I am a life learning Mama and this page is where I like to share things that resonate with me in some way along this wonderful life journey we are on ♥

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

High School Years

After my post yesterday about worrying.  A few people have messaged me asking about my son and high school and university entrance.  Samuel was unschooling when he went to the University of the Sunshine Coast Open Day and checked out the ICT Department as his interest has always been in computing and most particularly programming.  They were really lovely there, although a little unused to homeschooling and particularly the fact that Samuel was not enrolled with any type of school and nor was he registered with HEU.  They spoke to him about the Headstart program that is available to Year 11 and 12 students but said that he needed to be enrolled with a school.  http://www.usc.edu.au/study/courses-and-programs/headstart-program-year-11-and-12-students The Headstart program gives teens a chance to try out a couple of Uni papers and go to lectures with the full time students and get a real feel for University and whether it might be something for them later.  If you pass the papers you are guaranteed a place on the full time degree whether you get OPs or complete Year 11 and 12 or not.  Since Samuel did the course they have changed the rules and now you just need to be registered with HEU - so no school enrolment is necessary.  He loved his time there and after having such a bad experience of school it gave him back his confidence and he was able to hang out with others who were as interested in programming as he was!

Unfortunately the degree that Samuel wanted to do was being discontinued so he looked to Brisbane and found a course that really excited him at the University of Queensland.  He decided to stay with Brisbane School of Distance Ed and complete his year 11 and 12 (but you really don't need to do that).  He was enjoying his time with them though and it was his choice completely what he wanted to do.  He had made some friends (which previously he had never had) so for him it was a great experience and although some say that BSDE are inflexible, we managed to muddle along in a way that suited Samuel - he really did kind of just do it his way - but then he always does!  He did not do the full quota of OP's and nor did he get the pre-requisite OP in English that it stipulated for his course but we just put his case forward about his learning difficulty in written English (having been diagnosed with Dysgraphia) but also showing that he had not only a great ability in programming but also a huge passion for the subject - sometimes you just have to speak up for what you want in life and if it has never happened before be the pioneer that makes sure it does!  His results from the Headstart course were a big help on his University application.  He was also able to show other things too that he had done such as gaining first aid certificates when he was in the surf life saving club etc.  You can gain points from things like this and they all go towards what is known as a 'ranking'.  So basically Samuel was offered a place at Uni going in on a ranking rather than an OP score.

There is also another option for those who wish to continue staying out of the system for as long as possible and that is to complete a TPP (Tertiary Preparation Pathway) course http://www.usc.edu.au/study/courses-and-programs/tertiary-preparation-pathway-tpp which if you pass will enable you direct entry onto a degree at the University of Sunshine Coast (and I am sure at other Universities across the country).  There really are so many options that I feel the best thing to do is just let your child follow their interests and see where it lead's them.   Well that has been our experience so far and it seems to have worked.  

For a child who was suspended from every school he went to (except his little primary school in the UK) and was seen as a big problem by many (having been diagnosed with ADHD/ASD/Gifted but with a learning difficulty - Dysgraphia - yep lots of labels that in no way define him!) - he has excelled at home, has kept his self esteem in tact and I have been privileged to spend the years that I have with him on a day to day basis before he flew the nest to go to University.  I am sure others will have different stories but this is a snippet of ours through the high school years - hope it helps lovely people who wanted to know! :D

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