Argentina 2, Day 33 – home schooling


Let’s just say that my experiences in the last month have given me a new-found respect for parents who home-school their children. I know people make that decision for all sorts of reasons, some of which are much more intellectually or morally inspired than ours. We simply took the easy way out: we knew how hard it would be to find a handicapped-accessible school that was willing to entertain the idea of having a physically-disabled 8th grader, and we didn’t even try. And we were right: the school that Eric and Julia attend could not have handled Emily’s needs, from bathrooms with stalls into which her walker could not have entered to high-school curriculum with little flexibility for a non-Spanish speaker. And their school is one of the most friendly and accommodating ones. 

So Emily’s part of the RISE program, which stands for Redlands Independent Study Experience, or something like that. Each week she receives an assignment sheet detailing her tasks to be completed, and at noon each Monday spends up to an hour talking (via Skype) to a teacher who works within the RISE program (as she’s doing in this photo). Usually students participate in RISE for shorter terms (like being out for medical reasons for a few weeks) and are still local (so physically meet with their teacher once/week). Our biggest hurdles have been figuring out how to convert her written work to digital form for ease of e-mailing, since we have no easy access to a scanner. Many things she types onto her own laptop, but if it’s something that’s handwritten, such as workbook pages or tests that she’s completed, I take a picture (.jpg) of it with our digital camera, download that image to my own laptop, clean it up in Photoshop (resize, make sure it’s bright enough, etc.), convert it to a .pdf, combine all the .pdfs into one document, and email to California. It’s been taking 1-2 hours/day to manage it all (these conversions, plus answering questions, listening to all of the “discuss with your parents” topics, and communicating with California). When she returns to school on June 2, Emily immediately returns to her normal 8th grade classroom and will take her year-end final exams. And on that same day I will write a little note to the State of California thanking them for having public schools to which I can direct my tax dollars and send my children so I don’t have to home-school them anymore. Plus a gift from Argentina to Emily’s very nice and accomodating teacher in Redlands who’s never had to spend so much time figuring out trans-continental communication before!

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