Jan 19 2008

Homeschooling High School in College?

It’s be SO long since I updated things here! Not that I think any­body really missed me, but still, I should have kept it up a bit better.

Katie tried attend­ing a good high school near us, and loved it. She got great grades, was cho­sen to work on the year­book (it’s a very com­pet­i­tive process there), and was even made the chief pho­tog­ra­pher right away! She was also get­ting involved in other activ­i­ties, and she made some good friends. She really loved the art classes, in particular.

Unfor­tu­nately, her health suf­fered. She has severe rest­less leg syn­drome, fibromyal­gia (which causes sleep prob­lems), and truly hor­rific migraines in addi­tion to being aller­gic to all kinds of things. The migraines aren’t well-managed any more, so that she has a migraine almost every day despite tak­ing Trilep­tal as a pre­ven­tive. She’s had to use her res­cue med­i­cine so much that it’s no longer very help­ful, either. She just can’t get any decent sleep, thanks to the RLS and fibro, which means that she needs a min­i­mum of ten to twelve hours every night, and still wakes up unrested. And our insur­ance has gone stu­pid, repeat­edly refus­ing to cover her allergy med­ica­tions, in par­tic­u­lar. 1 Right now, they’re refus­ing to cover Provigil, which was the only thing keep­ing her awake enough to even con­sider attend­ing school. She’s under doctor’s orders to stop dri­ving until the sleep sit­u­a­tion is ame­lio­rated, and has been for some time, so she’s been delayed in learn­ing to drive and get­ting her license.

So she’s back at home, which is a real dis­ap­point­ment to her. We’ve decided to try mak­ing the best of it, and focus on the good things. For instance, she’s no longer held back to any­one else’s learn­ing pace, and she doesn’t have to jump through bureau­cratic hoops. She can learn when­ever she is awake, hon­or­ing her body’s need for more sleep than most people.

She wants to take col­lege classes online, which is how I’m man­ag­ing to con­tinue my edu­ca­tion despite health prob­lems. I think it’s a good idea, so now we’re con­sid­er­ing schools and money. While the Uni­ver­sity sys­tem schools here in Geor­gia tech­ni­cally have all their core classes online, the real­ity when I attended South­ern Poly was that the entire school usu­ally had only one or two seats for any par­tic­u­lar course, and of course those seats were taken immediately.

We’d love to hear about the expe­ri­ences of any other home­schooled teens who are fin­ish­ing high school in col­lege, par­tic­u­larly those who are tak­ing classes online.

Her even­tual goal is art school, and while there is a local school that has an online pro­gram, I just don’t see how it’s pos­si­ble to learn some things through the inter­net. Nei­ther does she. So we’re also look­ing for good art classes to sup­ple­ment what­ever she does online. We’re in Decatur, and since nei­ther she nor I are dri­ving, close is good. MARTA acces­si­bil­ity is absolutely necessary!


1 hey insist that every­body should be just fine with Clar­itin, which is avail­able over-the-counter. Not so!


Jan 19 2007

Katie’s Fall Report Card

Tag:Tag , , , Cyn @ 22:21

We got Katie’s report card in, and she did in fact get all As!

She’s well in to the next semes­ter now. Because every­body else was reg­is­tered for this year last spring, the advanced physics course was full and she’s in the “nor­mal” physics course. She is crazy bored. I mean, this is seri­ously the first time I’ve won­dered if she’ll get in trou­ble because she’s so bored! Her teacher has never taught before this semes­ter, and isn’t doing a good job of man­ag­ing the class to start with, so respond­ing to the needs of faster stu­dents seems to be absolutely out of the ques­tion. So far they’re just review­ing the sim­plest alge­bra needed to even begin talk­ing about physics!

It’s things like the physics class that make me want to snatch her right back home.

On the other hand, her art and world his­tory classes are won­der­ful, and they’re beyond what I could do for her. She’s get­ting a bet­ter ground­ing than I could ever give her in geom­e­try, as well—because, frankly, I detested that class and got an A in it by the grace of a dirty old man called “Coach.” (And he and teach­ers like him were among the rea­sons I wanted to home­school! Not that any­body ever had to do any­thing with that par­tic­u­lar one but lean over his desk the right way, thankfully.)

