We are very proud of our 5th grade son! He has been working really hard this year and his report card shows it. Yes, kids who are educated at home can have report cards too. Some don’t do them because they don’t believe in using one as measure of their child’s progress. To each their own. Since our son was in public school for Kindergarten through 4th grade, he likes having one. The upside of the program we use is that his progress is being tracked. We submit work, they can see his online work, he takes both online and written tests. Some of it I grade and some it the online system grades. Our son was pretty much a straight A student until we moved to Oklahoma. Even then he still had mostly As with a few Bs thrown in.
One of the things that we are really enjoying about doing school at home is that we can move at our own pace.
Our son doesn’t have to wait for a teacher to finish with 20+ other kids. Teachers in classrooms with 20+ kids have a rough job. I use to work as a classroom aide and a substitute teacher while I was in college. I have seen and experienced, first hand, how hard it can be to keep a class of 20+ fourth graders on task. I know it is not a cake walk to try and work a lesson around 20+ different ways of learning or working speeds. So on this particular point, I am not knocking public schools at all. I am merely pointing out that one benefit of doing school at home is that we can work as quickly or slowly as my son needs. Even families I know that are home schooling with multiple ages at once still have a little more flexibility than a teacher with 20+ kids do.
In our case, working at our son’s pace has resulted in him completely finishing his 5th grade curriculum. Last week we started working on 6th grade curriculum. He has not “skipped” a grade in the sense that he is now considered to be a 6th grader. As far as OVCA is concerned he is still a 5th grader. He is just a 5th grader working a grade level ahead is all. In fact many of the other 5th graders we know are doing the same thing!
The idea behind allowing him to do this is that he is now being challenged. He now has to use most of the allotted time for his lessons. He isn’t done in half the time anymore. I am not sure how long this will last. It could just be a temporary hiccup of adjusting to how the 6th grade curriculum works. We discovered that it is quite a bit different as the program is slowly preparing the students for the high school version of the program.
Something we have to keep in mind is that at the moment the high school program doesn’t offer the same flexibility as we enjoy now. They are not allowed to work ahead much. It is much more rigid schedule. So we are trying to be mindful of the differences and be vigilant in keeping up with changes in the high school version of our program because if it doesn’t change by the time we get to it, then we may have to rethink our approach. After all the whole idea behind doing school at home is being able to find a way that works best for your child! His needs are the priority.
I know I have mentioned this before but another great thing about moving at his pace and having a more flexible schedule is that we can do things when and where they are convenient for us! For example, we can do our working while sitting in the allergy clinic every week when my son gets his allergy shots.
Or when we are working on things like fractions in Math or measuring in Science, we can turn it into something fun like our son making dinner for the family! Another fun one was teaching him to do the laundry. Sorting, measuring and even some chemistry if something red got in with the whites.