What was her name?

While I was read­ing friends’ updates at Face­book today, some­thing remind­ed me of a girl I knew back in high school. She went to my high school, and as far as I know she was in my grad­u­at­ing class. I did­n’t meet her at school, though, and I don’t think our paths crossed there. I knew her from church. She intro­duced me to the guy who became my first hus­band (who she had dat­ed in the recent past).

Now I’m dri­ving myself nuts, because I absolute­ly can­not remem­ber her name! I can see her face, plain as day. I remem­ber that she had a some­what uncom­mon last name. I think she had an old­er broth­er who had been a big deal on the foot­ball team a year or three ahead of us. Why can’t I remem­ber her name?

I’m real­ly bad with names, hon­est­ly. A Face­book appli­ca­tion was ask­ing me to ver­i­fy 130+ peo­ple as high school class­mates, and tru­ly, I did­n’t rec­og­nize many of them at all. I did­n’t remem­ber most of the peo­ple I saw at our five year reunion. After 25 years? I’m hope­less.

Maybe I should get my old year­books out and look at Face­book and the year­books at the same time. I don’t know that I’d be any bet­ter that way, either. I need con­text for most people—not just a face and a name, but also some­thing like “that guy from home­room who was always draw­ing cars in his note­books” or “that sopra­no who bathed in Emer­aude” or “the cute geeky drum­mer who sel­dom made eye con­tact with any­body” (okay, him I’d rec­og­nize, and I do remem­ber his name).

Our year­books aren’t the sort that list­ed peo­ple’s activ­i­ties with their pho­tos. You would have to search through all the activ­i­ty list­ings to find out who did what, which is much more annoy­ing.

Homeschooling High School in College?

It’s be SO long since I updat­ed things here! Not that I think any­body real­ly missed me, but still, I should have kept it up a bit bet­ter.

Katie tried attend­ing a good high school near us, and loved it. She got great grades, was cho­sen to work on the year­book (it’s a very com­pet­i­tive process there), and was even made the chief pho­tog­ra­ph­er right away! She was also get­ting involved in oth­er activ­i­ties, and she made some good friends. She real­ly loved the art class­es, in par­tic­u­lar.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, her health suf­fered. She has severe rest­less leg syn­drome, fibromyal­gia (which caus­es sleep prob­lems), and tru­ly hor­rif­ic migraines in addi­tion to being aller­gic to all kinds of things. The migraines aren’t well-man­aged any more, so that she has a migraine almost every day despite tak­ing Trilep­tal as a pre­ven­tive. She’s had to use her res­cue med­i­cine so much that it’s no longer very help­ful, either. She just can’t get any decent sleep, thanks to the RLS and fibro, which means that she needs a min­i­mum of ten to twelve hours every night, and still wakes up unrest­ed. And our insur­ance has gone stu­pid, repeat­ed­ly refus­ing to cov­er her aller­gy med­ica­tions, in par­tic­u­lar. 1 Right now, they’re refus­ing to cov­er Provig­il, which was the only thing keep­ing her awake enough to even con­sid­er attend­ing school. She’s under doc­tor’s orders to stop dri­ving until the sleep sit­u­a­tion is ame­lio­rat­ed, and has been for some time, so she’s been delayed in learn­ing to dri­ve and get­ting her license.

So she’s back at home, which is a real dis­ap­point­ment to her. We’ve decid­ed to try mak­ing the best of it, and focus on the good things. For instance, she’s no longer held back to any­one else’s learn­ing pace, and she does­n’t have to jump through bureau­crat­ic hoops. She can learn when­ev­er she is awake, hon­or­ing her body’s need for more sleep than most peo­ple.

She wants to take col­lege class­es online, which is how I’m man­ag­ing to con­tin­ue my edu­ca­tion despite health prob­lems. I think it’s a good idea, so now we’re con­sid­er­ing schools and mon­ey. While the Uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem schools here in Geor­gia tech­ni­cal­ly have all their core class­es online, the real­i­ty when I attend­ed South­ern Poly was that the entire school usu­al­ly had only one or two seats for any par­tic­u­lar course, and of course those seats were tak­en imme­di­ate­ly.

We’d love to hear about the expe­ri­ences of any oth­er home­schooled teens who are fin­ish­ing high school in col­lege, par­tic­u­lar­ly those who are tak­ing class­es online.

Her even­tu­al goal is art school, and while there is a local school that has an online pro­gram, I just don’t see how it’s pos­si­ble to learn some things through the inter­net. Nei­ther does she. So we’re also look­ing for good art class­es to sup­ple­ment what­ev­er she does online. We’re in Decatur, and since nei­ther she nor I are dri­ving, close is good. MARTA acces­si­bil­i­ty is absolute­ly nec­es­sary!


