How's the new academic year?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
How's the new academic year?
21
Fri, 08-30-2013 - 10:31pm

What's in the works? If you've started already, how is it going?

Lori, how did your ds's surgery go? How is he recovering? Gwen, any luck getting M. into the alternative school? For those of you whose children are changing schools, how is it all feeling at this point? What exactly is your child's educational situation at this point?

My answers below.

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Fri, 08-30-2013 - 11:06pm

School for my kids starts next week after Labour Day.

Dd19 will be starting second year at university. She's in a Music Performance program on violin on the other side of the country. She was home for most of the summer, for the first time in 3 years, which was great. Placement auditions for orchestra are next week; she's feeling well-prepared. She placed very highly last year and feels confident she'll do even better this year. She's really happy to be back at school, and is also working on her French, and running regularly, as well as practicing 6-8 hours a day, so she seems to be leading a pretty well-balanced life all things considered.

Ds16 and dd14 are taking 12th and 11th grades respectively at the tiny local public high school. The school is moving to a seminar-plus-supported-self-study model this year instead of traditional classes, with the high school dropping in size to 42 students (and that's including the 7th and 8th graders in the count). I almost despair ... sometimes wishing my kids had an accessory parent or grandparent whom they could live with somewhere bigger with more options. A ton of other teens from this community have done so. But we don't have a grandparent or estranged parent or doting Aunt available to offer the right situation. And we do like three of the teachers at this school a lot: they are open-minded and creative and inspiring in their passions. And of course there's a huge opportunity for individualizing learning in a school this small. So, fingers crossed. Returning to homeschooling is always an option -- and our trump card when advocating for things we want.

Ds16 will need to be making post-secondary decisions within the next few months. I can see him possibly taking a gap year of sorts by doing a year in the music production program at the community arts college nearby, but it's anyone's guess at this point. He's young for 12th grade, and lacks confidence and decision-making skills.

Dd14 is quite driven and wants to do biology or possibly pre-med at university, but she actually has three more years of high school for various complicated reasons involving the previous principal's refusal to grant a grade-skip. Not a huge deal, but she's taking all her university pre-requisites this year except for PreCalc 12 and English 12 and some really basic electives. I'm not sure what she's going to do academically for two more years after this year. 

So we'll see. IFor this year it looks like same shrinking school with the same great teacher-mentors, and biding time, making the best of a limited set of options.

Dd10 has been double-grade skipped to 7th this year. That's mostly a bit of book-keeping by her homeschool-supervising teacher, simplifying his job a bit. But it will simplify her involvement in any high-school courses and electives she might want to take part in at the school. Mostly she'll be taking an interest-led, project-based approach to her homeschooling with little to no use of curriculum. One of her big ideas for a homeschooling project is wilderness survival skills, and she's very stoked about that! She'll be giving Math 9 a try at school, and hopes to do a week-long contemporary dance elective there as well.

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
Sat, 08-31-2013 - 1:26pm

I'm starting to feel REALLY old for this board...

dd22 is starting his last year of college...history major with biology minor.  He is manager of the campus TV station (translation: he does everything) and has a part time job sorting/refurbishing/tossing electronics at a thrift store.  His tentative plan is graduate school in biology.

dd19 started art college yesterday.  As a total unschooler, she got in with a video instead of the 500 word essay, a "mastery based" (ungraded) homeschool transcript, no GED (although required by the college), no SAT (not required, but preferred), two letters of reccommendation, and a "strong portfolio".  She is required to go to the tutoring center because she has dyslexia, but she got a substantial scholarship. And I got this email from her sax teacher (that she can only study with in the summer because of our change in location six years ago):  "She's a tremendous student most especially because she can track her thought processes in an articulate manner."  (I have a hard time tracking his thought processes in that sentence, but I know what he means.)  Had we not moved, she'd most likely be installed in music school now, but art is what stood the translation of place.

dd15 is my only child in the nest.  I will likely be devoting mornings to figuring out how to minimize debt caused by dd19 (this is the only semester I could afford to pay for)...this means a job (or several small jobs) and afternoons to dd15.  She's doing online driver's ed now...then she'll spend six months or so pretending to learn to drive a stick, and then she'll be public road legal.  She'll be studying voice, maybe trombone, maybe playing 2nd violin in a string quartet with her parents sometimes.  Or similar.  Horses figure prominently in her plans.  I have been pressed into the position of academic advisor because she wants to prepare for dual credit enrollment at the nearby college.  I've caught her watching US history/government videos.   At the moment she's producing whimsical knitted hats at the rate of one every day or two...one had a separately knitted jellyfish stitched to the front, upside down by mistake..is winter coming?

Deborah

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Sat, 08-31-2013 - 2:14pm

DD 16 is a few weeks into her senior year. Outside of what has become her routine English frustration, school is off to a great start. She loves her high school history teacher so anything he teaches becomes her favorite. She's taking philosophy, anthropology and cultural geography at the college this semester and loving them individually as well as how they compliment each other. Not sure what she'll be taking in the Spring yet. This semester she is directing a black box show for a local theatre company to fulfill her internship requirement. Like always, she's got her thumb in a lot of theatre projects around town. College applications is the real focus this Fall. She's casting a wide net looking for the best financial packages. We'll see what happens. She was laughing the other day how her friends are already complaining about "senioritis" while she feels more excited about school than ever. "I'm just getting started!" That's a nice thing to hear.... we'll see how she feels in March right? lol

DS 12 starts 8th grade on Tuesday. He got every class and teacher he wanted so that is a good start. We know all his teachers and they are top notch. I'm not concerned about their ability to challenge him and I know several things he's just going to love. The bully issues stopped after the incident this past Spring. We're hoping that continues. He decided to try PE again (we'd been independant study last semester.) It makes me a little nervous but if HE'S willing to give it another chance then I need to let him. He continues with his various activities but outside of school. We're in search of a good high school option. We have a 1st choice but it's lottery and a long shot. We have a back-up which is do-able but not ideal. Looking for something great AND easy to get into AND would love it to be less than 20 minutes away... I laugh a little just saying that.

