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Here's the thread it came from and below that is the post you made. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3351201&highlight=rabbit#post3351201

 

I also posted on the other thread and was the one who made the comment above about schooling through the summer.

 

We are just in our first year of high school, so not exactly sure how this will play out, but here are a few random musings:

 

1. This 9th grade year just seemed to really take on a whole new look for us. Everything has sped up and the pressure has increased to "get everything done" academically while trying to meet the other "required" aspects of college administration, such as, volunteer activities, sports involvement, test prep, extracurricular interests, and social involvement.

 

2. The schooling through summer comment was made because once we hit high school, suddenly it required that we cover all the information and the time it takes to get a full credit. Prior to this, if we did not finish a book or study, I did not stress out. I would do a quick overview of the rest of the material and move on. Now, I cannot in good conscience do that. It would be shortchanging my ds, not to mention dishonest.

 

3. We have had to change our view of what school looks like, and to be truthful, both ds and I are having a hard time with the "requirements". I have always been a planner and have liked having a good plan, but the pressure to cover "everything" and check every box at the expense of the interest-led rabbit trails is rubbing us both the wrong way. I just need to find a way to do both if possible.

 

4. As far as preparation in the earlier years, I think that a gradual implementation of more structure, responsibility, and study techniques before the 9th grade year would have helped both of us more with the shift to high school. I, as teacher, had a tendency to "let things slide" like due dates and assignment requirements. I regret that now, because we are both paying for that lack of structure. This is a learning process for both of us and I think that I should have been preparing myself for high school as much as I should have been ds!

 

5. I have decided that I need to re-evaluate what it is that I really want for ds and his high school experience. Do I want him to stay on the stressed-out path we are currently on, trying to fulfill every requirement a college application to an Ivy League could put on him? Or do I want his requirements to be more balanced with interest-driven learning? It is so easy to get on this spinning rat wheel of "he's got to cover everything" and excel at all of it in the process!

 

6. Ds and I started homeschool with the desire to instill a "love of learning" in our children. High school, so far, has seemed to us like one great big checklist. Hurry, hurry, hurry. More preparation in the earlier years would have helped with this, but would it have been to the detriment of instilling the love?

 

Sorry for the long-winded musing, but I thank you for asking the question. It has, in a round-about way, made me realize that I need (with dh and ds) to reevaluate the goals for this year and for the entire high school experience. It is also awesome to get the thoughts of the veterans on this board when it comes to things like this.

 

As for you, I think it is wise to look at what you can be doing to prepare your children for high school, even in the earlier years. They continue to grow up, even as we wish we could stop time for a while. Having said that, I still believe that instilling the love of learning, growing those family bonds, and wide-eyed exploration of the wonders of knowledge are the best things you can be doing in those earlier years. (Ok - reading, writing, and arithmetic are important, too.):001_smile:

 

That post was in Nov. of this past year, and I've been wondering how the rest of the year went for you. When we met at the convention you seemed very happy about your year. Did you make a shift toward more rabbit trails or interest-driven? Did you find another way to get peace? Anything you plan to do differently for this coming year based on what you learned this year?

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Doodler,

 

I always enjoy reading about what you and your daughter have been doing.

 

The line below would certainly attract a second look in a counselor letter of recommendation ...

 

I was recently treated to a discussion on how, and why, when an assassin shoots someone in the back of the head, the head does not snap forwards but backwards ....

 

In my daughter's letter of recommendation, I wrote

 

"One dinner conversation recently ranged from the quirks of the past tense in English (speeded/sped versus beaded and bled) with requisite trips to our unabridged dictionary, to discussion with her father of a pre-calculus problem concerning non-constant polynomials of degree n, and concluded with an enthusiastic account by G of the fun she’d had in her Greek class role playing with her fellow students while reading Platos’s Euthydemus."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Elizabeth, thanks for starting this thread. I look forward to MtnTeaching's response.

 

Doodler, I just wanted to tell you how encouraging your post has been to me. I'm in the throws of planning our first year of high school, and I'll admit I'm nervous, but excited at the same time.

 

Thanks ladies,

Jennifer

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:iagree: I have been vacillating wildly between following a strict standard course and sequence for my upcoming 9th grader, or going with my gut and letting his interests and strengths come through. Oddly, I don't struggle as much with nontraditional coursework with my younger son (diagnosed dyslexic) as I do with my oldest (neurotypical teen, a bit on the lazy side at times ;)).

 

I feel so much pressure to fill in those blanks that the colleges want and to do it all right. We are in a state that doesn't support homeschoolers at all so once we start high school at home, that's it. We are on our own and have to finish. I've been round and round with curriculum choices, to join a tutorial/umbrella program or not, accredited vs unaccredited cover schools ... until I have just almost made myself sick. Truly.

 

The classical model a la WTM is not a good fit for either of my children, so the posts that I read here about multiple years of languages and Ancient literature and AP's and so forth .... well, I'm in awe .... but I sometimes also feel overwhelmed to the point of chucking it all in. We were supposed to start with some preliminary work next week but there is just. no. way.

 

Anyhoo, I am anxious to read some other BTDT posts for creative high schooling. :lurk5:

 

I think the high school yrs can be as high pressure or as low pressure as wanted/needed. With my oldest 3, high school was pretty low pressure. I had minimum standards I wanted to meet, but nothing difficult or that time-consuming, etc. Our oldest wanted to attend an in-state public university and the admission process was very low key and simple.

 

Our next ds went the local CC......no pressure at all. ;)

 

Our dd will be attending the CC in the fall to meet the pre-reqs required for applying for admissions into an occupational therapy program. She will be working with a severely handicapped teenager part-time for experience. Entrance into the OT program is competitive, but I don't think it will be a problem.

 

Our 4th......huge pressure. He wants to attend a top school w/scholarship $$. He pushes himself (not me.)

 

But, regardless of which student you are discussing, we still follow the same natural flow we have since we started. We don't all of a sudden switch gears and have nothing resemble how we have been doing things. The main difference is switching to textbooks for science. Other than that, we just move forward in a natural progression of skills. Content is whatever we decide. (For example, I am in the middle of creating a Lewis centered lit course and a philosophy of science and religion course for my rising 11th grader. He is the one w/the huge pressure, yet I am not letting it impact the courses he is doing w/me. )

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I think the high school yrs can be as high pressure or as low pressure as wanted/needed. With my oldest 3, high school was pretty low pressure. I had minimum standards I wanted to meet, but nothing difficult or that time-consuming, etc. Our oldest wanted to attend an in-state public university and the admission process was very low key and simple.

 

Our next ds went the local CC......no pressure at all. ;)

 

Our dd will be attending the CC in the fall to meet the pre-reqs required for applying for admissions into an occupational therapy program. She will be working with a severely handicapped teenager part-time for experience. Entrance into the OT program is competitive, but I don't think it will be a problem.

 

Our 4th......huge pressure. He wants to attend a top school w/scholarship $$. He pushes himself (not me.)

 

But, regardless of which student you are discussing, we still follow the same natural flow we have since we started. We don't all of a sudden switch gears and have nothing resemble how we have been doing things. The main difference is switching to textbooks for science. Other than that, we just move forward in a natural progression of skills. Content is whatever we decide. (For example, I am in the middle of creating a Lewis centered lit course and a philosophy of science and religion course for my rising 11th grader. He is the one w/the huge pressure, yet I am not letting it impact the courses he is doing w/me. )

 

Thank you! This is what I needed to read today.:)

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:iagree: I have been vacillating wildly between following a strict standard course and sequence for my upcoming 9th grader, or going with my gut and letting his interests and strengths come through. ... We are on our own and have to finish. I've been round and round with curriculum choices, to join a tutorial/umbrella program or not, accredited vs unaccredited cover schools ... until I have just almost made myself sick. Truly.

 

The classical model a la WTM is not a good fit for either of my children...

 

:grouphug: I didn't realize that was what was behind your "I'm gonna do BJU in a box straight or else!" course. Wow. Well that's why I wanted to dredge up this thread, because I do think there's that point where you have to decide what in the WORLD you're doing. There are too many voices pulling too many ways. In our house dd is not lazy, not at all, but she's not STRUCTURED. She has no inherent perfectionism to drive and inspire her either.

 

I was looking at the Joanne Calderwood hs planner last night http://www.urthemom.com/High_School_Planner.html and read through the posts here on the board mentioning her. She came to the other convention in our state that I didn't get to go to, and here was the description of her talk.

