Oh, where do I start - I guess it should start with a warning. I am on a rant - and I am going to put it all in writing and all right here. So if you are not in the mood or if you are squeamish may I suggest one of my other blog entries for your perusal. But for now on with the show.
I guess I will begin with the whole idea of going back to school before Labor day. In short, I am against it. I really don't see that there is any point in going to school for a few days just to have a long weekend and have to start all over again. I just know that when I was homeschooling, we never started before Labor day and we were always done before the public schools.
Those were the "good old days". I mean the days when I was true homeschooling. I had my own curriculum and I chose what we learned and when we learned it. Those days are gone. I had good reasons for choosing to use a virtual school, but after days like today, I really question those motives. It is days like this that leave me scratching my head wondering why I ever left.
Today, August 25, was to be the first day of school. This was announced and publicized before school ended last year so it should take no one by surprise - especially the school who had the idea. But it seems to have done just that. We were to receive book shipments before school started - and we are still waiting. I will deal with the high school specifically later but Timothy has a few of his lit books, his lab supplies and a Latin/English dictionary. Emily has all of her lit books and a map and globe - neither of which are truly necessary to teach the class she has. Poor Eva has not received any books at all.
Strike one: school started, no books
However this is a virtual school. That means that some of the classes are online, specifically science (as long as they don't need the lab book for that lesson) and Emily's history is on the computer so even though we didn't have the books we could get started with those. I tried to take heart that at least they did something today. That little hope did not last long though.
Now comes high school. The school, Ohio Virtual Academy, (yes, normally I try to be very generic in what I write about to not hurt any feelings or step on any toes - but I am so mad at OHVA right now that I would love for the whole world to hate them as much as I do) has decided that it's students are all idiots. Rather than giving them their books (see above) and introducing their teachers and getting down to learning they have devised a 2 week "introduction" period. That period today started at 8 am where all the high school students had to log into the same virtual classroom. But it is not the students alone who have to suffer. All the high school teachers were to be there too. In the school's epic wisdom (note: sarcasm) they did not have enough moderator positions available for all the teachers. So the teachers in addition to attempting to exert control over a failing site had to compete with each other for a chance to run their part of the program. Even if they say that they didn't know how many students were coming, I would think that they at least know how many teachers they have - but I guess not. Then: DISASTER! So with around 900 students and teachers to no great surprise - except it seemed the schools the server crashes.
STRIKE 2: Virtual school crashes
I received a letter later in the day (through their internal e-mail which is another rant altogether) saying that they were not expecting so many students and that the introduction would be rescheduled for 1 this afternoon. HELLO - if you tell all the students to be in one place, and you have not provided any books so that they can do anything but be there how can you say that you were not expecting it?????? The trouble with this is that even at 1:30 when I was finally able to get back on the system I couldn't get to the classroom where they were until after 2pm.
I want to make it clear that I do not hold the teachers responsible for these mishaps. I am sure that they have been yelled at all day by irate parents like myself (I made it a point to address my concerns to the principals and not the teachers). I have really liked most of the teachers that I have met - actually feel sorry that they have to work within this ill conceived and unrealistic system.
I know that on the first day of school not much learning really takes place but I can assure you that NONE took place today. And the really sad thing is, I don't see much of a change for tomorrow. We still do not have any books and I have a feeling that even though the site crashed today they thought it a fluke because they have asked us to do the same thing for tomorrow. I will try - for the sake of my kids - but if there are technical difficulties tomorrow it will be strike three and I will be out til September 2 (Oh, I forgot to mention - they expect the high school students to be in school on Labor day. I know that at least one of them will not be)
A Classic in Translation
4 weeks ago