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sherryl

Schooling Help

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Please can someone advise me as far as the USA school system goes , I am hoping there are some people out there who have gone this road and who are experienced at the differences. We thought we had done all our homework, but I am coming up against brick walls,and feel like i am running around in circles, after much debating and thinking we somewhat agreed to Vitual/Homeschool my 16 year old son, for the remainder of this school year, mainly to familiarize him with the school system here , as well as allowing him to start fresh as the year begins in August 2009, at first we didnt even have a starting point so began by doing an Evaluation at Sylvan, and i am not sure why ??? and they were so off the mark , it was a waste of 8 hours, so i called the county where i live,who set up an appointment with the head of the guidance counselling dept, to see if his last report from SA last year could be evaluated and get him any credits, well, she suggested and not knowing anything from or about SA , suggested some altertnative school program for him to earn credits, between now and june/July, then he can fit into the school program, the thing is i asked in a very diplomatic way, what kind of people will be in this program and she said basically kids who have dropped out of school along the way, then couldnt get work or needed credits, girls with their babies, and my son looked and was in shock,

Sure we dont come from a perfect world, but this is a mess..... please help

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Sherryl,

 

Sylvan is a private tutoring company so I am not sure why your son had to be evaluated by them.

 

The #1 thing I have learned in my time here dealing with school systems is to be persistent X 100. I don't know why it is being made so difficult for you. Starting with the school system whose county you will be living in is a good start though. To my knowledge, the virtual school is mostly used for credit recovery kids - students who have dropped out or fallen behind or for whatever reason, find regular school a mismatch for their personalities.

 

Although I am at an elementary school, we have a large ESL population which consists of mainly immigrant students. I will ask at my school tomorrow how they deal with admissions for these students, what documentation is required, the procedure etc. and maybe this will help you fine point the questions to ask the district's school system you will be moving into.

Are you already in the US? Oftentimes face to face meetings are far more expeditious than e-mails, phone calls, etc. Try speaking with someone in admissions, ask to speak to someone else, too. Don't just take what one person says if it is not helpful. There are not always helpful or considerate people working for school systems.

My DH's school has a boy from SA but I am not sure how long he has been in the US. I will ask DH to do some investigating.

 

Hopefully there are posters here who have children who were in the same position as your son.

 

Good luck & don't give up!

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Hi there we have homeschooled in the US for the past 11 years and you are welcome to email me at sacleggs[at]gmail.com and I can try to help if I can. Florida is one of the more homeschool friendly states, my sister enrolled her kids with the virtual school system and they have done very well with it. She did join a private homeschool group to get her one daughter's credits recognised. What grade is your child supposed to be in? If you are homeschooling you can give credit yourself for the subjects already completed. There are some wonderful support groups in Florida which you can google. We are now in SC and it is a little different here, but I have my son graduating this year and all his credits have been recognised - in fact he already has his acceptance from two colleges.

 

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Hey Sherryl!

 

J will manage in the US system if he managed in the SA system.

 

www.K12.com is a great virtual school if you want to home school.

 

In Florida you can use them through FLVA

They provide every thing you need form the PC to books and science equipment and you have a teacher

to help you when you need help.

 

J did her grade 4 and 5 with them before we moved to Dallas and I was really impressed.

She went back to school in grade 6, but there are so many days that she wishes she had continued home school.

 

We never found socialization to be a problem, even though we were new to the country. Kids came looking for her and she met a lot through sport and church. FLVA also organises fun days so that kids in the area can meet each other and they can communicate online. They do that anyway when they text each other from one room to the other!! :D

 

Most schools also have an online version that is very different to FLVA. It is used more for kids that need extra schooling.

 

Bev

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Sheryl,

 

I have worked as an Advancement Director at private schools for many years. I don't think the process that your son has/is going through is doing him much good at all and I'd like to make the following suggestions:

 

One of my responsibilities is the admissions process. We often find that it's difficult to translate grades from other countries when foreign students are going through the admissions process. For this reason we administer a standardized test - for Upper School students like your son it will be the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) or a PSAT test. This gives schools a very good idea where a student is at academically and helps teachers when it comes to either helping a student catch up in some areas or let them keep working at the advanced pace that they may be at.

 

If private schooling is not an option. you can simply have your son take the ISEE at one of their testing centers. There is a fee associated, but at least you'll have something in hand that is recognized by the US educations system - public or private.

 

At the risk of being shot by members of this board who homeschool their children, I would strongly suggest that you do not homeschool your son at this time. I'm sure the adjustment to the US is big, the difficulties with his placement in a school may be affecting him, and I'm sure he misses friends and family. In my opinion I would have his standardized testing done and get him in school ASAP. This way his education won't stagnate and he will be in a position to make friends quickly. From what I understand, homeschooling is also not for the feint-hearted. I am not implying that you are, but I think this is a huge decision and for the parent who is going to be the teacher, a LOT of preparation, and knowledge about the desired curriculum, graduation requirements in your state, etc. needs to be done.

 

Whatever you decide, I wish your son everything of the best.

