If you had the chance to go back and do high school over again how would you change it? If you were freed from the restrictions of spending your day inside a brick building, what would you do? If you had no tests, no midterms, no official requirements, what would you learn?
Honestly, if I had the whole world open to me at 14, I’m not sure where I would begin. It is a pretty big world out there and the amount of information contained within it is staggering. We talk about college in our house. It is expected that each of the girls will go on to learn a skill, obtain a degree, or learn a trade that will afford them financial independence. If this is a goal, then colleges do have basic guidelines that they are looking to see on a transcript.
This is how we will structure our “high school” experience. Where did the term “high school” come from anyway? I wish there was a way to avoid using that term for the next four years because it conveys a very different experience than the one we are having.
We will approach the next four years with the intent to provide an equivalent education in the following areas:
Math - 4 credits*
Language Arts - 4 credits
World History - 1 credit
US History - 1 credit
Foreign Language - 3+ credits
Science - 3 credits
Fine Arts - 1 credit
Technology - 1 credit
P.E - 1 credit
Government - 1 credit
Economics - 1 credit
Electives - 5+ credits
* we are using Carnegie Credit Hours (120hrs=1credit) and/or content based credit (Teaching Textbooks Algebra=1 credit)
Now throw out required reading lists. Throw out boring old textbooks. Throw out teaching to the test. Throw out moving from class to class when the bell rings. Toss away all your restrictions and look at what is around you. How can you obtain equivalency in the community, in the “real world”? How can you match your talents, your interests, your passions to the above list?
This is what we will be figuring out as we head into the next 4 to 6 years of our homeschooling experience. I began this adventure with a 2nd grader who is now finishing up her 6th grade year. My 4th grader joined us a bit later, and she is now finishing up her 8th grade year. Things look much different now than they did 4 years ago. As I look back through this blog and read the posts about learning about water lilies during our botany study, watching and reading Linnea in Monet’s Garden, and combining this with a trip to see his collection at The Wadsworth in Hartford, I want to commit wholeheartedly to this way of learning. The term “high school” seems to make us homeschooling parents lose our way, change our philosophy, and start teaching to the test. College acceptance being the ultimate passing grade.
I want to stay true to our way of learning, even if it means that now we have to incorporate some more traditional types of work into our day. The beauty is that what we are using (Wordly Wise) is because Grace wants to be fluent in ASL and needs to increase her vocabulary. There is a purpose to what we do. They may not love Writing Strands, but Lilah sees how it helps her grow in her craft, which is vital to being an entrepreneur. I have always been very intentional about choosing what we learn and how we learn it and I want to stay true to that.
I think today I may brew a second cup of coffee and pull out my three blog books, covering the early years and make a list of my favorite learning experiences to use as models and reminders. We have had so many.
Books I have read and recommend: Grace Llewellyn’s Gorilla Learning and The Teenage Liberation Handbook, Blake Bowles’ Better Than College, Barbara Edtl Shelton’s Senior High A Home Designed Form+U+La.