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Christy B

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  • Location
    North Carolina
  • Interests
    Reading and drinking coffee
  • Occupation
    Homeschooling, teaching piano
  1. Our first experience with a traditional classroom setting was Thing 1's 8th grade year at a local private Christian school. It was an unmitigated disaster. The administration was decidedly anti-homeschooling, and made it clear that our resources, techniques, and ideas were unnecessary and unwelcome. The year was, by necessity, a hands-off approach. The concept of parent-directed education was completely foreign to the administration and faculty. (The concept of parent-paid tuition, however, was not; this makes sense from a business perspective -- convince parents that they are completely incapable of their child's education, in order to make the education offered seem valuable.) Thing 1 decided before Thanksgiving that this would not be a viable option for high school, and I offered to end her enrollment and bring her back home at the end of the semester. She declined, stating that she did not want to give the administration or her bullying, cruel classmates the satisfaction. It is a decision I regret allowing her to make, as she is still dealing with the emotional trauma of an environment that was far more damaging than we realized at the time. We homeschooled for three more years and then she went to Mary Baldwin College as part of their Early College program. The admissions and faculty at Mary Baldwin are very supportive of homeschooling and encourage application from homeschoolers (they even provide a printable high school transcript form on their website). Thing 1's non-traditional homeschooling background was celebrated. Although she was still a high-schooler according to her transcript, we were completely hands-off in her academic studies that year (of necessity, being four hours away). Thing 2 is currently enrolled in a local charter school, which is also supportive of homeschooling. It is a very small school, woefully understaffed and underfunded, and parental involvement is not only welcome, it is a vital and thriving part of the school plan. On any given day, there are probably half a dozen parents at the school, tutoring and helping during the mandatory 8th period academic study hall. I am privileged to tutor a small group of my daughter's 10th grade English classmates one day a week, and in that setting, I have exchanged lesson ideas and links to materials with her teacher. He does not find it at all strange or threatening that I continue to teach homeschool enrichment classes while my child is enrolled in public school. Thing 1 would prefer that her father and I be completely and utterly hands-off; however, her grades do not inspire us to trust her with full autonomy at this point. Her teachers understand this, and support both her desire for independence and my desire to stay actively engaged in her education. I have more interaction with her teachers, and my ideas and suggestions have been met with more enthusiasm and respect, than I ever could have imagined. They have found places for me to volunteer and serve the school that do not directly involve my daughter, and everyone is happy. The concept of parent-directed education seems perfectly natural to the administration and faculty, and even though most teachers hold masters degrees or higher, there is no sense of condescension toward less-educated parents. I believe there were two key factors in the dramatically different experiences: the attitude of the school toward the homeschooling family, and the attitude of our homeschooling family toward the school. In the disastrous experience of the private Christian school, the school's attitude was thinly veiled hostility toward homeschooling and homeschoolers, and our attitude was far too timid and compliant. My level of involvement and input was dictated and controlled completely by the school. Older and wiser, we knew the next time around not to bother with schools that were not supportive of homeschooling, but we also had a more confident, unapologetic attitude. In this case, my level of involvement and input is directed by the needs of the school and the preferences of my child.
  2. All excellent ideas and suggestions. I do realize that it would be ideal for her to plan to study music in a college setting -- there are all sorts of reasons that college is probably not going to happen. You've helped me realize that she needs to first define her goals -- does she want to sing professionally? does she want to continue theater? -- and then work back from the goal to the ways to make it happen. I think what she might really have in mind (that would be more realistic for her) are community groups. She could work her "day job" and find community music and drama groups to fill her need of, well -- community. I welcome any and all additional ideas!
  3. I have no idea, but I know where *I* think she should perform (Disney World!) so I'll suggest that. :-)
  4. My friend's daughter has "for real" talent in singing. Her voice teacher is ecstatic to have discovered her. She's had more of an unschooling background and four year university doesn't appeal to her (and probably isn't an option). She has described what she's looking for as somewhere that she can go for a couple of years and do something real with music -- be completely immersed in music, classes, lessons, etc. I've done some preliminary searches and found nothing, but honestly, I don't think I even know enough to know what I'm searching for. I know my piano teacher wanted me to go to Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia, so I've searched under "conservatory" but still can't get a feel for what she needs. I do believe that something is out there for her, though. Suggestions or ideas are appreciated -- the more outside the box, the better. Thanks!
  5. The course is primarily targeted as a .5 credit course for high schoolers, but needs to be appropriate for 7th/8th graders as well. Much Ado About Nothing is at the top of my list although I could be persuaded to replace it with Midsummer Night's Dream. I have an excellent free unit on King Lear from Janice Campbell (Excellence in Literature) so I'm leaning toward that as a selection, because I love the way it introduces background information and the writing assignments are perfect. (Also, hello, free!) HOW on earth do I choose just one more?!?!? Macbeth keeps coming to mind; of course, one might think Romeo and Juliet as an obvious choice (although both my college and high school daughters are saying no, that's too predictable). Julius Caesar and Hamlet are both being covered in other courses, so I don't want to duplicate those. I feel like I should include a history, but frankly, they are my least favorite. Couldn't King Lear be considered a historical tragedy? :-)
  6. Those are awesome; however, with 20 students, a little out of my price range. If I do a summer music camp, though, with a small number of students, those would be PERFECT!
  7. I give my piano students a certificate every year for "participation", but this year we had an extra credit program, and most of them have earned an "above and beyond" award. I was thinking little trophies from Oriental Trading, but as I started browsing, I thought maybe something less "clutter-y", and more collectible -- like a high quality ribbon (thinking of all the 4H ribbons my girls have treasured and displayed in their rooms) or a pin (they could put it on their music tote bags). What say you, parents -- what do your kinds enjoy. I have mostly upper elementary age students; a couple of teenage girls.
  8. I just want to add a word of encouragement -- for those long, hard days when you wonder if it would be so much easier if they were in school: in my experience, anyway, the answer is no. We were just as exhausted with the drop-off, pick-up, homework, go get supplies, figure out lunch, must have clean laundry (well, we try to have clean laundry regardless, but if we stay in our jammies while the load of jeans finish drying, no harm no foul!) . . . it was, truly, equally exhausting. I am thankful that my girls attended traditional school for short periods of time, and realizing that parenting and educating is LONG HARD EXHAUSTING WORK whether homeschooling or traditional schooling was a blessing. It made "embracing the suck" easier. And it does get better, I promise, as they get older.
  9. These are all great ideas, thanks -- and keep them coming!
  10. Yes, the similarity needs to be in those things mentioned -- particularly that the novel needs to have a lot of symbolism and theme to discuss. I lead a literature class using Windows to the World and the extended lesson plans that go with it. Jane Eyre is the second novel to be studied, and the emphasis will be on symbolism and theme. However, most of my students have already read Jane Eyre for another class -- and few of them like the book. I'm willing to choose another but I want to be able to focus on symbolism and theme. I'm glad you "got" what I was looking for -- I will certainly look in to Frankenstein, as I think this particular class might really enjoy that!
  11. I need a book similar to Jane Eyre -- something -- sort of dark, mysterious preferably British a "classic" (modern classic is fine) rich in symbolism, theme Suggestions?
  12. She does like dresses, actually! I forget, because she spends a good deal of her life in BDUs and dress blues for Civil Air Patrol, but she actually does like dresses, AND they definitely solve the problem of having to put separate pieces together. GREAT idea for spring / summer, because they are cool and comfy. We have both a TJ Maxx and a Ross nearby so that's a great idea. She's tall enough that she looks really good in a dress. And she has claimed my Calvin Klein denim jacket from the 80s and thinks it's the coolest thing EVER so that would be a great layer for her to finish up the school year in VA, where it is a bit cooler, and then have the dresses to wear all summer and back to school here in NC in August. Regarding the Toms shoes . . . I've noticed these on a LOT of my high school students -- do college students wear these, too? My dd prefers flat, flat, FLAT shoes -- she says that the typical arch support found in running shoes or better brand flats (Clarks, Dansko, etc) actually hurt her feet and make her knees and back hurt. I wonder if she would like the Toms.
  13. Ah, yes, I am familiar with this "look". And yes, she would be in the 90% that would not look nice in those outfits. Which is probably why she's asking for help -- this is mostly what she sees at school, I'm sure, and I think she knows just enough to know that for some reason, it's not the right look for her, even if she couldn't articulate *why*.
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