Nan in Mass Posted January 30, 2008 Share Posted January 30, 2008 You probably already know this, but I would have found this post helpful when I was planning, so I wanted to post this, just in case it helps someone. Here are some things to remember when you are making the decision to homeschool high school: You don't have to give grades. Yes, it might be easier for colleges to assess your child if you do, but there are ways around that. You can present a portfolio, instead of grades. Or you can assign courses a pass or fail. Or if you decide you do need grades, you can assign them any way you want; it is your school. You can make a rubric with clear expectations for each assignment and have your child fill it out himself. Or you can decide that whatever grade your child gets on the excersizes, that is his grade. You can decide to give a final, or have the child do a final assignment that demonstrates what should have been learned and grade just that and use that grade for the year. Or you can grade on effort alone. Someone had a nice rubric for this one - post and ask for it if you want to do this. Or you can, without giving any grades during the course, give a grade at the end based on how well you think the child mastered the material, something like this: A- understands all the material well and independently applies it to new situations; B - understands most of the material and can apply it independently to new situations some of the time; C - understands most of the material and applies it independently to familiar situations; D - understands most of the material but has trouble applying it; F - only partially understands the material and can't apply it. That could probably be worded better, but you get the idea. If you are using a pre-written curriculum, then you can alter the grading scheme if you choose. You could add in lots of extra credit problems, or drop the worst test grade, or give the tests untimed and open book. I am not grading, and I have had a number of people here tell me that there children got into college without them. Just be sure you have some other way for colleges to assess your child, like outside courses, community college classes, a portfolio, or standardized test scores. And be sure you include review, even if you aren't testing. Don't forget about rubrics. These are great even if you aren't grading. Ask people to post writing ones and choose one to use. They make talking to a child about his work much easier because it makes it feel less like you are criticizing to the child. (I apologize for spelling mistakes.) You can even make these for whole courses in order to spell out the goals of the course beforehand. For literature, they could be something like: must read 8 literary works, must write a paper or do a project for 5 of them, must do a history background for each, must discuss each using TWEM questions, must read the genre section of TWEM for each if haven't done it yet this year, must put the book on a timeline, must summarize each chapter, must read independently (and just read) 3 more works. (This is approximately ours for a year of great books.) You can design your own courses. You don't have to buy a curriculum for each subject. You can even combine subjects. Look at a few other syllabi for similar courses, or the NARS guidelines, or ask people about Carnegie hours, then make up your own syllabus (see my example above). You can use whatever materials you want. Check out National Geographic's site on projects for geography or get TWTM method for using a spine (like the logic stage history and science). I decided that I wanted every subject to have an academic componant, so if I want to count travel as a class, then I add in some reading and writing, but many people count things that made their child learn without adding in the academic componant, like an internship. You don't have to do your courses all in one year. You can work on something sporadically over several years, and then smush it all together into one course. Or you can spend all day on a subject for two months (or something) until it is done and count that. You can organize the traditional transcript by subject instead of by year, or do a non-traditional transcript of some sort. A simple way to keep track of everything is to get a notebook, divide it into subjects leaving room for subjects that might crop up later, and then anytime you do something, record it under that subject. You can put it together into subjects at the end of high school, although you should be keeping track to make sure you are indeed covering the basic requirements, whatever you have decided those should be. You don't want to get to senior year and discover you don't have enough social studies for the required number of credits. You don't have to teach everything yourself for it to count. In fact, it can be an advantage to outsource some things. As teenagers grow older, their world needs to get bigger. Bigger can be outside of school-type subjects, like a job or volenteer work or travel, or it can be inside school by outsourcing. Some people outsource the whole thing at the end by sending their child to community college the last year or two. Just be careful not to dump an unprepared child into deep water without teaching them to swim first. We're doing one or two classes, to begin with. Outsourcing can be a good way to cover those things that don't lend themselves well to homeschooling, like lab sciences or foreign languages, or things that you don't feel competent to teach, or things that cause hurt feelings when a parent teaches them, like writing. Many, many people outsource writing. There are online classes. Some people do these all the way through high school and don't even try to teach writing themselves. Math. Public school kids get to watch a teacher demonstrate problems and talk about math for 45 minutes 5 times a week, and then they go home to do about an hour of homework. Make sure you compare that amount of time spent on math with the amount you spend on math. Math is one of those cumulative things that are hard to make up later. And from another recent post: I have periodic fits of panic when I think we're not doing enough. I found it helped to spell out why I was homeschooling. Definately not academic excellence, in my case. If you are after that, then I can't help you GRIN. But there are many other reasons to homeschool, like family closeness or passing on your values or culture or religion. In my case, I'm homeschooling my older one so he stays sweet, and I'm trying to give my younger one a chance to do academics at his own mix of levels, and be efficient about it so he has time to pursue his own interests, from which I can see he is learning a lot. In both those cases, I can do a very bad job of educating my children and still accomplish those goals, as long as I don't push them too hard. Constantly reminding myself of this helps keep the panic at bay. I guess this requires that you put something else before academic education, but if you can do that, then you can procede with more confidence. Don't panic if your 8th grader isn't ready for college right now. Four years is a long time. Think back to what they were like when they were in 4th grade. They don't stop growing just because they are in high school. I hope this helps someone. -Nan 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.