 

"Discover the secret to homeschooling freedom with the self-teaching method of education. Part 1 will show you the incredible, almost-too-good-to-be-true benefits of the self-teaching and mastery methodologies as well as focusing initially on the all-important ingredient to a peaceful home life: capturing each child's heart. Learn Joanne's proven self-teaching formula and you will have obedient, cheerful children who learn independently and with excellence. For Real."

 

Sounds kind of unschooling and out of the box, right? Nope, from what I could find reading on her site and elsewhere, she uses abeka and textbooks and basically helps her kids move from *her* scheduling to *them* picking out chunks and filling in their plans in their planner for the week. And to me it seems like Doodler's dc takes the next step, which is not only making her plan (which I gather she does) but actually choosing the materials and WHAT she wants to do. So last night I was separating out in my mind *structure* and *implementation* and thinking about how you could give kids the structure they need to succeed while letting them not so much drive the implementation (which unstructured kids aren't ready to do) but *own* it. They can be invested in it and own it.

 

My dd could go either way. She can either follow a syllabus of tasks with materials that fit her (notice all the caveats) OR she could go much more open-ended, with a structured task where she has freedom to chose how to approach it and in what order. For instance I've had this crazy idea where I could buy all 4 years of TOG, put all the weeks onto a master checklist (it would work just as well with chapters of Spielvogel or whatever, anything with a framework) and then say check them off as you do them, but do them in any order and any way you want. Pick what you want to study, cover that week, then move on to whatever else. I could see that kind of self-driven exploration where there's some sense of order. And the connector of that would be filling in the timeline as you study, but there wouldn't necessarily be that continuity of doing each week exactly the same. We've also talked about doing TOG in a more typical order but just really busting it out of the mold, doing it our way, giving ourselves permission NOT to do things the way they said but go "You know, this week we'll watch dvds to cover the topic and call it good." That sort of thing.

 

And what kills me are the contradictions. If feels like, if you chose a structured, plodding approach (using a text or TOG or whatever as a frame), that you're closing yourself off to the adventure of harder things. It seems like you're locked into a paradigm and won't be able to do all the OTHER things you imagined. That's why Mtn's post haunted me, because I feel like those OTHER things need a space, and I'm not sure whether they'll fit into a neat and tidy plan of 4 years, this order, blah blah. The flip side is I do better with structure, a roadmap, a plan, some sense of how it fits together. Sometimes doing things in a structured, systematic way gets you better results and sometimes there was an offbeat way to get to the same place. That's sort of what I'm weighing out in my mind.

 

I think there are a few people who are probably chuckling at my naivete, hehe. I could think of some things (like writing fabulous essays comparing and contrasting this and that) that would get assigned in one approach that might not get assigned in another. I have theories on that too, but that's for a whole nother thread. :lol:

 

As much as I'm AMAZED by what Doodler's dc does, I also recognize that my dd doesn't have the perfectionism or inherent structured thinking necessarily to get where she needs to be without guidance. She also has a little bit more flex in her methodologies and ability to accept things. She really could go either way. Or maybe what I'm saying is I need all the rabbit trails without the worry of creating structure? Well THERE, now I'm talking in circles. But that's about it. She's actually pretty stinkin' good if you give her a topic, a target task (open-ended) and let her go at it. However she doesn't think up her *own* tasks for output and gets bored if it's always just read a pile of books, read a pile of books.

 

Well whatever, that was just a lot of thoughts. Here I had solicited Mtn's journey and am instead giving my own. :D

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:grouphug: I didn't realize that was what was behind your "I'm gonna do BJU in a box straight or else!" course. Wow. Well that's why I wanted to dredge up this thread, because I do think there's that point where you have to decide what in the WORLD you're doing. There are too many voices pulling too many ways. In our house dd is not lazy, not at all, but she's not STRUCTURED. She has no inherent perfectionism to drive and inspire her either.

 

I've got Ds who is not structured, but is perfectionist, if that's possible. So he doesn't plan and think ahead, but becomes disgusted with his results. And, as I'm typing, I'm thinking is he really not structured? Now, I'll have to think over just how structured he is.

I was looking at the Joanne Calderwood hs planner last night http://www.urthemom.com/High_School_Planner.html and read through the posts here on the board mentioning her. She came to the other convention in our state that I didn't get to go to, and here was the description of her talk.

 

"Discover the secret to homeschooling freedom with the self-teaching method of education. Part 1 will show you the incredible, almost-too-good-to-be-true benefits of the self-teaching and mastery methodologies as well as focusing initially on the all-important ingredient to a peaceful home life: capturing each child's heart. Learn Joanne's proven self-teaching formula and you will have obedient, cheerful children who learn independently and with excellence. For Real."

 

Sounds kind of unschooling and out of the box, right? Nope, from what I could find reading on her site and elsewhere, she uses abeka and textbooks and basically helps her kids move from *her* scheduling to *them* picking out chunks and filling in their plans in their planner for the week.

 

Oh, this is just too funny. Gave me a good laugh. But if it works for them....

 

And to me it seems like Doodler's dc takes the next step, which is not only making her plan (which I gather she does) but actually choosing the materials and WHAT she wants to do. So last night I was separating out in my mind *structure* and *implementation* and thinking about how you could give kids the structure they need to succeed while letting them not so much drive the implementation (which unstructured kids aren't ready to do) but *own* it. They can be invested in it and own it.

 

My dd could go either way. She can either follow a syllabus of tasks with materials that fit her (notice all the caveats) OR she could go much more open-ended, with a structured task where she has freedom to chose how to approach it and in what order. For instance I've had this crazy idea where I could buy all 4 years of TOG, put all the weeks onto a master checklist (it would work just as well with chapters of Spielvogel or whatever, anything with a framework) and then say check them off as you do them, but do them in any order and any way you want. Pick what you want to study, cover that week, then move on to whatever else. I could see that kind of self-driven exploration where there's some sense of order. And the connector of that would be filling in the timeline as you study, but there wouldn't necessarily be that continuity of doing each week exactly the same. We've also talked about doing TOG in a more typical order but just really busting it out of the mold, doing it our way, giving ourselves permission NOT to do things the way they said but go "You know, this week we'll watch dvds to cover the topic and call it good." That sort of thing.

 

And this sounds like what I want to do this year. of course, you have to learn to click the 'ignore' button on all those voices who want to tell you that's not how it was meant to be done and your child won't get the full benefit and...and...

 

And what kills me are the contradictions. If feels like, if you chose a structured, plodding approach (using a text or TOG or whatever as a frame), that you're closing yourself off to the adventure of harder things. It seems like you're locked into a paradigm and won't be able to do all the OTHER things you imagined. That's why Mtn's post haunted me, because I feel like those OTHER things need a space, and I'm not sure whether they'll fit into a neat and tidy plan of 4 years, this order, blah blah. The flip side is I do better with structure, a roadmap, a plan, some sense of how it fits together. Sometimes doing things in a structured, systematic way gets you better results and sometimes there was an offbeat way to get to the same place. That's sort of what I'm weighing out in my mind.

 

Oh, my! These are exactly the thoughts I am being tortured by daily and what is making it so hard for me to make decisions.

I think there are a few people who are probably chuckling at my naivete, hehe. I could think of some things (like writing fabulous essays comparing and contrasting this and that) that would get assigned in one approach that might not get assigned in another. I have theories on that too, but that's for a whole nother thread. :lol:

 

Your turn to chuckle will come, too. I'm only chuckling in sympathy b/c I'm right there with you. If you start up another thread then I will either become more confused, or I'll finally figure it out---Na, I think that will happen when they are both in college.:tongue_smilie:

 

As much as I'm AMAZED by what Doodler's dc does, I also recognize that my dd doesn't have the perfectionism or inherent structured thinking necessarily to get where she needs to be without guidance. She also has a little bit more flex in her methodologies and ability to accept things. She really could go either way. Or maybe what I'm saying is I need all the rabbit trails without the worry of creating structure? Well THERE, now I'm talking in circles.

 

This is exactly what goes on in my head every time I start to think about planning for next year. And all these thoughts go round and round with me reaching no conclusion--so I go to the pool, or the garden, or whatever.

But that's about it. She's actually pretty stinkin' good if you give her a topic, a target task (open-ended) and let her go at it. However she doesn't think up her *own* tasks for output and gets bored if it's always just read a pile of books, read a pile of books.

 

Well whatever, that was just a lot of thoughts. Here I had solicited Mtn's journey and am instead giving my own. :D

 

You know there are times I'd like to throw all the curriculum and homeschooling books out the window into a huge dumpster and just live and learn. (Okay, we might need the math curriculum. :))Walk along the creek and talk about it, think about how it was once important for our community, research it, learn about the history, biology and ecology related to it--do some related labs. Get excited about something and take out a ton of library books and read and discuss to the nth degree. Complete some projects or writing assignments whatever naturally fits the subject. Make it all into a presentation to give at the county library. Visit the county historians and find out how our county history fits into the bigger picture of world history. And the list goes on.....

