Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Homeschool in Highschool

This is the final post in a series I've been writing about the homeschooling journey I've been on.  If you are thinking the long delay in me writing this post means that I have been putting a lot of effort into it, you may be disappointed.  :)  The long delay means that I have been spending more time with my family.  I wish I could say that we have focused intently on training Godly character this past week, practicing good habits, reading long hours aloud together, going on walks, etc.  That's not it either.  It's much less romantic!  We have just been living, and sometimes living is about all I can get done.  Sweeping endless crumbs from under the table, preparing meal after meal, washing laundry and dishes, chasing naked toddlers, shouting a chapter of a book (vs. reading) over noisy preschoolers' voices, and mending scraped knees and elbows.  Change is sometimes very slow to come.  One step at a time, day by day, moment by moment.  I press on.

Homeschooling your Kindergartner and First Grader is one thing, but homeschooling high school is a completely different story!  We have carefully considered for months what we should do.  We have the opportunity to send Micah to school in the small rural district where Mitch teaches.  What's so great about small and rural?  Well, while a small school may have the same problems as a large school, there seem to be fewer of them.  Smaller class sizes mean a better teacher-student ratio, and hopefully more individualized instruction.  Smaller class sizes also mean a better opportunity for the parents and teacher to form a working relationship to provide the best education for the student.  Sounds great, right?? 

For me, it came down to a conviction.  I had prayed for months.  As I read and studied, and armed with our family mission and vision statements, I was convicted to continue the path of homeschooling.  I had sought to send Micah to public school because I didn't feel able to continue homeschooling.  And this wasn't even about academics--I am more prepared to teach high school than any other grade level!--though I admit there was a bit of "security" in knowing he would get "all" the instruction that is "required" at a public high school.  My lack of confidence fell to meeting his social needs and dealing with discipline and motivation.  The solution was two-fold:  1) defining Micah's true needs and 2) putting my trust in the Lord to equip me.

How does one put his or her trust in the Lord?  This is an act of faith and submission.  It cannot be achieved without immersion in God's word nor without communion with God in prayer.  Both are areas of my life where God has been faithfully working this year, and I am SO thankful!

Our academic approach for homeschool in high school is to prepare for college, but understand that some children may not choose a college path.  Our curriculum choices were easy enough to make.  What is really cool about the choices I made is that Micah's education can easily be customized to fit his particular strengths and interests.  Eden's path, while using the same curriculum, could look completely different.  In this way, combining our head knowledge with a trust in the Lord, we will be able to help our young people prepare to be the persons God has created them to be.  Our choices also allow for a depth and breadth that may not be allowed in a public school.  I am desperately depending on God to help me challenge and motivate Micah to dig in and study--really study--the world around him that God has made.

The second aspect of our academic approach for homeschool in high school is keeping GOOD records, so that an official transcript can be given to the student upon graduation.  There are several options "out there" on the web that help you with the record-keeping aspects of homeschooling high school.  Some are free, some are costly.  It all depends on how much help you need.  Being a record keeper at heart, I feel confident in my ability to educate myself on keeping records.  I have already set up syllabi for Micah's and Eden's subjects, complete with grading rubrics and course descriptions.  I have designed excel spreadsheets for recording grades, and prepared portfolios with past work that we will add to in the coming years.  We will keep lists of books read (and discussed) as well as essays and reports written, and tests/exams.  Another cool tip we learned is to take photographs documenting the science labs that we complete.  These small tips are great tips that help show colleges and potential employers what your children have spent their years studying.

We also hope to incorporate "dual credit" into our high school experience (PSEO).  In our state, high schoolers in 11th and 12th grades can apply to enter college tuition free.  Students can earn up to 2 years of college credit while still in high school, and these credits count toward their high school credits as well.  (Ie: Biology with lab is a required high school class for students wishing to continue on to college, but this requirement can be fulfilled by signing up for a college-level Biology class).  There are other programs with different benefits, such as CollegePlus.  We need to do more research on this in the coming months.

Family calls (and so does the washing machine), so I need to wrap this up!  Thank you again for joining me in this series.  I hope you have found some helpful tips.  :)  Stay tuned for our regular programming...which will {hopefully} be pictures and a family update and maybe even a garden update!


2 comments:

  1. Welcome to the ranks of the many of us who homeschooled through graduation! I love these years most of all. In our area, we are blessed with a large support network and some group classes so my kids haven't lacked peer interaction. Some of my kids have taken a course or two at the community college. There are benefits if their grades are good. The detractor for one of my kids was she graduated college early- she wasn't happy about that :)

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  2. I can only muster up through my tears....thank you. I have been feeling so discouraged and as if I were not capable (all of a sudden) to meet the needs of my children. I needed these words at this very moment. Thank you.

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