November updates, brags, rants, ponderings

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Registered: 07-23-2002
November updates, brags, rants, ponderings
8
Sun, 11-10-2013 - 3:06pm

Post 'em here!

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
Sun, 11-10-2013 - 3:46pm

I'm starting to regret that we didn't push for grade-skipping with dd14 (turning 15 soon) and instead settled for subject acceleration in all academic subjects. Here the only credits that count towards graduation are those at the 10th, 11th and 12th grade levels, so last year, as a 9th grader, dd got graduation credits in English, sciences, math and history. However, in the elective courses (Art, Choir, Writing, Fitness and PE, all comprising students from 8th through 12th grade), students are granted credits according to whatever grade level they're registered in with the school district. So dd, still nominally registered in 9th, was granted 9th grade credits....which didn't count towards her grad transcript.  Which means she'll need an extra year at school in order to get enough elective credits to graduate.

A year and a bit ago, when we asked for a grade skip but were only able to negotiate further academic subject acceleration, I'd figured it wasn't a hill worth dying on. She's very young for grade anyway, at the time the student body at the school offered a number of academic/intellectual peers, and she had a BFF in her age-grade whom she felt very connected to. She didn't care either way, so we just acquiesced to holding her in her age-grade. 

How quickly things change. Her academic & intellectual peers have mostly left the school, either through graduation or moving to other schools that offer more; there are two left -- her brother and her boyfriend -- but both will graduate this year. Her BFF is moving away this weekend. She has no other fulfilling social relationships at the school. Next year she'll be taking the most advanced courses her school officially offers, with no fellow-students taking the same courses, and she'll still have another school year (taking electives, and likely some dual-enrollment on-line college courses) before she can graduate. I'm pretty sure the current principal would be fine with a grade-skip, but credits submitted last year to the province at the Grade 9 level can't be changed retroactively, so she'd be stuck with a deficit of electives.

The other day it occured to me that we might be able to get a small apartment for her in the town 90 minutes away and have her attend the school there for her last two years. She'd be an older 15-year-old by next fall. I think she'd have the maturity to handle it. She'd still have a lot of support as I'm there at least once mid-week already, and she could easily get back and forth on weekends. Her youth choir is located in that town, and many of her close choir friends already attend that high school. It's a well-regarded school with some robust programs, and they offer AP type courses and a full range of 12th grade academics. 

She and her 17yo brother are at a choral festival 8 hours away this weekend and I've been given the time to miss them and think about how special they both are. Ds is heading into post-secondary studies next year and if he can sort out his choices, he'll be fine. But I feel this nagging sensation in the pit of my stomach that dd's needs are not going to be well-served if she continues with the status quo for the next almost-three-years. She hasn't complained -- she is the sort of kid who just copes without complaint -- but I think she's going to need more. 

Food for thought.

Miranda

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

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Registered: 04-27-2000
Mon, 11-11-2013 - 12:36pm

Do you think she'd jump at the chance of switching schools and doing the small apartment option?  Definitely work discussing.  Sometimes, just the act of writing it down crystalizes an idea for you and it sounds like you have a pretty clear notion of what needs to happen here.  So glad there are good options to consider.

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Registered: 04-09-2006
I seem to recall that the administration had dug its heels in, so possibly no amount of pushing would have resulted in an appropriate placement. Things that occurred to me: 1) What about getting a GED? Are the electives essential for her college/whatever path? 2) Could she be certified as having met the requirements for those electives? (dd19 was told that she could "challenge out" of the three art courses she audited if she elected to go to college there...maybe there is a high school equivalent?) 3) The apartment in the nearby town is appealing...my 16-yo (actually is still technically 15, but turning in a few days) has a job in a nearby town where she can stay at an on site guest house when we can't do the usual chauffeuring duties, and she might actually live in the state U town if she does dual enrollment (with homeschool) there in the next year or so. Deborah
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Registered: 07-23-2002
Mon, 11-11-2013 - 4:37pm

I think the GED holds even less sway in Canada than it does in the US. It's a standardized test like the SAT that homeschoolers or mature students occasionally use to help make a case for university admission without the normal qualifications, but there are only a couple of [low tier] universities here that recognize it as a substitute for a Canadian high school graduation diploma. This is a kid who wants admission to a top-rated pre-med program, and who decisively opted out of homeschooling at 12 in favour of pursing a mainstream high school diploma. She wants the clear true path that will get her into the university of her choice with the minimum of unknowns or hassles. So that's not really a viable option for her.  

Electives here are seen as primarily experiential, so without her devoting a lot of time to something, they're not going to grant credit. Something has to be considered roughly equivalent in terms of workload to 90 hours of classroom instruction plus independent work to be granted a full credit. Since she's busy with a STEM-heavy load of courses well beyond her age-grade, she'll be really hard-pressed to devote the hours to this. Eldest dd did get some elective credits granted in this fashion, but that was because she had devoted immense amounts of time to creative writing, music and travel. She had to document (I think) 120 hours spent per credit as well as putting together a portfolio. 

Middle dd is not really wanting to graduate at 16 anyway: 17 would be preferable to both her and to us, and that's why we let the grade-skip issue drop so easily. It's really that she wants a robust and challenging high school experience amongst interesting and interested peers, and that she's feeling pretty pessimistic about getting anything like that at the current school. So I'm starting to look for ways to get that for her elsewhere.