 

And, I think about the fact that by planning out everything, in some ways, I am doing school at home and not taking full advantage of the freedom homeschooling can allow. I wonder if I will regret it one day. There are all these wonderful opportunitites to learn which our entire family is interested in. But in order to actually explore them, I would have to set aside 'the plan' for significant amount of time. Then there is college to think about. Uggh!

 

I once told a friend my idea of chucking curriculum and just really learning and she said, "Yeah, but that would be a lot of work, and you might end up not being so interested if it turned into work, especially if your Dc needs you to line it all up for them." Hmmm, true. Then I think about when we did interest driven history. We got stalled on one topic and couldn't seem to move on.

 

There must be some sort of happy medium. I just haven't found it yet.

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Excellent summation. It is like I am right back at the beginning of the journey from a decade ago at the beginning of Kindergarten: do I go with the crowd (to traditional school) or do we follow our own path?

 

I had the same thought just yesterday.

 

I am a planner by nature so the thought of an off-the-rails journey that might very well lead nowhere (or at least not to college) is terrifying. I am sure some of the veteran high school moms are laughing themselves silly over all this wailing and moaning, much like I do at the newbie moms who are worried, worried, worried about picking the right Preschool program or about Latin in 2nd grade. I want to tell them all, "hey just relax! it really is ok!". It would be nice if I could take my own advice. :chillpill:

 

I hope MtnTeaching chimes in, but she's probably off somewhere actually enjoying her summer. ;) :grouphug:

 

Well, this is exactly where I am too. I'm aiming for as close as I can get to a happy medium. (I have this feeling the veterans are laughing too.)

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And, I think about the fact that by planning out everything, in some ways, I am doing school at home and not taking full advantage of the freedom homeschooling can allow. I wonder if I will regret it one day. There are all these wonderful opportunitites to learn which our entire family is interested in. But in order to actually explore them, I would have to set aside 'the plan' for significant amount of time. Then there is college to think about. Uggh!

 

 

This is where I'm at-a major crossroads. If I just want to do a school-y approach, there's a great private school here that can do that and take the load off me (while I go to work to pay for it, which is ok.)

 

I kind of alluded to this whole thing in my thread on the Logic board about fitting it all in. If we go WTM/school-ish, then we don't have time for rabbit trails, cool outside lessons or projects or opportunities, etc. Furthermore, I know for us, if we go unstructured at all, then nothing gets done here. I need a plan.

 

I always imagined hs'ing would be a more organic way of schooling, made up of an eclectic mishmosh of some traditional work but also that by now (oldest dd is 12 1/2) she would be branching out with other interests that hs'ing would allow time to pursue.

 

Sadly, she doesn't really have many interests, and if she did, we have NO money to allow for instruments, lessons, travel, learning camps, etc.

 

So I am left to wonder, if we're just going to do "school", might as well put them in one where I know the education is better than what I am able to do.

 

The learning curve alone of figuring out high school (transcripts, testing, etc) has me like a deer in the headlights and ready to bail.

 

I just reread "Homeschooling for Excellence" by the Colfaxes (the hs pioneer family way back when who basically lived on the side of a mountain and their sons all ended up at Harvard, etc). It is inspiring-they all just would sit down with their physics books for fun, learned a ton by homesteading together, etc. That would not be reality here. My kids are not like Doodler's-they would maybe pursue interests, but it would not be challenging enough to count as high school.

 

I really don't have the time or creativity or frankly the knowledge base to create output ideas, create this and that to make sure it's up to level.

 

I was just with extended family and they all have these great kids in good colleges who all went to ps, and you know what, they're doing just FINE. The academics all worked out, they got into good schools and are now pursuing interesting careers. I am starting to feel like I put WAY too much thought into all this and I need to :chillpill: I need to just pick something and do it and deal with it. I am losing so much sleep over all this. It's SO hard when you're hs'ing and it all falls on you, isn't it!? The stakes just get so high when high school rolls around.

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Shannon and Happy, I'm glad to know I'm at least not insane for how I'm thinking through all this. Thanks for sharing all that. Today I'm trying to read "Things We Wish We'd Known"... Someone mentioned it here on the boards as a yearly read for her own encouragement and balancing. I'm hoping maybe it will help me sort things out. So far the one I'm chuckling over is their realization they were stuck in "behavior modification methods" of teaching. :)

 

That particular article btw really cut to the crux of our trouble. When you're BEYOND something, you can look back and see how it fits together and how to do it 20 different ways. When you're doing it for the first time, you're not so supple and confident. She talks about flex learning and a tutoring model and getting a preview so that you know where it's going and how you want to approach it. So I'm thinking maybe that's going to be part of the answer to me is just pulling on the big girl pants and making an executive decision that *I* know what *we* need to do and that we can trim and be radical and do it our own way and be fine. I'm toying around with the idea that I could buy just a *unit* of TOG (which is actually what Marcia S. suggested to me when I talked with her) and just cherry pick out the things that fit with what we're trying to do. That would be better than being locked into some flow of have-tos that don't fit our need of the moment. After all, some of these curricula are not a boxed curriculum and staying in the box so much as they're someone ELSE'S out of the box. And their out of the box might not fit MY out of the box situation. But that doesn't mean I can't take my shovel and use some of their sand to make my own playpen, kwim? Cuz like you both, I'm utterly WEARY of making things myself and then having them not fit, having her outgrow them mentally, still not having the pizzazz she craves no matter how hard I try, whatever whatever. I'm happy to steal sand from somebody else's playbox if I can. :lol:

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His kids had wildly different educations based on their interests. One is academically brilliant and nerdy; she went on to major in music and Italian studies, I think, and got interested in art history in college. The other seems to have spent most of her early years in intensive gymnastics and music before going on to major in international finance and helping with the economics of reconstruction in the middle East. David Albert can be grating and quirky, but he gives a current, small-city look at how kids can incorporate interest-based learning mixed with some very classical-looking elements, and go on to great colleges and careers.

 

I've read and enjoyed David Albert, thanks! See, the problem is becoming we don't have the funds for following interests. If the child wants Italian, or music, we're looking at money for teachers, courses, etc., that we don't have.

 

If I didn't have such a tight budget, I'd be a lot more confident with homeschooling high school because I could farm out what I'd need to. Even doing ONE community college course would be so tight for us, and we don't have dual enrollment here.

 

I liked your ideas for steps to take to unstructured-very doable.

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I've read and enjoyed David Albert, thanks! See, the problem is becoming we don't have the funds for following interests. If the child wants Italian, or music, we're looking at money for teachers, courses, etc., that we don't have.

 

If I didn't have such a tight budget, I'd be a lot more confident with homeschooling high school because I could farm out what I'd need to. Even doing ONE community college course would be so tight for us, and we don't have dual enrollment here.

 

I liked your ideas for steps to take to unstructured-very doable.

 

Ok, I want to say one thing about this. Even if you had ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (or at least a rather open-ended homeschooling budget), you STILL might not know what to do. It's not like money solves everything. I boil it down to more of a spiritual thing that *I have everything I NEED*. Everything I need in has been made available to me, I just need to see it that way.

 

Personally, I don't see cc courses on the need list. And reading the boards and thinking more out of the box, I think a lot of things people use are not on the NEED list. I have everything I need if I can see it with accepting eyes.

 

Sorry, sermon over. I've just wondered and thought about it a bit, because frankly it sounds like my budget is more open-ended than yours. My dh has never put a limit on my spending for homeschool stuff. Money doesn't solve everything. It's more of being spiritually open to the answers that are before you.

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Hey Doodles, I LOVE how out of the box you're getting here! Your ideas are definitely getting the wheels percolating for me. I think you're right that there can be a way to *balance* our need for structure (in us or our kids) with our desire to loosen up sometimes. And we can even PLAN that, haha. I've had such a good afternoon letting my mind wander into what this could look like. It's actually starting to come together for me. If I get some time ALONE tonight, without the savage toddler shooting me, I may be able to start getting something on paper. Right now it's just clouds and bubbles in my brain. :)

 

PS. You don't mind being called Doodles, do you? I think it's a fabulous pet name. I need a dog with that name. :D

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You know there are times I'd like to throw all the curriculum and homeschooling books out the window into a huge dumpster and just live and learn. .......