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Thanks so much to those who have tried helping me, I guess we will have to sort through what we feel the best choice would be for my son, but wow, its not easy, and yes he is missing home, SA and his friends, but the way the schools are here are sometimes very challenging and not very encouraging, I have been here for 7 years and my son arrived in november after SA schools closed, our main choice was not to virtual/home school, because we know he needs to mix and make friends, asap, as well as realizing It is a hige task and responsabilty , not being a teacher, but truthfully i am not sure I am happy with what I am seeing coming out of the local schools in my area, personally i think the only way for us is PRIVATE in forida, The Vitual/home school choice was only to familiarize him until the school year began again, i seriously thought we had done all the homework and had chosen the subjects etc until my husband asked a question regarding, English 11, what would happen once he is finishing grade 12 and they see he didnt have the credits for english 1 , and the same applying to Math, Algebra 1 & 11 as well as Geometry , thats when we landed at the school district guidance who referred us to some alternative school program, and when we researched it , it was a school they are promoting as a school for disadvantaged kids, well i really dont think so, and do i want to send my son to school next door to a prison, etc etc, so for us Virtual/Home schooling is looking much more possitive right now, one needs to realize the florida schools are NOT that great......... thanks again for the input

 

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I doubt that the district guidance are misleading you or offering you something inappropriate based on your situation, and their resources. Slaptjips has given you the most sound advice. Have him take the PSAT - and then work with the system from there.

 

To graduate from high school, you need the right number of credits and composition of coursework. Private or virtual schools may seem a better option for you, but these are businesses, so just make sure that when he graduates, it is valid and recognized. Just like Sylvan did, a private school may be only too willing to sign you up for a fee. Make sure the school is accredited. See the following site for a list of accrediting agencies and consortiums: http://www.privateschools.com/private-scho...reditation.html

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One of the best resources when it comes to private schools in my opinion is the National Association of Independent Schools (www.nais.org). Member schools are held to an exceptionally high standard and faculty and staff often go for enrichment training through the NAIS. I would also encourage you to call them and explain your situation if you are considering a private school. As Creature said, make sure that the school you consider is fully accredited by a recognized regional or national body.

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Sherryl, you seem to have worked through your posted question. I apologize for taking so long to get back to what I said I would. You have also been in the US longer than I initially thought but for any future readers:

 

At my elementary school, in order to enroll the parents or legal guardians must produce:

 

1. student's birth certificate

2. proof of immunization

3. proof of residency

 

That's all that is required to enroll a kiddie. Furthermore, as an ESOL teacher we were instructed by our county level supervisor that if Immigration ever walked in, we are not to talk to them regarding the legal status of any of our students.

 

And the SA boy at my DH's high school has been here since he was 5 so we thought pursuing that might not help.

 

Hope this helps someone :)

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Sheryl,

 

I have worked as an Advancement Director at private schools for many years. I don't think the process that your son has/is going through is doing him much good at all and I'd like to make the following suggestions:

 

One of my responsibilities is the admissions process. We often find that it's difficult to translate grades from other countries when foreign students are going through the admissions process. For this reason we administer a standardized test - for Upper School students like your son it will be the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) or a PSAT test. This gives schools a very good idea where a student is at academically and helps teachers when it comes to either helping a student catch up in some areas or let them keep working at the advanced pace that they may be at.

 

If private schooling is not an option. you can simply have your son take the ISEE at one of their testing centers. There is a fee associated, but at least you'll have something in hand that is recognized by the US educations system - public or private.

 

At the risk of being shot by members of this board who homeschool their children, I would strongly suggest that you do not homeschool your son at this time. I'm sure the adjustment to the US is big, the difficulties with his placement in a school may be affecting him, and I'm sure he misses friends and family. In my opinion I would have his standardized testing done and get him in school ASAP. This way his education won't stagnate and he will be in a position to make friends quickly. From what I understand, homeschooling is also not for the feint-hearted. I am not implying that you are, but I think this is a huge decision and for the parent who is going to be the teacher, a LOT of preparation, and knowledge about the desired curriculum, graduation requirements in your state, etc. needs to be done.

 

Whatever you decide, I wish your son everything of the best.

 

Hi there,

Just a quick question to you since you have experience in the admissions process for students to US schools. My son was in public schools in the US till 5th grade and then in a private school from 6th to 8th. We moved to Switzerland last year and he completed his 9th grade and half way through 10th now. We will be moving back to the US next year June, so he will finish his 11th and 12th grade in a public school there. Do you think there will be problems with this? I have heard that students moving from an International School to the US usually have to repeat a grade...now that is rediculous to say the least. Why would that be? Also is there anything special I need to bring along from the school here, other than report cards? I tried to send you a private message, did not work.

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I am not sure where you obyained this information about having to repeat a grade due to international school education. We arrived in the USA after all five of ouyr children had been in international schools for most of their lives. They found that the standard here was way behind what they had experienced in Europe. We began them in a private school and quickly learned that the standard there was even further behind and consequently moved them to an exception public school where they never looked back. Placing them in the public school system allowed them to learn how to mix in a new culture as opposed to home schooling where they would have been isolated from the world around them. They have all done extremely well and most have completed their university education with the last one in his first semester of college.

Not saying we had the only solution but just pointing out what worked for us.

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I am not sure where you obyained this information about having to repeat a grade due to international school education. We arrived in the USA after all five of ouyr children had been in international schools for most of their lives. They found that the standard here was way behind what they had experienced in Europe. We began them in a private school and quickly learned that the standard there was even further behind and consequently moved them to an exception public school where they never looked back. Placing them in the public school system allowed them to learn how to mix in a new culture as opposed to home schooling where they would have been isolated from the world around them. They have all done extremely well and most have completed their university education with the last one in his first semester of college.

Not saying we had the only solution but just pointing out what worked for us.

 

Thanks Mak. I agree that the international school education is advanced, no question about that, just like some private schools in the US. My son is looking forward to continue at a public school next year..a "normal" school is what he calls it these days. My daughter graduated from High School in the US and she was never enrolled in any private or international schools. Well, she continued her studies in Australia and now working on her Masters here in Switzerland.

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