Saturday, September 24, 2016

More hallowed halls of learning...and whatnot

Lest I forget to mention it, I also attended the High School's Open House this past week. Derek wondered if I was planning to go, to which I answered something along the lines of "Duh--have you MET me?" He told me the reason he'd asked was that his Social Studies teacher had shared that he "didn't think too many parents of Juniors actually showed up". Well...geez Louise. Now I was feeling paranoid and...a little bit nervous...imagining I'd be the only person sitting at each instructor's presentation, looking like that painfully eager, super-awkward nerdy kid in class. (Thanks, son. Need I tell you that your mother doesn't need that kind of stress in her life?)

But I needn't have worried--after all, this is high-achieving Chapel Hill, where even the parents of Upperclassmen continue to be involved in the academic world of their offspring. Pshew! Not only was I far from alone in each period, I ran into some neighbors and soccer friends whose sons share classes with Derek this year. So, while we did have to recreate a shortened version of our kid's full academic agenda, Periods 1-7--which I always find frankly exhausting--at least we got to socialize while doing so...much like our children, come to think of it. Very authentic experience, then.

Oh, riiiiight: what about his actual subjects? First off, when he got his schedule he was somewhat surprised, and very pleased, to discover that it contained exactly what he'd selected. Naturally, some of his academic courses were a given--such as his English, Math, and Social Studies. Unless you opted for an AP version, you got into whichever 11th grade level you'd chosen, and that was the end of it. Derek also wanted to continue his streak of including a Study Hall (Done), and to sign up for the second class in the Principles of Biomedical Science series, since he'd enjoyed the first one so much last year (evidently it's so popular that they offer multiple sections, so this was an easy one to get as well, fortunately).

Really, that left the only wild card as AP Biology--which he was quite keen on taking, given that it was taught by the same man who'd lent his...unique...wisdom to Derek's Freshman Bio class. However, rumor had it that over a hundred students were clamoring to get into the course, so Derek feared they'd be forced to fill the slots with Seniors, and make Juniors put it off. I pointed out to him that it seemed to be in the academic institution's best interests to allow as many scholars as possible to take such a rigorous and advanced class--and hopefully score well on the exam--to shine a positive light on the school's achievement. "Look at all of our smart students! Aren't they wonderful? Many colleges will want them, yeah?" It's a classic Win-Win, I tell ya.

Maybe I was onto something, because Derek did indeed get into the AP Bio Lecture/Lab...along with two of his closest friends from down the street. Uh-oh...all I can say about that is: thank goodness the instructor is A) tooootally laid-back and B) a bit of a goofball, himself. Even so, I envision a year full of...hmm...barely controlled chaos? At least it's not Chemistry, so presumably there won't be opportunities to...blow stuff up (fingers crossed).

That was another somewhat unusual thing about this Open House: besides Mr. Bio, I also was already familiar with Derek's BioMed and Math teachers, since he'd had them last year. Heck, even his Study Hall proctor was familiar...from Freshman World History. That left only American Lit and U.S. History as new-to-us--and both made suitably favorable first impressions on me. Other than that, the most-repeated mantra of the evening related to the DEMANDS of Junior year...which was not exactly "breaking news" to me at this point, given the fact that helpful parents who've been down this road before us had already begun warning us to batten down the hatches and prepare for the possibility of a long, tough, bumpy ride.  (Um...yaaayyy? Yeah...NOT...)

So here we are, admittedly only a couple of weeks in, but the seas are calm so far. (Knocking computer'll have to do--it's in the spirit of the superstition, so it still counts, right?). Now, Derek is signed up (grudgingly...thanks to his mother...and by the way, you'll thank me later, so you're welcome, my dear!) to take both the free ACT and SAT practice tests in the next few weeks. And if I had to guess, I suspect that might be the catalyst begin to get very real, very quickly after that. At least MY school visitation duties are D-O-N-E for another I get a gold star, or what? (Honestly, I'd settle for some chocolate...) Ready? Let's do this!

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