Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer and...School Decisions?

It never ends.

Just when I think I have it all figured out!

B18 comes to me and says he really wants to do his senior year at a certain charter school in Kenosha. As smart as it would be for him to take a combination of high school and college classes next year, as we had planned, and graduate with over a semester's worth of college credit, he is starting to wonder if he'll regret that his only year that he really "experienced high school" was his freshman year. With the virtual school, he has missed the classroom experience of having a teacher. His virtual teachers were good, but the class sessions were optional and not always any more enlightening than the curriculum, so he rarely "attended." Mostly it was up to him to teach himself, which was an important skill he gained, but it was certainly not as inspiring or motivating as having a good teacher.

There are a lot of excellent teachers at this charter school; it's the same one Blondechick attended for her sophomore year. We know a lot of Christian kids who attend there too--more than when Blondechick was there, when the school was brand new. I can see that it might be a good choice for B18. He's had a lot of opportunities in the past two years that he would not have had otherwise, but it may be time to help him get his head back in the game academically. Managing his own time, especially since he started working a retail job, he was beginning to spend less and less time on his studies toward the end of the year. He did well on his two college classes (one each semester), but I think a final year of high school may help to prepare him psychologically for college better than a half-time approach.

Plus it's what he wants, and at his age, that's super-important. We went in for a visit to confirm our thoughts, and we talked a bit about what classes he'd need to take next year, but it's all contingent on his moving up the waiting list and getting in. He's #17 right now, but the counselor said that the odds are, some kids who applied last February are going to change their minds and decide to stay in their current high schools for their senior year, so he may be closer to the top than that. If it doesn't work out, we can always go back to the original plan. It's really in God's hands--a good place for it to be.

Meanwhile, I've been noodling for months on what to do with B14 for ninth grade next year. In our district they don't accept homeschooling credits for high school and would make him repeat coursework if we started out homeschooling and then decided to put him in. So it's a for-sure four-year commitment to choose to homeschool next year, and I'm not sure that's best for him (or me) for four more years.

He's done well with homeschooling since I pulled him out of the virtual school, but he does struggle with motivation and seems to need more structure than homeschooling affords. We've wondered if he has some ADD, but he did so well when he went to public school in seventh grade for half a year, that I really wonder if it isn't more about discipline and structure than it is attention. Though he didn't like being in school, when I pressed him, he admitted that he thought that going to school next year was probably the best choice for him. That clinched it.

So we looked at our options. The charter school that his brother wants to attend has a waiting list of 150 for the freshman class. Another charter school looks appealing too, but he's 75th on the waiting list there. The regular high school has over 800 kids in the ninth grade and would be our last resort.

There are private schools to consider also. First on our list to check out was a highly-respected one in Racine. One of his best friends has been there for two years and has thrived; he'll be there for ninth grade next year and B14 would love to attend with him. It's very small, about 60 in a class, with excellent teachers, motivated students, and a lot of individualized attention. We toured, we talked about finances, and if we get enough aid to make it affordable, we will send him there. It's a long distance, an hour-long bus ride each way for B14, but hey, there's a bus! If it doesn't work out, we have some more thinking and praying to do. Maybe a different private school...maybe we try the huge local high school.

Decisions, decisions...I'm tired of them!

Meanwhile, Blondechick20 has made some decisions for herself. She had a lackluster semester at the local college, and in the midst of working through some personal crises, had some important "come to Jesus" moments and has decided to attend a local church's School of Worship in the fall. She will continue her vocal studies and will also learn guitar, but it's a discipleship program as well, and we couldn't be more delighted about this choice. We had urged her to consider it before, but it seems like perfect timing now. She continues to work long hours as a waitress, and she enjoys her job very much, so that's keeping her busy for the summer.

B22 did poorly on the one class he was taking at the local technical college, so we are not urging him to continue taking classes toward an associate's degree. He's perfectly fine with that, and I'm relieved not to have to deal with one more school! He's doing well at the dollar store; he's keeping his speed up, and he's never been late to his 5 a.m. shift, getting up faithfully at 3:30 a.m., three mornings a week. He's still a big help with chores at home too, and with chauffeuring C10 and B8 and their friends to and from each other's houses.

It's summer, and I don't want to think about school and next fall, but we have applications to fill out and at some point this summer, decisions to make. Lord, give us wisdom--close doors and open windows--and help those decisions be clear!

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