Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Want To Remember...

These are the things I want to remember from the day my oldest son took his early enrollment test for college...

I want to remember how I came downstairs in the morning and he was already dressed and ready.  He said "Mom, I put on a dress shirt.  Because I thought I should."  It was the first time in his life he had put on a dress shirt without me asking him to.  It made me realize, he is growing up and making good decisions!

Then he was walking around eating a bowl of HOT Oatmeal while wearing the Ove-Glove on his hand! He was too excited to sit still and eat breakfast! Seeing him with that Ove-Glove on made me laugh and I had to take his picture.  This made me realize he is doing a good job taking care of himself!

We left plenty early, which was a good thing! We were surprised how quickly we found a place to park...until we got inside and realized we were parked in the faculty parking! Ooooops!  We laughed our heads off!  Then we stopped by security and they said we could leave the car there until I dropped him off to take his test.  And if we got a ticket in the meanwhile to come back and they would excuse it.  It made me feel good that they were kind to us and didn't laugh at the 16 with his mommy trying to figure out College!

Next we got lost inside the building. The floor plan and the number system was bizarre!  I had NO idea where we were suppose to go.  But, thankfully once my son stopped listening/following me we found the place we were suppose to go with no trouble.  This made me feel relieved and happy to know he will be fine getting around campus and certainly doesn't need me to guide him!

I wasn't at all nervous while I waited for him to take the test.  I knew he would pass it!  But, I prayed for him.  Especially that he would relax ans just do his best.  This reminded me that God is always with him even when I cannot be!

He did the whole test in 1 hour and 8 minutes!  When I saw him coming down the hall walking towards where I was waiting I wondered, for just s second, if they had told him he had failed!  He didn't look happy!  But, he told me they said to wait with we waited....for nearly 30 seemed like forever!  Finally she came out to tell us the results.  She wasn't smiling.  She wasn't frowning.  She looked just like this was no big deal and she does it every day!  LOL  (Which she does!) She sat down, flipped open the file and said.  "He passed."  (very non-chalant.)  Then she looked at his numbers and said..."He did VERY well!"  (And smiled!)  I just LOVED that word VERY!  We chatted a few minutes and then she left. My son and I high fived each other until our hands hurt!  I never want to forget that moment!  It was a true celebration of the work we have done together for the last 16 years!

We headed to the elevator.  I was still on cloud nine!  In my excitement I repeatedly started pushing 2.  We were on the 2nd floor so nothing happened.  Eventually my son said "Mom, push the 1."  I laughed and said in a winey voice..."College is hard!"  We laughed some more.  I never want to forget how happy we both were at that moment!

When we got outside the College was having a sidewalk chalk festival.  We walked around and looked at the cool art.  The weather was perfect!  My son told me "I think God made this perfect weather day just for me so I wouldn't have to worry about the weather while I was taking my test."   This made me smile and reminded me that he loves the Lord and trusts in Him!  What more can a mother want for her son?

We sent a text to his dad that said "he passed!"  A few minutes later my husband replied "I knew he would!"  It was great moment!  This reminded me of all the trust and faith my husband has put in me over the years as I have homeschooled our kids!

Of course we had to have a victory lunch!  It was an awesome day!

These are the things I want to remember....

Friday, April 29, 2011

I Have A College Student!

WOW!  I just paid for my first College class for my 16 year old son! Yesterday he took his Accuplacer test and passed with flying colors!  So today we signed him up for his first class, which he will take over the Summer.  It is an exciting time at our house!

Getting him into College at the age of 16 is something we have always worked towards.  When he was in grade school we knew several homeschoolers who were going to College at 16 and we thought that would be a great advantage for our son.  He is a very cerebral kid!  We have always had to stay on our toes to keep up with him educationally!  The last couple years he has worked VERY hard to get the bulk of his high school requirements completed.  At this point we could probably graduate him if we wanted to.  But at 16 that isn't something I am ready for!  So having him dual enrolled is perfect for us.  He can get the last few credits he needs for high school as he is getting College credit too!

Since the dual enrollment only allows him to take 2 classes at a time we are planning on having him work on "clepping" classes at the same time he is taking the dual enrollment classes.  I haven't figured out all the details on clepping yet.  But, I do know that there are books we can buy for him to study for the tests and then for $75.00 he can go take the test and when he passes it he gets full credit for the class.  This will not only be a huge time saver, but a BIG money saver too!  So if all goes according to plan when he graduates from homeschool at 18 he will have enough credits to begin his Junior year of College!  The next 2 years he can basically devote to working on College credits.