1 hey insist that every­body should be just fine with Clar­itin, which is avail­able over-the-counter. Not so!

Teen Assaults Teacher, Activist Worries About Teen?

A 17-year-old run­ning back assaults a high school teacher for doing her job.1 He toss­es her around and breaks her fin­ger.

Who would you wor­ry about? The attack­er, or the vic­tim?
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Teen Assaults Teacher, Activist Wor­ries About Teen?”

Katie’s Fall Report Card

We got Katie’s report card in, and she did in fact get all As!

She’s well in to the next semes­ter now. Because every­body else was reg­is­tered for this year last spring, the advanced physics course was full and she’s in the “nor­mal” physics course. She is crazy bored. I mean, this is seri­ous­ly the first time I’ve won­dered if she’ll get in trou­ble because she’s so bored! Her teacher has nev­er taught before this semes­ter, and isn’t doing a good job of man­ag­ing the class to start with, so respond­ing to the needs of faster stu­dents seems to be absolute­ly out of the ques­tion. So far they’re just review­ing the sim­plest alge­bra need­ed to even begin talk­ing about physics!

It’s things like the physics class that make me want to snatch her right back home.

On the oth­er hand, her art and world his­to­ry class­es are won­der­ful, and they’re beyond what I could do for her. She’s get­ting a bet­ter ground­ing than I could ever give her in geom­e­try, as well—because, frankly, I detest­ed that class and got an A in it by the grace of a dirty old man called “Coach.” (And he and teach­ers like him were among the rea­sons I want­ed to home­school! Not that any­body ever had to do any­thing with that par­tic­u­lar one but lean over his desk the right way, thank­ful­ly.)

So she has Very Bad Things to say about physics each day, but is oth­er­wise hap­py. I expect that her grades will be every bit as good this semes­ter.

Katie, Me and Schools

Well, we’re wait­ing for Katie’s final grades for fall semes­ter while enjoy­ing win­ter break for both of us. We had Sam home for the first half of our breaks with us, but unfor­tu­nate­ly work­ing for a school isn’t quite as lux­u­ri­ous as being a stu­dent.

Katie has had most­ly As in her progress reports across the term, so I expect that should be what we see on her report card. We’re work­ing on an alge­bra refresh­er/wrap-up here at home, as she’ll be going into geom­e­try at school when she goes back next week. I don’t hon­est­ly recall using a great deal of alge­bra in geom­e­try, do you? Of course, I absolute­ly loathed geom­e­try and nev­er “got it” to any real extent. This does­n’t bode well for home­work help this semes­ter.

She has tru­ly loved her art class. While she has had more access to art sup­plies at home than I ever had in school or out­side it, and I’ve tak­en her to a fair num­ber of muse­ums and tried to give her some ground­ing in art his­to­ry, I’m no artist. She’s learned more in that one art class than I could have ever taught her, and she’s hun­gry for more. So hun­gry! I should have giv­en her access to art class­es ear­li­er, obvi­ous­ly — but hind­sight is 20/20. She wants to take sum­mer school class­es this year, and I’m even more in favor of it if it means she can con­tin­ue her pur­suit of art.

I’ve already got­ten my grades. The fan­tas­tic sup­port I’ve got­ten from Sam and Katie made it pos­si­ble for me to get As in both of my cours­es for the first half of fall semes­ter. The sec­ond half of fall semes­ter (Devry does things odd­ly) starts on 8 Jan­u­ary. I’m tak­ing all my cours­es online again, as that works bet­ter for the fam­i­ly and my ridicu­lous body.

Oh, I near­ly for­got! We got the results back from Katie’s first PSAT. She did­n’t do so great in the math, which isn’t sur­pris­ing, not hav­ing had any geom­e­try yet. She did­n’t do too bad­ly on it either—84th per­centile, some­thing like that, as I recall. She ran out of time on that sec­tion. She was in the mid to upper 90s on every­thing else. We were a bit con­cerned, because the coun­selor at the high school could­n’t be arsed to get Katie’s accom­mo­da­tions in place in time for the test, but obvi­ous­ly it turned out quite well any­way. The accom­mo­da­tions will be in place and she will have passed geom­e­try before she takes it “for real” next fall, when it counts as the Nation­al Mer­it Schol­ar­ship Qual­i­fy­ing Test.

