Friday, February 26, 2010

Introduction to High School

Do you see the title of this blog? Do you hear me screaming like my hair is on fire?

What just happened here? When did I become the mother of a freshman in high school? Wasn't I just a freshman in high school myself? Oh, that was twenty nine years ago you say? Seriously, twenty nine years ago? Dang, if I wasn't feeling old already today that just did it for me.

High school has changed alot in 29 years. There are so many choices and decisions that need to be made in 8th grade just to get enrolled in high school. Keep in mind, that when I went to high school, you showed up, were thrilled with a top locker, tried to figure out who you had lunch with, took some classes and graduated. Surely it wasn't that easy, but I don't recall having to do anything much. I sure don't ever recall talking to a counselor. Had no idea what my class rank was. When I was in school they didn't have different levels of diplomas, either you graduated or you didn't. I miss those simpler times.

Here is a peek at some of the decisions that Harold is facing as a 13 year old:

First, he has to decide what kind of Diploma he wants to shoot for:

Magna Cum Laude Distinguished
Summa Cum Laude

The last two require advanced measures which means you have to score well on Advanced Placement tests, take a certain number of Dual Credit classes (High School/College Credit) or complete an original research project. Harold thinks Magna Cum Laude sounds about right. I say go for it!

Then he is given the opportunity as a freshman to enroll in one of three High School Academies. These are all at the local High School, but they are specialized programs geared toward educating kids with real life careers, specific job courses, exposure to endless possibilities.

There are three broad academies:

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy
International Business and Finance Academy
Professional Studies Academy

Under each of those Academies are a host of Strands that are more specific, like Architectural Design, Automotive Technology, Health Sciences, Government and Public Administration, Digital and Interactive Media, Law Enforcement, Computer Programming, Marketing and Information Technology.

On our high school campus we have a Culinary Arts Institute that the students run as a restaurant every Wednesday. They do the planning, buying, cooking, serving, books - the whole restaurant operation. On our campus they also have a full six bay automotive bay where kids learn to repair cars, work on engines, and whatever else happens in a regular car repair shop. Kinda cool stuff. We have an Open House thing on Monday where all the academies are putting on demonstrations and tours of the different facilities. We will be more confused than ever I am sure!

Thankfully, it is optional to pick an academy as a Freshman, but it will be mandatory when he registers for his Sophomore classes next year. Decisions, decisions.

During High School registration next month he has to turn in a 4-year plan that lays out all the classes he thinks he will take in each year of high school.

Once he decides on the classes, then he has to decide whether he wants to take regular on level classes or Pre-AP classes. Harold thinks he will take Pre-AP everything except Geometry. I say go for it! Heavy load but he is more than capable.

I have many friends who have kids in high school and apparently it is all going to fall into place and isn't nearly as complicated as it sounds. I am waiting for the dust to settle to see if that is true or not. Regardless, doesn't this sound a whole heck of a lot more like College than High School?

Makes me wonder what College is going to be like when Harold gets there. I am going to bury myself under a rock for four years and come out only to see that sweet boy walk across the stage and get whatever diploma they hand him. I don't want it to be so hard that he feels like he is in college at 14 years old. I still want him to have fun. Life is full of working and being responsible and deadlines and due dates. Put that off as long as you can is my train of thought!

Seriously, does this kid look ready for high school and a four year plan???

We have lots of decisions to make. If I appear to be in a drunken stupor for the next several weeks, just know it is completely intentional. A bottle of red wine may be the only thing standing between me and botching the future of my first born.

It is a lot of pressure!

1 comment:

  1. I completely understand. Have one graduating from high school this year . . . excited to see where his college experience leads him. . . enjoy it as much as possible because those 4 years of high school are gone in a blink!