Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back To School *Sigh*

Good thing the boys are early risers.

Actually, I love that they're early risers.  It feels so productive.  :D

I did something today that I haven't done in five years.  I sent one of the boys To School.  With mixed feelings.  A decision made reluctantly, at least on my part.  The fact is, I am tapped out for math (we barely got through Algebra last year), he needs a foreign language from someone who is actually fluent (and that is no one in this house), and as long as he's doing that, he might as well write for someone else too.  And it would probably be good for him to have a bit of practice at being in a classroom environment again before he hits college.  In two years.

So although he is sixteen, we're calling him a "freshman" (grade 9) and registered him for Spanish, English, and Algebra.  (Yes.  Again.  I want him to be solid and confident before he goes on to Geometry.  And, honestly, I wanted to set him up for success at his re-entry to institutional schooling.)

And if you're counting on your fingers, and thinking "freshman" and "college in two years", let me explain Running Start, (which probably goes by different names in other states).  In Washington, high school students can attend community or technical college during their junior and senior year (grade 11 and 12) and get dual credit, AND pay no tuition.  They still have to pay for lab fees and books, but it's a huge savings.  If they work hard, they can have their AA degree when they graduate from high school.  The catch is, they're college students, and they're taking college classes, and the grades they get are their college record.  And some kids do really well, and some kids don't.  And my thinking is that the older our boys are when they hit Running Start, the better the likelihood they'll succeed. Hence, calling Wyatt a freshman (grade 9) student, though he is older and undoubtedly more advanced.

And if you're still reading, I'm amazed ;D  So much of what I write is really for my own (for our family) memory.  But if you feel like it, read on...

The upside is that the local high school (which is about five minutes from our house, door-to-door), cooperated with my request to schedule his classes during the first three slots of the day.  He's done by 10:45, and comes back home for history, biology, and logic - subjects I was not willing to relinquish control of.

Everyone asks Wyatt - and me - how he's feeling about going to high school.  Meh.  Ambivalent.  Thankfully, he doesn't seem anxious or worried, but neither is he excited.  We're all regretting the loss of our (schedule) freedom.  But he put on his game face and headed out the door.

We stopped, to watch a squirrel on the wire...

... and noted that the sun is only just rising, and he'll be going off to school in the dark before long.

And off he went to catch his bus.

I actually, for a very brief moment, considered high-tailing it around the long way and trying to catch a photo of him getting on the prison bus, but decided that would probably not end well.  If he saw me he'd be mortified (this is NOT KINDERGARTEN, MOM!) and if someone else saw me they'd think I was a stalker, and I have this crazy urge to stay on the good side of local law enforcement.

And in case you wondered, he told me
1.  There were five kids at his bus stop.
2.  The bus came early.  And,
3.  It was one of the older looking buses that has the engine out front and therefore doesn't look like a big brick of cheese.  (Which probably tells you more than you wanted to know about the quantity of cheese this household buys.)

And people say their kids don't tell them what happens at school.  Sheesh.  These are important details, people ;D

I decided that since Wyatt is getting up early, we're all getting up early.  Might as well.  I didn't want him to feel marginalized, and I like getting a jump-start on the day anyway.  Tate and Gunnar and I started our schooling at 7:30.  Gunnar is moving up to some more difficult language material, but Tate is making the biggest academic 'leap forward'.  He's transitioning to working more independently in math (he's doing Lial's Basic College Mathematics), and is starting in on Apologia's General Science, which is also an order of magnitude more mature than their elementary curriculum.

And I'm happy to say that we're off to a flying start.  So far, good attitudes and good work :D

Since there's no midday school bus, I'll be picking Wyatt up when he's done, usually alone, as Tate and Gunnar are perfectly capable of working on their own for a little while.  But today they came with me, ducked down in the back seat and surprised Wyatt when he got in the van.  We decided we needed to have a Celebratory Doughnut, in Gunnar's words.  Wyatt may look very serious, but they were all pretty happy.

And who wouldn't be happy, when mom buys you a doughnut as big as your head?!

And they're going to be even happier tomorrow after lunch when they get to go out on the lake in Grandpa's boat, while all their friends are still in school.

We still have some advantages :D


Crystal in Lynden said...

Your post makes me smile. Maybe we can meet for donuts someday. I love that place.

Ruby said...

Oh, that is a huge thing for your family. Looks like it will be great though.

The Squirrel said...

It's always a good day when you get to stop and watch a squirrel...



dlefler said...

Wow, the running start program sounds fantastic! Wyatt will do wonderfully when he hits those years - I love the way you are able to send him for math/English/foreign language and still keep logic and the other subjects at home.

Our area has a policy that anyone who graduates in the top 10% of their class receives 2 years of free tuition at a community college. I believe the books are free, too - which is a HUGE savings!

Q said...

You Survived! Woo Hoo! :)

Felicity said...

All very interesting! I'm amazed that the local high school takes kids for only a few subjects... and reschedules their classes! No school would take homeschoolers here like that, and when homeschoolers put their kids back into school, the schools often 'punish' them for homeschooling by putting the kids back a grade.

sara said...

NYS absolutely stinks compared to just about any other state except maybe Pennsylvania when it comes to homeschooling. We need to move to Washington.

Ann said...

So glad it got off to a good start! Praying for a very good year, my friend.

The dB family said...

Yikes! I can empathize with your mixed feelings. That first year we decided it was time to put the kids back in school was a bit of an agonizing year. How wonderful you have the flexibility. Okay, it's not quite the same as when they were all home, but I'm pretty sure here in Ontario, I would not have the option of sending my high schoolers to school for only certain subjects. I'm not going to say you'll get used to it, but you will develop a new normal :o).


Rebecca D said...

Allison had been asking for a couple years to go to public school but when we were living in Tennessee that was NOT an option, but our move back to Maine made it more possible. Part of me thought she was rejecting me by wanting to stop homeschooling, but she needed more then I had to offer. I let her go off with reservations and am not only proud of how well she handled the transition, but a gratified to hear her speak fondly of her home school years. I know your situation is completely different, but I just wanted to share with you that even though these transitions are bitter-sweet in the moment, in the end they seem to be just sweet!