Sunday, August 24, 2014

Unschool High School

Here is one example of how we plan to homeschool middle school and high school.  A few months ago I saw a class I thought the girls might be interested in at Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven.  It was Metalsmithing and Jewelry Making for kids in grades 8+.  Grace was interested and signed up along with two of her friends.  This class was an intensive class, meeting for 5 days from 1:30 to 5:00.  This is a 17.5 hour class, which I rounded up to 18 hours.    Some homeschoolers count travel time.  Generally I do not.  I use the car time to pad our book list with all the audiobooks we listen to in our travels.  I am careful not to double dip on our time.  That would not be fair.  

Here are the requirements for Danbury, not the town I live in.  I use this simply because they summarized the information in a very succinct way.  Google graduation requirements and see how many convoluted explanations you receive.  I spent 15 minutes totaling up the credit hours on the State of Connecticut’s pdf for graduation requirements as of 2020 and I could not make them total 25. 
Credit total 21
Four (4) credits English 
Three (3) credits Science (must include Biology and Chemistry)
Three (3) credits math (must include Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II or statistics.  We are working on algebra I with Teaching Textbooks now).
Three and a half (3.5) credits Social Studies (World Studies, Modern World Studies, US History, Civics (We will begin Ancient History in two weeks).
One (1) credit Physical Education (This will be met this year with Horseback Riding.  Per Lee Binz, participation in a sport constitutes one credit).
One half (.5) credit Health
One (1) credit Business, Consumer Science, Technology
One (1) credit World Language (I am counting ASL I as pre-high school credit and ASL II as 9th grade credit meeting this credit requirement.  Should Grace narrow down a school that requires a romance language, she will have time to fulfill this towards the end of her high school experience)
One (1) credit Art, Music, Communication (Will be met with piano instruction.  Additional credit will be met in Fine Arts, which could be used as an elective.)
Three (3) credits of Electives
*I consider a credit hour 120 hours worth of grade level work.

Grace’s summer art class was grade level and it filled 18 hours towards her 120 hours that must be completed over 4 years.  We tagged a family field trip to Sculture Grounds in Old Lyme (not including travel time) and that added another hour.  She is well on her way to completing 1/4 of her fine art credit before our first official day of "school".   

That is how we are going to unschool our way through high school as much as possible.  


Sandra said...

Interestingly that's similar to how I used to homeschool. I'd keep a rough record of what we did most days. Then ever now and again I'd read through my records and spot areas we hadn't worked on that I thought we should or that I thought my oldest might enjoy. As more kids came along that sort of went out the window and I got more structured - which also suited my oldest. Now that the number of children I'm dealing with is diminishing I'm moving back towards that style again. Interestingly at a time when "everyone" thinks I should be getting more structured because "it's high school". Sculpture is one of my favourite art forms. Love Grace's work - especially the bracelet. I think it is the combination of twists and curves.

Jessica said...

I really like her bracelet too! I'm lucky she lets me wear it whenever I want. It always makes me chuckle when I read negative articles about unschooling and the author assumes that parents are hands-off when in fact, there are days I wish for a boxed curriculum so I did not have to work so hard! I keep my binder, log our hours and like you, periodically check on each subject area to see where we are short. I am constantly looking for educational opportunities for the girls and sometimes have to push them out of their comfort zones (this class was not one Grace would have asked for). High School does elicit many comments about structure and classes and credits and questions about how I am going to do it from home, but my girls have never really learned at home. Sure, we are at home sometimes, but we are always out and about taking classes here and there and there is no reason for this to end just because it is 9th grade. I just have to be vigilant about making sure the classes we take are on grade level.

Cassie said...

I loved this post.

This is very similar to how we are going to approach our homeschool "high school" years too. My teen daughter has defined areas of interests she has been pursuing for some time now and plans to develop her skills further with daily practice as well as seek out mentorship and/or apprenticeship in these areas. She also plans focus her attention to more academic subjects like as Spanish, reading, writing, and maths. In addition, she will be taking dance classes, continue her piano studies, continue teaching piano as well as volunteering.

Daily, I record everything she has accomplished in a journal (and have been encouraging my daughter to write in there as well) At the end of the day, to organize it all, I type in all the journal notes into OneNote. Here in NJ, there are no homeschool requirements but I still want to keep careful records should my daughter need them later on.

I realize it takes a huge leap of faith (at leas for me it does) to approach the high school years this way but it feels right for us and I think my daughter will walk away from these years with a good sense of what she wants to do in the next chapter of her life.

All the best to you in the coming year.


Karen said...

I love the way you do this. For most classes, the ones that we have a 'book' the credit is just issued but for things like this I love doing it this way. Just keep a running total of it all. I love the jewelry she made too! Just beautiful.

Jessica said...

I completely understand the leap of faith, especially when I know other teens are doing lots of bookwork. We still have some structures lessons, like history and science but when I can, I want to provide my girls with real-life hand-on experiences. CT is much like NJ, is that they are both great states to homeschool!

Jessica said...

Do you blog?

Jessica said...

I love that we can mix how we give credit. For us piano/horseback riding/history/math are all one credit. Science may be, but I am not sure yet. Since it is not high school level, I have to see if I can supplement it with enough to make it count. Like Cassie mentioned above, I am so grateful to live in non-restrictive states, where we can make homeschooling fit our individual families!

Cassie said...

I don't blog publicly but I will be keeping a private blog for the high school years to document accomplishments, academics, piano performances, book lists, writing samples, volunteer work, paid employment, etc.

I am so, so grateful to live in such a relaxed homeschool state. It allows my girls the freedom and flexibility to pursue their individual educational experience, which for each them looks very, very different.

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I talked over Starbucks about her yearly plans and goals. She came up with a pretty long list of things she would like to accomplish this year but only one involved textbooks and/or lessons: maths. She views it as the one necessary evil on her list and prefers to just get it done. We're using TT for that. Other than maths, we're taking an organic approach to accomplish her goals. For us, that will also involve a lot of real world, hands-on experience, with a lot of legwork on my part. I am really looking forward to seeing how it all turns out!

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