So yesterday was an exciting day!  I couldn't help but think of all the "naysayers" over the years who have sternly warned me that my poor children would never get into College because we homeschooled them!  I never believed that for a moment!  But, those nagging words were always in the back of my mind.  (What is they were right?) But, in my heart I have always known we are following God's plan for our family.  It was good to put any nagging thoughts to rest!  I must add here that for the most part we have been really blessed with very supportive people around us for our homeschool journey.  But, it still felt really amazing to have accomplished a goal we have worked towards for SO long! (My son and I had to do a little victory dance!)  Truly it was an awesome day that we will all remember forever!

Of course we can also see God's hand all over this!  One of the things that is not lost on me is that our unexpected move a year and a half ago put us in the right County for the College he will be attending.  We only moved ONE MILE!  But, if we were still at the old address we would have had to pay quite a bit more for him to go to this same school! God is in the details! 

Praise God!


For more info on clepping click HERE.

Taking the Accuplacer

Today I went to a nearby College and took the Accuplacer test, to become dual enrolled in the college. Specifically, I took 3 portions of the test, an essay, sentence skills, and reading comprehension. I had been practicing for several weeks. Once I passed, I would be able to enroll in an English class this summer.

So today I went bright and early to the local college and took the test. Well, first my mom and I got lost on the College Campus for around 30 minutes, but still, we reached the area where the test was being given, and I sat down and took the test on time.

First I wrote the essay, 5 paragraphs, 413 words, on whether or not "Happiness was a choice". Then I answered 20 questions on Sentence Skills and 20 more questions on Reading Comprehension. Altogether it took me around an hour and a half to take the test.

After I finished I went to go sit with my mom for a few minutes, and to await my results. Finally, after several extremely nerve wracking moments, the woman in charge of the test came out and gave me my results.

I had passed.

She said I did "very well" and that I was able to take any class at the college now, other than Mathematics (since I still have to take the Math portion of the Accuplacer at a later time.)

So now, starting at the end of next month, I will be taking an English 1 class! Hurrah!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Practice Accuplacer Essays

My son has been writing practice Essays for his upcoming Accuplacer Test that he will be taking to enroll in Dual Credit College classes.  Here are three of his practice essays.  

Question: What gives us more pleasure and satisfaction: the pursuit of our desires or the attainment of them? 

It is commonly said that you only appreciate thing which you have to work for. But is this true? Is the pursuit of our desires what we get pleasure from, as opposed to the attainment of those desires? Is it possible to appreciate something which was simply handed to you as much as you would appreciate the same thing if you worked to attain it?

Personally, I believe that while we may not appreciate the work we do to attain something per say, we certainly appreciate the results more if we work to attain them, than we would if they were simply handed to us. We may not enjoy the hard work, be we enjoy the rewards all the more for it.

The satisfaction attained from achieving a goal is obvious. For example, the entire reason puzzles, such as crosswords, are put in papers is because people achieve satisfaction from completing the puzzle, regardless of the fact that they didn’t get a tangible reward for their efforts. They still found satisfaction from achieving a goal, to complete the puzzle.

Of course, not all work is as enjoyable as a simple puzzle. Sometimes people have to work very hard to attain the money for some expense they want, like a new car. However, the anticipation of working for something they want, and having to work to gain it, makes them enjoy it all the more once they have it.

Though, it should be said, this isn’t necessarily the case when the things people are striving to attain are more base things that are required. Having to work hard to make a living may not make you enjoy the food on your plate, or the roof over your head all that much, and it’s certainly possible to overwork yourself, and take away from the enjoyment you would otherwise have gotten.

So it may not always be the journey we enjoy, but in most cases I feel that a rough and difficult trip makes us enjoy the destination all the more.

Question: Do we expect too much of our public figures?
In today’s day and age, public figures are both admired, and openly mocked, by the general public. Whether they be movie stars, politicians, musicians, or any other kind of public figure, it is quite obvious a lot of pressure is put upon their shoulders. But is it unjust? Is it unreasonable to expect better of those in the public eye, than of the everyman on the street?

