Dipping our toes in the public schools

It’s scary, y’all.  Very, very scary.  I think people who have been involved in the schools don’t really give much thought to the countless types of information you hand over to them… being on their radar; but I am keenly aware of it.  Suddenly, I realized just how NOT on the radar we were until now.  It’s just kind of weird.

But for us, that’s really only a small part of it… We have much bigger issues here…

The health of our guy is also a significant factor.  He’s clearly entering puberty and that means another immune system change and the potential for his immune deficiency to get worse (or better, or not change).  The process of registering him brought to light that we have zero experience with the doctors here on the immune deficiency front.  We moved here several years after we got BigGuy’s health well-managed through preventative care, diet and sleep/rest–much of which was only do-able BECAUSE he was homeschooled.  As a result, he hasn’t had a hospital visit in years.

He qualifies to take Algebra I with the district (that will get it’s own post in the near future–I promise) but that would be every day for a year and we’re not doing that.   All I need is for him to get really sick and be unable to get the work done for a class that matters for him. We won’t even do chorus every day for a year because of the risk of him potentially getting sick.  We DID find a good quarter-year course for him, though.  Two, in fact!  And they were so great we decided to take the plunge.  BigGuy is now officially partially enrolled in the public school.  He will be taking a class that runs for 9 weeks, 40 minutes per day, EVERY. DAY.

Did you read that, homeschoolers?  EVERY. FRIGGIN. DAY.

Here’s a description of the class he’s taking:

In this course, students begin to recognize the value of an engineering notebook to document and capture their ideas. They are introduced to and use the design process to solve problems and understand the influence that creative and innovative design has on our lives. Students use industry standard 3D modeling software to create a virtual image of their designs and produce a portfolio to showcase their creative solutions. 

So, pretty much right up BigGuy’s alley.  We will remove him for the 2nd and 3rd quarters which is when we’re pretty sure the bulk of FluMist would be floating around.  FluMist is a live attenuated virus and even the FluMist Quadrivalent and CDC website says:

“People who are in contact with others with severely weakened immune systems …, should not get the nasal spray vaccine, or they should avoid contact with those persons for 7 days following receipt of the nasal spray vaccine. “

They go on to note that people with weakened immune systems due to illness are a different story–that’s not a problem.  So people with asthma, diabetes, etc–they are presumed to be healthy enough to fight off whatever they get exposed to by way of someone that was given FluMist.  The warning above gives more detail that says that people who are in a protective environment shouldn’t be near people who were given FluMist for 7 days.  There’s no mention of the people who have immune deficiency strong enough to warrant medical exemption from vaccines, but not enough to have them in a protective setting… although BigGuy is, for all intents and purposes, in a protective setting.  So we generally follow those guidelines and so far, so good.

The kids in the middle school age range are not schedule to have any other live attenuated virus vaccines (usually varicella and measles–which has a longer period of isolation needed).  If the kids in that age range get those shots, they are the exception and so it’s much easier to deal with.  It’s possible kids will get FluMist before Halloween, but again–not the norm.  We’re just going to steer clear of the school from the week before Halloween until the middle or end of March when the last quarter begins (and most people are done with the flu–most definitely done with FluMist).  At that point, he will take a study skills class that we’d have loved to have done first, but we had schedule conflicts with our live online classes during the fall semester.

It’s a lot to be nervous about… his health… his Asperger’s with a teacher… how the other kids will treat him… And please–if I were THAT worried, it’s not like any of this is required.  I feel like this is a good way to dip our toes into the world of “school”.  If our BigGuy actually wants to go to the math/science school, this will be the beginning of a nice, slow transition into the world of school classrooms.

Meanwhile, it’s a lot of last minute crap.  Thankfully, the assistant principal at the middle school (whose lap this fell into) is very on top of everything and is juggling like a madwoman.  I like her so far.

Tomorrow BigGuy gets to find his class and possibly meet the teacher.  Cross your fingers, y’all.

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