Monday, September 02, 2013

First Day of School Times Five

Five kids...four different schools...all starting tomorrow!

Let's see, since my last post on educational options, we've made some decisions.

After exploring the idea of sending B14 to this private school for ninth grade, IF he got enough financial aid--and that was a big "if"--we learned that the bus that would return him to our area "after 4:00" would actually deliver him around 4:50, and it's another ten minutes from the bus stop to our house. We all began to count the cost of activities he might have to give up for the year, while Papa Rooster and I grew more nervous about the finances. It was was his idea to give up the private school, and even though we are all sorry he will miss out on the opportunities there, we just weren't feeling great peace about the distance and the cost. Instead, he'll go to the huge public high school, and we hope that by taking all honors classes, he'll be in classes with some good kids. He is less peer-oriented than some of our other teens, thankfully. He's taking choir with a really great director, and we hope for some other inspiring teachers too.

B18, for his senior year, decided not to worry about getting off the waiting list and in to the charter school, where he would then have to cram in extra graduation requirements that are specific to that school. Instead, he's doing the less socially satisfying but smarter thing and taking two classes at the public high school and two classes at the community college. He'll receive a high school diploma from me, as a homeschooler, but ironically, in the whole four years of high school, all his course work will be from public schools and colleges, except for one PE credit! (Which I will gladly grant him for his dedication to  running and working out for the past several years.) He should enter college with over a semester's worth of college credits--six classes--if they all transfer as we have been assured.

He is planning to apply this fall to Evangel University in Springfield, MO. He wishes it were closer to home, but that's the only drawback. It's a private Christian college, and friends who go there love the spiritual and fun atmosphere on campus. He wants to major in Elementary Education, one of their strongest departments. They also have opportunities in music there, including studio recording and classes in music industry and sound engineering which he could take as electives. They said his ACT score was fine, and they don't have a lot of specific admission requirements other than a high school diploma. So instead of taking Algebra 2 this year, he can take Personal Finance (much more practical for a non-math type), and he doesn't need a specific science class this year either--he can take something at the community college that will fit into his schedule. And we don't have to worry that his two years of foreign language are not the same language. All those worries, gone--poof! What a relief.

So he'll take the Personal Finance class and also an AP US History class at the local high school. We hear the teacher is fabulous, and it should be really good college prep for him. Those both meet every morning, so he can drive B14 to school, and then he's also taking a freshman writing class and a psychology class on Tuesday/Thursday afternoons at the community college. He'll continue to work at his part-time job too, unless he can't manage his time well enough. This year should give him some good experience doing that!

Blondechick also starts tomorrow at the School of Worship. She'll be in class all day, five days a week, taking voice, keyboard and guitar, plus Bible and discipleship classes. She met the other students in this year's class at an open house, and most of them are from all over Europe. We are blessed that this school is right here in our backyard, so to speak! We are excited for all that God will do in her life this year. This opportunity is just so perfect for her right now. Thank you, Lord!

So I guess it might as well be the first day of school for Chicklet and B8 too! They will continue to be homeschooled, but this year we will be part of a group called Classical Conversations that is forming a new chapter in Kenosha. Classical education wasn't a good fit for my older kids, back when we started homeschooling, but I'm excited about it for these two. They will both take Foundations, a class for 8-12 year olds, which meets one morning a week. Memory work in all subjects is introduced in the class portion, and you go over it at home for the next four days. In class they also do a science experiment, an oral presentation, and a fine arts project each week. I'm sure they will love the social aspect of a class--that was something my older kids always enjoyed when we could find it. I'm not sure they will love the memorizing, but it will be good for them. The theory is that as they memorize vocabulary or key events/ideas in each subject, they become pegs to hang more information on. With my older kids, we had the same idea with exposure--you create those pegs by lots of reading--but with hindsight, I think they would have benefitted from more required mastery of ideas. (Note I said "more" mastery--I don't mean that they didn't master many concepts!)

Chicklet will also take Essentials, which is for 10-12 year olds, in the afternoon, which I will be teaching. It covers grammar, writing and math review (using games). I'm excited to get back in the English classroom again! I've taught homeschool writing classes before, but not for several years. I have just four students, but I am sure our CC community will grow quickly after this year.

So each day we will concentrate on our CC memory work, do Teaching Textbooks for math, and continue to do lots of reading--both read-alouds and personal reading. Chicklet will also have daily writing to do. "I want you to make me do LOTS of writing this year, Mom," she told me last week. (Ah, a girl after my own heart!) For PE, she'll take a tap/jazz class through our drama group, and B8 will play soccer. He can't wait for the first game! She'll continue to take piano but not weekly--she's going to be a mother's helper in exchange for the occasional lesson from a "retired" piano teacher with her hands full--and I might even start B8 myself this year, since he's been asking.

But tomorrow, we'll have a light day, since CC doesn't start till next week. I'm thankful...for one new thing that I have a little more time to prepare for!!

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