Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Proud mama of another graduate...

And the grad photo proofs are in...

After homeschooling all the way through to the end of grade 11, plans for this gal abruptly changed when we learned she would also encounter the same stumbling block her brother did upon his own homeschooling graduation completion, a ridiculous hurdle sanctioned by the minister of education's office in our province, noted about both HERE in 2009, and HERE in 2010.

They would not recognize important core courses completed outside of the province towards graduation requirements. 

Credits are given, exact course recognition is not. 

Even from accredited educational institutes, and in our case this time, from another provincial minister of education's office with proof of transcript in hand, there were courses to repeat.  All other teens of ours to this point have graduated as homeschooling students, and this became a jaw dropping event for us. 

As an aside here;
... about the same time as all our son's 2009 unexpected dilemma fell into our lap, I made a conscience decision that this had now affected our family for the second time, as another older son had also encountered a similar instance on his homeschooling pathway in 1997, (two courses from Seton that were not recognized, even though they were accelerated courses, all due to nothing comparable in the already existing school system), so in the future, when the time comes for me, I actually plan to pursue the challenge of getting a Canadawide change to the educational system to benefit the homeschool and educational alternative system options at large, mostly to pay it forward so a whole host of young people won't be subjected, nor encounter derailing issues.   


Sometimes we're ready for them, and sometimes we're not. 

One week before this gal was to begin her Grade 12 at home, this mean mama shared with her we would be attending an appointment at the counselor's office where her brother was to complete a grade 13 due to the complications he was suddenly destined for. Let's just say, initially, she was not at all happy with me.

Standing in her school uniform with her brother when the big yellow bus rolled up to the end of our street the first day, she all but had a panic attack over the thought she was being thrust out there, where she truly didn't want to go. And to top off the whole experience, she had every single thing go wrong the first day. 

Her name wasn't located on any of the posters hung up in the hallway for an assigned homeroom class. Visiting the office to inquire about such a thing, she joined the long line-up and when the puzzle was solved, she ended up late for her first class. 

And then, the day continued with no assigned locker, no name on almost every teacher class list, no computer password, having to visit the office four times in total, almost in tears by days' end for having been completely "invisible"

The school called three times that first week saying she was absent from classes, but she was there, invisible again. The staff kept apologizing to her, and eventually she became a good sport about everything that came her way. 

Sadly, but trying to remain positive, things like that continued for her to the point where my heart lurched a beat when the yearbook came out, and we realized her photo was no where in sight.  

They forgot to place it in there. 

In hindsight, though a difficult and previously unplanned decision at the time (oh how I wondered often if we made the right decision in the first place, chastised myself so often at first for not having enough fire left in me with all else going on in our lives to go to bat at that time for this injustice, and the sudden changes left a gaping hole because how the rest of us missed them both!), she truly blossomed so much through her trials, to the point that as her mother, it became evident to me - surely she is a very special girl to have endured all the things that she was forced to encounter over the year.
This daughter quickly grew to challenge herself in her new educational setting, especially after she found out about earning a slot on the honor roll. She became a gentle leader, older than all her peers in her classes, and easily able to stand her ground in her life's goals and moral ethics. Our dinner table became quite the conversational ground for plenty of laughs and dumbfounding realizations for both teens over the vast amounts of wasted time in institutional styles of learning. 

All has worked out in her favor, but nothing would be complete without mentioning that the principal and counselors were very kind towards our unexpected educational plight, so supportive and eager to assist any way they were able. They knew our teens and us by name. Impressive considering there were 1200 students in the school!

Many life changes and wonderful (good ending) lessons were learned, one even included eventually meeting one teacher who shared with me how she only pictured a homeschooling family as parents locking their children inside the home to learn in seclusion. (wink, I can see you holding your breath here everyone, LOL) Let's just say, it didn't take her long to realize her opinion was disjointed, and filled with an ignorant fallacy to the truths of the matter, and between my daughter and I, she actually thanked us for educating her on her initial warped thoughts in return. Oh, and she even asked me if I would consider being a guest speaker on the topic in her "child development" class. :)

After 3 semesters of attaining all necessary in-province's recognized criteria for high school graduation, plus having to take the mandatory Ontario grade 10 Literacy test, and raking up the required 70 hours of volunteer work, her Grade 12/13 is now behind her. 

With the only exception of one more exam on Wednesday, this daughter is a happy high school graduate.

She looks forward to attending her prom and wearing her cap and gown for the grad ceremonies in May/June, but until then she has a goal to acquire more hours at work, earn her own car to use for college (yes, she was accepted already) in the fall, and spend as much time in between as possible at the barn with all the beloved horses.

Congratulations beautiful daughter,we are so incredibly proud of you!