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re: Help me think this through

Help me think this through

Hi all,

I am homeschooling just one child. He’s 13 (will be 14 in a few weeks) & in 8th grade.

I’m looking ahead to high school & I could use some advice/perspective/wisdom.

A little background...my son was always homeschooled, then went to public school for three years, and now is back to homeschooling for the long haul. I know some people homeschool for academic reasons (which we do too), but our main purpose in returning was that my son had completely lost his zest for learning and was just exasperated by the workload. He was on honor roll in PS, but just hated school.

I want his education to be more tailored to the things he wants to really pursue & for him to have a love for learning & not feel it’s something you have to hate (for example, he’s been practicing piano as I type for over an hour - I love that he has the freedom to do that!).

So.. my problem is, in looking at next year and planning, it all feels SO academic and leaves little room for focusing on the things he loves (without making his day so long). I just don’t know how to create an environment that will “check off” the classes I know he needs for high school graduation (which is a full workload) AND also stay in line with fostering a love for learning and continuing the things that really interest him.

Does that make sense?

I know many moms know how to be creative in this area & count certain activities and hobbies as credit. The problem is I’m not one of those moms. I don’t know how to think outside of the box with credits.

FWIW, he will attend the local community college & will probably dual enroll beginning his junior year. His interests are programming, piano, gaming, theater. As he becomes older I’m sure his interests will develop & we will get a better idea of what kind of careers interest him. As of now, when I ask what he wants to do as a career, it still changes from month to month. It can be an attorney one month to theater the next. He really has no clue.

Thanks in advance for reading this.

This post was edited on Feb 28, 2018 12:32 PM

re: Help me think this through

I found high school to be more restrictive, because of the record keeping... transcripts, credits, etc.

I'm not super creative when they hit high school, trying to check off boxes at the same time.

The only things that seemed to input some free, creativity in the mix is with electives and scheduling.

I let them choose electives that really interested them. And some of those were not tested, but rather, utilized a time-log to give a grade.

And I kept the schedule loose, allowing downtime, plenty of friend time, and assignments to be completed at whatever time of day was best for them.

re: Help me think this through

Take it one year at a time. With my oldest I originally planned out most of her high school, only to end up switching many times.

I like the Timberdoodle catalog's options. They have some practical and fun electives and they offer grade level packages that can be customized.

For piano, simply keep a log of practice time and lessons. For every 90-120 hours, consider it a completed course.

re: Help me think this through

I want to recommend a book to you:
College without High School
by Blake Boles

I totally understand what you're saying and I was there myself. This book really opened my eyes to the possibilities.

For us, high school has been a liberating and totally enjoyable experience, way more so than middle school years.

Here's why: we dual enrolled for 2 classes each semester and that is our high school. by doing this, we will have completed 6 high school credits per year (2 in the fall, 2 spring, 2 summer) and at most, at any given time, my girls are dealing with just two courses each semester, and racking up college credits as well, which means less time later in college.

Two classes per semester is totally doable. My girls are 15 and 14, and while the classes are challenging, they are engaging. Also, since they are able to focus on just two subjects and put their all into it, it's very much like doing unit studies for high school. And they know that each class has a definite end, 4 months from the start. So they are motivated to put their all into it, knowing that it won't drag on forever. Also, it has removed me as teacher, as person they are accountable to, which has been huge for their growth in the areas of personal life management, responsibility, and scheduling. And...I'm not the "big boss man" in terms of deadlines/grades.

I'm not saying this is for everyone, but a motivated kid can certainly thrive on this approach to high school and it really frees up a lot of time for them to truly enjoy these years, pursue passions, form meaningful relationships, etc. Also, it really eliminates the redundancy of much of high school/early college classes. It's very efficient, and has seriously made high school years for us very enjoyable. They've truly been able to pave their own road of life during these years.

Work smart, not long and hard.

re: Help me think this through

Thank you all for your replies!

Ilovemychildren, that option sounds amazing! I would have never even thought of it. I just ordered the book you recommended, but I’m wondering if you can help me wrap my brain around it. At our local CC, students cannot dual enroll until 10th grade. Do you use an online option? Do they allow 14 year olds to enroll? And if yes, do these credits transfer to community colleges? Do you have a specific scope & sequence that you follow? And lastly, I assume you still add your own math, is that correct? (I’m sorry to bombard you with questions!)

In my state, my son needs the following to meet graduation requirements. I’d love any help trying to figure out how to knock this out with your game plan.

HISTORY
(1) World History
(1) US History
(.5) US Government
(.5) Economics

MATH
4 credits
We are planning Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 &
he will probably pursue a liberal arts math his 4th year

ENGLISH
4 credits

SCIENCE
3 credits, two must include labs

FOREIGN LANGUAGE
2 credits

Thank you all for any additional help!!

ETA- and he needs 8 electives, but I can figure that out out :-)

This post was edited on Mar 01, 2018 08:44 AM

re: re: Help me think this through

Do you have the financial means for online classes? They usually cost about 600/year for the good ones.

