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Thursday, 12 January 2012

I'm not sure I'm ready for this...



Last night, Sydney, hubby and I attended the Grade 8 Open House at the highschool that she is considering attending.  She's choosing between two schools: a nearby Catholic Highschool and a downtown Arts & Technology focused school.  Although she has been going to a French Immersion school since Grade 1, she has decided not to continue into highschool, and hubby and I are OK with her decision.

Although I've been expecting this change since at least last June (when she finished Grade 7), I thought I still had some time.  I thought I had until at least June of this year to deal with my baby choosing the highschool that will ultimately prepared her for University/College that she will attend.

Last night, during the introduction into the school I found myself reminiscing about my own highschool experience.  I went to an all-girls Catholic Highschool that was about 100 years old at the time.  I wore a uniform (itchy wool kilt, white blouse, blue cardigan, blue socks/tights and patent leather shoes) for 5 years. There was no central air or student parking spots. Your choices for electives were Drama, Art, and music.  You could also choose from typing, shorthand and Home Economics classes.  There was a "boys school" about 2 or 3 blocks down the road, and some girls took shop class or graphing classes over there. I never did. I loved the arts, so I stuck with the arts. Although at the time I didn't think so,  my school was a very traditional school.  It was 1985 and computers were not common place yet.  I had my Texas Instrument calculator and typewriter that I bought with my own money working on a farm picking berries the previous summer.

Now, these kids can choose from Theatre arts and Arts Technology. There are photography classes, media classes, wood shop,  food and Nutrition, Business Classes, journalism, and a whole bunch more I can't even remember right now.  These kids are designing computer games and programs.  There was even an elective for Yearbook.  Back in my day, yearbook was a couple of girls that got together after school for a couple of months and worked on the yearbook; it was a club not a credited class.

After the visit to the highschool, Sydney asked if I would help her choose the classes for grade 9.  How am I supposed to advise Sydney on how to choose what classes to take, when this all so different from when I went to school? I took a look at her course selections and there are soooo many.  Mind you, for Grade 9 they are limited to "intro to" classes for which in the intermediate and senior classes they can actually take more intensive and focused courses.  One of the teachers made a good point, taking  an "intro to" class, will help the student define what you actually enjoy.  But there are so many choices and you can only choose two!  Aaackkk.

I'm very nervous about all of this.  I don't know that my own mother was as nervous about me as I am about Sydney. I'm sure she was, I just don't remember it.  When I think back, I never attended the grade 8 Open House for my highschool.  If I remember correctly, my parents were working and I was babysitting my brother and sister that night.  I didn't have a choice for which high school to attend.  My elementary school was the feeder school for the highschool I went to and besides, all my friends were going there too. So why wouldn't I? I think for my grade 9 courses, I picked all my requisites and my two electives were Drama and gym.  I hated gym and knew I needed the credit to graduate so I got it over with in the first semester.  I was so un-coordinated that I ended up in the emergency room after playing soccer in the gym one day.  Some how, I tripped and fell backward and knocked myself unconscious and had a nose bleed for a week.  And that's why I took Drama and visual arts electives for the remainder of high school.  (It's Ok you can laugh.)

Sydney loves visual arts and drama and she is very good at it.  She is also a very compassionate and caring girl and I think she will do well in this Catholic school.  We still have to visit the downtown Arts and Technology school  (which is not in a great part of town). It seems every time I drive by there are police cars in the parking lot, and not just one or two on coffee break, but a bunch of them.  Ultimately it is her decision, although we will guide her as best we can on her final decision. After all she is only 13 and making a life changing decision.

Her application and course selections have to be handed in by February 16th.  That is just a little over a month away. My head hurts just thinking about this.

Have you had to guide your child in choosing highschool and courses? What is the best advice you can give this struggling nervous mom?
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