Thursday, May 1, 2014

Another high school post...

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.


Mary Prather said...

I think you are very wise, Jess.... I've been thinking a lot about high school, too. Ours will look NOTHING like what people think high school looks like. The seminars presented in our CC Challenge group do "correspond" to credits -- but so loosely. I'm really trusting God with this one and knowing that homeschooling has served us very well so far, and I am hopeful it will serve us through all the way graduation :-)

michelle cooke (previously mouster) said...

googled high school - this is where it originates from "The term "high school" originated in Scotland, with the world's oldest being Edinburgh's Royal High School from 1505.[1][2] The Royal High School was used as a model for the first public high school in the United States, the English High School founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1821."

Karen said...

Jess this is perfect. I wish, as always, we lived near each other so I could bring my planner and pick your brain and plan Keilee's next 4 years right beside you. "Intentional about choosing" I LOVE that. I have all the books you mentioned except for "Better Than College". I will have to find that one.

Jessica said...

One of the first people I met homeschooling was our pharmacist. Her kids participated in CC and when I met her, her son was just accepted to UCLA film school. I think being intentional is the key to homeschooling. If you choose what works best for your children, provide them will opportunities and access to information, and present it in a way that the colleges can understand and use to compare/contrast to more traditionally schooled applicants, there is no reason to doubt that homeschooling to college is not possible!

Jessica said...

Yes! I searched that too after I posted. I wish I could call the next 4 years something other than high school but it is so ingrained in our society and culture that there is just no escaping it. I think I will get sick of saying, "it's not the same as high school." Nothing that we do is the same as what they would do if they were in our local high school. Which is not good or bad, just different, and very hard to understand unless you are exposed to it.

Jessica said...

Better than College is about taking a Gap Year and using it as an investment in yourself before you shell out tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in higher education. I thought is was a fascinating blueprint to how you could approach unschooling high school - similar to Liberation Handbook, but a bit more detailed as to HOW to do it.

firstgood said...

I love this and I do not think it is too soon for us with 7 th grade starting next year. I am a bit of a planner. Thank you so much for sharing.

Jen Dunlap said...

I'm going to check out Better than College as well as the other books you mentioned. Truthfully, just assigning books and checking off boxes is so much easier and "safer", but certainly doesn't give our kids what they (and everyone else!) crave.

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