Personally, I believe that when it comes to public figures such as famous actors or musicians, placing the weight of the world upon their shoulders is unreasonable, as to be honest, these people aren’t in any position of authority. True, they’re well known individuals, but they are entertainers, nothing more.

However, too much responsibility can never be placed upon our politicians. Politicians are those responsible for our country, and in many cases, our entire world. They govern us, and we need to expect them to hold high moral standards, along with upholding the best interests, and common interests, of the citizens of our country.

It is up to us to hold politicians who do cross moral lines accountable for their actions, especially those who outright act against what the people want. We need to be able to trust that those with power will not abuse that power, and the best way to do that is to hold those who do accountable for it.

If those with power know they can abuse it, they will do so. That’s just human nature. But if we hold them accountable for their actions, and make it known what is the common interest, they won’t do so.

Thus, we place too much responsibility on some public figures, but certainly not all of them. Those in office are governing our country, and we absolutely must place responsibility on them for the good of our country.

Question: Is it true that when we most need advice we are least willing to listen to it? Or is good advice always welcome? 

Do we need advice most when we’re least willing to listen? That’s a question many people have asked. There are many situations where, as an outsider, the answer to the problem is apparent, but when you’re inside the situation, such as a failing relationship, it’s easy to be blinded by emotion. But is good advice always welcome, or do we shut people out if we don’t want to hear what we need to?

Personally, I believe it depends on the person. Different people handle different situations, and different emotions, in various ways. Some may always be willing to take the advice of those close to them, while others may be more easily blinded by emotion, having their judgment clouded. Some people’s judgment may even become so clouded that they lash out at those who try to help them, not only hurting themselves by not taking the advice, but at the same time hurting those who tried to tell them what they needed to hear.

At times, it can be difficult to tell what is good advice, and what isn’t, especially when people are telling you what the best course of action is, and it’s one you really don’t want to take. Sometimes this can lead to staying in a bad situation much longer than you should have. Other times people will know that the advice which people are offering them is in fact good, but will so wish that it wasn’t, they’ll stay in the bad situation, and refuse to take the option which has been offered to them, because it will hurt to much. In many situations, it’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you.

Still, of course, some people do welcome good advice whenever it is given, and can keep themselves clearheaded enough to know the right and wrong things to do in a given situation, and do it. Some people know that people giving them good advice are trustworthy, and people giving them bad advice aren’t. It’s hard to be this person, and I don’t think most people can do this, but people like this certainly exist.

So I believe that it truly depends on the person, and there’s not one yes or no answer to whether we take good advice when it’s offered, simply because each person is different.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dual Enrollment Meeting

We just got home from a meeting about dual enrollment at a local College for my 16 year old! We just got home from a meeting about dual enrollment at a local College for my 16 year old! We just got home from a meeting about dual enrollment at a local College for my 16 year old!  OKAY, no matter how many times I say it I still can't believe it's true!  How did we get here SO FAST???

I have to remind myself that this has always been "the plan".  I can remember when he was young talking about how we wanted to get him to a place where he could start taking College classes when he was 16.  While it feels GREAT to be to a place where we are accomplishing that goal, it also feels impossible that it's here ALREADY!

For my son it is a HUGE advantage!  If all goes well he could have as much as a year and a half of College credits under his belt by the time he graduated high school!  (What an awesome advantage!) Plus it's a gentle way to introduce him to the world of College.  Taking one or 2 classes will not be nearly as intimidating now as taking a full load his Freshman year of College.  So I know it's all good!  But, I am still pretty much in shock and denial! LOL

One thing  that I REALLY loved about today is that the meeting we went to was specifically for homeschoolers!  I had no idea this was the case when we signed up for it.  I just figured it was for all dual enrollment students.  When we got there it was really neat to see the College reaching out and valuing the homeschool community!  The Head of the Department even told the kids that he had no worries about them passing the placement test because the homeschoolers always have higher test results than the rest of the high school population.  I thought it was awesome that he was recognizing that!  (He said this was only the 2nd year they have held this meeting just for homeschoolers!) Having homeschooled for SO many years by now it is really neat to see how homeschooling is becoming so accepted by the mainstream population!  I remember people asking me if this was even legal when we first started this in 1996! 

Okay, I will be stopping and taking a lot of extra deep breathes today.  I am happy and proud of where my son is right now....but, I must admit my mommy heart really wishes we could rewind back to the beginning and do it all again!