Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shy, dyslexic child matures to victory

A happy California mom of a second WRA graduate writes about her daughter's path to further education midst some challenges. Read on:

"We received Kristine's diploma. You will be getting a request for her transcripts from the Institute of Technology in Clovis, CA...She's all enrolled to start the Baking and Pastry Specialty program there July 17th. She's very excited about it!

"It's been an interesting process. She went from not being sure what she really wanted to do, to realizing how much she likes to decorate cakes. Suddenly she was researching schools and emailing various bakers and decorators, asking for their input. She came to me asking if we could go meet with this local school and she had everything all set up. She was even doing what she could to figure out the financial aid and budgeting for her schooling. The way things are with this program seems to fit her very well. You may recall that she has severe dyslexia. When we were just about done with the initial interviews, they were going to do an entrance exam and my heart sank. I was amazed to see her agree to take the test even though I knew she was scared. Thankfully, they gave her a pretest that gave her a little taste of how the testing would be and she did fine. After she went in to a meeting they showed me the pre-test and it definitely was not easy. I took it myself and struggled a bit with it, and I'm one who does very well with test taking typically. It was one of those moments, as a homeschooling parent, that you realize that your child has absorbed much more than you may ever realize.They had to get at least 12 correct and she got 13. It may not be the greatest...but it didn't matter. The bottom line is that she got in, and that's all that really matters! The majority of the program is spent in the baking kitchen and very much hands on. I have no doubt that she will thrive in the environment.

"So here was my shy little girl (of course I've never thought she was shy, but others do) going in by herself, meeting with the Assistant Dean of Admissions explaining her desire and commitment to completing this program, ready to take on whatever may come. I am firmly convinced (once again) that while she still may have her cautious demeanor, she would not have the same curiosity and creativity if she had not been given the opportunity to explore and learn in the ways she truly needed to.

"So again, I thank you for the opportunity you have given us with yet another one of my children. Your program provides a way for parents and students to validate their work, and helps in navigating through all the bureaucracy out there."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Financial Challenges Inspire Child-Led Learning

A year-end portfolio from Sonja in Colorado describes the learning of 10-year-old son Sasha when an expensive curriculum had to be given up and their resourcefulness and creativity engaged. Here's Sonja's opening paragraph:

 "This school year has been one of the most challenging homeschool years ever. My husband became victim of the economic downfall and lost his job in August of 2009. He is still unemployed as I write this portfolio. Due to the sudden loss of income, our school year needed to be changed accordingly. There was no money for the boxed curriculum like Oak Meadow or My Father's World. (Both programs were a hit at hour house in previous years.) Instead (if we wanted to continue homeschooling) we opted for a more relaxed type of homeschooling, one that was truly student-led, utilizing our homeschool library and public library system as much as possible. The result: a wonderful, innovative school year that proved to be educational, engaging, challenging and most of all FUN! Learning was not restricted to school books and schedules anymore, but was led by a child's natural desire to learn about his world, environment, history, science and geography."