There is a standing joke in our family about the incompetence of school counselors. Unfortunately with good reason. Yesterday I had to register my soon for 8th grade. He could not come with us, and I was a little worried about choosing his electives for him. I figured that my guess would be almost as good as his. We got there, and the counselor was terrible. It took her over half an hour to figure out a schedule. She had to redo the entire thing several times. First she put him in a class that did not exist. Then she put him in the classes for the wrong grade and the other counselor happened to catch it. Then she put him in two science classes. Then she missed a class. She kept asking what electives he would possibly be able to handle. When we would ask what material was covered she thought that may be something she should probably know, but admitted she had no idea. At least she took the time to look it up. We ended with a “well, you can always have him come in and change things if he doesn’t want this version.”
The good part of the story. The first schedule she did up was terrible. Bad electives, bad arrangement. I worried about taking it home to my son. By the time we left with the final schedule I think it is exactly what he would have wanted. I don’t think it could have been any better. Pure luck because I sure can’t credit the counselor with knowing what he wanted, and it was pretty much all she could do to put anything together.
p.s. My daughter also got her schedule. Without even asking she got a teacher she has been hoping to get for the last four years!
Success at home school. No actual miracle here, just bragging.
My 13 year old started “officially” learning computer programming last week. I have a little programming background, but very outdated, and nothing to teach a class with. He has been doing a lot of learning on his own, but I wanted something more structured, more thorough, and more official. We found a very basic, learning language called SCRATCH that had a free, online learning course, and he got started. He anticipates finishing the beginner course this week, and is excited to move on to a “real language.” This week he also got his sister interested in programming, and today he showed me a cool “Pong” game that he wrote in his spare time. It was so cool to see him playing a game he programmed himself with his very excited 5 year old brother.
For me this is a success because one of my primary goals of homeschooling is to teach my children to love learning. He not only loves what he is learning, but he has managed to get others excited with him! That is what I expect from an education.
For anyone else interested, here are the links we used:
It’s been such a busy week, and it is only Wednesday!
Anyhow, yesterday I had to take one of my children out of school due to a long term illness, and begin homeschooling. I am amazed at how smoothly the transition is going. In reality I like homeschooling anyway, but that was not the choice we had made for this year, so it was sort of difficult. If he had gotten ill like this before this day of technology he would have grown up to be basically uneducated, or at least undereducated. Now, we file paperwork, pay his library fines, then we signed him up for my favorite online curriculum, pick a few novels we want to read together, and we’re good. He’s struggling getting back into a routine after spending so much time just laying in bed unable to do anything, but now he can work at his own pace. Two days ago the school was harassing us about incomplete coursework and excessive absences, today we learned about electrical currents, java applets, and started reading about the Holocaust. Amazing the information we have access to so easily. Technology miracle anyone?
It is inspiring me to keep focused on the online music courses I am still working on. I think I just found my test subject! Shameless plugs: I love www.time4learning.com through Odessy Learning, and I hope to finish the coursework for www.learnmusicathome.com – that now is at least online, and somewhat mobile compatible. A lot of work still to do.
Today’s miracle involves the miracle of individuality.
As a private music teacher I love cultivating each student’s individuality. This last week has been our area’s equivalent of solo festival. One young student, barely 8 years old, had a piece that he had been working on for a while. After he had learned it and registered to perform it, he had gotten a little lazy, and let some errors creep in. He panicked when he realized how far downhill he had let the piece get and how hard it would be to change the errors.
When I checked in on him after his performance he had an interesting story to tell. He had performed the piece perfectly and received a Superior (I) rating, with a rant review from the judge. He actually felt a little guilty because he knew he had not prepared to that level, but he learned something about himself. He told me that under the pressure of performing for the judge, something kicked in and he was able to perform flawlessly. He begged me not to make him play it again because he just wanted to remember the perfect performance.
This little 8 year old has found an individual strength and gift that many adults covet. I see it as evidence of a gift from God in a young individual.
