, especially in high school.

    I love the virtual school for kt; there is a great deal of one on one tutoring both on campus (2x a week) & even more over Skype. Additionally kt is meeting with the school SW on managing her time, focusing her energies where they need to be focused versus getting hung up on something that is nothing but time consuming. kt's IEP is still in place with few changes however higher expectations given kt's recent testing.

    Just offering what I'm experiencing with the virtual school ~ so far I see no down sides.
  3. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    ASL is NOT easy. My daughter took a year's worth in 8 weeks over last summer to fulfill her college requirements (she took Latin in middle and HS and her college didn't offer it) and she worked hard and said it was not easy. My 14 year old took a year of it in 7th grade. He did well but also said it was NOT easy. He is dyslexic and was offered ASL because it was felt to be easier. He's in 9th now and is foreign language exempt. They tried Spanish in 6th and 8th grades and it was a disaster. He is thinking of taking Latin next year but would do ASL if offered. If your son is doing well in French and is enjoying it, I would say let him keep it.

    As for the bio, my 9th grader is enjoying it and doing well; however, he is in regular bio, not Honors, and it's pretty basic but I can't put him in Honors because he can't work fast enough. He has resource room every other day. He wants to drop it except for math because his math teacher is horrific.

    Bottom line is, if your son enjoys bio and/or French, is doing well enough to satisfy you and himself, and he wants to keep taking them, I'd let him.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    What specific reason did therapist give? Is it anxiety? Does he need help getting his homework done?

    With our difficult child he dropped Spanish and another homework intensive class and took a resource class which helped him tremendously but he was in over his head and was not college bound in the traditional sense. Alot depends on your exact
    circumstances. I know it is difficult but only you (with info from the school etc.) can make the right choice for your child. DDD
  5. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Interesting. It almost reads as if therapist believes the classes themselves are a source of anxiety. How would resource be more effective in educating difficult child than his current subjects? The Homebound teacher tells a different story. Seems that it was his health issues that caused much (if not all) of the stress in school and, with it, the drop in grades. If difficult child is doing well currently then I don't believe in fixing what isn't broke. As far as the virtual school and Lacross, I would find out if he would, indeed, not be able to play. So, you need more information before you can decide on how you will proceed.

    What does difficult child think? How does he feel about perhaps not attending a traditional school setting? What does he think about Independent study as long as he could play Lacross? Does he strongly desire to return to a traditional brick and mortar setting?
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    To answer DDD, the reason was to reduce the stress on him. Stress drive up his anxiety which exacerbates the IBS, which in turn causes him to miss class time putting him further behind, which causes more stress and anxiety, which makes the IBS worse, and so on. I think the therapist figured a lighter load would help.

    If difficult child 1 could keep up with the homework, he'd probably get a B at a minimum in Biology. And that's without really trying that hard. He likes French and his teacher at school said he was doing well, too. It's just that the IBS set him way back in instructional time and homework assignments.

    Well, I have about three weeks after winter break to get a letter to the school to initiate the IEP process again and get him a resource class if that's what we decide he needs. I looked at the school schedule and the only time a resource class is 3rd & 5th periods. Regardless, he'd have to drop at least one class to fit resource in because there are only 6 periods and he has 6 subjects now (counting PE, which is the lacrosse team, and he really does not want to give that up).

    He could enroll in an alternative education program at any time, though.

    He IS college material, just probably not going into a 4-year program right off the bat because of the level of intensity that would be required.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a valid reason. Absolutely don't let the lacrosse get dropped as that is hugely important for his social skills and sense of pride. I, too, used supplemental virtual school to make sure needed classes were taken. Those credits do count on the school record and we were able to schedule them at the best time of year. Good luck. DDD

    PS: You might want to check out the resource class environment. It worked for my difficult child but it was comprised of students with alot of different issues and was run by one teacher who was a bit overwhelmed with classroom management.
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hmm...tough one.

    I guess for me - I would put a lot of weight on your son's feelings.

    Yes, the anxiety/IBS is awful....but would it really make him feel better to drop classes that he enjoys? Would alternate classes benefit him? Would it make him feel badly about himself to be in a resource class? Would it set a "bad precendent" by basically showing him that when the going gets tough - we stop and do something else? Would it be more beneficial to him to persevere despite his difficulties?

    I think he should get tutoring in those two course and finish the year....but that's just me.

    Let us know what you decide...
  9. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I would put a lot of weight on what your son thinks. While his teacher now thinks he is capable of more, she is seeing him away from the stress and anxiety of school, and not getting the whole picture. I do think he should do as much as he possibly can, but with health problems, sometimes people can't do as much as they could otherwise. Part of having a chronic illness is knowing how best to manage your time so you don't overdo it and make things worse. I think your son and you are in the best position to decide where that line is.

