On our journey of using Expanded Options – we learned that a student can only be enrolled full time in one area – Homeschool ESD or the Public High School.
Last term he took 2 classes at the college, so he was part time high school student, full time homeschool student. This term, he is taking 3 classes, so that is considered full time college student.
We talked to Nate about his options. If he goes full time using expanded options with college these two years, he’ll need to be a full time public high school student.
This is a bit tricky – because he’s a Junior by age level. Public Schools do not give credits for unaccredited courses. He’d have to create a learning plan with the High School that could lead to graduation.
I’ve done quite a bit of research into the laws of Expanded Options in Oregon. I learned that it is actually meant to encourage what they call drop outs. Create a learning plan for graduation and success. As Nate enters this path – he’d be taking advantage of these encouraging options.
I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer over these decisions. It’s hard to raise a kid for 17 years – tell him he can pave his own roads, create his own goals, lead his own path – and then get to the ‘big steps’ and feel so out of control. Was I ever really in control when he was younger? I was a stand alongside helper. And so my job continues today.
Of the three graduations – I am most proud of the Homeschool one. We will still order him a Homeschool Graduation Certificate and a few little momentos. We may participate in the Bend Homeschool Graduation in May of 2016, maybe this year. Salem has a graduation ceremony as well. The only two classes he didn’t finish at home was Algebra 2, Stewardship, and Government. I’m going to encourage him, over the summer breaks, to finish those with our resources.
Not meaning disrespect – but the Taft 7-12 graduation certificate – at this point – is pretty un-meaningful to me. He is challenging classes for past credits, earing credits through the college and may take a few online or in class room classes to graduate. What he’s done in Homeschool – is what has given him the knowledge to do this. He thinks of it as a puzzle.
When I heard he could do this, my response was thank you, but no thank you- we don’t need it. I mentioned the conversation to Nate and his eyes lit up. It was a challenge to be fulfilled. A puzzle to put together. He thinks it would be fun to walk with his friends next May. So although he has a learning plan in place – he’s not required to graduate – but he’s put it on himself. Drat those independent learners with their free thinking.
He really wants to work towards his Associates by next May, 2016. The more he is in school the more goals he sets for himself. Being in the greater learning institution with others inspiring him to push further has been an amazing catalyst for his mind.
I spent years in anticipated fear of the public institutions. Would they instill a different worldview? Erase his structure of beliefs? Re-write his goals? What a waste of time for my mind all those years.
He built a foundation on the Word. He built layers of trust, knowledge of the word, knowledge of who God is, what Christ has done. Petra School – Petra, Jesus, a firm foundation, an immovable mountain, the cornerstone. Pebblekeeper – Petros, Pebble, a piece of that rock. I’d be mighty surprised if he takes a turn at this point to investigate other beliefs more than just studying them. It is fun to hear his conversations in class. We are lucky to have a teeny tiny community college with 6-10 students per class, most of whom go to youth group with him.
I now see the benefit, for Nate, to have these two years of freedom, with the foundation of still having accountability at home. Still underage. He can work, learn, drive, recreate – with us still as a guide.
He has plans for when he turns 18. I’ll share later – but they may include taking a break from full time book learning to more internship/volunteering switch to paid positions. He’ll at least start that path with degrees in his pocket – and be ready to pursue his Bachelors with a direct path later. He’s talked about not taking the breaks and going straight to OSU. He’s talked about a lot of things.
I sit, and drink my coffee.
So for those of you wondering from my last post – I count them both as valuable. I honor his rich amazing home learning degree – I am thankful for the opportunity to have a Taft 7-12 diploma, and I’m excited that he wants to pursue the Associates Degree while still in high school.
Who knew this would be our path? God knew, and that’s good enough for me.