Saturday, May 28, 2016

Placement Testing

My youngest is a slow reader, and struggles with finishing the sections on timed tests. He has always scored right around 50% -ish on his annual standardized tests. He has taken the ACT test twice, and his scores are okay, but did not meet the minimum for registering for college-transfer classes at the community college, which has been the plan for his senior year/5th year of high school. So yesterday  he took the placement test at the local community college campus. Those scores can be used in lieu of ACT or SAT scores, but there is a minimum score required in order to register for classes in the college pathway. If he didn't make the minimum score, it would be back to the drawing board.   No pressure, right?

The test, NC DAP,  has 3 sections - Math, English/Reading, and Essay. All but the essay is untimed, and there is a 2 hour limit for the essay. It is all on the computer and you get the results immediately. Jason spent 2 weeks reviewing algebra with his dad, and doing some practice essays from prompts. It took him 4 hours to complete the test, and then he sat down with Ms. Hudgins, who oversaw the testing, for his results.

He passed with flying colors, and she commented that she always can tell which kids are homeschooled because they are the "child geniuses"!! That made him feel pretty good.


Obviously, the timed factor is a big issue for him, and we will have to address that going forward.  But now he is walking around the house telling his siblings, "You can address me as Child Genius."

You can read more Weekly Wrap-Ups HERE. 

Weekly Wrap-Up

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Homeschool Graduation

Homeschool Graduation is quite unique and special.  Today was the graduation ceremony for our homeschool support group, Lighthouse, and it was actually the graduation of 36 separate "schools", 36 individual families joining together to celebrate this milestone in the life of their children. This was the largest group yet for our support group; homeschooling just keeps growing and growing!  In our ceremony, parents present the diplomas and have an opportunity to say a few words to their child - a blessing, a charge, a Bible verse, a fond memory ; sometimes a combination of all of these.  We watch slideshows of pictures of the graduates' lives and afterwards eat cake and punch and offer congratulations and best wishes for future endeavors.  There are tears. There is excitement

This group of graduates is going on to study electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, marine science, education, music, graphic design, business, nursing, computer science, journalism, pharmacy, architecture, accounting, history, textile design, American sign language.  One is entering the military, another becoming a mechanic, others still unsure.

Uniformly across the stage, over and over again, parents spoke scripture over and into their children. Many of these young people have already traveled to faraway places to serve those less fortunate than they, and most also serve as volunteers in their communities in numerous ways.  These are young people well equipped to go out and make a mark in the world, to impact people, and to bring glory to God. It was a very hope-filled day.

Proverbs 3:5:6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Joshua 1:9   Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Matthew 5:16   .... let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Philippians 4:8-9   Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up : Graduations

Our homeschool year is wrapping up, with just a few more days until "summer" activities start. Jason, my youngest, is finishing his 4th year of our 5-year high school, and will be a senior next year. I can't even begin... nope, not yet, too soon.

Tomorrow is our support group graduation ceremony, with 37 homeschooled students receiving their diplomas from mom and dad. Jason is serving as a Junior Marshall and  I, as  a member of the Graduation Planning Committee, am running rehearsal this evening for seniors and their parents.  We'll go over the schedule for tomorrow,  show everyone where to sit, the seniors will practice walking in to Pomp & Circumstance, the groups of seniors and parents will practice walking on and off the stage, finding their marks, learning how to hold the microphone.  "Fist on the chest, not on the belly."  We'll watch the slide shows of "baby to grad" pictures, as well as the group shots from the 2 senior photo shoots we held during the year -  playful shots of blowing bubbles, hula hooping, playing croquet, and cap & gown photos, both serious and raucous!  There will be a few tears.
Next year my husband and I will be up there with our 5th and youngest, handing over a diploma and saying goodbye to 22 years of homeschooling.  I can't even begin... nope, not yet, too soon.

Last weekend, we celebrated the achievement of my youngest daughter at her college graduation. Amanda graduated with honors, with a B.S. in Child Development.  She finished her degree on time, in 8 semesters, even after transferring colleges and changing majors after her freshman year.  This is the same child who couldn't read a chapter book until age 12, who took 2 years to get through 6th grade math, who barely squeaked through chemistry after trying 3 different curriculums in 3 years.

 She didn't love school. She took a year off after high school because she didn't know if she wanted any more school, but did decide to go for it, applied to a few colleges and got accepted to one (not her first choice) cried through some of her college courses that she was sure she was failing (but never actually did), made good enough grades to transfer to the college she really wanted to go to, and found her niche.  At the department reception before the college graduation ceremony, her professor gushed over how amazing she is. ( yes, I know!)  She has a job lined up that might not look "successful" to some, based on the pay, but it is an amazing opportunity to help expand a ministry working with immigrant/refugee children in a city apartment complex - running a morning preschool program and an after school tutoring program. She has been interning there for the past semester, her supervisors love her, the kids love her, and SHE loves what she is doing.

My philosophy has always been to take the time we need to learn something, even if it is faster or slower than expected, and to give attention to ALL areas of growth - academic, artistic, relational, practical , emotional, spiritual, physical, etc.  Even though one of our children was struggling in math or reading or writing, we didn't cut back on  things like sports, time with friends, music lessons, camp activities, volunteer work, church involvement, etc. Those other areas were equally important in their overall development and happiness, and that is what I think contributes to ultimate success in life.  Not just taking he hardest courses or getting the highest grades or getting the highest paying job.  I know, pretty radical thinking.

Check out the Weekly Wrap-Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers 
for a glimpse into the week of other homeschool families.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Homeschool Prom, Take 7

The 7th annual Carolina Capital Homeschool Prom took place a week ago, with 350 homeschooled teens and guests, and it literally took me 3 days to recover.  I started this prom seven years ago with my then-16-year-old daughter and a few friends, and have been chairman ever since.  This year my 17-yr-old son attended as a homeschool junior, my 28-yr-old and 22-yr-old daughters were prom photographers, and my husband and I were chaperones, as well as part of the set-up/clean-up committees.  It is a family affair.

Our theme this year was "INVINCIBLE",  inspired by superheroes.  Although it got the most committee votes for 2016 theme, there were several doubters who couldn't envision a "Superhero" prom being elegant and not cheesy birthday party-ish.  I think they were convinced.  My core team of decorator/planners had a vision of an urban "corporate gala" atmosphere, lots of black and white with pops of color, focusing on the inspirational "hero" aspect of the superheroes, not the villains or the darkness sometimes associated with them.

Every year we choose a Benefit Project, and this year, in keeping with the theme, we chose a charity that benefits the families of fallen first responders, Carolina Brotherhood.   We donated $2 from every ticket sold, plus some additional donations that were brought to Prom, for a total of $850.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

College Graduation #4

This weekend was my youngest daughter's college graduation. She earned a B.S degree in Child  Development, graduating cum laude from Appalachian State University.   It really hasn't sunk in yet that she is all done; no longer a student!  She has been living at home for the past few months while doing an internship to complete her major , and they have asked her to remain after graduation.  She will be running a preschool program and also assisting with the after-school homework help program for immigrant/refugee children at a city apartment complex.

It really is an amazing feeling to watch your children grow into awesome adults with lives of their own, separate from you. It hurts like ripping a bandaid off your heart, but it is amazing nonetheless.