 

And, I think about the fact that by planning out everything, in some ways, I am doing school at home and not taking full advantage of the freedom homeschooling can allow. I wonder if I will regret it one day. There are all these wonderful opportunitites to learn which our entire family is interested in. But in order to actually explore them, I would have to set aside 'the plan' for significant amount of time. Then there is college to think about. Uggh!

 

I once told a friend my idea of chucking curriculum and just really learning and she said, "Yeah, but that would be a lot of work, and you might end up not being so interested if it turned into work, especially if your Dc needs you to line it all up for them." Hmmm, true. Then I think about when we did interest driven history. We got stalled on one topic and couldn't seem to move on.

 

There must be some sort of happy medium. I just haven't found it yet.

 

I can't function w/o a plan. But, I can't function w/in pre-planned curriculum either. So, for me, the happy medium is the "a lot of work" of "lining it all up for them." ;) I take our academics very seriously, but I also take them very personally. I work around their abilities, goals, and interests to build courses that meet all the needs (theirs, mine, and future academic goals.)

 

Sometimes it is simply following a textbook and incorporating videos, etc (that is the way my dd's anatomy and physiology course turned out. But....we selected the textbook, coloring book, and lectures and I scheduled the assignments and videos to fit her abilities/pace.) There are other courses like 2 I'm planning for my rising 11th grader that take me hrs upon hrs of research, planning, structuring to create (one is the philosophy of science and religion (he wants to major in astrophysics and there are major issues I want to cover before he graduates) and the other is a literature course built mostly around CS Lewis.)

 

I work w/my older kids selecting materials. They have input and therefore ownership. The daily work is my assignment b/c I am a firm believer in concupiscence and there is no way I would let my teenagers decide on how much work they need to do in every subject. They do do that w/some things (for example, ds is creating his own independent study on dark matter), but that is something that is his passion and he would do it in his free-time anyway. Lit and writing, otoh, would get "lost" in life. :tongue_smilie:

 

I

 

If I didn't have such a tight budget, I'd be a lot more confident with homeschooling high school because I could farm out what I'd need to. Even doing ONE community college course would be so tight for us, and we don't have dual enrollment here.

 

.

There are so many free materials available. W/all the opencourseware there are innumerable options available for unique studies! I wouldn't let $$ be the determining factor in believing that options are limited.

 

I am starting to feel like I put WAY too much thought into all this and I need to :chillpill: I need to just pick something and do it and deal with it. I am losing so much sleep over all this. It's SO hard when you're hs'ing and it all falls on you, isn't it!? The stakes just get so high when high school rolls around.

 

Honestly, I think you are correct. :grouphug: Unless you have a student that wants medical school, Ivy League, etc, the stakes are only as high as you make them. (with those, yes, the stakes are high) Any student can go to CC and transfer to a 4 yr college when they have met all their necessary pre-reqs. After watching my kids in college and CCs, I know that they have been prepared far beyond what their peers are receiving. Making sure they have the skills required (math, writing, reading comprehension, foundational science courses) is the main objective. If they can think and have good work ethic, they will be fine.

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This thread is timely for me. We just finished up our very strange, modified 9th grade year. As I look to 10th grade, I am making a change in how we do history (back to living books). Everything else looks the same as it did before things fell apart last year. I am trying to figure out what to do. Should we try again with some things that didn't work the first time?

 

Here's an example of a dilemma I find myself in:

Last year Biology bombed. We dropped it entirely. This year we are going to try again, this time with a much easier book (it's just a "get it done" subject for us). We pulled Algebra I off by the skin of our teeth attitude wise, although ds made a high B in the course. He just doesn't think he is strong at math. An outside class & tutor helped tremendously. This fall, there is a local geometry class that I had pretty much settled on for him - he likes the book they are using, which is a big plus. In my inbox today I find an email from our science museum about a series of classes that they are holding for homeschoolers - all biology or geometry related.

Here they are:

Tree Mechanics - In this class we study the strategies different tree species use to: weather severe winds, pump water to their leaves, and disperse seeds. We will learn the all important role of the cambium layer in creating the tree's trunk and the function of xylem and phloem cells. We will also core trees to obtain samples which record the effects of local climate and competition. This class has both indoor and outdoor components.I

Introduction to Laboratory Measurement - A lab may appear overwhelming with all the strangely-shaped glassware, hoses, clamps and measuring equipment. In this class we'll bring order and a sense of familiarity to the lab by learning the names and functions of basic glassware, like beakers, volumetric flasks and graduated cylinders. We will practice accurate measuring using a variety of tools including pipette pumps, digital scales, 3-beam scales and displacement containers. Finally, you will put your new found skills to the test by measuring unknown quantities and densities.

What's the Angle - From measuring the height of a tree, the flight path of a moth, to determining the distance to the moon, our ability to use angles and mathematics is an important skill in science. During this class we'll use parallax, measuring tape, ancient cross staffs, modern lasers and the Pythagorean Theorem. We'll construct a take-home measuring device enabling you to confidently measure the height of backyard trees.

Insects in the Lab - Insects make for excellent model organisms for scientific study. They reproduce quickly, often in huge numbers, and take up relatively little space. Over many years certain insects have been bred for specific characteristics that scientists require for genetic research or the study of disease. We will use dissecting scopes, chilling plates and other lab equipment to examine in detail some of the most famous lab insects, like fruit flies and termites. You will learn to separate some insects by caste, others by gender, and how to culture your own laboratory insects. You'll even have the opportunity to peer into a termite intestine to see symbionts living comfortably inside!

 

 

Don't they look wonderful? That's only what they offer for Sept-Oct. There will be more during the school year. So what's the dilemma? The science classes meet about every three weeks, but they meet at the same day and time as the geometry class. The science classes would be great, but geometry must get done for college admission. Teaching him math at home isn't an option anymore. The science classes would help him enjoy a science he doesn't care about - he'd much rather be studying dark matter than biology. Unfortunately, for college admission he needs a life science with lab, so biology it is.

 

I will be reading what others have to say in this thread with interest & so thankful to the insight everyone is providing.

 

 

 

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Ok, I want to say one thing about this. Even if you had ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (or at least a rather open-ended homeschooling budget), you STILL might not know what to do. It's not like money solves everything. I boil it down to more of a spiritual thing that *I have everything I NEED*. Everything I need in has been made available to me, I just need to see it that way. Yes. This.

 

Personally, I don't see cc courses on the need list. And reading the boards and thinking more out of the box, I think a lot of things people use are not on the NEED list. I have everything I need if I can see it with accepting eyes. And This. FWIW, my first son took no cc classes or dual enrollment and he has been successful post college.

 

Sorry, sermon over. I've just wondered and thought about it a bit, because frankly it sounds like my budget is more open-ended than yours. My dh has never put a limit on my spending for homeschool stuff. Money doesn't solve everything. It's more of being spiritually open to the answers that are before you.

 

 

I am a veteran homeschool mom (which basically means I am old and not much else ;)) and I have to say I have enjoyed this thread and plan to come back to it when I have more time because there are so many good things that have been mentioned. So, no, I am not laughing.

It's one of the best threads I've read in a long time.

Thanks and Blessings!

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Well Shannon, I just wanted to tell you that your openness about how you WISH you could bust out of the TOG mold, even though it's just not practical (seemingly) for you at this point, really stuck with me. I think I FINALLY have what I was looking for and permission mentally to do it. I now get that I can create our own plan and pull units and weeks of TOG to fill in where they're helpful. And thanks to Doodles, I now get that our plan can have a flow of weeks where they go from more structured to less structured and then back to more structured allowing us to have a plan but still get that open-endedness and creativity she needs. And thanks to Jenny in Florida (in another current thread on planning), I now realize that materials that are worth bringing in are worth having something CLEAR for what we're doing with them. That was a huge pitfall with the open-ended stuff we've done in the past. I'd hand her a book and expect her to have some emotional response to the content that we could then discuss, and when there WASN'T that response, the whole thing just fell flat, BOOM. But Jenny's right that it's reasonable to take the time to google for a guide or just have a plan for what I want done with the material, nothing vague.

 

Well cool, I actually have a plan I feel good about. It forges us out a new way, but new is GOOD, right? And it's not so new. Like 8Fills said, it's really just the next logical step of what we've been doing, rather than trying to shift gears and put on someone else's raincoat.

 

If that was vague as far as plans, well I have the What Life Was Like series (black, Time Life, beautiful with lots of narrative and quirky details) that dd will eat up. There are books for large chunks of geography, so I'm making out a little list tonight where we can hit the non-western, giving 3-4 weeks for each area, going through a rotation of historical, modern, and applied with a different focus each week. That way she gets that crafty side she needs and it's all very clear what we're doing. Once we've gone through the non-western, then there are enough of those books in the series to plow through much of western civ as well. That will take us through egypt, greece, rome,the middle ages, etc. and give us a consistent work pattern throughout the year.

