Here we are, six weeks into our homeschool year and I thought maybe I could share what we are doing! This year I have two high schoolers… I know… I just can’t… but I do… so I have to. I kept trying to tell them they couldn’t get older, but those crazy kids just didn’t listen.
My son is in 11th grade and my daughter is in 9th.
First up… the 9th grader.
She is following a more traditional route with school because she has plans to go to college. Until this point, she has been expressing dreams of going into an animal science field. Now, however, she is has decided maybe she wants to go into Early Childhood Education or perhaps do something with baking or entrepreneurship. Either way, she would like to have the option open to go to college.
In North Carolina, I am the chief administrator of our homeschool. I get to call the shots…. plan the lessons, set the learning goals, etc. There are no actual requirements to graduate from high school. There is nothing that says what students have to accomplish in a year. Now… many homeschool families who are planning for their children to go to college take a look at what colleges require for admissions and build their high school years accordingly. Typically, colleges require a certain amount of math, english, social studies, science, health/PE, and electives. There is a framework within to work when your student is college bound, but there is still a lot of freedom in how that frame is filled in.
This year we made a major change in how we are doing school. I took a position as the co-director of a local co op. We have approximately 150 students, upper elementary through high school who meet throughout the week. Some kids come for several classes, some only come for one. I committed to be present at the co op on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I’m teaching Western World History to High Schoolers and Nature Science and World Cultures to 4th and 5th graders. Because of this commitment, my kids are able to take classes at the co op as well. Until this year, we really couldn’t afford the classes. We have done some here and there, but really haven’t been able to get too involved. Because I am teaching this year, things are different and I let my kids take their pick of classes.
Through the co op, my 9th grader is taking:
Biology– She is taking this class with my friend who is amazing. They are using The Riot and the Dance as the primary text. She will get a classroom experience and the opportunity to do hands on labs with other students.
Western World History Through The Lens of Art. I am teaching this class. I put it together last year for my son. We start with the Fall of Rome and move through Western World History… my goal is to get through World War 2 and possibly the Cold War. We have a heavy focus on Art History and methods. We have regular art days where we learn about the art of the time and create our own pieces. We are also using the Francis Schaeffer How Should We Then Live book and videos to explore worldview and how western culture has risen and fallen over time. We are using other resources as well including the Crash Course World History videos on You Tube.
Logic 2– Also known as formal logic, this is a really fun and challenging class to take.
High School Art– The co op has put together an art class with 5 different mediums- pottery, water color painting, drawing, sculpture, and digital art. We are just finishing our first portion with pottery.
Shakespeare– In the spring, she will be participating in a Shakespeare class and performance. This will be intense, but really great.
She also babysits regularly , bakes on Fridays, and is planning to join the worship team with our youth group.
This is my girl who loves doing ALL THE THINGS. She cannot stand the idea that she might not be able to do something. She wants to keep all her options open. Her class load is much heavier than I have ever expected out of my kids. But she chose this. She was so excited when I told her she could pick classes at the co op. Right now, she is learning some tough lessons…. especially when it comes to taking tests and quizzes. She has never really had to study before. She is having to learn organization and time management. This girl is not one to back down from a challenge and I’m sure she will rise to whatever challenges this year will bring.
Ok… Onto the 11th grader.
My son has always been my non-traditional learner. He is a brilliant artist. He is a talented film maker. He doesn’t know yet if college is in his future. He wants to keep the door open, but isn’t terribly stressed about it. His school is always very art heavy. He is self motivated and always learning and challenging himself with different mediums. Drawing is his art of choice.
His courses this year at the co op include:
Creative Writing. He has been so excited about this class. He wants to write and has tons of ideas, but has a really hard time getting them out of his head and onto the paper. His is hopeful this class will give him tools to move forward with this writing. This course will go under “English” on his transcript.
A.P. Psychology. This is totally outside of his comfort zone. He has not taken a class this intense before. He is planning to take the AP exam in the Spring. This class will go under “Social Studies” on his transcript. This also gives a little taste of what a college class could be like.
Digital Art– So… this is not a class he is taking, but rather one he is teaching. My son and one of his best friends are teaching a digital arts class to the middle schoolers at the co op. They have eleven students in class and are currently working on film editing. He has done a phenomenal job of putting together lesson plans and going beyond just how to film edit. He is talking about story elements, character development, and more. His goal for the film editing portion of the class is for the students to complete their own short film. Once film editing is complete, the students will move onto to claymation and stop motion films. If there is time, we will also do digital photography. I’m not sure yet how this will be documented on his transcript, but I definitely want him to get credit for it!
Classes he is doing at home include:
Geometry– After an extended time of learning Algebra, we decided enough is enough. I talked with Steve Demme, creator of Math U See, at the NCHE Thrive Homeschool conference and he convinced me to give Math U See Geometry a chance. So that is what we are doing and so far, so good! Hopefully this will be a redemptive year in the subject of math. Algebra really got this boy of mine down in the dumps for a while.
Stewardship- He has been asking me for years to do “real life” math and learn about things that he actually needs to know to be a successful human. Again, after talking with Mr. Demme, from Math U See, we decided to give their Stewardship program a chance.
Reading- Creative writing is counting as his language arts class this year. However, I did tell my son that he always needs to be reading. I gave him a suggested book list and said that he needs to commit to reading a minumum of thirty minutes per day. The book list is a combo of fiction and non-fiction. Once he completes a book, he has to write a review for me.
In addition to this, he has a job washing cars for a local business. He and his friends are designing a video game. And he draws… and he draws… and he draws.
What are your high schoolers doing this year?