Another update...

I've been feeling a little sad, so I thought an easy remedy (or not, who knows) would be to enter a post here.

I am still engaged, Canada Man has moved in, we are doing the paperwork then ceremony very soon. I am very happy about that. And I know, I know, I said it would be in the summer, but the recession happened, and well, just get over it. We're adults with lots of time.

Alex is still at B-school. It's been a rough three years. Would I do it all over again? I do not know.

The first year, A was bullied by his roommate. The bullying consisted of A being locked out of his room during study hours, A being told he "doesn't belong here" (at the B school, apparently, because he was not as financially well-off as the roommate), and finally the roommate ramming an oar into my son's back. That was the last straw. I photographed it and showed it to the Head Dean. My son was promptly moved away from the roommate and into his own dorm room. All the while, the school administration emphasized how "delicate" the matter was, and how they needed to communicate the matter to the roommate's parents who pay full tuition, and who generously endow the school. "Ms. Maitresse, it is a very delicate matter, and I hope you will allow us to handle the matter at our pace." Apparently, physical violence does not mitigate the "delicateness" of dealing with Wealthies. It took seven months of complaints for the school to allow my son to move away from the bully.

The second major problem was a French teacher assessing A's French abilities as being "equivalent to a First Year student." When I requested that A re-take the French placement test, and explained that he was likely tired when he took the placement test. He had taken four or five that day. B-School declined his re-taking the test. I invited the B-School French teacher (who is American) to discuss A's placement with A's previous French teacher (who is French). The B-School teacher declined. A studied Mandarin (Chinese) that year.

The following year, A applied again for French studies, and was placed in the 5th-year French studies level. Nothing had changed during the Mandarin studies year. He simply re-applied, was assigned a different language evaluator, and was placed in the French course of his choosing. This year, A is studying AP French.

Junior and Senior (this) year at B-School. Oh, where do I begin. When the Head College Counselor informed us that "homeschooling studies don't count" in the eyes of American universities? (of course, I sent the CC office the college survey info that you can find on the right here on my blog). Or when the college counselor informed us that A had to take the SAT last January, when A was a Junior and when A wasn't yet ready to take it, "because all the other students have, and [my] son will be left behind"? (I informed the college counselor that I never took the SATs myself and was admitted to the University of Miami, and that I thought A should take the SATs when he's ready. There was a lot of back-and-forth on this). Or when the college counselor completely ignored A's interests (Photography, International Studies and Sciences) and suggested that he "should attend that college on Staten Island" because compared to the other students at the B-School, his scores don't stand a chance for placement at USC, NYU or any other competitive undergraduate college. Gotta love when the college counselor really doesn't believe in your kid. (On this note, we have yet to see where A will wind up.)

American boarding schools, I have found, prefer that parents stay very very far away from their students' affairs at their institutions. Unless you have lots of cash.

My boss at the Network has also been incredibly difficult.

I long for the days when I could blog all day and sit with A and help him with his studies and do our little Bohemian activities like knitting in the East Village together. And worry less about things.

On a positive note, A spent the past summer in using his B-School science scholarship funds in northern Ethiopia, photo-documenting and videotaping physicians and patients at a cluster of malaria clinics. His photographs gained him admission as an intern to the International Center of Photography in New York this year. He's enormously pleased with this bit of personal achievement, and I am very happy for him.

Oh, A also won a playwrighting award. Stephen Sondheim's signature appears right on the award certificate. A got some cash out of it, too. Woot!

Anyway, how are all of you?


L said...

Well, hello! So happy to hear from you!

We're all over the place...Sarabelle is in Australia boarding with friends completing year 11; Grice is a freshman in a brand new collegiate high school here in SW FL, and if she stays on track (Honor Roll so far) she'll graduate with a full Associates. Still homeschooling Elle. Still moving around. Still mostly single parenting it with Jorge working on the east coast (but he's working, so, hey, gotta be glad about that, right?) Still posting over at Schola...

Welcome back!

la Maitresse said...

So glad you were able to arrive at a decision that works for you and Sarabelle! Awesome about Grice and good that Elle is still on the h-schooling track (obviously, it will help her later on).

Need more Schola! :D

Heidicrafts said...

Homeschooling only myself now, but Gonzo (13,8th) and Ganoush (10,5th) are doing well. Not as much time for art, as I'm busy with Scouting and coaching MathCounts. With my husband, we are active in Scottish heritage, various bands, and ham radio.

We had the shared living parts of the house painted this month and are moving our stuff back in with thoughtfulness.

Our church flooded in 2008 and that brought great upheaval. I appointed myself church historian and photographed the restoration process. A growing congregation is currently renting the building for two years while we share services with another small congregation.

Thanks for the update - your adventures are still in my thoughts.

Becky said...

What a wonderful surprise! Though I wish the news of A's school experience was happier. Not only do the schools want the parents to stay away, but I'd bet too that the parents are more than happy to comply, dropping Junior off on their way to Biarritz (does anyone still go to Biarritz?). But you gave him such a strong foundation that despite the setbacks he'll rise above them to succeed.

All is well here. Kids are growing like weeds, now in 7th grade, 5th grade, and 4th grade. The eldest is a keen birder and very clever with her hands, and still loves history; all three are keen curlers (ask Canada Man...), and while I still don't understand the sport, I know enough that my kids are good at it!

Just got back from a visit to NYC where it was wonderful to see my parents but would have been better if they were healthier. Am headed back, alone, in 10 days, to help look after them...

Congratulations on the new job(less) opportunity -- I know you'll make the most of it! And congratulations too on the upcoming ceremony, whenever it may be : ).

la Maitresse said...

Heidicrafts -- soo good to hear from you! Scouting and coaching in Math sounds very intense...glad your hubby and young'uns are doing well. Still doing ham radio, eh? ;)

Becky...Amazing re: the pennies by the pier! And hey, I totally know what curling is! Wishing your parents some moments of good health.

Rebel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
la Maitresse said...

Yay! I'll search for you on FB. I am the pair of espresso cups.

Heidicrafts said...

Becky - we loved watching curling in the last Olympics, and found curling for our Wii game system.

La Mai - when the floods hit, hubby was on the air 80 hours that week. First with water level reports, planning, and weather spotting (we had 5 inches of rain the day before the crest, when the Cedar had already left the banks), then with back-up communications at two shelters, two hospitals, police, and other general locations. One shelter had to relocate and one hospital had to evacuate. And yet, no deaths directly attributed to the floods. Over 100 hams in our county gave service that week.

la Maitresse said...

Wow. Amazing work. Well done!