Well, back to “stor­ing up” sleep and tak­ing pic­tures of every­thing, most espe­cial­ly spoiled lit­tle Kiyoshi the solar-pow­ered cat. I miss spend­ing this much time with Katie on a dai­ly basis. It was much nicer, but she does love her school. She is obvi­ous­ly ener­gized by the aca­d­e­m­ic dis­course, even by dis­agree­ing with an annoy­ing teacher. She was ready to try out her wings, and we had a good school near­by where she could do so. I’m glad we could go back to home­school­ing if we chose to or need­ed to do so, but I’m glad the fledg­ling’s flight is going so well, too.

School update

School is going along fine. In fact, anoth­er semes­ter is almost done for me, and Katie’s almost at the end of her semes­ter, too. She’s kick­ing ass and tak­ing names. Now that she’s set­tled aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly, she’s stretch­ing out into some extracur­ric­u­lar stuff and mak­ing more friends. We’ve man­aged to con­nect with a Girl Scout troop, (final­ly!) despite sil­ly paper­work slip-ups.

I think I need to rearrange my class­es for the next part of the semes­ter (I’m already reg­is­tered), but this unit’s class­es are going very well, and I’ve actu­al­ly learned use­ful (in one class) and inter­est­ing (in the oth­er class) stuff.

I had told the school when they ini­tial­ly did my tran­script eval­u­a­tion that I did­n’t have as many upper-lev­el cred­its as they said I had, but they insist­ed that I’d done my major work and would­n’t real­ly lis­ten. Weird­ness­es kept com­ing up, and I kept push­ing about things like the Hope Schol­ar­ship not com­ing up in my finan­cial aid pack­age. Some­one final­ly said, “Oh — you aren’t eli­gi­ble because you already have a bach­e­lor’s degree.”

What? Um, no. You see, I’m in the Bach­e­lor’s Degree Com­ple­tion Pro­gram because I don’t have a bach­e­lor’s degree yet. Capiche?

Well, it seems that when Mer­cer Uni­ver­si­ty sent over my tran­scripts, they could­n’t man­age to just pull the tran­scripts for Cyn­thia Rober­son (my name when I attend­ed that school) with my Social Secu­ri­ty Num­ber and my Mer­cer Stu­dent ID. No, they also sent over Cyn­thia Armis­tead­’s tran­script — some­one whose name was Cyn­thia Armis­tead when she attend­ed Mer­cer and got a bach­e­lor’s degree, some­one with a dif­fer­ent SSN and MSI and mid­dle ini­tial. And instead of notic­ing these dis­crep­an­cies, my school blithe­ly entered this tran­script in and gave me cred­it for her work!

So there’s been a whole big deal about get­ting all of my tran­scripts again, and re-eval­u­at­ing them anew, and chang­ing my planned class­es to reflect the results. I’m get­ting two sorts of atti­tude from the bureau­crats I have to deal with in straight­en­ing out this non­sense: peo­ple who obvi­ous­ly think I should have shut up and tak­en the cred­its, and peo­ple who think I was try­ing to pull a fast one (hence the busi­ness about them get­ting all my tran­scripts again, direct­ly from my old schools) and re-eval­u­at­ing them).

For­tu­nate­ly, the class­es I’ve tak­en so far are class­es I need­ed to take. Yay. The class­es that start in a cou­ple of weeks are in ques­tion, so I need to talk to my so-called “advi­sor” about them. The “advi­sor” is the per­son who deals with every­body who is in the bach­e­lor’s degree com­ple­tion pro­gram. She does­n’t do indi­vid­ual advis­ing, real­ly. She does­n’t give a fly­in’ flip about me or my plans, abil­i­ties, back­ground, etc. She meets with stu­dents once, when they enter the pro­gram. That’s it. That’s the plan. She does­n’t want to see us again. She’s not hap­py that she’s had to talk to me more than once.

I was just way spoiled by my mar­velous advi­sor at South­ern Poly, Dr. Mark Stevens. Nobody else can live up to that stan­dard. But this woman should­n’t have the same title. She’s a paper­work-stam­per.

I’m actu­al­ly enjoy­ing the data­base por­tion of my cur­rent business/computer course so much that I’m look­ing at which tech­ni­cal con­cen­tra­tion in the bach­e­lor’s degree com­ple­tion major would give me the most oppor­tu­ni­ty to go deep­er into the top­ic.

Oh — with the oth­er per­son­’s bach­e­lor’s degree tran­script, I had some­thing like 91 trans­fer cred­its. That’s the max­i­mum you’re allowed to trans­fer into the school. With­out her tran­script, just using my cred­its, I’m com­ing in with 79 cred­its. The sci­ence class I’m tak­ing now should have been my last “core” class, but this school counts “Sci­ence, Tech­nol­o­gy and Soci­ety as a 400 lev­el class. The STS class I took at South­ern Poly was a 200 lev­el class. So one more core class, some busi­ness and man­age­ment stuff required for my major, and then the tech­ni­cal con­cen­tra­tion cours­es. Three full semes­ters, at least, maybe four, since there may be pre­req­ui­sites required for some of the tech­ni­cal con­cen­tra­tion class­es that I don’t have yet.

