A Brief Before Feasting


A polydactyl cat at Hemingway’s Estate, much like our Arianrhod whose elaborate toes stun vets who meet her. Photo by Jason Henry for the New York Times

It nears midnight.  Our eldest remaining cat is ill and will soon be passing away just a few weeks on the heels of her brother’s disappearance.  Our house is somber, my partner tense, as he readies himself for the imminent death of his favorite feline companion.  Add to this tension, the house requires a lot of maintenance. The kitchen, which I haven’t had time to reorganize but have wanted to these past few weeks, must be readied for the Thursday (and Friday and Saturday) feasting.  Though we acknowledge the genocidal slaughter of the indigenous peoples year round in our discussions about rights, land use, history, social justice, and more, we don’t celebrate it.  Instead, we focus on the blessings of feast, family, and humility in the face of tempting hubris.

I won’t stand on this soapbox long, there’s something else I wish to discuss, but I will say this: having been a homeless single mother, and for many years after, living in precarious situations where my financial security was frequently uncertain, I remind myself and the rest of my family what it means to appreciate and be grateful for what we have.  This is a time when most of us in the U.S. have an opportunity to reflect on our blessings, acknowledge our struggles, be grateful for what we have, and give what we can to those who have not.

Now.  A different form of solemnity.  What am I doing up now an hour past midnight? (I started this when I got distracted and then went back to my original project.)  I just spent the last two hours working on the transcripts for my friend’s son whom I taught for a few years in Critical Literary Analysis (a.k.a. Reading Selections) and studio art.  It was more work than I realized, and it made me aware of how little I’ve documented of my daughter’s educational journey since we began homeschooling in fourth grade.  Soon, I’ll need to begin the process of creating these transcripts for her own college applications.

The young man in question nears adulthood.  He is in his second year at a community college taking Running Start.  For those outside Washington State, Running Start is a program designed to allow junior and senior level high schoolers to take college courses and simultaneously earn both a high school diploma (not a GED) and an Associates degree.  I followed this same path in high school and loved it.  My daughter is considering it as well.  Running Start pays the course fees, leaving only student fees, books, and supplies for the parents to pay.  This is a boon and a blessing for low-income families and homeschooling families alike.

Students must prove they can test in taking the Compass Test.  I’ll cover this more next week in discussing our College Prep.

For my “nephew,” though, he’s applying to the University of Washington, which requires certain transcripts or their qualitative assessment equivalents.  A quick search on Google for “transcripts” will turn up a variety of images and sites to assist homeschooling families, though my favorite resource for official documentation is the Washington Homeschooling Organization (WHO).  Application deadlines are approaching, and he only just discovered he needs records from his 9th and 10th grade experiences.

WillowBirchLogo3Thus, I have created both a transcript with a summary of grades, courses, and credits earned, and a longer assessment, evaluating his performance in each course he took with me as his instructor.  I even made a simple logo to add to the forms to give it a more official look.  Though I doubt my efforts will impress many registrars, it should provide them with a clear assessment of his skills and the courses he completed.

Homeschoolers walk a fine line, and with those of us who unschool or blend methods of education, it can be difficult to piece apart each learning experience into a single category.

I’ll be touching more on this as we progress toward my daughter’s own transcript requirements, and I’ll share the resources we find along the way.

In the meantime, for those who have the day off, have a Happy Thanksgiving.  For those who do not, I hope you soon find a time to simply enjoy those who love you for a while with good food and joy.



One thought on “A Brief Before Feasting

  1. Pingback: College Prep | Willow and Birch

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