I think I mentioned that Monkey is taking a couple of virtual school classes this semester, and as part of filling out the hospital/homebound paperwork for Chickadee it was suggested that she do so, as well. (Translation: Oh, we are legally obligated to send a teacher out to tutor your kid, but she’s too far away for us to feel like doing that, and we are too lazy to coordinate with the district where she’s currently residing, so instead how about we pay for her to take virtual school courses and you don’t sue us? OKAY!)
Actually—now that I think of it—the craziness started really early with this. Back in the late spring/early summer we went through a whole thing where Monkey was registered for classes as a homeschooler, and that’s supposed to be paid for by the state, but then good ol’ Georgia passed a bill about something else entirely that had a wee little line in it about counties taking on the expense for homeschoolers, so we then received a tuition bill, and Otto spent an entertaining week calling around to the school district, county offices, and state legislature until someone finally paid for it. That should’ve been my first clue that this was going to be entertaining.
And then, of course, Monkey has already tried to school one of his teachers without success. Heh.
It figures that after writing about how proud I was of my son for handling disappointment over a grade that a few days later we would be faced with a complete smackdown: Yesterday Monkey logged on to his virtual school account and gasped. Loudly. By the time I’d gotten up to go see what the problem was, he was practically incoherent.
He’d gotten a big fat zero on a paper. Telling your nerd-tastic Aspie that he’s gotten a zero on an assignment is just one step up from telling him that you killed his dog and flushed all of his Yu-Gi-Oh cards down the toilet.
Now, it turns out that he’d somehow turned in the wrong file, because his nomenclature for his online class files is… ummm… well, honestly, it’s incomprehensible to me. And he had four files, all with very similar names, and ONE was his paper (not turned in) and ONE was notes on his paper (what he accidentally turned in). Should he have double-checked before turning in? Absolutely. But as the first paper of the semester, was the teacher going to refuse to take the actual paper, along with an apology and explanation? No.
None of this made sense to Monkey, though. He just saw that 0 and figured the world was ending and taking him with it. Honestly I’m glad we’re starting these classes now, otherwise he’d end up heading off to college someday and having a coronary by the second week of class.
We contacted the teacher and cleared up the confusion and turned in his actual paper. It was all resolved quickly, which was a relief because I was beginning to seriously consider sedating him.
You’d think this mess was the first time I had to step into the virtual school fray and help one of my kids resolve something, but you would be SO WRONG. See, when our home district decided that Chickadee should do virtual school as well, they were kind enough to offer that she could choose any class she wanted to go along with the Spanish class she was enrolling in to replace her regular class. We went over the course catalog and my little CSI addict lit up at the prospect of taking an actual Forensic Science class. Could she do that? We checked with the Powers That Be and they said sure, no problem. She was enrolled in her two classes, I worked it out with the folks at the hospital, and all was well.
For about a day.
Well. Turns out, there’s a few lab supplies you need for the Forensics class. Nothing too crazy, of course. Some tape… glue… talcum powder… a fresh calf’s heart… and a medical-grade scalpel. (Oh, I know. Here, let me: WHAT THE EVERLOVING @*$&%!!!????) I know I am prone to hyperbole in this space, but I can assure you: 100% truth. Hey, homeschoolers! Does everyone have their fresh baby cow heart ready? LET’S BEGIN! RAISE YOUR SCALPEL!
Setting aside the UTTER CRAZY of requiring students to get their hands on calf hearts, it turns out that—GO FIGURE—when you are a patient in a psychiatric facility they are not entirely keen on you having access to sharp objects. Ahem.
We had a little discussion with the virtual school folks; it was gently suggested that in the future, the course catalog include some indication of which classes require additional materials, and that perhaps those materials should then be listed. I mean, obviously the challenges to the animal-loving, vegetarian psychiatric patient are extreme, but frankly I am buying a calf heart for NO ONE and I think most people would not see “Forensics” and think “Let’s go buy a calf heart.”
Chickadee was withdrawn from Forensics.
Spanish should be a no-brainer, especially as she actually took this class last year, and ended up dropping it towards the end of the year during her other hospitalizations. But part of how they do assignments for Spanish is that the students have to record themselves reading assignments, and the hospital wasn’t sure they could accommodate her with a “quiet room” to do so. Chickie contacted her teacher to discuss, and I got the distinct feeling the teacher suspected she was making her story up. (Note to students everywhere: Would you ever tell a virtual school teacher you were currently hospitalized in a psychiatric facility if you weren’t? No? That’s what I thought.)
After about a zillion phone calls, THAT has finally been worked out. I think.
At certain points it all seems like more trouble than it’s worth, honestly, but then there are little gems throughout the process that bring me back to appreciation. Like, if Monkey wasn’t doing virtual school, I’d have to be coming up with a curriculum for him myself, and let’s face it—he’s smarter than I am. Also, I am enjoying watching him put his uniquely Monkey spin on things.
For example, the aforementioned “discussion” of how averages work took place in his Physical Science class. I like that this teacher tries REALLY hard to relate various topics to real-world applications, even if it sometimes results in badly-worded story problems. Heh. Today he worked for a while this morning and then asked me to come review what he’d done; they’re doing a unit on force and motion, and were told to write a brief story on what it would be like in a world without force.
This is what my darling son came up with:
Bob’s stomach rumbled. He had been moving in a straight line for several days now, and hadn’t found any food. In his world, there was no force to stop objects from moving. He sighed, and then gasped as he saw an apple speeding towards him. He opened his mouth, and the apple shot inside, but didn’t stop moving. It ripped right through the back of Bob’s throat. Bob wished he could stop and get some medicine, but there was nothing to stop him from keeping on moving forward.
Eventually, Bob shot off into space and smashed a hole through the center of the moon, breaking all of his bones in the process. Now Bob was just a crippled dead lump floating through space. And he would never even get to have a proper funeral because he couldn’t stop. Poor Bob.
Good thing our world has force!
That, right there? That makes me love virtual school despite the hassles. But maybe check back with me when he gets to a unit where I have to go find him some goat testicles or something.