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.