A Quick Check-In on "Pre-College"
I don't have pumpkins on the porch yet. There are no cornstalks or hay bales. The one mum that a friend secretly delivered continues to be the single autumn decoration that we have. In fact, I still have a few houseplants outside! Normally I bring them all in by Columbus Day but it's been warm for the most part, with only one light frost, so they remain outside. Though I'm pretty sure this is the week they need to come in, it's almost November after all! We'll make our way to the farm for some pumpkins and mums within the next few days - it's now or never. With Halloween on a Friday this year Emily is able to have her best friend sleep over (she goes to regular school so normally wouldn't be available for a weeknight Halloween sleepover), so we're really looking forward to an especially festive evening.
Speaking of school, Emily has been enrolled in university classes for nearly two months now and it is going really well. Nobody knows she is 16, including her professors. One of the greatest, unexpected benefits we've found with attending university rather than high school is the age range of her classmates. She is among students that range from age 16 (herself) to 65. I can't stress how much, according to Emily, this has benefited the classroom discussions, especially in her U.S. History, Post World War II class. A multi-generational dynamic mirrors how we have always approached learning - as homeschoolers and as Montessorians - and low and behold, it is also reflective of how the "real world" works. Imagine that. The way learning should be... relevant.
Another unexpected surprise (I say unexpected because we consciously went into this with no expectations) has been the overall academic culture and complete absence of classroom behavioral management. Students are there because (for the most part) they want to be there. They are immersed in the content of their chosen classes with little regard for standardized test prep and over-emphasis on courses they have no interest in. There is a maturity and focus to the overall experience that Emily has observed, and all of these things have proven to be a really good fit for her.
Overall, I think we're off to a pretty good start with this pre-college thing. There are other interests and pursuits that round out Emily's days, but as for attending college early, it's been a very positive experience. One that further confirms my suspicion that a well educated teen is ready for the course work of college, if they should choose (in lieu of high school altogether), much sooner than we generally give them the opportunity to do so.
If any of my local homeschool friends would like information on how Emily is attending university (this is not the community college program that many high schoolers and homeschoolers attend), email me and I'll fill you in.
Okay, I'm off to spruce this place up for Halloween. Wishing you a most excellent Monday!