(We've talked a bit about an international exchange year, but truly she doesn't have the travel bug or a hunger for cultural or language experiences at this point, and prefers not to complicate her academic path. Pushing her into that when she has little interest seems like a bad idea.) 

I'm quite sure she hasn't considered the possibility of attending the other relatively-nearby school, since she would never have dreamed it was a possibility. She'll be home tomorrow and I'll put it on the table to see how she feels. 

Miranda

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

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999
Tue, 11-12-2013 - 11:48am

Funny, I was just about to suggest a travel year when I read your latest post. 

I wondered back when you got the subject accelerations how you and she would manage this through graduation but then you do the best you can at the time.   The bigger school sounds like it may be a good idea if your dd feels comfortable with it.  How would this work?  Would there be an adult with her in the apartment?  Are there other residential schooling opportunities she might pursue?

One thing I've noticed with my youngest:  The standard AP/advanced high school curriculum has improved at last and is better this year than ever before,  but it's the extras that show up unexpectedly that have helped her to find meaning in her high school years.  These opportunities may show up in the larger peer group in the larger school, or in expanded courses/activities, or even due to proximity to a city/town.  For my humanities oriented dd, the surprise was that she stumbled upon an immersion course in computer coding and was hooked.  She's now participated in hackathons and is taking advanced coursework in computer science and loves the creativity she can bring to it.  It's also been surprisingly social for her.   She's a strong math student but up until now has always preferred work in reading and writing.  Who knew?

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Registered: 07-23-2002
Tue, 11-12-2013 - 1:36pm

Well, she's super excited about the possibility. Living arrangements ... well, we'd have to figure that out. She'd probably be responsible enough to be on her own for four nights a week, especially if I took her grocery shopping on Sunday evening each week when i dropped her off. But we might work up to that gradually and have her billet with family friends for the first year, or the first few months. We also have family friends who have an apartment for their 16-year-old girl for similar reasons (they live a lot closer, but she's doing lots of evening dance classes), so maybe they could share next year.

It's interesting what you say about the extras that pop up in a larger school and community. In some ways something similar has happened with our tiny school, because the teachers who are here have very cool passions that they are keen to share with students through electives. The serendipity of those offerings (and the necessity of enrolling in them, given no other options) has definitely helped my dd explore interests that she wouldn't necessarily have chosen. But as she said last night when we talked about it, the options for Grades 10, 11 and 12 are the same as those she enjoyed exploring in 8th and 9th, and she'll just be repeating them over and over, with a cohort of increasingly younger and less experienced students than she (since they're all 8th-through-12th-grade classes).

There's nothing like a boarding school that would be appropriate for her, I don't think. The cost would be immense, first off, and she'd be much farther away -- probably 8 hours. And she'd be leaving all her friends. With the nearby school she'd actually be joining her largest group of friends, 40 or so members of her youth choir. Great kids. Here they are, singing a couple of days ago at a choral festival in Vancouve.

She's going to think through the possibility of an exchange year again, which I'm pleased about. With that option we'd try to keep her at the local school for 11th grade, for simplicity and for financial reasons.

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
Tue, 11-12-2013 - 1:37pm

Well, she's super excited about the possibility. Living arrangements ... well, we'd have to figure that out. She'd probably be responsible enough to be on her own for four nights a week, especially if I took her grocery shopping on Sunday evening each week when i dropped her off. But we might work up to that gradually and have her billet with family friends for the first year, or the first few months. We also have family friends who have an apartment for their 16-year-old girl for similar reasons (they live a lot closer, but she's doing lots of evening dance classes), so maybe they could share next year.

It's interesting what you say about the extras that pop up in a larger school and community. In some ways something similar has happened with our tiny school, because the teachers who are here have very cool passions that they are keen to share with students through electives. The serendipity of those offerings (and the necessity of enrolling in them, given no other options) has definitely helped my dd explore interests that she wouldn't necessarily have chosen. But as she said last night when we talked about it, the options for Grades 10, 11 and 12 are the same as those she enjoyed exploring in 8th and 9th, and she'll just be repeating them over and over, with a cohort of increasingly younger and less experienced students than she (since they're all 8th-through-12th-grade classes).

There's nothing like a boarding school that would be appropriate for her, I don't think. The cost would be immense, first off, and she'd be much farther away -- probably 8 hours. And she'd be leaving all her friends. With the nearby school she'd actually be joining her largest group of friends, 40 or so members of her youth choir. Great kids. Here they are, singing a couple of days ago at a choral festival in Vancouver.

She's going to think through the possibility of an exchange year again, which I'm pleased about. With that option we'd try to keep her at the local school for 11th grade, for simplicity and for financial reasons.

Miranda

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

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999
Wed, 11-13-2013 - 7:15pm

How great that she is excited about the possiblity!  It sounds like she's nearing the point where she's ready for something new, whether travel or just a different venue with greater independence.

I wasn't suggesting a boarding school per se.  I was surprised to learn that there are a number of states in the U.S. that offer high quality public residential programs for high school.  Generally these are math/science magnets that are highly competitive but they are wonderful for the right kid.   I don't know anything about the Canadian system.

The choir is lovely and wonderfully large!  I sang in a regional choir in high school and although we didn't meet regularly, it was one of the highlights of my high school life, in many ways more powerful than anything I did afterwards.