Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sliding into fall

It just seems like the summer never really started for us, and now we're planning school and fall activities.

Yup, that's right, school (brrr.) O has decided to take a spot offered him at a model school program being developed at a nearby university. It's an environmental science-oriented, but supposed to be largely self-directed program for gifted, non-traditional students. The non-traditional aims at students who come from low-income, inner city, single parent or aboriginal families, and since he hits all 4 criteria, coupled with the kind of self-directed work he's been doing on his own for years, the school is drooling to recruit him.

They will have access to the high school program that has been run by this uni for years, all the labs, profs and resources of a small, but major university, plus grant money up the wazoo. They will only take in 20 students per year, so have put in grant applications to get each student a Mac Book, something that may have helped sell O on the program, plus funding and support for self-directed studies. The teacher hired for the program is very excited at O's Japanese obsession and wants O to teach him any Japanese words and phrases he's learned.

I've had too many experiences with self-directed learning programs with gov't funding to really believe it will be the program they are telling us it is. But O wants to go, wants to have more structure, wants to get out of the house, wants to guarantee acceptance at the university of his choice (as opposed to finding our way through a very uncharted unschooling-to-university route here in Mb.) So here's where we are. A totally unschooled teen who is choosing to attend formal school, take formal extra-curricular classes (bass guitar and Japanese language classes.) Who woulda thunk it? Especially considering this is a kid who, up until a year or two ago, didn't really want to go anywhere that would require pants, let alone a studious effort (for the record, he went out in shorts, not the Full Monty, we got over that phase years ago.)

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