That’s not too bad — just anoth­er year of school, real­ly. Wow. I can see the end.

Grades for the girl

I haven’t men­tioned how Katie is doing 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 going 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 mat­ter.

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?

Dragon Con, weekend planning, and back to school

I won’t be going to Drag­on Con unless a tick­et (or pass — hey, I’m will­ing to do pan­els, ya know) falls out of the air. Sam will be run­ning games and the girl will be work­ing the con, so they both got pass­es. 🙂

I’d hap­pi­ly meet out-of-town­ers for lunch or some­thing, though. Jean­nie, you still com­ing?

I expect lots of fun pho­tos (with you in them, not just of the crowds!) and sto­ries from y’all next week to make up for not going, of course.

I’m try­ing to plan some self-care so I don’t get too lone­ly and grumpy over the week­end. I’m fig­ur­ing in stitch­ing time, def­i­nite­ly, but could use some sug­ges­tions as to movies to watch while stitch­ing. I nev­er go to the cin­e­ma, so you can safe­ly assume that if it’s been out in the last two years, I haven’t seen it (except Seren­i­ty, of course!).

Oth­er sug­ges­tions for the week­end?

My cur­rent “fun” read­ing is Wid­der­shins by de Lint, but I’m not real­ly get­ting into it for some rea­son. I need to see if the library has some­thing fluffy like the “Undead and ____” nov­els. Yeah, they’re eas­i­ly bought, but I read them like lit­er­ary M&Ms, so the high cost of paper­backs just does­n’t seem jus­ti­fied. Dekalb’s library does­n’t suck, but I miss Gwin­net­t’s far bet­ter selec­tion of genre fic­tion, as well as liv­ing close to a branch of the PINES sys­tem as we did in Cobb.

I did some­thing for me today, though: I put things in motion to return to school. If all goes as the school thinks it will, I could actu­al­ly be doing some online class­es next week! That is, if they give me the finan­cial aid pack­age I want. If not, I’ll wait ’til Jan­u­ary. But I’d real­ly like to go back now, as I’m feel­ing extreme­ly emp­ty-nest­ed with Katie gone back to school. I don’t want to do just online class­es, because I real­ly miss the dis­cus­sions of a “real” class and I think it would be good to have some­thing reg­u­lar for which I have to leave the house.

On the oth­er hand, online class­es take lots less ener­gy, which leaves more for the actu­al aca­d­e­m­ic pur­suit and the rest of my life.

Hap­pi­ly, Katie prefers doing her home­work next to me rather than hol­ing up in her room as I did at that age, so I get a fair amount of time with her when she’s home. That real­ly does push the need for a lap­top, though, as she can’t be online (or just typ­ing) and be in the liv­ing room with me and Sam. When she had one she made real­ly good use of it.

I real­ly like the fact that she’s attend­ing a school with a good loca­tion and com­mu­ni­ty ties. We could­n’t real­ly ask for bet­ter than where she is in that respect. I’m look­ing for­ward to mov­ing clos­er to the school, though.

Katie and high school

Katie is absolute­ly lov­ing school.

Well, she loves the social aspect, and the chal­lenge of inter­act­ing with new instruc­tors. She isn’t hap­py about liv­ing by a bell, and of course all of us are adjust­ing to liv­ing on the school’s timetable in gen­er­al.

At the end of the very first day, she called and asked if she could go hang out with her new friends at a near­by cof­fee shop. That’s my girl, the extro­vert. She’d already made friends and con­tin­ues to do so. So much for any wor­ries (which we did­n’t have) about her social skills.

She’s doing well aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly, too. We talk about her school work and she asks for input at times, so I know what she’s doing. It isn’t near­ly the same as the lev­el of involve­ment required for home­school­ing, but it’s some­thing.

She isn’t accus­tomed to the adver­sar­i­al rela­tion­ship some teach­ers and staff mem­bers auto­mat­i­cal­ly assume towards stu­dents, and it isn’t some­thing I ever want her to accept as right or nor­mal. Expect­ed at this lev­el, maybe. But not right.

I’m still hav­ing some “emp­ty nest” feel­ings, but see­ing her thrive cer­tain­ly helps deal with them. Home­school­ing was def­i­nite­ly the right thing for us for the past few years, and did pre­pare her well for high school. We have no regrets at all there!