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Discussion Starter #1
My son got himself expelled from school. 7th grade and he's out for a year. I need to start something soon and am overwhelmed by the shear amount of info that isn't state specific. I would prefer to find a curriculum that is not christian based.
 

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I don't know if the K-12 program is available in your state or if he would be eligible since it is public school based. But you might want to check it out.
A friend is doing it with her 12 yo son who was a step away from being expelled. She really likes it, especially the on-line classroom work and the accountability.

Edited to add: Do you have a private school in the area that would take him? It would cost, but might be a viable option.
 

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In your case, I'd say you need to start with the WV homeschooling law. This is a link to the West Virginia Home Educators Association, and has some good information. It might also be useful to join the association to make sure you understand your responsibilities.

http://www.wvhea.org/?page_id=24

From my quick 5 minute read, it seems to say that you need your district's approval to homeschool -- you must submit a letter of intent, proof of your educational criteria (HS Diploma is necessary), a plan of instruction, and your child would need to be assessed annually using a standardized test administered by someone else (this is easy enough to arrange.)

But on your side -- it also says "The county must provide all available textbooks, resources, and other teaching materials, at the request of the instructor."

So....I would start by reading this information. Then I would call your school and ask for their help -- they should know how to make this work, and hopefully try to help you. And, they should be able to provide you with instructional materials...which would be useful, especially if your goal is to re-enroll into the school at some point. (?)

K-12 is not cheap if it's not "free" in your state. Depending on the reasons your child was expelled (e.g. were behavior issues possibly due to frustration if he is not keeping up academically?) - then, it might not be a good choice anyway, because there is an expectation of forward progress that he may not be ready for right now.

Is your son going to want to work independently? With a group? With you? Does he like to read? What are his best/favorite subjects, and why? There are TONS of great materials out there, but you will want to try to match them with your child's strengths, and not just give him (or you!) a frustrating situation at home.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
He is Autism spectrum, adhd, oppositional defiant, and has major depression. He likes to read but only things like the Rick Riordan books. He reads well but is behind in almost every other subject. I'm going to get him tested to figure out exactly where he is academically and start from there. It is going to be a real challenge since the person he gets most defiant with is of course me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My biggest problem is we will have to start this soon and that limits the research I can do to pick out the right courses of study. I will also have to file the curriculum and need to figure it out fast. I need something complete enough to satisfy the school board but open enough for me to catch up the areas he's behind in.
 

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Well, I think you have quite a few challenges in front of you. Personally, one of the reasons that many people avoid "boxed" curriculum is because they don't allow you the flexibility to work with a kid who might be 2 grades ahead in reading, and 2 grades behind in math. And, they are expensive.

Calvert is considered a *good* secular "boxed" curriculum. http://homeschool.calverteducation.com/why-calvert/homeschool-curriculum

However, I would recommend building a curriculum "from scratch" for your son - although it will mean a lot more work for you. However, it might be more successful because he can move forward in each subject at the right pace, and hopefully catch up where he needs to, and not hate every minute of it.

If he likes to read, he might like Life of Fred Math; where math is delivered through a story and it is designed for students to work independently: http://lifeoffredmath.com/ I would think for 7th grade you could start at Decimals and Percents, and see how that goes. I would not buy any more books until you see if that one works for you.

I would maybe consider getting Joy Hakim's "A History of US" one book at a time from your library, if possible - and reading American History together. You can get things like documentaries and movies through Netflix to round it out and make it more fun. Or even buy Liberty's Kids -- they are cartoon, but still good...40 short episodes about American History - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CMDPTTA/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

A good resource for grammar and writing is Growing with Grammar: http://www.growingwithgrammar.com/index.html

I'd definitely continue to let him read as many books as possible, and even better if you read some of them too and you can discuss them.

That leaves you with science...and depending on you and your kid there are different approaches. I liked R.E.A.L. Science, and now they have a couple books for middle school (only had elementary school when we first used them). Maybe Biology - Level 2 http://www.pandiapress.com/?page_id=82#level2

Homeschooling is definitely more of a lifestyle than anything else. Sort of like living on a farm. It's not for everybody, and the kids that can manage their workload completely independently are quite few and far between -- especially in 7th grade. You definitely have to be involved to keep the on task, but if you choose good materials, it can be fun, and not impossible.