So, every reason to feel optomistic about this year. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2013
Mon, 09-02-2013 - 2:48pm

We are still dealing with pain 2 1/2 months after surgery, but at least he doesn't have to wear a brace.  That brace kept him from doing so many things and he wore it for three years.  I wish he could have had the scoliosis surgery sooner.  If we had been able to get an accurate diagnosis of Marfan Syndrome years ago we would have known that bracing was not likely to work for him.  He saw a lot of doctors--pediatricians, a developmental pediatrician, a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, and an orthopedic surgeon who didn't recognize signs of a connective tissue disorder.  I am writing letters to some of these doctors to try to raise awareness.   Some people have died because their doctors missed the symptoms.  

My son has to go to even more doctors now that he has the Marfan diagnosis, but the doctors he sees now at a children's hospital seem much more knowledgable than the ones we saw before.  They really listen to us, they are not condescending and they don't tell us that we need to see someone for our anxiety when we ask too many questions.  They relieved some of our anxiety with their professionalism, but it was still hard preparing for surgery after they told us about the surgery risks and the inevitable pain.   From November of last year until he had the surgery it was hard for both of us to concentrate because of all the medical appointments. Finding out that he had a mild problem with his heart was also hard because he was told that it was possible for him to have an aortic dissection, but they did also say that it wasn't likely at his age as long as he doesn't push himself too much physically.   Finding out that I too have the genetic mutation that causes Marfan Syndrome is distracting for me.   We have been having more migraines since his surgery and he is trying a new medication for that.  It has been really hard to focus on academics with all the pain but he is trying to prepare for CLEP tests and hopefully earn college credits.

        

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Sun, 09-08-2013 - 9:04pm

My daughter just started college and loves it. After two years of putting her music and art interests on the back burner, she showed up for piano and voice auditions, got into the choir, and is now taking piano lessons again. The French class she wanted was full, so she's taking German; ditto for the math class, so she's taking astronomy instead. She did get her first choice history seminar, and also added a drawing class. I think she'll be busy.

My son is starting his junior year in high school and is still finding his way. He's struggling with the whole idea of the college search. He has Asperger's so his interests are characteristically narrow, but he does love theatre, of all things and had a small part in a recorded audio tour of a historic property in town this summer. He is taking a heavy course load this year, which concerns me, because he needs a lot of down time, so I'll be monitoring things very carefully!

We also went through the diagnostic tests for Marfan two years ago, and fortunately, he doesn't have it, although he meets several of the criteria. So he's just a very tall, severely underweight kid with flexible arms, flat feet, and a hole in his chest.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Mon, 09-09-2013 - 11:28am

I suppose that means you feel the surgery was very positive, that you wish he'd had it years earlier. Glad to hear he now has a more definitive diagnosis and is seeing people who are knowledgeable about it and inspiring your confidence. Good news!

Miranda 

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Mon, 09-09-2013 - 11:30am

So how is PE going so far? What were the issues that led to doing it independently in the past? My ds is having to do PE for the first time ever this year. He is active, and has done outdoor education and fitness classes in the past, but this year doing PE means team sports which used to send him running for the hills. So far he's fine, but he's much older than your ds (mine's now 16).

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Mon, 09-09-2013 - 11:50am

Wow, it's amazing how different the driver's licensing is where you live compared to here. Here you have to wait until 16 to get your learners permit, and then the process of becoming partly street legal is at least 12 months, with another 24 months after that before full licensure, with separate road tests required at each stage. I have mixed feelings about the system we have here: it has many disadvantages for kids as rural as mine, whom I know would be cautious drivers with parentally-limited access to a vehicle and who could benefit enormously from being able to drive as teens. On the other hand, I can think of a lot of kids whom I wouldn't want to have unfettered access to a vehicle at 16 and a half or whatever. If you have a vehicle available for a busy teen, I can imagine that where you're living it will be handy to have another driver in the family!

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Mon, 09-09-2013 - 11:54am

That's great that your dd's classes are so wide-ranging! Math, astronomy, drawing, piano, German, history, etc.? Amazing! How far away is she living? Is she in residence or on her own?

My ds is also at that point where he's supposed to be plotting his post-secondary course, and he too is not really ready. Here in Canada the whole process begins about a year later I think ... he's in 12th grade. I guess we'll see how the year evolves.

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
Mon, 09-09-2013 - 6:02pm
Here kids can get learner's permits (with Driver Ed or Parent Taught Driving (what we're doing; a purchased 32 hour instructional component is now requried). The earliest a restricted license (other than a hardship license) is allowed is 16. The student cannot get a license until after six months of possession of the learner's permit. After the conditions have been met for the restricted license (road test, completion of the course with specific amounts of practice, observation, and classroom time), the new driver cannot have more than one person under 18 in the car at a time (other than siblings). Etc. In any case, the people around here are the worst drivers I've ever encountered as a driver, although I've SEEN worse driving elsewhere...Spain comes to mind. Last year there were five fatalities in five separate crashes over a few months in my area...and there are only 10K people in five huge counties. I don't get it.

Pages