Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Pursuits: Year Round Homeschooling

by Amy Cortez, Editor Eclectic Telegraph

Summer. When I was a kid Summer meant watermelons and fireflies, lazy days with best friends. Summer now means a lot of research to find resources and materials for our next year homeschooling.

Summer also now means that I get a two week vacation while my student goes to study something totally brain-melting at Purdue University.

Year round homeschooling as a single mom with a high energy gifted kid can be rewarding and draining. Over the last several years, we have declared two weeks of summer our separate vacation time.

My student feeds his brain, I paint my toenails.

The Gifted Education Resource Institute (GERI) at Purdue University offers some Awesome opportunities for the gifted and talented student so motivated to continue schooling over the Summer months. For the teen, GERI offers residential programs where for the last three or four years my student has gone and has made friends from Argentina, Greece, Korea, Las Vegas, Michigan, Colorado. These friendships really seem to last and my student attributes that to the idea that these guys and gals are "like him". They also seem to enjoy classes that definitely don't send the brain on vacation.

The folks that are involved in this program really seem to know how to engage these kinds of students and each year has been a totally positive experience for my student. My student's goal this year was to rule out fields he doesn't want to go into - an admirable intention I thought:

Explore the rapidly-evolving science of genetics. Topics in this course will include genetic therapy, the debate over genetically-modified foods, ethics and issues in research, and career options in bioengineering and genetic science. Applications for healthcare, agriculture, and technology will be discussed and utilized for a final project.

Physical Chemistry
Come explore the world of physical chemistry including the kinetic theory of gases, statistical thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, atomic and molecular structure, ionic phases, and more. Plan on conducting many hands-on experiments to solve real world problems!

The student is paired with another as a roommate and they live for two weeks in the dorms at Purdue. Each year my student has had the opportunity to share a dorm room with a student from Korea. There are organized dances, expeditions to Chicago to the Science Museums, or to a water park. There are pick up soccer games every night from what I could tell.

Each student is responsible for getting to class on time and there are morning and afternoon classes. The day starts at 7AM and according to my student didn't end until well after "lights-out" at 11PM. The work was interesting and engaging and so was the conversation and companionship.

If you are interested in the summer residential program at Purdue:

Summer Residential Program
GERI Main Office 765-494-7243
Fax 765-496-2706
Beering hall, Room 5108A