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.


jugglingpaynes said...

LOL! I always flinch when the priest uses holy water during mass. I think it's because I once caught a droplet in my eye. :o)

Congratulations to Chad! Been there, done that, cried. We never had that first day of Kindergarten, so I think it's a weird feeling for us to release them to a class. Maybe I'll have Marina read this later (she's heading to work now) and see if she can offer him any advice as a homeschooled to college kid. Maybe they could start a support group. :o)

Peace and Laughter,

jugglingpaynes said...

I've been in college about a year now and I still feel overwhelmed! The first semester I only took one class and I was completely freaked out by it. I spent all of my time working on assignments for the one class and I felt like I had to do the best at the assignments since it was my only class while other people were taking more than one. I felt like I had to prove I could do the schoolwork when I had never gone to school before.

I've learned that the syllabus isn't set in stone and that I need to relax more (still working on that!) I had a lot of trouble enjoying my first class because I was so freaked out about it. I enjoyed it more when I was able to take classes I like, like art history and drawing. But starting with English 101 helped me to write better. I was worried about my writing abilities and I ended up getting an A at the end. If you like the course, just try to relax and enjoy it!

P.S.-I hope this doesn't sound too negative, I had a lot of homework this week!

Cate said...

Wow - what a busy time for you all. Well done Chad on starting college, and well done all of you for not being stuck in the "system" but having the sense to find other ways around things.

Can't believe that you have to go through a school district to sort your driving permit??

jugglingpaynes said...

re your comment: Thank you Kate! See, I knew someone had to have written about homeschool graduates! I know Linda's website, I'm sure I can find the book that way. Every college year is different. Oddly, the class giving the most trouble this year is the online class. I would have thought it would be the most like homeschooling. Live and learn! She now knows she prefers the physical presence of a teacher. It's easier for her to ask questions that way. :o)
Peace and Laughter,

Paula Vince said...

I'm just amazed at how quickly boys grow. Little short, cute fellows seem to grow tall, get their voices broken and need the occasional shave practically overnight. I'm still getting used to it, as I guess you are too.
Yes, homeschooling becomes a challenge once they turn 16 and we begin thinking they need something more than what we can offer.
Logan is still studying from home, but with an educational institution called "Open Access" with small 'classrooms' for each subject over the phone.