 

Btw Shannon, you're insanely right on when you say that even the most out of the box thing loses it's luster when they realize it's WORK. That hit us hard this summer with a project I started with her. She's going to finish it, but basically once the novelty wore off she realized it was WORK. It's why I don't think dvds are the cure-all for hard subjects, because they're still WORK. But whatever, lol. So I merged your observation about how even the best things can become tedious with Doodle's suggestion to rotate text and alternative.

 

Sigh, peace at last. Now I'm just stacking up my books and writing things out and getting the last few things I need for it. I was 80% of the way there (had most of this stuff) and just didn't see how it FIT together, let alone how I could have a plan that was both flexible and structured at the same time. Well cool, thanks for sharing ladies!

 

Now if MtnTeaching wants to chime in, I'm still all ears! I'm sure anything you say would just encourage me on my way. :)

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I kind of alluded to this whole thing in my thread on the Logic board about fitting it all in. If we go WTM/school-ish, then we don't have time for rabbit trails, cool outside lessons or projects or opportunities, etc. Furthermore, I know for us, if we go unstructured at all, then nothing gets done here. I need a plan.

 

I always imagined hs'ing would be a more organic way of schooling, made up of an eclectic mishmosh of some traditional work but also that by now (oldest dd is 12 1/2) she would be branching out with other interests that hs'ing would allow time to pursue.

 

Sadly, she doesn't really have many interests, and if she did, we have NO money to allow for instruments, lessons, travel, learning camps, etc.

 

I remember your thread on the logic stage board. You mentioned there that your dd is pretty advanced and didn't need time to spend on basic study stuff. I'm just wondering - if this is the case, and if you are currently using WTM as a guide, why don't you have time for rabbit trails and projects? I'm just asking because I figured out a few years ago that if I concentrated my efforts on teaching study skills (such as the outlining/timelining I mentioned on your thread, or math or writing or logic or analysis), the schedule *would* open up for projects and rabbit trails. I schedule time slots for content study such as literature, history, and science; but I don't schedule specific topics that must be covered. I think (for example, with history), "This year we are studying modern history - kids - read through the KF book, pick some topics of interest, find some supplementary library books to read and write about during reading times and daily writing skills practice time. Fill your boots if you think up a project you'd like to do, too." Because of my switch in thinking, my kids have been able to have time to pursue other interests (and read about what interested THEM in the modern history). Anyway, I'm just wondering if any of us could help you with streamlining any of your plans? Would you want to post your plans and reasons for them, and get some feedback? (I know that's scary sometimes! :D)

 

BTW, I hear you on needing a plan. I have to have a direction for my basic study requirements in order to have time for the rabbit trails. It works.

 

Regarding "extras", we are in the same boat as you are - we do not have extra money or easily available transportation to do many of the things I read about here (or that I see local homeschoolers doing). In a way, this has turned out to be a blessing for us - I have been forced to think outside the box. Jane in NC has said here several times, "Look around you. See what opportunities you CAN take advantage of. Create your own opportunities." I've started to do that in the past year. My kids didn't develop passions earlier - only in the past year has my 14yo gone in the direction of computer programming. My 11yo is still very happy to play with her dolls, make up stories, dress up, create outdoor cafes and play spaces, play with buckets of water and food colouring outside, decorate cakes, etc.; and I have no problem with that. And about the computer programming - I knew I couldn't afford to sign him up for classes with people who actually knew what they were doing, so I asked on here for book ideas and what I needed to know to get him started on a coherent study. I got great feedback, bought a $12 book, and off he went. He taught himself a lot. And now that interest is waning somewhat. I'm content now with not having been able to sign him up for classes just to try something out. He will be able to do that himself when he gets older.

 

 

-- Have your child pick one single thing she wants to do or learn about this year. The crucial thing is that IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE TRADITIONALLY ACADEMIC. It can be baking and decorating cakes, or sewing a historical costume, or building a robotic arm, or whatever. Build time to work on that project into "school" time instead of saying that the student can work on the "fun" stuff after the important stuff is over. The idea is to give the student a perception that what she herself wants to learn is legitimate and appropriate and valuable, and build time into the schedule to help her figure out how to pursue that to a deeper level than she might herself.

 

This idea is appealing, but what if the interest in that one single thing wanes before the year is over? I could see this happening with my own kids - I know they're younger than your dd, but I'm not sure that every older teen stays on one single interest for a long time. I probably wouldn't make them finish a study born in this way if interest deteriorated. For one thing, making them continue would probably kill their interest all the way; for another, it would take more effort on my part, to keep them going, than I'd have time for. Our reality has me dividing my time between teaching and doing many frugal activities to maintain our household, and I know many other homeschoolers are in similar situations.

 

Putting these types of projects into "school" time might work for some kids, but others, like mine, would rebel, lol! They would only see it as prolonging the school time, and they'd lose interest in the project. My kids would much rather work on their projects "for fun" - my ds jokingly tells me he learns more in his own projects than he does when I make him do his math or writing or Latin - then I joke back and say, "Oh yeah? Then why are you able to explain your project to me so clearly? Oh, could it be because of the skills I make you practice during school time?" And he laughs. :lol:

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I think the high school yrs can be as high pressure or as low pressure as wanted/needed. With my oldest 3, high school was pretty low pressure. I had minimum standards I wanted to meet, but nothing difficult or that time-consuming, etc. Our oldest wanted to attend an in-state public university and the admission process was very low key and simple.

 

 

I can't function w/o a plan. But, I can't function w/in pre-planned curriculum either...

 

Yup, I've worried for years about what is wrong with me that I don't like to follow orders in pre-done curriculum. :lol:

 

Honestly, I think you are correct. :grouphug: Unless you have a student that wants medical school, Ivy League, etc, the stakes are only as high as you make them. (with those, yes, the stakes are high) Any student can go to CC and transfer to a 4 yr college when they have met all their necessary pre-reqs. After watching my kids in college and CCs, I know that they have been prepared far beyond what their peers are receiving. Making sure they have the skills required (math, writing, reading comprehension, foundational science courses) is the main objective. If they can think and have good work ethic, they will be fine.

 

I really appreciate your comments on this. It's something I had been THINKING but hadn't heard anybody SAY. It's easy to see when people are doing bing, bang, boom, and it shows well on paper. However some of the quieter, more plodding approaches that get it done and go on to live a happy life, not so flashy, not so obvious on the boards. And yet all kids are NOT going to the same place and DON'T need the same things. And somewhere in there is my dd, who really would do well with an excellent education that errs toward the non-flashy, lots of living side. It's just who she is. I think the one issue that confounds with that is character. There's an admirable side to kids who work really hard (AP X15, blah blah), and I think that's why we as a society or board admire it and go wow. There *is* something to be admired there. But maybe we can harness that good character and get it to develop but still be reasonable about who our kids are and what they need.

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Rebecca Rupp is in the process of writing a book called A Magnificent Education, and its premise is that all you need, the single thing, is access to good books. You don't need curricula, outside classes or tutors, musical instruments/lessons, sports teams, travel, etc. You just need to read and talk about what you read with someone who cares.

 

 

Well that WILL be a magnificent book to read! When is it due out? Gotta go look! :)

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This thread is timely for me. We just finished up our very strange, modified 9th grade year. As I look to 10th grade, I am making a change in how we do history (back to living books). Everything else looks the same as it did before things fell apart last year. I am trying to figure out what to do. Should we try again with some things that didn't work the first time?

 

Here's an example of a dilemma I find myself in:

Last year Biology bombed. We dropped it entirely. This year we are going to try again, this time with a much easier book (it's just a "get it done" subject for us). We pulled Algebra I off by the skin of our teeth attitude wise, although ds made a high B in the course. He just doesn't think he is strong at math. An outside class & tutor helped tremendously. This fall, there is a local geometry class that I had pretty much settled on for him - he likes the book they are using, which is a big plus. In my inbox today I find an email from our science museum about a series of classes that they are holding for homeschoolers - all biology or geometry related.

Here they are:

Tree Mechanics - In this class we study the strategies different tree species use to: weather severe winds, pump water to their leaves, and disperse seeds. We will learn the all important role of the cambium layer in creating the tree's trunk and the function of xylem and phloem cells. We will also core trees to obtain samples which record the effects of local climate and competition. This class has both indoor and outdoor components.I

Introduction to Laboratory Measurement - A lab may appear overwhelming with all the strangely-shaped glassware, hoses, clamps and measuring equipment. In this class we'll bring order and a sense of familiarity to the lab by learning the names and functions of basic glassware, like beakers, volumetric flasks and graduated cylinders. We will practice accurate measuring using a variety of tools including pipette pumps, digital scales, 3-beam scales and displacement containers. Finally, you will put your new found skills to the test by measuring unknown quantities and densities.