So she has Very Bad Things to say about physics each day, but is oth­er­wise happy. I expect that her grades will be every bit as good this semester.


Jan 02 2007

Katie, Me and Schools

Tag:Tag , , , , , Cyn @ 15:36

Well, we’re wait­ing for Katie’s final grades for fall semes­ter while enjoy­ing win­ter break for both of us. We had Sam home for the first half of our breaks with us, but unfor­tu­nately work­ing for a school isn’t quite as lux­u­ri­ous as being a student.

Katie has had mostly As in her progress reports across the term, so I expect that should be what we see on her report card. We’re work­ing on an alge­bra refresher/wrap-up here at home, as she’ll be going into geom­e­try at school when she goes back next week. I don’t hon­estly recall using a great deal of alge­bra in geom­e­try, do you? Of course, I absolutely loathed geom­e­try and never “got it” to any real extent. This doesn’t bode well for home­work help this semester.

She has truly loved her art class. While she has had more access to art sup­plies at home than I ever had in school or out­side it, and I’ve taken her to a fair num­ber of muse­ums and tried to give her some ground­ing in art his­tory, I’m no artist. She’s learned more in that one art class than I could have ever taught her, and she’s hun­gry for more. So hun­gry! I should have given her access to art classes ear­lier, obvi­ously — but hind­sight is 20/20. She wants to take sum­mer school classes this year, and I’m even more in favor of it if it means she can con­tinue her pur­suit of art.

I’ve already got­ten my grades. The fan­tas­tic sup­port I’ve got­ten from Sam and Katie made it pos­si­ble for me to get As in both of my courses for the first half of fall semes­ter. The sec­ond half of fall semes­ter (Devry does things oddly) starts on 8 Jan­u­ary. I’m tak­ing all my courses online again, as that works bet­ter for the fam­ily and my ridicu­lous body.

Oh, I nearly for­got! We got the results back from Katie’s first PSAT. She didn’t do so great in the math, which isn’t sur­pris­ing, not hav­ing had any geom­e­try yet. She didn’t do too badly on it either—84th per­centile, some­thing like that, as I recall. She ran out of time on that sec­tion. She was in the mid to upper 90s on every­thing else. We were a bit con­cerned, because the coun­selor at the high school couldn’t be arsed to get Katie’s accom­mo­da­tions in place in time for the test, but obvi­ously it turned out quite well any­way. The accom­mo­da­tions will be in place and she will have passed geom­e­try before she takes it “for real” next fall, when it counts as the National Merit Schol­ar­ship Qual­i­fy­ing Test.

Well, back to “stor­ing up” sleep and tak­ing pic­tures of every­thing, most espe­cially spoiled lit­tle Kiyoshi the solar-powered cat. I miss spend­ing this much time with Katie on a daily basis. It was much nicer, but she does love her school. She is obvi­ously ener­gized by the aca­d­e­mic dis­course, even by dis­agree­ing with an annoy­ing teacher. She was ready to try out her wings, and we had a good school nearby where she could do so. I’m glad we could go back to home­school­ing if we chose to or needed to do so, but I’m glad the fledgling’s flight is going so well, too.


Nov 12 2006

Grades for the girl

Tag:Tag , , Cyn @ 12:04

I haven’t men­tioned how Katie is doing in a while. While there have been some adjust­ment issues switch­ing over to “school” from home­school­ing, she’s got all As. The “life by the bell” thing has been a nui­sance, and she and one of her teach­ers just do not com­mu­ni­cate on the same wave­length, but she’s deal­ing with it. She adores her art class, some­thing I’m def­i­nitely not equipped to teach at all.

Two of her three aca­d­e­mic classes are advanced, and the third would be but was already over­crowded when we reg­is­tered her for classes. So much for hav­ing trou­ble going into high school as a homeschooler.

