Thursday, July 12, 2012

"You Find What Works and You Do It" (On Homeschooling, High Schooling, and Other Terrifying Things)

I was emailing a friend the other day about books on homeschooling, unschooling, and things in between. 

It is, after all, that time of year thou may'st in me behold, when curriculum catalogs, or none, or few, or many, do hang about the house.

On a related note, I recently heard from a blog friend (well, not that recently, and I'm sorry, BlogFriend, for taking so long to get this post started!) and she had the following questions:

  • What did you think high school would look like for your oldest and how that has become a reality? 
  • What do you think you might do differently for Ramona as she enters high school? 
  • What would you do exactly the same? 
  • Do you have set subjects that must be tackled by the laws of the state? 
  • If not, what plan did you follow for coming up with his coursework or are you using a curriculum like Kolbe or Seton? 

Those are great questions begging for a series of blog posts. And of course, I'm hesitant to answer them because -- as my sidebar notes -- I'm not an expert on anything. But I can tell you what's worked for me. The other reason I'm hesitant to answer is that not only does every family have its own style and needs, but every child within a family is different. "An Edmisten Education" won't look exactly the same for Anne, Betsy and Ramona.

But, all those things add up to the same short answer that I offered in an email the other day: "You find what works for your family and then you do it."

But short doesn't always equal easy. Finding what works is challenging. But it's unavoidable. Sometimes you just don't know what works until you try it, tweak it, throw it out, and try something new. That's just part of the journey, dear Homeschooling Mom, not a failure on your part.

Tomorrow I'll tackle the first question (What did we think high school would look like, and how has that become a reality?) but for today, I'll just summarize a little bit about where we are right now:

Anne-with-an-e just graduated from Green Gables Homeschool.  She applied to and was accepted at a great Catholic college, and even got a lovely scholarship. It was encouraging to me that an Edmisten Education got her there. She ultimately decided, though, to spend at least her first year of college (possibly two, we'll see) at home, getting her Gen Eds out of the way. This feels like the right choice all around, and everyone is happy with it.

Betsy Ray just finished her sophomore year of high school, so I'll be talking about her in this series, too.

Ramona just finished 4th grade. (Wait, what? Isn't she three years old?!)

So, next year I will be homeschooling only two students (and I assume I may occasionally have to prod a college student to get her Psych homework off the kitchen table.) That's where we are at this moment.

Tomorrow I'll begin the nostalgic look back on our foray into Homeschool High School.

An actual photo of our homeschool: 

Or not. 

Find Part II here.
Find Part III here.
Find Part IV here


Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...

Yay!!! Can't wait to read the rest. Let me just say, that I am a full believer in doing what works for you and chucking what doesn't. I still like to get an idea of what other people's school looks like. It helps me put mine together. I'm not looking to copy someone because I know that won't work for us. But the more ideas in my head, the better I can flesh out what might work for us and hopefully eliminate too many "chuck it" situations.

Karen Edmisten said...

That's exactly it, Charlotte -- I have always liked hearing about what other people do, too (thus the plethora of homeschooling books at our house) precisely because it helps us flesh out the possibilities and maybe avoid some of those chucking it situations! :)

Theresa Gonzalez said...

Looking forward to hearing all about it. This is Sam's senior year and I am alternating between feeling really calm and relaxed about it and feeling utter panic at how little time I have left to do all the millions of things needed to prepare him for college. I am hoping the former wins out in the end.

Red Cardigan said...

Also looking forward to it! I'm in that panicky stage of needing to order books for next year and not really having much of a clue at this moment about several things (though the rest, by now, praise God, is on autopilot)...

One question: high school chemistry for the math-resistant. Do it or not? Help!

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur said...

Looking forward to reading this. My oldest is going into 6th grade and I've already started thinking about (worrying about!) high school.

turtlemama said...

Looking forward to this series. Disclaimers noted. My first will be in ninth grade this fall. Yikes. Posts about the nitty-gritty for high school (and even middle school) are few and far between. Love hearing about varying options and how homeschooling looks for different families beyond phonics instruction and paper mache globes. Congrats on the college admission. We also will likely do the first year at home at community college. Never occured to me though to apply to four-year school first and then defer enrollment. See--you've already broadened this horizon.

Karen Edmisten said...

Theresa, I have a feeling Sam will be just fine! :) The senior year is a busy one, though, as they are figuring out all those options, dealing with transcripts, choices, etc.

Red Cardigan, I am not sure about the answer to the chemistry question. Anne's chemistry was not the same kind of hands-on as the biology stuff we did -- she read a lot. She's also math resistant ... What does your math-resistant student want to study? I'm not convinced everyone in the world needs chemistry ... I skipped it in high school and I'm still alive. :) And, there's always community college chemistry (but if yours is headed straight to a 4-yr. school, that won't work.)

Turtlemama - happy to hear that the post sparked some thought! Anne has been thinking for awhile that she'd do the community college route, but we also didn't want her to rule anything out, in case she changed her mind, as seniors are wont to do. :)