I think all this reflection lately has been brought on by the sheer amount of planning required for this upcoming year. I need to know for sure and certain that I can homeschool high school successfully. This book has made all the difference.
I am glad I gave myself the summer to figure things out. I know what I have, what I need, and what I need to do to keep accurate records. Keep in mind, over the course of the past 4 years I have kept no records. Other than my blog and my daily notebook, there have been no book logs, no math tests, no book reports and no standardized tests. I don’t believe in any of these. I do have journals filled with essays, sketchbooks filled with poetry, daily conversations about characters found in books we read, a child beginning her own business and keeping a ledger to account for the finances, and another daughter who reads science books for fun. I know they are learning.
I don’t think their high school education needs to look like they just did high school at home. That is not how we approached elementary and middle school. I have no intention of printing off our town’s high school requirement and teaching to the same textbooks, requiring the same tests, and the same numbers of homework, volunteer hours and summer projects. That is just not going to happen.
What I have to do is give my children the equivalency of what their peers are learning. They will cover the same subjects: current events, language arts, math, history, science, arts, etc. How we do it is up to us as a family team.
One high school credit is 120 hours if based on time or it can be based on content and be considered a credit when the work is done. We are using a combination of these two recording systems. Math will be done on content. When the book (Pre-Algebra by Holt) is complete, the credit is assigned. Language arts will be determined by hour. Our year runs from June 1 through May 31. Everything we have done this summer counts for 6th and 8th grade.
Even though we took a summer break, Grace will have accrued 20+ hours of music instruction. This counts towards her 120 hours in music. I highlight the hours on my chart each week. We are counting down to zero. I suspect she will surpass 120 hours but she will not earn an extra half credit or credit. She has over 30 hours in art already. Her hours spent in writing group will go towards language arts. She spent 8 1/4 hours volunteering so far, and we listened to three audiobooks. This is just a sampling of the learning that has happened in June and July and much more will take place as we head into August. I firmly believe in the concept that learning is always happening and textbooks represent just way to deliver content.
I have been building Grace’s 8th grade binder. Her high school binder will look exactly the same. This is my test run year. The binder is not complete yet as we are still registering for courses and carefully planning our week. I am sharing this now as a visual model in the event it helps someone who is also researching how to homeschool highschool. Everything is hand written since I find nothing so aggravating as crossed out words on a printed page and I refuse to print copy after copy as I discover the best structure for me.
Each subject area will have its own tab.
Each subject will have basic requirements. This is a place to list things Grace wants to do on her own as well as the books, texts, videos, projects that I will require. So those hours spent reading Apologia Zoology 2 will count towards science even if I don’t “assign it” We just registered for a 6 week Marine Biology course that will add 15 hours to science. We will add in some videos and projects and slowly we build a course. When I receive the course syllabus for Marine Biology, I will record it as I did for the Bible Study class (below) we are taking. This class is 30 weeks and will be counted as a content class. When the year long class ends, credit will be assigned.
Each subject that is hours based will have its own hours chart. Each subject will have a form to record the work done.
There is a scrapbook section where I store letters of recommendation, music programs and certificates.
I don’t want to be faced with a soon-to-graduate teenager and not know for sure and certain that she earned the title of graduate. I certainly don’t want to have to sort through years of work to produce a transcript and backtrack to document how we provided our child with challenging, uniquely tailored, interesting education that will meet the needs of the admission boards of the schools she chooses to apply to.
This binder has become my best buddy. It travels with me. It is what I work on when the girls are busy playing in the pool or riding bikes with their friends.....doing all their summery things! I hope that the effort put into this system pays off in a easy way to calculate credits. I am curious to see if I maintain this system how many hours accumulate, how many documentaries we watch, how many books we read, how many hours of lessons we took, and how many field trips we take.
In order to be successful I have to do better as a parent. I have to be better organized. I have to plan more. Dinners must be made in advance. The girls must partner with me more on household chores. Due to Greg’s hours, the three of us are in this together and together we can make this year really magical. We are still a few weeks away from the official start to our year but I am feeling more and more ready!