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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Both my lifelong unschoolers just finished their second day of school. Ive lurked here for years, but now I guess we are official.

Who'da thunk it?

So greetings! I'm sure many of you know me already from around and about over the last 5 years.

I look forward this. This started with me starting school (Forestry degree) and my girls deciding they'd go to school rather than come with me. The are in a neighboring school district which most of their friends from 4-H and Girl Scouts are in. My youngest is in 4th (she's an October birthday) and my oldest is starting 6th, which has proven to be almost catastrophic on the first day. Not only is she having all the anxiety of the other new middle-schoolers, but it was her first day of school, ever. However, today was much better (after a miserable morning wen I had to bulldoze her defiant ass out the door and onto the bus with threats to rebel escalating higher and higher. This afternoon, she's in her element, as I knew she would be. It helped I picked her up after school instead of making her catch the bus after 6th period PE. She's high anxiety, and that was the final straw. But, better today, and I am relieved. I'm enjoying my time away from them before my school starts.

Anyway, happy to "meet" everyone (I know most of the regulars here, but I thought I'd be polite.
 

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Hello Sweetsilver! Most of my hard core parenting decisions have had to be challenged at one time or another due to circumstances so I am glad you are just where you need to be with your family!

Good luck with the middle school stuff! I for one wish that someone would come up with something to help everyone avoid the suffering of middle school!! Sometimes I think that 'group care' and teaching should be illegal for two groups: toddlers and middle schoolers (have you ever tried to get 6-10 toddlers to do the same thing at the same time??!!)

Anyway, the salvation of all my kids has always been extracurriculars in middle and high school, but particularly middle. The theatre program in particular at our middle/high school has been amazing, since those kids are usually very very welcoming and tolerant of all types and stripes.

I hope she can find her way and I hope you all can get into a groove this year!! It must be a big change for all of you.
 

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Middle schools can be tough. Or old school district didn't have them. Our new district has just voted to abolish theirs (though the transition will take 2-3 years). From what I've seen this age-group does much better being treated a bit older than they are, lumped in with high schoolers, with older teens and young adults as role models.

So glad to hear things are looking positive for your girls at this point. My youngest starts at a medium-sized bricks-and-mortar high school next week bringing my homeschooling days to an end as well.

Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Is she a freshman already? Going to the local school?

Sad, isn't it? I'm especially missing our old life in the mornings. I love slow mornings, though I wake up early, and our collective school attendance has wiped that out.

This middle school is still fairly small and rural, meaning that the high school is next door and they share some teachers and amenities. Not quite the same as being together with the older kids, but perhaps better than otherwise. My junior high (7-9th grade) had so many students, there were no mixed classes EVER and the only contact you had with older kids was in the hallways and at lunch. I was pleased to hear that my daughter has a 7th grade friend from 4-H from one class. Apparently all grades share classes for the most part.

I was pleased to hear how many kids my girls already know, and who know them. I heard second hand from one of the elementary parents I know (so, this is good for me, too, knowing the parents already) that a friend of her daughter's saw my girls and said "HEY! Those are the chicken girls from fair!" As if they were rock stars or something.

I'm happy that my oldest gets to spend time with more kids her age and older. I'm hoping it has an overall positive effect on her behavior. And my youngest gets to be one of the oldest in her class for a change.

A couple random asides: my youngest was telling me about some of the in-class work she was doing (they are doing some minor assessments this week to get an idea where the kids are) and she didn't finish them completely in the time allotted, and we shrugged it off. Hopefully she'll retain that attitude as she gets up to speed. Also, she walked out the door wearing grape-colored thrift store jeans and a small, tomato-red sweater I made for her years ago. Remember that comment you made about unschoolers and their freak flags? Ayup.
 

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"HEY! Those are the chicken girls from fair!" As if they were rock stars or something.
So awesome!

My kid is entering 10th grade at a traditional high school (i.e. it includes 9th through 12th grades).

My middle school was 1000 seventh and eighth graders. Factory-like in architecture, administration and tone. What a morass it was!

Miranda
 

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I'll read more thoroughly later, because I am soon conflicted about my DD's schooling this year, but I totally have a forestry degree, too!!!! Ya don't meet very many in these parts.
 

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Welcome to the dark side! >:D Kidding!

