A Place of Growth pt. 1: Class
—by Nathan on May 17, 2013—
I did a blog about the Greenhouse about two years ago, but since I finished my last class Monday and am graduating Saturday, I figured I could write another. That blog was pretty much a nice overview, giving a glimpse into my days and classes. This will be a little more in-depth, with some more details than originally given. Having completed about a year-and-a-half of work since the previous blog, an update seems nice. First, however, a little bit of background.
I've been homeschooled since 1st grade (technically, preschooling was homeschool, but I went to our subdivision's elementary school for kindergarten). Over the years, I've done a bunch of classes and been a part of a few co-ops. One co-op, Greenleaf, was actually a group I was a part of for years before Greenhouse, and a few of my Greenhouse classmates came from here (what is it with homeschoolers and plant-related co-ops? We still get Greenhouse and Greenleaf confused...and then there's the Learning VINE! Wow, we're pretty deep). I started going to Greenhouse in my freshman year, but some of my classmates have been there longer (a LOT longer...like, ten years longer). I've heard it time and time again, and I've said it myself. Greenhouse was the perfect fit for me. The following will be a bit about the classes I took. For fun, I'll even mention a few inside jokes my classmates and I have had. You may not find them funny, but we sure did (those of my friends who read this, feel free to laugh all you want...and I know I won't cover them all, just some of my personal favorites)! Note: For the first three years, we went on Tuesday, but we went on Monday for senior year.
SCIENCE: I mean no offense, but I am not a science person. Hence the reason I mention it first, saving the best for last and all that. While a few of my classmates took biology freshman year, my Greenleaf buddies and I didn't. Instead, we did biology in our own group. That changed sophomore year, as we all did chemistry together. This has since been the case for physics and advanced bio as well. As I said, I am not a science person, but taking it at the Greenhouse has been easy. I've had two teachers: Mrs. Dinsmore for chemistry and physics, and Mrs. Megchelsen for advanced bio, and both have done an excellent job. Here is the mark of a good teacher. Listen to how many times the students go "OH!" in the middle of a class (or "Eureka!" or "MMM!" or whatever your taste in exclamations may be). This has happened to me numerous times in science class. I've gone in confused on a subject, but have left understanding much better (my teachers can whip you, Jay Wile, any day of the week!). Science has been easy to learn because of my teachers. Under their tutelage, I've written lab reports (which I've enjoyed, but my friends have not...to be honest, I mainly liked them because I liked seeing how LONG I could make them, but that's me), presented on diseases, studied/crammed for tests, played games, and learned a whole bunch about the world God has created. It was a very interesting experience. Science may not have been my favorite, but the important thing is that I learned.
Inside Jokes: My friends and I love these. I must admit I'm often the creator, though my friends have had their share of wittiness over the years. Here are a couple of science jokes we refer back to on the occasion:
"Chrrrriiiiiiis?": Ah. Substitute teachers. Pretty forgettable, usually, but not when one of your friends stares at him and says his first name real slowly. Taylor was seeing if he got the name right. He did...and made a joke we have laughed at for over a year. Whenever we mention the substitute teacher, this always comes up, followed by laughter. It even made it into last year's yearbook. Quite the memory.
Electricity puns: No, I was not a part of this. Kidding. While that may not shock you, it may give you a jolt to learn I was not the only perpetrator. If you could conduct a survey, you may find that many of my friends said such puns...even after they got really old. Still, a pun is a pun, and who can't help but laugh at them, no matter how many times you've said them?
HISTORY: There's a lot of history to learned in four years, and we did learn a lot! For the first three years, we were taught both literature and history by Mrs. Gottlieb (who we affectionately call "Mrs. G). However, we switched gears in senior year and got a new teacher, Mr. Parker (who we...well, we never came up with any nicknames for him). No matter what teacher, history has been pretty cool. While my interest in history is not as intense as it used to be, the classes were still memorable. I don't think any of my friends will ever forget Mrs. G's timeline dates. Ah, dates. We learned about twenty a year, one a week. Depending on what we studied (Americans, Ancients, or Christendom), the dates gave a general overview of the period. Oh, we moped and complained about them, especially for quizzes, but of course we were never serious...I don't think. We wrote papers, gave presentations, and read from giant history textbooks. Again, gears switched with Mr. Parker. We read excerpts for him, mainly, but we also watched a lot of videos and listened to some music of the period. As far as teaching styles go, they were really different. Lots of reading for both, but Mr. Parker's class has quite the different feel. Lots of tangents. LOTS of tangents, I mean. Pretty fun, too. Normally, by the end of the day, I'm tired mentally, and it gets harder to pay attention. Not for Mr. Parker's class. While I have complained about homework and tests (no matter the teacher), Mr. Parker always managed to keep us awake and listening (okay, MOST of us awake...). Mrs. G did, too, but I was perkier in her class. And, no matter who I'm with, I can't refrain from making jokes and stuff. That helps. However, these teachers always manage to just needle me back. One example: We had a history test for Mrs. G sophomore year. I jokingly mentioned that, for some reason, I was unable to use my hand that day. Instead of blowing it off or chuckling, and without missing a beat, she told me I could use my feet. Yeah, that's Mrs. G for you. And Mr. Parker does the same, always managing to add his own bit of humor to our jokes. We've teased him about getting us killed because of the "secret" files he made us read. He's teased us about our failed coup d'etat (that's where a leader is overthrown and replaced by another. Lots of U.S. sponsored coups during the Cold War. Pretty cool stuff), cause apparently leaning a chair under the knob of a door that swings OUT doesn't work (that, uh, would've been my fault...or faulty memory). Oh, and he has told us the greatest stories ever. I've learned a lot about history in history, but I think I've mainly learned just how much I enjoy my teachers and how important they are to me.
