Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Time For School

We spent the entire week, last week, getting Chad into a college class. After finding the math instructor to sign Chad's petition (insuring that my son is not a physical threat to the class - seriously, that's what it said!!), we went into the office to pay for the class. Then the admission's person said, "Did you know there's a waiting list for this class?" She then proceeded to tell us this was a limited-seating class due to the amount of computers available. All the work is done on the computer, using the ALEKS program. As a homeschooler, I am familiar with this program though I've never used it. She then said how the college felt this was a better way for a student learn, at their own pace with the program providing the correcting, tutoring, etc. The instructor would be available if he was needed. I laughed a little and said, "That sounds like homeschooling." She said nothing, apparently she was not amused. So, we put him on the list (3rd) and went home. I stressed and fretted, just feeling this wasn't right. I mean, couldn't we just sign up for this program ourselves and skip the $400 tuition, since it was self-directed? Why send my son to college just to be self-directed by a computer?! After much prayer, I talked it over with Todd and, to my relief, he agreed. We took Chad off the waiting list and proceeded to look for a class that he would be more interested in and would fit his schedule. We found it in an ancient history course. Getting down to the wire, we finally met up with the instructor, he signed a new petition (since Chad is under 18, this petition is necessary) and he personally walked us over to admissions. Nice of him. We ordered the books online and they arrived today. Also last week, we had to get Chad an identification card. We considered getting his learner's permit instead (the I.D. was $40 versus only $10 for the permit!) but since he's not enrolled in a school, he couldn't get the permit. I was aghast! I really have no desire to go crawling to the school board for permission for my son to learn to drive! We could have waited until this week and gotten enrollment proof from the college but Chad decided he wasn't ready to learn to drive. He's been a bit dazzled by all the new turns his life has taken. After preparing him as much as I thought I should, I dropped him off last Monday for his first day of class. It was a terribly windy, stormy day. Students were running everywhere. It took him a few moments to open the car door. We had prayed in the driveway before leaving so I just told him it was going to be fine. He could do it. He sighed and said, "O.k." He shut the door and started the long, long climb of stairs that lead to the hall door. Even in the pouring rain, he turned around midway and waved, smiling. I won't soon forget that. I drove downtown to buy bread but not before I cried. Can't help feeling like I've just thrown my son to the wolves but it's not that bad, I know. An hour later, I picked him up. His eyes were glazed. I couldn't get much out of him so we stopped by the side of the road before we got home. He cried a bit and we talked about how he was feeling. What it all amounted to was nerves, youth, and feeling overwhelmed. No surprise there! He was concerned about the workload the class would take. We got home and who should show up unexpectedly? Todd! The only college student in our home and God arranged for him to stop by the house on his way back to the office from the hospital. Chad showed Todd his class syllabus and Todd explained it to him. They talked about some other issues and by the time Todd left, Chad was smiling. As we waved goodbye to Todd, Chad quietly said, "I'm glad he stopped by." God is so good.

So, that was Monday. We also started our homeschool on the same day. It went well. We started a program on logic which all the kids enjoyed. After attending the second day of college today, Chad walked home and was smiling. Apparently, even though he wasn't able to do the reading required (his books didn't arrived until later today) he was able to participate in the class discussion, based on his current knowledge! Cool, huh? He has decided to stay with the class and I am very glad. The credits for this class will count toward a degree once he turns 18. God answered my prayers.

Yesterday, Chad and I went to the museum he volunteers at for a special tour of the new facility that was built to house their archives of Northwest information. Chad very proudly showed me around, where he works and what he's done. All the volunteers he works with were very complimentary of him. I was very glad to be there, we had fun and I was proud of him. (Is there another word I can use in place of "very"?)

Last Friday at Todd's office they held the blessing for the facility. The heart clinic Todd works for is part of a huge Catholic hospital organization and it's their tradition to bless the new facilities and the workers. It was really beautiful and I met so many nice people that are part of the administration. Todd's office just has 3 employees but many people came to support them. Todd had a part to speak and after several people spoke, there was a prayer and then a priest sprinkled everyone with water he had blessed. I didn't mind being sprinkled but for some reason I instinctively ducked! It is so nice that Todd is part of an organization that cares about the compassionate part of healthcare and desires God's presence and blessing. I felt God there that day. It was really special. My kids were so well-behaved, Chad was Mr. Social, I didn't see him much as he made the rounds. The doctor Todd works for spent time talking to me about Todd which I thought was so nice of him, since we had not really spoken much prior to this day. He also expressed his concern about the long hours Todd works most days and said he would try to help with that. I also heard many good words about Todd from the administrators which made my heart swell. I was really proud of my husband and my kids.

Today was probably the least busiest day I've had in about 2 weeks and it was beautiful here. I napped in the sun on our deck this afternoon. Oh, and that ALEKS math program? Through a homeschool offer, I signed up for a free 2-month trial and if I choose, I'll pay $99.00 for a 6 month subscription. Chad started it today - at home.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Train Pain

Today we stumbled upon a group in our small town who are working to restore a steam engine train that was built and operated in the 1920's. Amazing to see such a thing up close and think about what it must have been like when it was in operation, a modern marvel in its day. My sons got to ring the bell and work the (loud) whistle. We even ducked underneath and into the boiler area, getting a firsthand look at the restoration process (no, it wasn't boiling).

All was well until I ducked back out from underneath the boiler area. I vaguely heard our guide say something about being careful not to hit my head, when I started to stand back up ...

WHAM! For a moment, I thought someone had hit me over the head with something. Stunned, I fell to the ground, holding the top of my head. Looking up, I saw several faces looking down, one of them my husband's. In tears and pain, woozy and embarrassed for me, my family and our guide, I reached out for Todd. He tried to stand me up but I found it difficult. I apologized to our guide, saying it wasn't his fault; I tend to run into things. My white pants were filthy (we were in a large warehouse-type building filled with all kinds of greasy stuff.) Todd led me out of the shop and into the car. I was holding my head as the bump grew larger. I couldn't believe what had just happened.

Hard not to be scared at times like these. Fortunately, I hit my head on the hardest part, the top, and there was no blood evident. But, man, did it hurt! At home, with an ice pack on my head and snug in my recliner, I kept reliving the incident. It took several hours of rest to recover. Every time I hear the word "train", I shudder. Washing my hair tonight will be interesting.

Lesson learned: I'm a klutz. Class dismissed.