My kids liked it when I laid out all different types of classes, for each subject and they got to choose from a smorgasbord. For 9th grade my son had different classes, and different providers, as well as one co-op class that met two days per week and was within biking distance. He really enjoyed the variety!

(the only downside is holidays/breaks didn't coincide so he never truly got a Christmas/easter/winter/etc. break)

He chose a computer AP from PA Homeschoolers, a fun, no stress local English class that incorporated a lot of discussion, and even movies - shakespeare, Monty Python, etc. It was fun! He also had another Advanced Composition co-op class that was so well organized he asked the teacher if he could just attend once per month. Her paperwork was so together and explained so well that he didn't feel he needed to trek all the way over i nthe car with me every week. She agreed. He enjoyed that too! ..... He also took one easy online History Class from Silicon Valley Online high school which was mostly watching YouTube videos and taking quizzes. The only subject he felt he was slogging through was Saxon Math but that was a great subject and we had to save money somewhere so he taught himself at home using DIVE DVDs.

Lots of times, you can find that just choosing different styles and learning modalities (co-op, online serious, online fun and easy, video-teaching) can really liven things up! We knew my son was a very advanced reader (scored 700 on the SAT as freshman in English) so we weren't worried that the one co-op English class was "easy"...we just wanted him to have fun. Coincidentally he met the girl he is praying about dating next year there...

Anyway, what I am saying is that variety is the spice of life ! YOu CAN cover all the courses, in exactly the same order but in very different ways

re: re: Help me think this through

Ok, I am on my phone right now which makes typing difficult so I can explain more later, but here goes. First, check to make sure it is sophomore for all options - there may be some school nearby that allows much younger. For example, here in FL, my dads attend the local university which is sophomore as well. The public college nearby though (used to be a CC until recently) allows 6th graders!! To enroll provided they pass the entrance test.

But, my girls both attend the university which means they have to be sophomores. Not a problem. My first dd did her freshman year “exploring” her dreams and goals. She took a required 6 credits, using our public virtual school for French (easy - got a 99% final grade but good bc she now has a 97% average in university French), she did world history reading SWB’s wonderful series history of the ancient World, History of the Medieval World. She simply read these for enjoyment. She loves biology and is majoring in that, so she read a college biology text that she loved (she picked it) and I got her a dissection kit with a bunch of specimens that, using PDFs readily available online to provide a list of things to find and identify, she loved it. She did IEW SWI C as a writing course, adding in daily grams for grammar review. She also read classics of her choosing, because she wanted to, not bc I scheduled them. She also did PE/Health credit by simply exercising, choosing healthy foods, and reading a book called The A to Z guide of Healthier Living. The only thing I can say wasn’t a ton of fun for her was Math - she did MUS geometry. But she still liked it. It just wasn’t on the same level of awesome for her as the other subjects. But then again, she is more of a science/English gal. (FTR though she is taking calculus at the university this semester and has a 98 in it right now, so she is good at math, she just doesn’t prefer it).

So there was her 6 freshman credits. I could have done Bible instead of PE, Home Ec instead of French, etc. we just chose those bc that’s what she wanted.

Second dd skipped 8th grade. You can do that, you know, and if your kid is a kid like my dd, I recommend it. She did ninth grade in a similar fashion as first dd, choosing her subjects.

Dual enrollment starting in 10th grade will cover all required high school subjects. If you figure 2 classes per senester, that is 6 for three years, plus the six freshman ones. A total of 24. Choose DE classes to fit your kid’s prospective major (ie don’t dual enroll for fluff) and also to meet the high school requirements. So for instance, my dds will take sociology, world geography, and psychology to meet social studies requirements. The maths they take will cover those requirements, english 101 and 102, plus the English they take 9th grade are 3 of the English requirement (I will figure out the 4th when we get there), foreign language 2 semesters covers that. Etc.

re: re: Help me think this through

Sorry - posted bc was afraid I’d lose it all.

Here’s another tip. Some things high school requires, a college major won’t. So for example, if a kids intended major doesn’t require PE, don’t waste a DE credit on PE. Do that on your own and in the most relaxed way. Go walk at night. If a kid plays a sport, great. Count it. Watch a documentary on healthy eating. Can be totally enjoyable.

Another example is foreign language. If a college doesn’t require it be from an accredited source, make the most of duo lingo. (Both my girls need it at the university level for their majors, so we just did it there for credit for both high school and college).

The big thing is: don’t repeat things. Make a plan, and chip away at those requirements a couple at a time. Think outside the 6 classes a year, studying each from August to June, for high school credit.

If you have more questions please feel free to ask.

Also, if you don’t wish to even do 9th grade like that, what calmingtea said about paying for college credits can be possible. They are expensive, but many private schools will willingly let a kid DE in 9th grade for a fee. Just be sure that those credits will transfer to the eventual college of choice or you risk wasting a bunch of money on high school you could have done for near free.

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