Your schedule could be like this -- 4 days a week, he does one grammar and one hour of math independently... One day a week you set aside a couple of hours to do science together, and a different day, a couple of hours to read history and watch a history video. That's like 1/2 day of work each day, and lots of time to then spend on reading or hobbies he likes. How to get him to do it? Well...because the alternative is going to something dry and boring like Calvert or school.....

Good luck...hopefully it won't be as difficult as you anticipate - a lot of kids don't do well in school because it's too structured. If you give him some more flexibility, it might help.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks. The big problem is if I don't come up with something quickly they'll put him in night school with someone to watch him but not teach him.
 

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He is Autism spectrum, adhd, oppositional defiant, and has major depression. He likes to read but only things like the Rick Riordan books. He reads well but is behind in almost every other subject. I'm going to get him tested to figure out exactly where he is academically and start from there. It is going to be a real challenge since the person he gets most defiant with is of course me.
I don't see how the school can possible expel a child with the above disorders. Did you not have him enrolled in special ed? I used to be a mental health consultant to a public school system, and there was no way a child with his challenges could ever be expelled. I attended many an ARD meeting where plans were drawn up for meeting a child's need. Including in one case, hiring an aide to be one-on-one with the child.

I suggest a visit to the school immediately to see where the system broke down and to look at what your options are.
 

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I don't see how the school can possible expel a child with the above disorders. Did you not have him enrolled in special ed? I used to be a mental health consultant to a public school system, and there was no way a child with his challenges could ever be expelled. I attended many an ARD meeting where plans were drawn up for meeting a child's need. Including in one case, hiring an aide to be one-on-one with the child.

I suggest a visit to the school immediately to see where the system broke down and to look at what your options are.
That is a common misconception -- that special education students can not be expelled. They most certainly can, it is well within the law to do so, but it is more difficult to expel a special education student than a general education student. Lots more documentation and evidence needed but it is possible. One of my students last year got himself expelled.
 

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Thanks. The big problem is if I don't come up with something quickly they'll put him in night school with someone to watch him but not teach him.
Write up an instructional program with the books I've listed -- probably not much more than $100 in total books. Get an Amazon account and order some of them...get to your library and see what they have. And submit it to your district before they make a choice you're not happy with. You can ALWAYS make changes -- an instructional program is a guide, not a contract.

Something like Calvert will cost $1500+...so you're not really going to lose out financially by trying to build your own curriculum.

If you want me to help you write the instructional program (in edu-speak lingo), send me a PM. It's not hard, but might seem intimidating if you have never done it.
 

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Here is a quick, need something option http://allinonehomeschool.com/about/

We like it enough that we use it for many of our subjects.....it's free...online...not tied to public schools in any way. It has Christian "overtones" as it is written by a Christian family, but you can skip Bible and just use the other portions that work for you. We are using them for geography, science, math and foreign language this year.
 

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I think offthegrid gave you some really great pointers. Here are my 2 cents ... focus on what you need to figure out to provide to the state/county so that you can homeschool. Take time to figure out what to do about curriculum. Odds are, social workers are not going to be knocking on your door tomorrow to watch you teach. Take a month or two to figure out what you think will work. Get familiar with your state's homeschooling laws (HSLDA has great info on their website).

I have a 6 year old on the spectrum and I find that it is best for us to find what works best for each subject vs. a bundled curriculum. I also find that it is way cheaper to do it that way. You also do not need to have all subjects on the same grade level, you can customize it to your son's needs. For example, my son is in 1st grade based on age but we use curricula for K, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade and go at his own pace.
 

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Get with Home School Legal Defense Association. They are Christian based but that is not required on your part. They will function as your legal rep if someone reports you to the state as being negligent, etc. we never used them but they were nice to have in our back pocket if the state got pushy.
 
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