Sunday, December 04, 2005

Enrichment classes

I was contemplating my son's testing for the FOCUS program at his school and it made me think of the programs I was in while I was in elementary/high school (there was no middle school in my area at that point). I wasn't put in the accelerated program until 7th grade. All of my teachers, though, at that point agreed I should have been in much sooner. I was bored more often than not in my classes and when I was younger I would disrupt my class (not intentionally) by finishing work quickly and then wandering.

So it wasn't a surprise to my parents when a new program came out when I was in 10th grade that I jumped on. Fernbank Science Center had an experimental program that was for 10th-12th graders. You attended school at the science center for half day, then the remainder of the day was at Avondale High School.

We selected two classes for the science center to take. I took Astronomy and Computers the first quarter and Chemistry and Computers the second quarter. I didn't go back the 3rd because I thought I wanted to get back to my home school. I regret that part now, for a variety of reasons. I was also asked at the end of it if I would consider an M to M transfer (Majority to Minority) to stay at Avondale. Even if I didn't continue with the Fernbank program, I should have with that. I had more friends at Avondale than I did at Stone Mountain. Ah well, I survived and continued on.

Anyway, the Fernbank program was fantastic. I was exposed to some great teachers and opportunities that I'm very thankful for. With my Astronomy teacher we did more than just study the stars and their placements, we went out to the guidestones in Elberton, GA and studied their layout and how accurate they were. That was an excellent field trip and we all had fun with it.

My chemistry/computer professor introduced me to the computers at Georgia Tech. Now THAT was a blast for a 10th grader, I assure you. A challenge as well as I was expected to do more than just play on the systems. I was creating programs on the Tech computers and turning them in as homework.

I realize that the FOCUS program isn't anything like what I had, but it's aim is the same. To stimulate my son's mind and help him enjoy learning and remain challenged. I'm looking forward to seeing what they end up doing.

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