What's the Angle - From measuring the height of a tree, the flight path of a moth, to determining the distance to the moon, our ability to use angles and mathematics is an important skill in science. During this class we'll use parallax, measuring tape, ancient cross staffs, modern lasers and the Pythagorean Theorem. We'll construct a take-home measuring device enabling you to confidently measure the height of backyard trees.

Insects in the Lab - Insects make for excellent model organisms for scientific study. They reproduce quickly, often in huge numbers, and take up relatively little space. Over many years certain insects have been bred for specific characteristics that scientists require for genetic research or the study of disease. We will use dissecting scopes, chilling plates and other lab equipment to examine in detail some of the most famous lab insects, like fruit flies and termites. You will learn to separate some insects by caste, others by gender, and how to culture your own laboratory insects. You'll even have the opportunity to peer into a termite intestine to see symbionts living comfortably inside!

 

 

Don't they look wonderful? That's only what they offer for Sept-Oct. There will be more during the school year. So what's the dilemma? The science classes meet about every three weeks, but they meet at the same day and time as the geometry class. The science classes would be great, but geometry must get done for college admission. Teaching him math at home isn't an option anymore. The science classes would help him enjoy a science he doesn't care about - he'd much rather be studying dark matter than biology. Unfortunately, for college admission he needs a life science with lab, so biology it is.

 

I will be reading what others have to say in this thread with interest & so thankful to the insight everyone is providing.

 

 

 

 

Well I feel horrible about the pickle you're in! That insect class in particular sounds really, really good. Is the biology going to be necessary for him as a stepping stone in the future? If not, I'd open your horizons a bit, do something quite out of the box, or dump it entirely. Some colleges might not even CARE that it's not on the transcript. I definitely don't think it's going to be a strong point for my dd, that's for sure. Right now I'm either down to dropping it or doing it with the Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments, ie. literally just doing the labs and hanging the rest. But I'm going to have to be hack with her most of the way I think.

 

If he does the geometry class, can he get out *just* for the weeks for the insect class? That might be really cool and maybe it's just a few sessions that he could make up, rather than missing it all one way or the other.

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Thank you for this post! I've been reading along and feel the struggle for my two kids that are in a brick and mortar high school. So much to do that they often can't fit in any kind of hobby or enjoyable activities. I don't want that for my kids I am homeschooling. This coming year we are starting our school day out with an hour of time free for what ever the kids want to learn. It is scary for me. I want them to learn to develop interest and have time to pursue those interest. So thanks for reminding me it needn't be an all or nothing.

 

I know I said I'd go away after posting, OhE --- but I just empathize so much when I see you feeling kind of desperate searching for that magic middle way.

 

So here are some different ways of structuring open-ended, interest-led work:

 

-- Set a timer for a minimal amount of work that you direct, teach, and/or plan. What that minimum is for you will differ from what it is for someone else: a quarter of the school day, a half, three quarters? Then require however many more hours of some kind of learning, student chosen and directed. Set the timer for this, too. Focus on output/skills during your structured time, so the student can read or investigate freely without necessarily having to produce right away. It takes time to read around in an area and get familiar enough with it to have things you want to pursue further.

 

-- Do a six weeks structured, two or three weeks unstructured general plan. You don't have to do it for every subject. Pick something where you see your child reading when not required, or wanting to know more about, and have that one thing be open-ended and self-directed.

 

-- Have one day a week set aside for activities, projects, field trips, or child-led learning. This doesn't have to be independent learning; you may be required still in the early stages. The goal is independence by the end of high school.

 

-- Begin choosing curricula that lend themselves toward student-initiated work. For instance -- and I know your dd is past this, OhE, but it's just the KIND of thing I mean -- the GEMS science units begin with structured or guided work, then sometimes ask the student to come up with a single-variable experiment and follow through.

 

-- Have your child pick one single thing she wants to do or learn about this year. The crucial thing is that IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE TRADITIONALLY ACADEMIC. It can be baking and decorating cakes, or sewing a historical costume, or building a robotic arm, or whatever. Build time to work on that project into "school" time instead of saying that the student can work on the "fun" stuff after the important stuff is over. The idea is to give the student a perception that what she herself wants to learn is legitimate and appropriate and valuable, and build time into the schedule to help her figure out how to pursue that to a deeper level than she might herself.

 

--Remember, my dd is 16. When she was 13, she wasn't doing all this. I did take one (big) area, "English," or reading/writing, where she had always had very strong ideas about what she wanted to do, and I gave her free reign in that one area. For a year I was very worried about this, as she didn't go for the classics I hoped, but read sci fi and fantasy for just about an entire year. But it was adult level books, and we had some wonderful discussions about bioethics, technology, alien cultures, the politics of exploration, all kinds of great stuff.

 

Then the switch just clicked over, and she started tackling classics of her own accord. That same switch, that developmental leap, made it possible to give her much wider voice and choice in every other subject around the same time. But she'd had practice learning independently up until then.

 

The thing is, sometimes you have to be willing to go with what your child IS motivated to do, even if it is not conventionally academic; it's by getting through that, getting what they need from it, that makes them able and willing to go on to tackle more difficult material.

 

I can totally understand not being ready to throw everything open to this kind of learning. So I hope the partial steps I listed above might give you some ideas about how to incorporate some interest-led stuff without feeling like you're venturing out into the totally uncharted.

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I've read and enjoyed David Albert, thanks! See, the problem is becoming we don't have the funds for following interests. If the child wants Italian, or music, we're looking at money for teachers, courses, etc., that we don't have.

 

If I didn't have such a tight budget, I'd be a lot more confident with homeschooling high school because I could farm out what I'd need to. Even doing ONE community college course would be so tight for us, and we don't have dual enrollment here.

 

I liked your ideas for steps to take to unstructured-very doable.

 

I want to encourage you that outside opportunities are available without spending a ton of money. My oldest volunteered and interned himself through high school. He had a ton of opportunities that didn't cost a thing. You need to be willing to dig, poke, and ask around ( sometimes over and over again).

 

Some of the things he was able to do for free:

 

Participate in county Economic Development Association workshops

Participate in Chamber of Commerce workshops

Intern at local military base---job shadowed 12 different engineers

volunteered at special needs school

volunteered as camp counselor at local elementary overnight camps

took kids on plant hikes working with parks services

Volunteered with library to compile statistics of users and services to determine if library should stay within county system or go independent

Worked to campaign for several propositions on local and state ballots

 

He earned a science credit interning and rounded off another one working with the parks service. His campaigning counted towards his government credit. Working with the library counted towards a math credit. And I gave him several electives for his work with the economic development assn and the chamber of commerce work.

 

I started out highschool with this kid trying to follow the book, and it was a failure. I first started looking at the community volunteer opportunities to adjust his attitude--help him see that his life wasn't so awful. Things took off from that first volunteering job at the local special needs school. He loved how the kids looked up to him. He taught them the "real" rules to play Pokeman, helped them in shop class, ect and those kids looked for him each week. He realized he could be a real part of changing our community. That was a turning point for his high school experience. After that getting out and doing things for real came before academics. We didn't cover all the great books or chemistry or write in-depth research papers each year. And that was okay---he learned so much more than I ever planned for him.

 

And here I am a year away from my youngest starting high school. I'm needing to remind myself to give time to her to have passions and real life learning. As I mentioned above, we are going to start with an hour a day for her to work on whatever she wants to. I like the PP idea of setting aside a few weeks during the school year for free learning as well.

 

Didn't mean to write a book. Just wanted to encourage those that feel these kinds of things are too expensive. We did spend money on CC classes during those high school years, but I feel his most meaningful learning was free money-wise.

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Miss Moe, those are all amazing things your ds did! How did you connect with those opportunities? You called? Read something in a newspaper? Knew someone?

 

I worked my way through college, and I used to say I learned MORE working in K5 and 1st as a teacher's aide than I did in any of my college classes. :)

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Miss Moe, those are all amazing things your ds did! How did you connect with those opportunities? You called? Read something in a newspaper? Knew someone?