The sched­ule isn’t easy on her body or the fam­ily, but again, she’s deal­ing. She does have increased fibromyal­gia symp­toms as a result, and has had to add a daily nap to her sched­ule after school.

One of the most dif­fi­cult issues is hav­ing cer­tain lines of dis­cus­sion “off lim­its.” That’s just too weird, after years of being encour­aged to fol­low her inter­ests and inquiries wher­ever they lead. While she’s attend­ing a rel­a­tively lib­eral school, the fact that it is a school means that there are con­straints on sub­ject matter.

Her lit­er­a­ture teacher referred to chastity belts as a medieval urban leg­end ear­lier in the year, and when she started explain­ing just how very wrong he was, he slammed the dis­cus­sion to a close. If the man is going to be so sloppy with his facts, he shouldn’t be sur­prised when he encoun­ters disagreement!

Sam and I met some­one yes­ter­day who said, “Advanced classes are how we seg­re­gate these days.” I pointed out that they cer­tainly aren’t new, as my own class of 1984 was tracked into advanced, reg­u­lar, and reme­dial (although the last two weren’t called that, pre­cisely) tracks, too. I found it an inter­est­ing state­ment, but we were in the mid­dle of Charis Books and dis­cussing many things, and didn’t get to pur­sue that one as far as I’d hoped. What do you think of it?


Aug 29 2006

Katie and high school

Tag:Tag , , , Cyn @ 11:26

Katie is absolutely lov­ing school.

Well, she loves the social aspect, and the chal­lenge of inter­act­ing with new instruc­tors. She isn’t happy about liv­ing by a bell, and of course all of us are adjust­ing to liv­ing on the school’s timetable in general.

At the end of the very first day, she called and asked if she could go hang out with her new friends at a nearby cof­fee shop. That’s my girl, the extro­vert. She’d already made friends and con­tin­ues to do so. So much for any wor­ries (which we didn’t have) about her social skills.

She’s doing well aca­d­e­m­i­cally, too. We talk about her school work and she asks for input at times, so I know what she’s doing. It isn’t nearly the same as the level of involve­ment required for home­school­ing, but it’s something.

She isn’t accus­tomed to the adver­sar­ial rela­tion­ship some teach­ers and staff mem­bers auto­mat­i­cally assume towards stu­dents, and it isn’t some­thing I ever want her to accept as right or nor­mal. Expected at this level, maybe. But not right.

I’m still hav­ing some “empty nest” feel­ings, but see­ing her thrive cer­tainly helps deal with them. Home­school­ing was def­i­nitely the right thing for us for the past few years, and did pre­pare her well for high school. We have no regrets at all there!


Aug 06 2006

In transition

Tag:Tag , , , , TechnoMom @ 14:02

Katie is going to high school in a few weeks, a 10th grader. The school is much larger than the one she attended last fall — approx­i­mately the same pop­u­la­tion as my own alma mater when I was there.

I, at least, will con­tinue to write here, as I’ve been inter­ested in home­school­ing and edu­ca­tion much longer than I’ve had a child at home offi­cially being home­schooled. In fact, I first heard of home­school­ing as a mod­ern real­ity right after I grad­u­ated in the mid-1980s, and was imme­di­ately intrigued. I read every­thing I could find about it, and have kept up that con­nec­tion since then.

Katie is all excited, of course. I’m excited for her. I fear she may be damp­en­ing that excite­ment down a lit­tle because she knows that I’ll miss her, but she shouldn’t. That’s just a nor­mal part of being Mommy. Let­ting go is in the job description.Trying new things is in hers.


Jul 29 2006

Separation anxiety

Tag:Tag , , TechnoMom @ 12:09

And I don’t even know for sure if there’ll be a separation!

Katie may go to high school this year. We’ll know for sure very soon. I’ve done a tran­script for her, all offi­cial and everything.

Just the thought makes me jeal­ous of the time I have with her now, though. I’ve enjoyed these years together, and I don’t want them to end. I don’t want to clip her wings, of course, and I know my qualms are selfish.

It isn’t as if I’ll have trou­ble find­ing things to do. It’s that Katie won’t be with me to do them.

Cyn