I rarely comment about curriculum until October or so. There is so much buzz on the blogs right now about new texts, new curriculum, and new programming that I have fallen victim to being caught in the current and swept along thinking that everything program we planned would happen and every text I bought would be used. In our home, this is not the case. Often programs are not as great as I thought they looked on paper, books were not used and we tend to fall back on our tried and tested resources that work best for our family.
We will be incorporating some new things into our homeschool this year but I am not sharing them yet. Look for them around October. One thing I do want to share is a book I just finished: Senior High: A Home-Designed Form + U + LA, by Barbara Edtl Shelton. It is just what it claims to be, a formula for homeschooling high school.
This book gave me piece of mind in a way that no other resource has. As I sat with my coffee still warm in my favorite mug and my dog curled at my feet I felt as if God was speaking directly to me telling me that I can see this journey through to completion. What began as a trial basis four years ago has grown into a way of life that we are not ready to abandon because the challenges of homeschooling a teenager seem insurmountable.
The challenges are not insurmountable. In fact, I don’t need to make many changes at all to how we homeschool. What I do need to do is become a much better record keeper. Since the state of Connecticut does not require any mandatory reporting, I have been lax at keeping forms, tallying the number of days we devote to learning, and how many hours we spend on certain subjects. I was always confused by this because if we watch a really great documentary on a Saturday is that a day of learning? If the rest of the day was spent outdoors riding bikes, walking the dog, visiting with friends and family, do I not count the learning that took place? I have always been thankful I do not have to prove 180 days of “schooling” took place, even though I believe our number would be greater.
I have the opportunity to use 8th grade as a test run for the systems I put in place for Grace to homeschool 9th through 12th grade. With the forms that are put forth in this text, I could take that Saturday and count the 2 hours that were spent learning towards a specific content area, like science or social studies. Bike riding could be placed under PE and if the girls were helping to cook a meal, that time would fall under Home Economics. I am working under the premise that 120 hours = one credit. We can meet those hours whenever and wherever we choose.
For fun, I have been keeping records of what we have done just these past few weeks. So far this summer we have 30 hours of art journaling which would be filed under Fine Arts. 60 hours = 1/2 a credit. Pretty Cool. Add to that the time we spent at the Lang Lang performance and West Side Story and the hours add up quickly (I do not count travel time). Each activity is recorded and dated. This I do already, I just used a notebook rather than a specific form for each subject area.
The benefit to this is rather than having a 11th grader who is frantically trying to put together a transcript for the 4 years of high school, I will have proof that the hours for each credit have been met, and in fact, she has met the requirements of each grade level. We will use a college prep high school requirement standard as our spine. I will use a content model for subjects such as math and science (when the course/book is done the credit is issued) and time model for the other areas (when 120 hours are reached, the credit is issued).
The girls will have transcripts may that differ from their schooled peers. Their electives may include things like Bible Study and Meteorology Internship and Cake Decorating, but that is exactly why we are continuing on in this journey, to take advantage of the unique opportunities that come with learning outside of a school system.
This book is a tremendous resource. I have marked it up, emailed parts to Greg for his opinion, and shared it on Instagram. I have read other books on homeschooling high school to educate myself if this is the best choice for our family and for my girls. This book is the best I have read. I know that in the upcoming weeks, as I finalize our plans for the fall, I will come back to the pages I have highlighted with post it tabs over and over again.
I realize that high school is a big deal. I am blessed to know families whose children graduated as homeschoolers and went on to attend colleges such as Amherst College and Smith College (and they never took a formal math class!). I know others who have had sons join the military and others who have become entrepreneurs at a young age. I know that with time and effort and consideration, my daughters can thrive out of school. I hesitate to say “at home” because in this upcoming year our tentative schedule of activities will take us out of the home 3 out of 5 weekdays!
As I develop the forms and put together Grace’s 8th Grade Binder, I will share how to do this in upcoming posts.
**This is NOT an affiliate post. I received no compensation or product for this posting.