Oh No! It’s Course Selection Time!

On Friday both of my children brought home course selection packets for next year. I can’t believe we are already considering the 2012-13 school year, when this one isn’t even halfway done.  It seems that time is just flying by! In September my daughter will be in  her Junior year and my son will be a Freshman. Next year they will share the same school bus again-it will be a reunion of most of the kids who were on the elementary school bus- minus those who have already started college. Crazy!

Two years ago, I was unfamiliar with the high school and a little intimidated by the number of choices offered. Now I have a better understanding of how the  curriculum works and what the most reasonable options are. My daughter is excited to help her brother pick out his classes, offering a load of advice which no one could pass on to her when she was at that stage. It is a humbling moment as a parent when you look back, wishing you could have guided your child differently- if only you knew then what you know now.

As we study the curriculum guide together, my daughter points out that they always make the classes sound better on paper. This means they either seem harder than they really are, or more interesting than they turn out to be.

My regret for her is that we didn’t push her to take enriched biology. Our rationale was that we didn’t want her to become overwhelmed with work since she was already taking  advanced English, social studies and math. What we didn’t take into account was that the regular science class would be boring.  This year she is taking advanced placement world history, which she loves but finds very demanding. It was the right option for her, though, and leaves the door open for more challenging classes next year.

As I look at my son’s class list I want to give him more knowledgable advice than I gave her. He is  lucky to have an older sibling to help us through the process. It seems that so much pressure is put on course selection- as if the rest of his life depends on it.  I didn’t have to map my life out when I was 14. Of course, I changed majors twice, but was that really a big deal?

What my daughter chooses over the next two years will have a big impact on what she studies in college.  She feels the weight of these classes on her shoulders. I try to ease the burden by laying out the requirements of the next two years in a scheduled format. Mapping her courses out by the number of periods in the day greatly simplified her picture of things. Once we wrote down what she knew she would take, she realized that there were only 2-3 options to choose from and the task didn’t seem so overwhelming. Sometimes the fewer choices, the better. We also came up with a plan to allow her to take AP Biology in twelfth grade, alleviating our guilt over the earlier mistake.

In the meantime, I will be attending some meetings with my son to better inform us about his next 4 years. At least this time I have some experience under my belt and I know that if we run into problems, we can always find solutions. This second time around the course selection process seems much less daunting.  

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stmarco
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 14:52:15

    Nice that the younger sibling can benefit from an older one’s experiences gained. In the end, he of course will have to choose his own path, and might even enjoy a class that his sister didn’t! Both in high school next year? Yikes!

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    • themiddlegeneration
      Jan 10, 2012 @ 08:52:31

      Tonight we are going to an open house for a smaller interactive school within the school system. Not sure if we will do it, but exploring options. That’s all we can do- try to inform ourselves to make the best decisions.

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  2. Susan
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 23:32:33

    What excellent timing – my oldest (8th grade) brought home her high school catalog this week, and I have absolutely no idea what she should do (thank goodness for guidance counselors!). I was thinking that I will be able to help my second child a lot more. My daughter doesn’t have any close friends in 9th grade, and this is the first year of the 4 Academies at Albany High, so it’s hard to get any real feedback. The courses all sound interesting, but it would be good to get the scuttlebutt of which ones really are.

    It sounds like your daughter took World History AP in her sophmore year? Sophia has the chance to take it in 9th grade and she meets the prerequisites, but I don’t know about taking an AP class so early. (I know the school talked about eliminating AP classes for 9th graders, but I guess it didn’t go through.) Social Studies is her favorite subject and, like you said, it gives her more options later in her high school career, but I’m still nervous. There will already be all the stress from starting a new school, and I hear from parents that the work is a lot more rigorous in high school. Any thoughts? Is your daughter glad she is taking the course, or is she wishing she had taken a different one?

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  3. themiddlegeneration
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 08:54:56

    I can see you understand how I felt 2 years ago. It does seem a bit overwhelming. It is easier the second time around, but since each kid is different, it means you probably different choices for each. Good luck with the process!

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