 

I worked my way through college, and I used to say I learned MORE working in K5 and 1st as a teacher's aide than I did in any of my college classes. :)

 

I called, read the newspaper,searched the internet, talked to local high school counselors, mentioned my son was available to anyone and everyone I spoke with, ect. Working with the Chamber of Commerce led to a lot of contacts for other things. The Chamber workshops are open events. Anyone can participate. And it is/was a great way to meet local business owners--which can lead to local projects such as the library work my son did. It would also be a way to connect with people who might be open to internships and job shadowing.

 

I've also found that calling and talking to anyone connected with education depts in museums and parks is more effective than asking about volunteer opportunities. That is how my son ended up working with the parks service.

 

And I must tell you that we were turned down more than not. And proving oneself is a must. Many people are not looking to work with high school students. But once my son proved himself at a few things, many doors opened for him.

 

The parks service recommended him to the elementary school for the camp counseling job. And that led to contacts within the public school system. Which led to the internship. Having free time also opened him up for these opportunities. Before that first really bad year, I was the kind of mom/teacher that said school time is from 8-3. We need to be working on school work--other things have to come after that time period. I had to rethink that to make these other things work. I guess I had to let go of outside things as extras---not as important as the "real" school work.

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I've read and enjoyed David Albert, thanks! See, the problem is becoming we don't have the funds for following interests. If the child wants Italian, or music, we're looking at money for teachers, courses, etc., that we don't have.

 

If I didn't have such a tight budget, I'd be a lot more confident with homeschooling high school because I could farm out what I'd need to. Even doing ONE community college course would be so tight for us, and we don't have dual enrollment here.

 

I liked your ideas for steps to take to unstructured-very doable.

Great thread. I will come back to it after insomnia is done. But we are in the same boat as above, with limited opportunity as well because of our location.. the new free online courses happening look very exciting. Also becuase of our situation and because we're tech fans, we have been building to giving ds internet freedom. We don't place limits on what he's allowed to do, after building our trust. He has found many short and long term interests becuase of it. I know that won't work for everyone, but it opens a world of possibilities to him, even with limited resouce and IRL options.

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...And what kills me are the contradictions. If feels like, if you chose a structured, plodding approach (using a text or TOG or whatever as a frame), that you're closing yourself off to the adventure of harder things. It seems like you're locked into a paradigm and won't be able to do all the OTHER things you imagined. That's why Mtn's post haunted me, because I feel like those OTHER things need a space, and I'm not sure whether they'll fit into a neat and tidy plan of 4 years, this order, blah blah. The flip side is I do better with structure, a roadmap, a plan, some sense of how it fits together. Sometimes doing things in a structured, systematic way gets you better results and sometimes there was an offbeat way to get to the same place. That's sort of what I'm weighing out in my mind...

 

I haven't time to read this thread but I have done a middle way. So far it has worked out well. Very well. Mine isn't brilliant at the things he would be brilliant at if we went entirely the interest-based route OR as good at things like writing as he would be if we had gone a more traditional textbook-based route, but it is now (last year of high school coming up) looking like he has enough of one and enough of the other (probably) to do what he wants in life. He has enough interest-based to tackle projects on his own and to develop a knowledge base on his own, and he has enough text-book based to get an 4.0 community college chemistry. We couldn't really sacrifice one OR the other and have him get into and do well in engineering school AND make a good engineer once he was out, to give one example.

 

Don't panic. There is a middle way for those children who wouldn't learn to write an essay left to their own devices.

 

Nan

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I haven't time to read this thread but I have done a middle way. So far it has worked out well. Very well. Mine isn't brilliant at the things he would be brilliant at if we went entirely the interest-based route OR as good at things like writing as he would be if we had gone a more traditional textbook-based route, but it is now (last year of high school coming up) looking like he has enough of one and enough of the other (probably) to do what he wants in life. He has enough interest-based to tackle projects on his own and to develop a knowledge base on his own, and he has enough text-book based to get an 4.0 community college chemistry. We couldn't really sacrifice one OR the other and have him get into and do well in engineering school AND make a good engineer once he was out, to give one example.

 

Don't panic. There is a middle way for those children who wouldn't learn to write an essay left to their own devices.

 

Nan

 

Well that's an interesting point! I hadn't thought of it that way. Thanks for sharing! :)

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Exactly what I was thinking Penny! SOOO much to read through. I totally agree with OP (Mtn...) comment about one big reason for starting to homeschool is to encourage the love of learning and I also believed that learning could be fun all the way through. So far we have kept that true and we are into 9th grade, a bit. Who want to throw that under the bus for high school?!

 

Julie

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Of course kids differ. Of course not all interests are academic, and not all are intensive or long-lasting. That doesn't mean they don't learn a great deal from each one. I have been dismayed at some short-lived interests only to find that years later dd still remembers everything that she read or did in that small slot of time, because it was meaningful and important to her. There's no need to insist that one single interest last an academic year. On the other hand, you can help your child learn ways to extend an interest, look at different aspects of an interest, consider what they MIGHT go on to do, make connections to other subjects or areas. These are strategies that will help kids develop habits of thought that will apply to anything they do, academic or otherwise.

 

Your suggestion sounded to me as if you thought the student's topic of interest should be pursued for the year. Maybe you don't think that.

 

While I think your use of the student's interests to accomplish what I bolded above is inspiring, I also think that this is difficult for many homeschoolers to do as extensively as you seem to advocate. The guilt some Moms experience over not doing as many projects or interest-pursuits as they'd like with their kids, or the worry over short-lived interests (even adults have short-lived interests, though!), can be a burden.

 

Many of us Moms here struggle with this dilemma - do I jettison things that I've thought were important in favour of putting my child's interest in cake-decorating (which very possibly can be pursued in "free" time) into school hours? If so, how will that affect his or her future? Will I regret dropping the Latin grammar forms drill? Do I know and am I comfortable with what I am deciding here? If I decide to keep cake-decorating in "free" time so that I can keep Latin drill in "school" time so as not to forget to keep Latin drill going most days, do I really *need* (esp. if I have multiple kids) to put more energy into helping my kid figure out how to extend an interest? If it's an *interest*, won't he figure that out himself? Won't he ask me questions if he wants help with thinking about something (mine does)? It's easier for me to answer those questions while I'm cooking supper than while I'm trying to teach grammar to my 11yo.

 

Further, I think the crux of it is this: Do these decisions agree with my parenting philosophies (which I think is the bigger issue in these dilemmas)? Do I believe I am to be guiding my teen, while giving certain freedoms ("ds, feel free to do computer programming this afternoon, or read a book, or go outside, or build a treehouse, or..."), on a certain path? Or do I believe I should give my teen more say in how his education is to be carried out, and in how his day should go? Or is it a gradual path to more choice for the teen? How do I give this gradual choice? Or, if I've given more choice earlier, how do handle the nervousness I feel when my 13yo chooses to do with his time things that I don't think are best for him at this age?

 

Can I justify my decisions and live with and accept the possible (positive and negative) consequences of any of the above decisions?

 

I think when these types of questions start to get answered, we parents can make more decisions guilt-free.

 

BTW, have you read any posts by another registered WTM forum-user named KarenAnne? I find that your ideas and situations are very similar to hers.

 

I haven't time to read this thread but I have done a middle way. So far it has worked out well. Very well. Mine isn't brilliant at the things he would be brilliant at if we went entirely the interest-based route OR as good at things like writing as he would be if we had gone a more traditional textbook-based route, but it is now (last year of high school coming up) looking like he has enough of one and enough of the other (probably) to do what he wants in life. He has enough interest-based to tackle projects on his own and to develop a knowledge base on his own, and he has enough text-book based to get an 4.0 community college chemistry. We couldn't really sacrifice one OR the other and have him get into and do well in engineering school AND make a good engineer once he was out, to give one example.

 

Love this report, Nan!

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Your suggestion sounded to me as if you thought the student's topic of interest should be pursued for the year. Maybe you don't think that.

 

While I think your use of the student's interests to accomplish what I bolded above is inspiring, I also think that this is difficult for many homeschoolers to do as extensively as you seem to advocate. The guilt some Moms experience over not doing as many projects or interest-pursuits as they'd like with their kids, or the worry over short-lived interests (even adults have short-lived interests, though!), can be a burden.

 

Many of us Moms here struggle with this dilemma - do I jettison things that I've thought were important in favour of putting my child's interest in cake-decorating (which very possibly can be pursued in "free" time) into school hours? If so, how will that affect his or her future? Will I regret dropping the Latin grammar forms drill? Do I know and am I comfortable with what I am deciding here? If I decide to keep cake-decorating in "free" time so that I can keep Latin drill in "school" time so as not to forget to keep Latin drill going most days, do I really *need* (esp. if I have multiple kids) to put more energy into helping my kid figure out how to extend an interest? If it's an *interest*, won't he figure that out himself? Won't he ask me questions if he wants help with thinking about something (mine does)? It's easier for me to answer those questions while I'm cooking supper than while I'm trying to teach grammar to my 11yo.

