Thursday, September 14, 2006

Will cut classes lead to home?

Two weeks into the year and already my son has had two detentions. In a school of about 950 students he has been alone for each of them. My husband pointed out to him that by cutting classes, he's actually spending more time at the school. You would think he'd have gotten that by now.

You'd also think he would have realized by now that I'd find out that he skipped three out of four math classes and most recently his English class. I swear the Vice Principal has me on speed dial. Our last conversation he pointed out the positive, "At least he attended math today." As my mom would say: "There's a pony in this sh*t somewhere."

A friend of mine--a fellow mom of an eighth grader who, along with my eighth grade daughter and another eighth grade student, attends advanced geometry at the high school (traditionally a sophomore level class) pointed out that my sophomore son is, if nothing else, "consistent."

Or stubborn.

He's bright. Too smart for his own good. But he's not putting what he knows to good use. So maybe home schooling is the answer. Not the traditional style, like when he was younger and he and I and his sister sat and worked on lessons together for a year when we decided we needed to free him of an institutionalized setting. This time we're looking at GED prep, so that at 16-plus he can attend community college or an art school that has already expressed some interest in him.

There's a magnet on my fridge that reads: "life does not put things in front of you that you are unable to handle." (-unknown) I often walk by and glare at it. But this evening as my Amazon order percolates with the latest GED prep book and a text about earning high school diplomas non-traditionally, I feel like this too shall pass, which is to say maybe I can handle this life challenge, too.

It would be interesting, us both at home studying. He as he begins his lifelong learning, me in my continuation of that goal as a low residency grad student.

Okay, that's enough contemplation for now. And airing of our family laundry on what's supposed to be my screenwriting blog.

On that note, Packet Number Two went off to my Goddard advisor today. In this one was the lengthy teaching Practicum write-up. It included a twenty-page essay, results of student surveys, my syllabus from the Advanced Feature Screenwriting course I taught last semester at UNH, samples of student work, a letter stating that I really did teach the course all the way to completion, my bibliography for the course, a report from a classroom observer, and sample handouts that I shared with the students during our time together. Whew.

Next packet I will be back to submitting script pages and annotations, plus my second five-page paper. So that's what I'm working on now, plus a magazine article I just penned on how to get started scriptwriting, and a short story that won't leave me alone until it's finished. I am also compiling my syllabi for next semester's UNH courses: Advanced Short Scriptwriting that focuses on writing pilot sitcoms and dramas for television, and Media Writing, an all new course for the university.

And I'll be talking with the high school vice principal. Or not, if I'm lucky and my son stays out of trouble. I wish I knew which path he was on: the road more or less traveled. Ambiguity intentional.


(Photo above of the path that leads from the "village" dorms to the library on the Plainfield, Vermont campus of Goddard College. Picture available at the college's website.)

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