Saturday, July 21, 2012

You Find What Works and You Do It, Part IV

Part I
Part II
Part III

The next question:

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?

No, I've never used anything like Kolbe or Seton, and yes, in our state we do report on the areas of language arts, math, science, social studies, and health. These are all a part of daily life and homeschooling, so I know we're covering them and my documentation makes that clear. In our first year of homeschooling, I made a simple form for monthly record keeping. Though I've tried other forms and methods, I always come back to this simple one because it matches our state requirements neatly and allows room for my own notes (and of course, I always add pages to this -- one form doesn't cover an entire semester, booklists, etc.) Notes eventually become a narrative transcript on all things read, studied, discussed, learned, mastered, and experienced. Here's my humble little form:

I've also always used the Living is Learning Curriculum guides because they're helpful for ideas, projects, and looking for gaps.

As for deciding what would be included, I covered a bit about our process in Part II -- assessing strengths, weaknesses, gaps, areas of interest, and -- sometimes, the bottom line -- beloved books we want to be sure our children read. Books about homeschooling high school, blogs, discussion groups,  and local friends were also invaluable resources along the way as we made decisions about what to do and what to cover.

The best way to give you an idea of what we ended up with for high school is to give you the outline of Anne-with-an-e's narrative transcript:

History and Literature (We included an explanation of how these are interwoven and are not necessarily separated into different "subjects" in our homeschool, and we included booklists and details covering ancient/early Church through the Renaissance, British/European, Shakespeare, American and Modern, biographies , poetry, travel and experiential learning, history and family heritage projects.)

Drama, Music, Art (Listed classes, experience, choirs, etc.)

Foreign Language (Spanish at community college, various exposure to Latin, self-taught ASL.)

Religion/Discussion/Living Our Faith (Included a booklist, a description of the kinds of discussion we regularly have at the dinner table, experience, activism, etc.)

Science (booklists, lab work, hands-on learning, veterinarian shadowing experience, etc.)

Math (listing of curriculum used)

If you have homeschooled high school and would like to chime in, I'd love to hear from you. I also want to put together a list of blogs that have discussed homeschooling high school kids.


ellie said...

Our state is similar in terms of the requirements: we agree to provide a certain numbers of hours' worth of sequential instruction in six areas – reading, language arts, maths, social studies, science, and health – each year. But we don't have to submit anything for approval or testing.

I homeschooled my now-23 year old all the way through. His high school years were unschooled: I called him finished when he turned 18. After working for a few years or so he began college. Basically, he walked in and they took him. We didn't submit anything, in terms of documentation. It wasn't required. He's done two years' of courses (GPA 3.85) that will transfer to our local university, should he choose that route. Right now, he's entering the criminal justice program, studying to become a police officer.

My daughter Calli is turning 13, and is mainly doing high school level work (though I don't tend to segment my children into grade levels, and we're not required to sort them on our state homeschooling form). I call her a ninth grader when I have to :-) We've mapped out her next three years: she'll graduate from homeschool high school right when she's turning 16. Her ten year old brother is keeping pace with her on all academic levels save maths (he's a couple years behind her) and Logic, which he's not doing yet. I suppose this means he'll be finished when he's 14. He wants to be an Organist, and wants to study Organ at university, but I'm just not sure I want him to enroll that young. So we'll have to see how things are going for him at that point. I think (for my kids) that 16 is the youngest I'd want either of them at our university, socially speaking. And unlike his older brother, I'd have to put together a transcript/portfolio for when he applies to the music school. Fun things to learn how to do! I mean for me, the paperwork :-)

Karen Edmisten said...

Ellie, I love reading about what you've done, and you amaze me -- doing all that you do with all the challenges you face. You're incredible.

I know what you mean about calling them by a particular grade when you need to. :) I used to *never* sort them by grade, but that has fallen somewhat into place just via signing them up for certain things at our parish, or for an art class, etc. Still, we aren't completely tied to that, and it's more about what they're ready to do, etc.

Yes, unschoolers can always walk into community college, and I think that's important to point out. No one *has* to take an ACT or prepare an elaborate transcript, or any of that to go to comm. college, and that's a valuable option.

We ended up glad that we had done the ACT because it led to a nice scholarship from the community college -- even though cc is much less expensive than a 4 yr. institution, that scholarship will be a big help!

I wouldn't want to send mine off younger than 16 either. My current-16-yo isn't in a hurry to go anywhere, so that's fine. We can call her a junior, and she's happy to have at least another couple years at home with us. :)

Thanks for joining in the conversation!

ellie said...

Oh Karen, that's really kind of you to say!

I think one thing to keep in mind is that, yes I've got all these health challenges now, however: since I can't ... cook, bake, do laundry or any sort of household cleaning chore; rake, mow, shovel snow, weed; drive, run errands such as grocery shopping, clothes shopping &c --- just think how much time that frees up, right?? Yes, every day is a series of painful and exhausting challenges for me and yet ... I am able to devote pretty much every little bit of my time and what energy I do have to mothering and educating my children. I am blessed in that my children, amongst the three of them, handle all of those household chores and management and errand details. Which is an enormous blessing. It means the world to all four of us that I am able to continue homeschooling Calli and Joshua and so we've made that a top priority.

We're also blessed here (to return to the topic at hand!) with a high-quality community college, and a university system that is in full cummunion with it. I suspect that my eldest will one day want his degree in Social Work, and he'll be able to use the credits he's already acquired towards that end. When he was in his teens, many of his friends (I mentored our homeschooling teen group for ten years) were doing ACTs and SATs and even taking some AP exams, but he didn't want to. I left those decisions up to him. As I say, I do think it's going to have to be a bit different for his younger brother. I really appreciate reading about how other families have handled things: I've still got lots to learn :-)

And in terms of our grown children remaining at home? Ah well, a rather large percentage of college grads are moving right back home. My bias tends to be: we're family for life, there's nothing wrong with living together if that's the way life works out. (my youngest tells me that once he's grown and married, he wants me to live in a little cottage in his back garden!)

Meredith said...

Hi Karen, another great post, thank you!! I finally put up a highschool post and thought I would send the link here for you or any one who might be interested :)