Inside jokes: The two I've listed here are from Mr. Parker's class (we've probably had some from Mrs. G's class, but these two are the most prominent in my mind...it would be three, but I've mentioned the "Vodka" joke before).
"Can I say...?": Debates. UGH. Every debate I'm in, I lose. Maybe it's my fault. I don't know. So we're doing this debate on energy security for Mr. Parker. Two teams, one arguing for use of violence in security, one for non-violence. I'm on the non-violence team (which, to me, seems the harder of the two sides). I'm being cross-examined by my friend Megan, and I'm just confused (yes, I'm being beat by a girl...shut up). Finally, I look at Mr. Parker and ask "Can I say Jesus?" Like, as an argument. And he starts laughing. I've never asked him WHY he thought it was so funny, but he did. I can't tell if he was thinking (a of me using Jesus as an argument, or (b of me using it as an explicative. Either way, it's a joke our class repeats at times.
The Chair: So Mr. Parker has this chair he sat in and, if the student wanted, he would allow them to sit in for presentations. Usually. But then Rob asked, and Mr. Parker refused him. I don't remember why, but he just said no. To everyone else, he said yes, and Rob was pretty indignant for a little while. Seeing him grumble and throw up his hands was pretty amusing. He got to the point where he said it didn't bother him any longer, but I have my doubts.
LITERATURE: Taught to us all four years by Mrs. G, literature was a really fun. As the name implies, there was a lot of reading. I'm a book fanatic, so while there were books that I may not have enjoyed as much as others, I don't think I ever hated a book that we read in her class. Mrs. G has been the only teacher we had all four years, so the relationship that grew between her and us and a class was incredible. Chatting with her was easy, because she understood us very well. While work was difficult (especially freshman year), work one year served to prepare me the next, especially in preparation for a massive thesis paper/thesis presentation. We did more presentations for her in history, but the literature ones we did were more fun. And we wrote lots of papers for her, which has spawned jokes about us killing trees and whatnot. She was a big assist in helping me manage my time, with small time management assignments such as making schedules and such. And who could forget notebook checks? We seem to groan a lot in her class, but we like to playfully tease. Notebook checks could be the bane of my existence, because they ALWAYS came up so suddenly! Though not (usually) difficult, they did make me slightly paranoid. What if I forgot a quote? Or don't know my vocab? Shiver! Speaking of vocab, Mrs. G also helped me discover a whole bunch new words in my reading that I have since used in my writing. Out of all the classes, this has been my absolute favorite. Yes, a lot of it is because I'm a real geek when it comes to reading and writing, and I can't stress enough that reading and writing was the main focus on this class. But I've also seen myself and my classmates grow. I've grown more comfortable speaking in front of people. I've become more analytical in both my reading and writing. It's been really cool in seeing how we've all changed over the high school years, and I thank my teachers for a lot of that.
Inside jokes: Like with the others, I am listing two of my favorites. I know there are plenty, but these are two I've really liked.
Red pens: If there was ever a real Room 101 (1984 reference...not explaining...Google it), mine would be full of papers that needed to be written on with red pens. Whenever we did a quiz or test, Mrs. G would pass the red pen bucket around. Again, we'd groan (we do that a lot, don't we?) and reluctantly seal our fates. Every mark made was like a wound. Agonizing torture! Not really, but it was always great to see other people's reactions and to see Mrs. G's reactions to our "complaining."
"What's an anarchist?": In junior year, I did a book project on G.K. Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday," one of the best books ever. It's about anarchists. I don't know who started it, but someone asked me what anarchist was. That three-worded question has since become a thorn in my side as my friends ask me over and over. Not that I mind, so I always answer with a "Google it!" or something like that. I don't think anybody has...Googled it, I mean. And I won't answer it here. So don't ask.
There's a little (ha, little) bit of information about my classes, who teaches them, and why they were so much fun. I hope to post another (or a couple) blog (or blogs) soon, so to give a further glimpse into my world at Greenhouse.