Homeschool to high school update

I haven’t mentioned how Katie is doing in school in a while. While there have been some adjustment issues switching over to “school” from homeschooling, she’s got all As. The “life by the bell” thing has been a nuisance, and she and one of her teachers just do not communicate on the same wavelength, but she’s dealing with it. She adores her art class, something I’m definitely not equipped to teach at all.

Two of her three academic classes are advanced, and the third would be but was already overcrowded when we registered her for classes. So much for having trouble getting into high school as a homeschooler.

The schedule isn’t easy on her body or the family, but again, she’s dealing. She does have increased fibromyalgia symptoms as a result and has had to add a daily nap to her schedule after school.

One of the most difficult issues is having certain lines of discussion “off limits.” That’s just too weird, after years of being encouraged to follow her interests and inquiries wherever they lead. While she’s attending a relatively liberal school, the fact that it is a school means that there are constraints on subject matters.

Her literature teacher referred to chastity belts as a medieval urban legend earlier in the year, and when she started explaining just how very wrong he was, he slammed the discussion to a close. If the man is going to be so sloppy with his facts, he shouldn’t be surprised when he encounters disagreement!

Sam and I met someone yesterday who said, “Advanced classes are how we segregate these days.” I pointed out that they certainly aren’t new, as my own class of 1984 was tracked into advanced, regular, and remedial (although the last two weren’t called that, precisely) tracks, too. I found it an interesting statement, but we were in the middle of Charis Books and discussing many things, and didn’t get to pursue that one as far as I’d hoped. What do you think of it?

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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3 thoughts on “Homeschool to high school update

  1. I think learning speed tracks of some sort are a healthy way to divide classes. As someone on the “honors” track in school, I went bonkers when forced to take “regular” classes out of sheer bredom. I read in class during times when we weren’t learning anything new or actively engaged in an activity. Many kids who are bored act out. But if you keep us busy, then we’re easier to deal with and happier with the course. I think you get the same acting out in the slower-learning students as well in “regular” classes, because without significant instructor attention outside class they can’t keep up, get overwhelmed, and then give up. Meanwhile, everyone who’s learning slower than the fastest learner feels like an idiot because it’s so easy for those few people at the top of the class.

    That said, I do think the tracking system in use in many public schools is far too rigid. It is difficult to “prove yourself worthy” of a higher track when your brain matures a bit, makes a lot more connections, and you’re ready for a bigger challenge. Guidance counselors tend to be partonizing (“Are you sure you can handle this? It’s going to be hard!”) and teachers dubious of your improved mastery of the subject. There’s also a bit of pressure to take all their classes in one track or another, rather than taking their weaker classes in a lower track than their stronger ones. In my high school, English and gym were the only classes where I tended to see people who took the rest of the classes outside the honors track.

    A more fluid system of tracking that would let students change with their changing learning speeds over time would go a long way toward alleviating the sense of segregation. Somehow separating “ability” or “learning speed” and “mastery” of a subject is also necessary. I think slow learners get branded as stupid a good deal of the time, just because it takes them moderately more time to master a given concept. As it is, your track is kind of like the branding one gets in Brave new World: once a Delta, always a Delta.

  2. I tend to think that learning speed just isn’t enough. What about learning styles? Even more importantly, I wish there were a way to let students who give a damn sort themselves into classes together, so that they can go faster and dig deeper without being held back by the “is this going to be on the test?” twits.

    School systems also have an unfortunate tendency to lump “learning difference” in with “stupid.”

    Of course, all of these things are areas where individualized and small-group education like homeschooling rock – it just isn’t available to everyone. It’s just harder and harder as kids get older. I know that I couldn’t give Katie what she’s getting from three of her four teachers right now, and she is getting *something* from the group interactions.

    This school isn’t nearly as good, in most ways, as the one she attended briefly last year, but then, it doesn’t cost nearly as much, either, and it pushes her much harder.

  3. School systems tend to lump, “Anyone who isn’t a mindless sheep fallowing the flock” as stupid. Schools really have no place for anyone, who isn’t just there to be babysat for the day

    Anyone who actually is there to learn, is considered a troublemaker, for expecting more from class then just making those who behave like small children complacent.

    I think Cyn’s comment about the teacher slamming the discussion over mideval chastity belts to a close, just shows you how utterly useless public schools are these days. I could’ve learned more from using one of those Fly Pens. It isn’t about education anymore, it’s about social ability. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, so basically I failed social ability with flying colors. I mean I have social ability, just not with a bunch of mindless jocks and preps.

    So, about homeschooling vs public schooling. I don’t know Cyn. Sounds to me like Katie would do better at home, then quarreling with a teacher who throws a fit when he’s disagreed with.

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