Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thinking Ahead

re-purposing art for cat comfort
I was going through some paperwork last week and decided to check how many days we have logged for school so far this year. It was quite a shock to me to realize that I hadn't even been thinking about how many days we had left in the school year before now. I guess the days of starting the 180 day countdown on day one of the school year are gone. As our routine has become more relaxed, that need to know when vacation begins has gotten lost. I needed to look ahead and schedule our year-end evaluations for the boys, so an end date was needed. It turns out, as of today, we only need 49 more school days to meet our state requirements. If we don't take any days off from here out, we can complete our school year by the end of April. Wow! That's going to be an all-time record for us on early completion.

With that early end date in site, we are thinking about taking a spring vacation this year. We usually take our big family trips in the fall, but maybe this time we'll try something new. I've always wanted to go to Maine. Now that traveling with the boys isn't the insane undertaking it used to be, maybe we can pull that off in May. I'll be spending some time exploring those options this week.

Something else looming on the horizon is JT's high school planning. If we continue on our current path, JT will be starting 9th grade in the fall. Knowing that most colleges want a student to have completed two years of a foreign language in high school, we are looking into options to fulfill that requirement. We thought about web-based options, private tutoring, or textbook work. But this week I started looking into another possibility. I made a call to a the private Christian school my daughter attended. They are going to discuss whether JT can take just one class with them without enrolling in the school full-time. I really hope this option works out because it would allow him to learn a language in a classroom environment from a teacher who knows the material. Yes, I did take 7 years of Spanish. No, I don't think I can recall enough to teach it adequately.

The other idea I discussed with the administrator was whether or not JT could play on their basketball team in the fall. He seemed very open to that possibility as well, and will be speaking to the coaches this weekend to find out if JT would be allowed to participate. I'm especially happy about this because JT has really missed playing Upward basketball now that he's too old for their teams. I considered looking into the public school teams but it's actually a longer drive to the high school in our district than it would be to the private school.

I have also recently been working out arrangements for JT to have writing classes with a former high school teacher of mine. She is now retired and lives only a mile from our home. Known for always making her students work hard for their grades, she was the first teacher that really challenged me in school. Before she will take JT on as a student, she wants to show me what she plans to do with him. Apparently 'showing me' means I have to do the work that she will be giving to him. He will be reading Of Mice and Men, discussing the book, and completing writing assignments.

Now I have homework.

For the first time in many years, I am being required to read and analyze literature; waking up skills I have mostly forgotten. It's frightening to be on the other end of that teacher lens again. But doing this work has allowed me to see where JT needs to grow. And based on how hard this has been for me, and how much I'm already learning, he's going to come out of this experience ready to tackle college successfully.

Some days it feels like ages will pass before college choices must be made. Some days I can feel it right there on the other side of the door. I'm trying to be proactive early so we don't have to rush the process when time is short.

And I know it will be here in the blink of an eye.

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