Current theory is that you never “outgrow” or “cure” ADD/ADHD. That said, it no longer disrupts my son’s life. His inattentiveness and overwhelming curiosity and energy would get in his way of his grasping academic concepts and completing and turning in homework. We had even considered holding him back a grade at one point. We didn’t want to, because everyone agreed that there was a very acute intelligence in that scattered brain of his. We worked with him, specialists worked with him, we got him one-on-one, but never found a way to get through.
This year he is in 7th grade, and something “clicked.” Don’t know how or why, but he went from struggling to understand what we even wanted of him, to loving school and learning. His grades have skyrocketed, and he has even joined MathCounts and a Science Exploration Club. We have no idea what made the change, and even he can’t explain it himself, but we are all thankful that his hard work has finally paid off. So much time and energy went into understanding him, but now he has his life back. Phew! He will probably never be able to spell, and will always be severely disorganized, he will always be distracted more often than not, but he has somehow learned to compensate to a degree that no longer stops him from doing what he wants, including learn.
Have you ever gotten to some challenge, only to see that you had already been prepared to handle it? That is the work of the Lord. Only He can see what we have to face ahead of us. The more I look for this type of preparation, the more I see it. I’ll share one easy to see example.
When I started college I decided for some unknown reason that I could handle the maximum number of credits my first year, and be involved in multiple extracurricular activities. Crazy? Stupid? Probably. However, I was able to handle things just fine – and do summers. Could never explain why I pushed so hard.
My final year of college was anything but what I had planned for. Not only was I married, but I also had a child. However, I was able to finish school on schedule, work, and still have time to spend with my child and husband. This only happened because I had such a small handful of credits to finish due to my overloading and going summers previously – although I hadn’t previously known why I needed to. I think learning to work that hard also helped as well.
Okay, over my 16 or so years of having children in school, a messed up schedule or missing lunch account, overbooked required class, wrong locker combination, or lost registration is almost to be expected at least once at the beginning of school, with at least one child. We call it a good year if everything is straightened out by the first day of school.
School starts early here (in 6 days) and I think we are good. My pre-schooler is registered online, and in the classroom and his online account is working. My 2 elementary kids have their teachers and classrooms and even one of their before school programs set up. My middle schooler & high schooler have complete and accurate schedules – the first time – didn’t even need to see a counselor this year. Locker numbers and combinations all work. Seminary is registered for properly. School lunches for all of them are in order. We have bus numbers and bus stop times and locations. We have even school clothes and backpacks ready.
My 2 college kids have all their classes, and have both met with their counselors. Transcripts and diplomas are finally where they need to be. Financial aid appears to be in order. One child is waiting for 1 overdue textbook in the mail, and the other still needs to sell one back. Other than that all they need are teacher texts that have to be purchased at the school. They have a little longer before they start, but they’re still mostly packed.
Classroom (Photo credit: James F Clay)
Even piano lessons appear to be coming together early this year, and working out well.
I’m not sure if it is more amazing that everything went so smoothly, or that it is finished so early, or just that I lived through it all!
Went to “online” pre-school registration today. Picked up the technology that will allow the computer to teach my kid. I am so excited. Their “average” student learns to read in pre-school. All this with a “free” public education!
If you think about it, not only is it super cool that your average parent and a computer can teach a 4 year old to read, but not that many years ago one of the main arguments against teaching black people and women to read is that they were too “stupid” and therefore “incapable” of learning.
In my book club we just read “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” where it illustrated the mindset of the day. The parents were actually shocked and downright skeptical that their daughter was capable of learning to read and write her name. Today many 2 and 3 year olds do that with confidence. I am very happy to live in this day and age where we have confidence in everyone’s ability to learn. What would they say if they saw today where computers teach us so much? We’d all be witches.
I’m going to restrain myself from going into educational options and what works and doesn’t work and why. So I’m limiting this particular post to the cool option for one of his pre-school experiences to be online at home, and the effectiveness of the scores they are averaging.