My DH is a teacher, and our kids have gone to school all the way through. I have one in middle and one in high school. Agree that middle school can be tough (was for me)! It's been OK for DDs - very dependent on the principal around here. We have a no-nonsense guy who cuts out a lot of the potential trouble and has a unified front with the teachers. Some of the policies seem a little harsh at first (no school dances), but honestly I feel it creates an environment where the kids who want to can learn. Parents can come in anytime to see what's going on - the kids don't love that! ha

My top piece of advice about dealing with the school system is to keep tabs on what's going on. Of course, we let the kids work things out themselves as much as possible, but we have had to step in a few times, even when the school kept reassuring us that things were under control. One of the reasons I do some parent volunteering is so that I can be "in the know" about various issues at school. It's been very useful. The parent grapevine is long and active, and not infrequently the information going through it not very accurate! Besides that, our high school asks for the kids to self-advocate to a degree many of them are unable to at first (SweetSilver you probably remember that I also have one with anxiety). It's easy for kids to slip under the radar, especially in big schools like ours. I find it super helpful to have access to someone who knows the educational lingo - I leave that to my teacher DH. I have my own master's degree in a different subject, but sometimes I don't even understand the discussion (particularly when it comes to things like testing) or I just don't know what terms to use to get my point across.

I don't know how crazy your schools are about grades and things like AP classes in high school, but that has kind of been a battle for us, too. It would be interesting to hear about how you're handling this as former homeschoolers - do you disregard grades or did you have to give grades of some sort for homeschool? We've tried to walk the line on that issue, telling our kids they're not the end-all and be-all and sometimes pure BS, but having better grades gives you more choices later - in different classes to take, potentially in college choices if they go down that path (seems like they will). Also falling grades tell us you may not be mastering the basic skills you need to move on in that subject (kids, of course, disagree! ;-)) However, this is a high-pressure, high-achieving area, and it's crazy with AP and activities when they get to high school. We've tried to tone that down because we don't have kids who do a zillion activities and all high-level classes. For instance, DD1 is good with taking no AP (it's just not for her), but then interestingly, she gets comments from other kids, who have internalized the message that if you don't do those things, you aren't going to amount to much, :-(

Anyway, that got long! GOOD LUCK with starting school! I look forward to reading more about the former homeschooler perspective of school!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'll read more thoroughly later, because I am soon conflicted about my DD's schooling this year, but I totally have a forestry degree, too!!!! Ya don't meet very many in these parts.
In these parts, like on MDC? So far, no, but 'round these here parts of the PNW, I'm meeting quite a few. (I would expect that anyway.) I'm just starting mine, and won't be taking any actual forestry classes until next year-- just the way the schedule worked out. But I'm taking my lab sciences this year-- geology and chemistry-- and environmental sciences. This is a AAS, but it's a degree I can take straight to work if I wanted, which I don't. If I stick with it, I'll be branching out into botany, mycology and systems design, if I have my way, and then maybe back to forestry? I don't want to do the straight forestry-management degree they are starting to offer.

Interestingly, I just read an article about Port Blakely, which peaked my interest in considering an actual forestry career. I'm more interested in the sustainability side of it. (Surprised? Probably not here, I don't think.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Welcome to the dark side! >:D Kidding!
:rotflmao

Thanks so much for all the advice! Yes, I do remember your conversations about your daughter. I will most definitely keep what you said in mind.

We are coming into school straight from unschooling. Today, I told my oldest to wirte her homework on a sticky note to put on the calendar, and she wrote "socle study homework dew". Okaaay.... I'm not self conscious. Nope.

:2whistle

We are not worried about grades. Most of her teachers know that she is homeschooled, and that we assumed we'd be doing so through high school, so keeping level was never a priority. But both my daughters have winning personalities (around other people, anyway) and they are in every way equal to their peers, so long as it's not spelling. I have so far received nothing but complete support. We are (I am, and hopefully they are) going to be emphasizing a positive introduction to school. I've told both my girls that the teachers are obliged to grade them accordingly, but that I won't worry about those. Like, ever, I don't really care! I'm sure we will have the grade discussion as high school looms. For now, we are working on organization, because 75% of good grades will come from diligent organization skills. When good grades become meaningful to them, they'll get them.

As someone starting college at 47yo, I really can't be too stressed about what happens after high school. :shrug
 
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