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Posts tagged with: dual enrollment

Homeschool again and then…a twin update

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This is more of a personal update but it does have financial implications.

History Buff arrived in Georgia in the wee hours this past Sunday morning. He drove the whole way without taillights and brought with him all his early belongings packed into a tiny little car. Frankly, it reminded me a lot of the first day he arrived on my doorstop.

Trash bags full of clothes, a few books and some electronics…that’s all he had/has. He’s moved on to the couch and we are keeping an eye out for a bed. And he’s starting to look for a full time job.

Why He Moved Out

As many of you know, History Buff decided to move out and dropped out of school in December, 2016. He was almost halfway through with his senior year, and had already applied for colleges. But there was a lot of upheaval.

  • He had just turned 18 and I think there was some insecurity regarding his status in the family. (There are lots of horror stories about foster/adoptive kids and what happens when they reach 18.)
  • His birth father moved away after being the only consistent adult in his life for the past 18 years. (The twins moved in with me a couple of weeks before their 13th birthday.)
  • We were struggling financially, living in the camper, on foodstamps. Life was hard.
  • There was a girl. I later learned that the turning point for him was when I grounded him from his phone because of failure to complete schoolwork. He was afraid to lose connection with this particular girl.
  • A friend had indicated to him that he if he moved out (because he was angry with me) that his family would take him in. That was false and he wasn’t even able to stay a night with said friend, but that conversation gave him bravery and shame kept him from turning around quickly.

I’m sure there were other things, but these are the things he has mentioned as we have repaired our relationship and worked through the details of him coming home. In the end, he has learned that adulting is hard. Especially with no high school diploma or equivalent, specialty skills or trade and all the while attempting to take care of others.

The Plan Going Forward

History Buff has already returned to school work. We are starting with the basics – math, science, history and literature. I have registered with the state as a homeschooler of one child again. And he will begin working as soon as he can get a job. My goal is that he find one with regular hours, I think he needs that.

He will enroll as a dual enrolled homeschool student at a local college for the Spring semester. And is prepping for the placement tests now. I have already spoken with the director of admissions and explained the situation. His age (20 next month) will not prevent him from taking advantage of the state funded dual enrollment program for high school students, and he will be able to complete his senior year while getting college credits like Sea Cadet did.

Thankfully, I did not get rid of most of the high school curriculum I had for homeschooling when I did my purge this past spring. Figured it might come in handy as resources for Gymnast and Princess.

Essentially this final year of high school for History Buff will cost me nothing. And he will hopefully finish with close to 30 years of college credit. Now he’s just got to decide what he wants to pursue.

There will definitely be some growing pains for all of us. But History Buff is committed to getting back on track and I am committed to supporting him in doing so.


The Twins

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History Buff (L) and Sea Cadet (R)

History Buff (L) and Sea Cadet (R)

On my last post, several people asked about the twins and their plans.  Since we have been discussing that ad nauseum around here, it’s an easy post to write. The twins just completed their junior year of high school.  (For those that haven’t followed our story, just a little background.  The twins were placed with me when they were 12 years old as foster kids.  When it was determined that they couldn’t go home, I adopted them at the age of 15th.  They will be 18 this fall.  Sea Cadet is older by 20 minutes and he chose to be homeschooled beginning his freshman year of high school.  History Buff was pulled from public schools at the end of the first semester of his freshman year after not making the grades (he and I had an agreement based on grade expectations.)  History Buff’s first day at our homeschool co op – “my best school day ever!”)

History Buff is on track to graduate next year, and is college bound but he is very unsure of what he wants to do or study or even where he wants to go.  So for his senior year of high school, he will be dual enrolled at a local community college.  This will allow him to finish his high school credits and get some college credits simultaneously.  He has applied and must complete the English and Math Virginia Placement Test before he can enroll in classes.  Other than that, all school decisions are up in the air.  He would really like to move to Austin, TX where most of my family lives for college, but I have put my foot down on out of state tuition costs, so we are considering a gap year for him to move there, get acclimated, a job, etc. and then enroll at a local college.  But truly, all up in the air.  We will visit some VA schools this summer, and possibly do a second year at the community college.

This summer he is working two jobs.  He continues to work at the local movie theater, mostly because he loves the benefits

Sea Cadet, History Buff and Princess

Sea Cadet, History Buff and Princess

it gives his social life with free movies and discounted snacks.  He also works at a sub shop which was a job he was given by a family friend and he loves it.  He’s enjoying some free time from school, dating and hanging with his friends while he swims an hour a day for swim team and is working out three times a week with a personal trainer.

We’ve just modified his money plan.  Since the twins began working, they have been required to save 50% of each paycheck for college, 25% is used for bills (car insurance, gas, cell phone and clothes/hygiene) and 25% spending money.  He has done great, and learned some hard lessons.  I am so proud of him.  In the last month, we changed his plan to this: 25% college savings, 25% personal savings, 50% bills and spending.  We did this to give him a bit more control over his “free” money and let him save some money for car repairs or a newer car whichever comes first as we have had a few scares with his car.

Sea Cadet will graduate in two years.  We knew going into high school that he had some challenges with education and at the end of the first semester decided to slow down a bit to give him a chance for a much more successful high school career.  In homeschool, it’s called a super senior year.  (Before this becomes a discussion, he has what is called an ISP through the public schools which is evaluated every year, even though we homeschool.  And when he was in public school he had services in the classroom.  Slowing down was just what he has needed and he has been very successful.  When the twins were placed with me in 7th grade, Sea Cadet tested at a 3rd/4th grade level, again a public school administered test.)  He will receive a general diploma when he graduates and will have met all VA state requirements to do so.

Back to Sea Cadet’s plans, he has two more years of high school to complete.  He will also be dual enrolling this fall, but since he has a very strong interest in the medical field, he will be going into a two year EMS program at the local

Sea Cadet at lakehouse

Sea Cadet at lakehouse

community college.  He has already passed the English portion of the VPT, and will take the math portion this week.  We are doing this for two reasons: 1) it will give him a chance to try out college with home support and 2) if he completes the program and can pass the certifications he will have a career option available immediately just in case he decides college is not for him.  His dream is to be a flight nurse in the military, so we think this is a good way to see if that is a good career path for him.

He is also working two jobs this summer.  He continues to work at the movie theater with his twin brother, but he will also be away for 5 weeks this summer, working as a junior camp counselor at the Christian summer camp they have attended the last 4 summers.   He has completed his drivers ed course, but does not seem to be in a rush to get his drivers license especially when he considers the cost of insurance.  Sea Cadet continues to save 50% of every check for college and has done great with that as well.

I could not be more proud of the twins.  They are great young men, responsible, polite and really working hard to make good life choices.  I am so proud to call each of them my son.

Twins and friends at homeschool graduation event

Twins and friends at homeschool graduation event

 

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