Thursday, December 2, 2010

Paperwork Paranoia

The day before Thanksgiving, two mysterious envelopes arrived in the mail. They each contained a document from our public school titled, "Pennsylvania Mandated Health Requirements for 2010-2011 Term for ALL STUDENTS."

I instantly broke out in a cold sweat.

Why does any paperwork I receive from our school district bring about this reaction? This being our first year homeschooling without the charter to deal with the paperwork, I am fearful of any new development in this department. Also, previous experiences would certainly have something to do with it. Back in the day, when JT was in the public school system and when we were attempting to get EM into the public school early for Kindergarten, most correspondence from the school was either bad news or...bad news. Typically an envelope from the school district would cause me to get angry before I'd even open it. This time they tricked me by using a plain envelope with no return address.

I started looking over what they had sent to me. EM's paperwork had him labeled as a first grader. This is understandable as he never attended their school AND he started Kindergarten at 4. Because they had him incorrectly labeled, they were asking for extra screenings. They also had some questions about his immunization history. JT's was even more irritating. He did skip 1st grade, so I would understand if they thought my 9 almost 10 yr old should be in 4th grade...but NO...they had him marked as a 3rd grader?! He even attended school there for the years when he skipped the grade.

Completely irritated and ready for action, I realized the school offices would be closed until the following Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holiday and the beginning of deer season. (It's a Pennsylvania thing.) Grrr! I spent a few moments off and on over the holiday planning my rebuttals. I wrote down all the proof of where they should be placed. I checked state regulations on medical requirements for homeschoolers. I was READY.

Wednesday morning I called the school and asked to speak to the nurse. She was extremely pleasant. After finding the boys' paperwork and making the grade corrections without question, she told me I wouldn't need those extra screenings after all. Since JT would be starting 6th grade next year and the state requires a physical for that grade, she suggested that I could, according to the regulations, get that physical for him anytime from the beginning of this school year. Overall, she was pleasant and helpful.

How silly I felt....and relieved.

So often as homeschoolers, we put ourselves in defensive mode as soon as anyone questions what we are doing. When you are being different, it's easy to feel oppressed. This experience taught me that it isn't always the case.

I'll still be ready for next time..."Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you."

1 comment:

Annie said...

Your post is proof yet again for me that the universe hands you what you need when you need it.

I haven't had your experience with public education, but I also have my odd paranoia. In my case, we are switching from our current charter, which has a traditional school on campus and significant paperwork requirements, to a strictly homeschooling charter with much more liberal paperwork requirements. Although I wouldn't have put words to it until now, somewhere inside I'm uncomfortable leaving our more "traditional" school for the more liberal one because I fear somehow the state requirements cannot possibly be met by the more liberal school. How could they be? And when will the state come knocking? Will the boys have some ramifications from my educational choice? (And yet the second charter has been in existence for years, apparently without issue.) And so, my week of paperwork has been unsettling as well.

I guess it's time to relax and deal with it if the problems actually arise.