Fiona has begun Grade 11 at the big mainstream school in Nelson. Compared to the scheduling chaos of last year, her first year in school, it has been a very smooth start. She likes being back at the routine. She loved being welcomed back by all her friends whom she hadn’t seen over the summer.
She has three Grade 12 courses this semester. It’s too early to be sure, but so far she’s finding herself underchallenged and bored.
Last year was the opposite, easy straight-A’s notwithstanding. She felt stressed and over-extended. I think the over-extended feeling was a combination of lack of social time for relaxation, the massive lifestyle adjustment of attending school for the first time, and keeping up four pretty significant extra-curricular programs (aerial silks, violin, youth choir and dance). This year the culture shock is of starting school is not an issue, the social thing is a little better balanced since she’s spending Saturdays in town, and she’s cut back on her extra-curricular commitments by dropping aerial silks and choir.
She also pulled back a bit on the challenge level at school. She opted for straight Physics 12 rather than Honours Physics 12, because she figured she doesn’t have physical science / applied science career aspirations. Much of the course content is stuff she’s already learned. She’s also taking the combination of PreCalc 12 and Math Topics 12, the enrichment course that pairs nicely with PreCalc. Theoretically the math enrichment will be great for her, but among other things Topics is designed for students with lots of extra-curricular commitments who benefit from doing a lot of their learning through in-class problem-solving rather than study at home. But because Fiona works quite quickly, she’s finding herself with not enough work to fill class time… and as result she has no homework. And then there’s her empty block. She sits around bored, wishing she had work to do. The days are long, with not much learning.
Hopefully things will improve in the next couple of weeks. Presumably the workload will pick up a bit, she’ll encounter some stuff she has to work to learn, hopefully she’ll get a course to fill the spare block. In any case violin and dance will start next week, adding 15 or 20 hours to her week. That will be a help. I really hope she can find the right balance: challenge and interest, but minimal stress.