My son, Jacob, graduated from 8th grade yesterday. In my day, the transition from Middle School (then called Junior High) to High School was important but didn’t merit a formal ceremony. More things are celebrated now, which is probably a good thing. For Jacob, it’s a great time to recognize his success at finding a mode of learning that works for him. He has never been a classroom learner and during his early school years developed an intense dislike of schools and teachers. This brought his formal learning nearly to a halt. As parents, we struggled with many questions: Were we being too permissive? Was the problem with his teachers? Could the underlying problem be physical, mental or emotional? We may never find the answers to these questions but over time, we have banged together something that works.
Two years ago, Jacob started attending The Education Option, associated with Gold Rush Charter School in Sonora. With the support of his teacher, Charis Caughey, he transitioned to Acellus, an online curriculum. This allows him to work at his own pace (which is surprisingly fast), outside of the classroom. He now works at or above grade level in all subjects except math (he takes after me in that area).
Jacob graduated with a mention for academic excellence (maintaining at or above a 3.5 GPA) and with four certificates from The Education Option, including having the highest reading score above his grade level (12.5) in STAR testing.
I have long believed that traditional classrooms do a poor job of preparing kids for the world in which we now live. There must be better ways of gaining the knowledge needed to reach goals. We are in a time of transition and it can be scary to depart from a well worn path. My hope for my son is that he continues to find new ways to move through life with purpose and as himself. Well done, Jacob.