    I would do everything possible to keep him in lacrosse, though. He wants to do it and it is too easy to lose social connections when you are at home not feeling well.

    If you decide that he goes back to school with a reduced load, maybe he could keep the French since he likes it and take Biology in the summer.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Dazed, you're right. I do need more info.

    DF, he's not so sure about dropping the classes either. I think the therapist wants us to cover our bases for meeting college entrance requirements while easing the burden on difficult child 1 in light of his health issues.

    DDD, I have heard less than positive reports about the resource teacher, but that is only from one person. So I'm on the fence about it. difficult child 1 is not sure about it either -- except that I explained it as having a sort of study hall that gives him extra time to get his work done and ask for help if he doesn't understand. I know at difficult child 2's school, his resource teacher will give him extra tutoring or help him get assignments done in class. She also acts as intermediary for the other teachers if difficult child 2 is having a problem. I'm not so sure the teacher at the high school is as responsive.

    Hope, you make a good point about the context in which this teacher is seeing difficult child 1. Same goes for the therapist, I suppose. Although on Monday, the teacher did see him on a bad day, when all he could manage was to lay on the couch and read from his textbooks.

    At this point, it don't know if he's doing better this latter half of the week because of the reduction in stress, or because of the clonidine we started last week. I'm going to keep up with the clonidine next week, then stop it over the two-week winter break and see what happens.

    We see the therapist tomorrow and a new GI on Monday. The outcome of those two meetings will help clarify some issues for me. Then I'll follow up with the school or the district to find out about eligibility for sports in an alternative education setting.

    The nice thing about the home teacher is she writes all his assignments for him in his planner. She also hand-writes his worksheets and instructions for other types of assignments. She is grading him based on his comprehension of the material rather than having to jump through a bunch of hoops that may not fully demonstrate the depth of his knowledge. I would LOVE for this format to continue the rest of the year!

    She did recommend an online school (she just got hired there). It's a free, public charter school that is fully acredited (but so is our district independent study program). I called and they said difficult child 1 would graduate with THEIR students, not his home high school. And that it would be up to his school or district to decide whether or not he'd be allowed to play on his school's sports team. (If he goes through our district program, he can take up to 2 classes at his home campus). But this teacher didn't think he'd get the structure or feedback he needs in our district program. The other school actually has online discussions among students and overall sounds much more interactive.

    A lot to chew on...
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You are allowed to take private online courses and have those grades sent to his school and added to his transcript. When easy child/difficult child was having difficulties I found three or four accredited options. We used two University options and one fully private option. I had to prove to the local high school that it was authorized by our State as a supplemental educational method. A couple of years later when he was struggling with a course, lol, the local school counselor pulled out a brochure and told me "we accept accredited outside courses". Duh! He already had two completed one on his transcript. Good luck. DDD

    PS: Many straight A high school students use this option to get courses that are not available locally so they increase their chances for better college admissions.
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Are you planning to have him attend a community college first, then transfer to either a CSU or UC campus? If so, I would concentrate on getting him graduated from high school without the additional stress of honors or AP classes. If he's enjoying French, let him continue it. ASL is not that easy...I took it one semester, and even though I did well in the class, I remember nothing but the sign for "fire." It's memorization, just like any other foreign language.

    Our district has three sets of graduation requirements. The one they push is the NCLB, designed to make your child eligible for the UC system. A second set is designed for eligibility to CSU, and then...there's what the state of CA says you need to graduate. That's the program Miss KT was on, since I knew Honors classes and all of that would just freak her out, and she was going to community college for at least a year anyway, so it didn't matter. She didn't take the SAT either - not necessary to enter a community college.
  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks DDD, those are good things to know.

    Mary, he's probably not going straight to a UC or even a CSU program (unless we can really get his mood issues AND health issues under control). My plan for now is 2 years community college because I think the pace would be slower and the pressure less.

    He's not in any honors or AP classes now and really could not handle the pace of those at this point, even though he is a bright kid with a high IQ.

    We saw the therapist again today. He stressed that I should get the letter written to the school ASAP, drop it off on Monday so the clock can start ticking for the new assessment for an IEP under OHI. The last time I requested an assessment in 8th grade, his issues seemed more mood related, and he wasn't having nearly the level of IBS problem that he has now. But since he's on home/hospital and is clearly affected by the IBS, it shouldn't be a problem asking to get him into Special Education for a resource class. Whether or not we keep him in this school is the next decision, but it can't be addressed until we get the school to agree to the OHI/IEP. Once that happens, the door is wide open for whatever he needs.

    Ironically, the therapist's daughter is conducting her psychology internship at difficult child 1's school AND the therapist is a former professor of the school psychologist!!! If that's not an ace up our sleeve, I don't know what is! :winks: