Last spring, our school district and two others started a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) charter school. The kids had to qualify for the lottery; but homeschoolers and private schoolers were not allowed into the lottery. BigGuy saw the trailer for the new school and was out of his mind with excitement that was quickly squashed. He even asked me “if I go to the regular school for a year, THEN would I be allowed to go to the STEM charter?” It was heart-breaking to see him so moved only to be so knocked down… because he’s a homeschooler.
I wasn’t so heartbroken. It was a new program. It was kinda far. It was going to be a really long day for the kids. The students would be in with college students at lunch time. He’d have to be there for things like language arts and history (which really, I wasn’t ready to hand over to them). So I wasn’t going to fight the matter. But man, BigGuy really took one to the gut.
Our state has a math and science academy funded by the state for students in grades 10-12. They occasionally take a 9th grader, but of 125 such applicants last year–only 24 were accepted. It’s a boarding school by force: even if you live in the immediate area, you have to live on campus. Setting aside my disbelief that this could ever possibly be okay with me, I investigated their admission requirements. I actually did this 2 years ago and had determined that if BigGuy were still gung ho in this direction, we’d have to start “doing real work” by Sept. 2015.
*knock, knock, knock* Oh, HI 2015!!!
Well, I took BigGuy on one of the short tours of this place. It’s just 2 hours. The first 45-ish minutes is spent on admissions info, what they’re looking for, what the process is like, what the associated costs are, etc. That was done in a medium sized lecture hall that had LARGE pictures on the wall–mostly polar bears and PENGUINS (did you know my kids are bat-sh*t crazy for penguins?) The rest is a tour by a pair of students answering a lot of questions about life at the school–academics, sports, clubs, resources, living in the dorms (and we get to visit the dorms).
BigGuy LOST. HIS. SH*T.
Like, fully lost it. Like “What do I need to learn to come here?” and he is STILL riding that wave almost 48 hours later. I really laid it out for him, too. Suddenly, he’s willing to take a for-credit graded pre-algebra class this summer. This of course sent me into a panic about the $2,115 it would cost us for him to do that camp, but I have thankfully found a for-credit online alternative that is MUUUUCH cheaper. Each time I laid out something he would need to learn (gently–not in that “I don’t know if you can do it” tone… just in a calm, explaining manner) he would say “But I can learn that!” and I told him that he absolutely could if he wanted to.
So he’s excited. And we’re coming out of the winter, so I feel like I can do better for him now. He’s also definitively decided to go on to Boy Scouts after asking me to consult the tarot about what would happen if he didn’t go. The tarot said that he had everything he needed for success including the support of people around him and should not allow thoughts of incompetence get the better of him. Husbeau and I also had a serious chat with him about the fact that we are totally fine with him NOT doing Scouts. But he decided that he really wanted to do it. AFTER he decided, I told him that it might be a good exercise in self-motivation (one of the things the math/science school really wanted to see).
So we’re going to see how it goes. I definitely told BigGuy that if he ever feels like doing all of this work may be worthless because he might not get into this place, there are other places that will happily take him at that point; and that Husbeau and I will find those places for him.
I also just found some additional opportunities for him… so we shall see… I’m kind of excited for him to have found a goal to sink his teeth into and drive his actions. I’m really excited for him.
Now to find Girly’s fire. 🙂