Homeschooling and Dual Enrollment, Part One....or "I wanna be a textbook publisher!"
This fall marked a brand new era of education for our family as our oldest son is now 16, the minimum age you must be in North Carolina to participate in a dual enrollment program at your local community college. He had been practically counting the days through the whole of last year until he could take part in what he views as a true "rite of passage." Something about taking courses with college students at a real live institution of higher learning has been big on DS's bucket list for some time now.
I think it's kind of cute actually. I mean, this kid who has been homeschooled from the beginning (except for a not-completely-successful year of private school during middle school) is truly pumped about the whole textbook/scheduled classes/papers/exams thing. Go figure.
But the process has not been without disappointment. The two classes he originally wanted to sign up for were full. (Dual enrollees must wait until all college-level students have registered before they can be slotted in.) So it was a hoot looking through the available course list with him and hearing him give me the rundown of why he would or wouldn't want to take everything from air conditioning maintenance to advanced poetry. He finally settled on "Introduction to Marketing" as his inaugural intro to college, and I was quite relieved, actually, because as a marketing minor in college, this might be something I can actually help him with (as opposed to the two computer programming courses he originally had his heart set on).
So with dual enrollment, the courses are paid for, but the textbooks...now THAT'S another story altogether. Although I had heard the term "sticker shock" in a vague, idiomatic way, I can now say without a doubt that I have experienced the phenomenon for myself. When we surveyed the lines of textbooks in the bookstore, I was feeling quite thrilled to see that a used version of his text was available...until I saw the sticker price. A-hundred-and-freakin'-thirty dollars????!!!! For a USED paperback textbook??!!! Are they serious???!!! PLEASE someone tell me where all that excess money is going (and for gods sake lie to me and tell me it is going to benefit some orphanage in Russia)!!!
The only alleviation of the severe hand tremors caused by swiping my credit card in that store, was watching ds grow two full inches as he carried his first-ever textbook under his arm out the door, as if he already blended in with the other students on the sidewalk. Having never really had that "first day of kindergarten" experience with him, I was pretty sure I was getting the gist of it - - just a few years late.
Class starts Monday and I'll admit I'm devilishly eager to see if his enthusiasm lasts past the first 2-hour lecture and the sight of the semester's syllabus. I'm thinking my longtime homeschooler might be experiencing his own version of "sticker shock" right about then......