Saturday, August 18, 2012

What Was Katie's Experience With 9th Grade Like?

When a person *chooses* to go to school, knowing they can come home anytime, it can be a different experience than for the kids who are made to go. Sandra Dodd has a great page about school choice:  It was so helpful to me to understand and be supportive of Katie when she wanted to go.

Katie's freshman year was the first full year she had ever been in public school.  She entered public school for the first time ever in March 2011 which was the end of 8th grade.  Here's how her freshman year of high school went: 

Katie enjoyed her first year of high school for the most part.  During the school year, she did homework, studied to her satisfaction, took tests, and completed projects.   Grades continued to be important to her and she was an A student in almost every class though she got a B+ in one class.     Most of the time she adjusted her sleep needs so that she felt rested enough to get through the day, often going to bed around 7:30pm (though I believe she often texted with friends or Zach until late some nights).  In the morning, she chose if and what she had for breakfast and took what she felt like taking for lunch.  Because I knew she didn't eat much at school, I often made extra food for her when I made breakfast for the other kids so that when she came home she'd have somthing to eat like scrambled eggs or quesadilla.  

As far as what she enjoyed at school, she looked forward to seeing her friends there and even liked some of her classes.  How did she deal with the negative things?  For her, the positive outweighed the negative and she dwelled on the positive.  She dealt with the negative things by talking about them and deciding to deal with them in a manner that made her feel most comfortable.  The worst was a nasty math teacher that was going to retire at the end of last year and said "Shut up and sit down!" once last fall and also told her on more than one occasion that she needs to learn to wait and that homeschooling was plain wrong. That teacher shouldn't have said those things in my opinion. Katie and I talked about that a few times though she did not want me to talk to the teacher.  I followed Katie's lead and trusted that she could handle it in her own way.  Katie decided to let it go as she realized that this was not a reflection of her, but that of the teacher herself.  I guess this was a learning experience in that not everyone is kind or nice.  Maybe the teacher was going through a difficult time? - not that that would be an excuse though, but might help to not take things personally.  And maybe some people truly aren't as kind as others.  People are different.  Luckily, the other math teacher who shared teaching of that class was pleasant.  The other negative experience that stands out had to do with a kid who has a difficult life. They are friends once more, though not quite as friendly as in the past. 

Did Katie look forward to summer?  Oh yeah!  I think she was looking forward to being able to sleep in, stay up late, hang out with friends and not feel like she has to do anything for school, though she was assigned some "summer homework" to be completed prior to September which included reading Lord of the Flies and writing some words and their definitions. Why would the school assign students to do work during the summer? Don't they control enough of the student's time and life during the school year? Today (8/18/12), she stayed in all day and worked on it for the first time (that I know of).  She knows we have NEUC coming up and then a couple days after we get back school will start.  So she must be trying to bust it out.  Toward the end of July she started downloading free Nook Books to our Simple Nook and read so much.  This reminded me of when she used to read voraciously for pleasure.  I'm glad she was able to do that again because she used to like it so much, though read noticeably less during the school year.  

Jim mentioned to me this afternoon that Katie doesn't realize just how smart she is.  He thinks she is very clever...brilliant actually.  I agree.  She's amazing - intellectually, yes, always has been...but more important to me is that she is amazing as a person.  I love her so so much!  I'm so proud of Who She Is. 

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