 

Further, I think the crux of it is this: Do these decisions agree with my parenting philosophies (which I think is the bigger issue in these dilemmas)? Do I believe I am to be guiding my teen, while giving certain freedoms ("ds, feel free to do computer programming this afternoon, or read a book, or go outside, or build a treehouse, or..."), on a certain path? Or do I believe I should give my teen more say in how his education is to be carried out, and in how his day should go? Or is it a gradual path to more choice for the teen? How do I give this gradual choice? Or, if I've given more choice earlier, how do handle the nervousness I feel when my 13yo chooses to do with his time things that I don't think are best for him at this age?

 

Can I justify my decisions and live with and accept the possible (positive and negative) consequences of any of the above decisions?

 

I think when these types of questions start to get answered, we parents can make more decisions guilt-free.

 

BTW, have you read any posts by another registered WTM forum-user named KarenAnne? I find that your ideas and situations are very similar to hers.

 

 

 

Love this report, Nan!

 

Colleen, I deal with some of this. I distinctly remember having a lot of free time in high school. Even though I was a good study I wasn't overly involved in activities. It left me time to explore. Honestly I would be a different person today if the Internet had been around then. Oh the places I could have gone, virtually anyway.

 

How do I deal with this with ds? I don't attempt to educationalize (making up more words) every interest. We tend to unschool computers, because he's very erratic in his dabbling. However, because he has the freedom to explore he's stumbled on some great ideas. He does most of this before and after school, very seldom does he get that "go explore" direction from me.

 

However, because this is a long-term evolving interest I guard his free time. I built his ability to be online or stationed in his command center (what a set up he has!) We will probably never school 7 hours a day, six will probably be our maximum. It's almost having a split-personality education wise. His interest has turned into a good thing and saved some computer things that I would have lost otherwise, dh knows how, but doesn't have the time to mess with it.

 

How to approach the school stuff? I build in time to run rabbit trails. I'm not sure exactly what high school will look like. Overall the next four years will be reflection of him. We've already made compromises in my plan, but not in the level of quality instruction. His high school journey will be a reflection of who he is. It's not going to be pure WTM or LCC, but it will be honestly him. That's a parenting philosophy I can follow. We're not shooting for Ivy League or trying to match his transcript to meet some school. I want the school we choose and apply at to match him, does that make sense?

 

My son has been very blunt about the direction he wishes to pursue right now. It lines up with my academic criteria, but I've had to tweak. I have certain things I won't compromise on because I'm not confident enough to, or I know he doesn't get the importance of my "requirement".

 

It took a lot of reflection to realize what I was willing to let go of and what I needed to fight for, because every subject we're studying next year has been thoroughly discussed and negotiated with ds. debated, rebutted...:lol:

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I really appreciate your comments on this. It's something I had been THINKING but hadn't heard anybody SAY. It's easy to see when people are doing bing, bang, boom, and it shows well on paper. However some of the quieter, more plodding approaches that get it done and go on to live a happy life, not so flashy, not so obvious on the boards. And yet all kids are NOT going to the same place and DON'T need the same things. And somewhere in there is my dd, who really would do well with an excellent education that errs toward the non-flashy, lots of living side. It's just who she is. I think the one issue that confounds with that is character. There's an admirable side to kids who work really hard (AP X15, blah blah), and I think that's why we as a society or board admire it and go wow. There *is* something to be admired there. But maybe we can harness that good character and get it to develop but still be reasonable about who our kids are and what they need.

 

OhE, I agree that there are all types of students and character develops in all different ways. My kids are all very different from each other and are taking varied paths to adulthood. I admire them all for who they are and how they have taken ownership over their futures (The exception of ownership over their future is our Aspie who is struggling w/the idea of adulthood.)

 

However, I don't think that kids that are taking a lot of APs are being flashy or even unreasonable about who they are and what they need. They are quite possibly just different individuals. Our 16 yos is far more serious and hard-working about academics than his older siblings. He works incredibly long days b/c that is what it is taking for him to accomplish his goals. It is an admirable quality. So was his oldest brother's less academic approach, working part-time, and active teenage lifestyle (I'm glad he had the life of a teenager and wish youngest ds would give himself more time to do the same!)

 

I am very much the type of parent that steps back and let's them make decisions about their own futures (again w/the exception of our Aspie b/c he is incapable of doing so at this pt.) I personally can't imagine how one would force a child perform at that high of a level. At least in my limited sphere of my family, the motivation for success has come from my children interiorly and they have all chosen different paths. (our oldest went public university for his BS, our dd is planning to attend an accredited OTA program at a CC, and our youngest ds wants to go a top school and earn his phD.) We aren't willing to take all that responsibility on ourselves when they are almost adults.

 

I think this where we as parents have to know and our children need to understand our positions and their role. Everyone's family will be different, so this is simply ours--it is their life and how they want to approach their future as adults is really their choice. My responsibility is to provide them the opportunity to fulfill that choice as best as possible.

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I am very much the type of parent that steps back and let's them make decisions about their own futures... We aren't willing to take all that responsibility on ourselves when they are almost adults.

 

 

You know that's just what we're starting to do this year. It's interesting hear how the *concept* has worked out with each of your kids, and it makes a lot of sense to me. That's definitely a step dd is beginning to take. I think I got so muddled in steps she's NOT making, lol, that I was already losing sight of it. Well thanks for the reminder and vision of where this goes. I started to get it when I read Debra Bell's book, but it didn't click in my mind how it continues to GROW. This year, as Doodler said, my dd made some requests about history because she has goals. And like you're saying, she's probably going to have growth there, where each year she has more and more goals. I hadn't thought of it that way. (duh)

 

Well thanks! And yes, I'm always this oblivious on parenting. But it's my first time through. There's so much that's obvious in retrospect. :001_huh:

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Colleen, I deal with some of this. I distinctly remember having a lot of free time in high school. Even though I was a good study I wasn't overly involved in activities. It left me time to explore. Honestly I would be a different person today if the Internet had been around then. Oh the places I could have gone, virtually anyway.

 

How do I deal with this with ds? I don't attempt to educationalize (making up more words) every interest. We tend to unschool computers, because he's very erratic in his dabbling. However, because he has the freedom to explore he's stumbled on some great ideas. He does most of this before and after school, very seldom does he get that "go explore" direction from me.

 

However, because this is a long-term evolving interest I guard his free time. I built his ability to be online or stationed in his command center (what a set up he has!) We will probably never school 7 hours a day, six will probably be our maximum. I will pretty much try to do the same thing, for the same reason. It's almost having a split-personality education wise. His interest has turned into a good thing and saved some computer things that I would have lost otherwise, dh knows how, but doesn't have the time to mess with it.

 

How to approach the school stuff? I build in time to run rabbit trails. I'm not sure exactly what high school will look like. Overall the next four years will be reflection of him. We've already made compromises in my plan, but not in the level of quality instruction. His high school journey will be a reflection of who he is. It's not going to be pure WTM or LCC, but it will be honestly him. That's a parenting philosophy I can follow. We're not shooting for Ivy League or trying to match his transcript to meet some school. I want the school we choose and apply at to match him, does that make sense?

 

Yes, it does.

 

My son has been very blunt about the direction he wishes to pursue right now. It lines up with my academic criteria, but I've had to tweak. I have certain things I won't compromise on because I'm not confident enough to, or I know he doesn't get the importance of my "requirement".

 

It took a lot of reflection to realize what I was willing to let go of and what I needed to fight for, because every subject we're studying next year has been thoroughly discussed and negotiated with ds. debated, rebutted...:lol:

 

:lol: Yep, I'm in the midst of figuring out how certain courses are going to go, getting some input from ds, and thinking about how I can support his interests in science/math/computers while maintaining the other things I think he'll need later in life. It's rather fun for me - I thought it would be more nerve-wracking than it is! Right now I'm rather excited about taking my kids through the high school years!

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Thanks for sharing all of these thoughts. They are very timely for me too. I'm finding that the two most difficult aspects of homeschooling is 1) to try to teach and self-educate at the same time and 2)try to find balance in what will best serve my dds' interests (and thereby keep their love of learning thriving) and yet still make them college-ready too.

 

Thank you all so much just for being here.:grouphug:

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So many thoughts to consider in this thread. I really need a laptop. Sitting at a desk to read them all is killing my back! Hope to join in the conversation again tomorrow -- or at least glean more.

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