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You realize we STILL haven't heard from MtnTeaching? Where is she? On vacation and not even WORRYING about our questions? :lol:

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You realize we STILL haven't heard from MtnTeaching? Where is she? On vacation and not even WORRYING about our questions? :lol:

 

I was thinking the same thing! Where, oh where is our MtnTeaching?

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I am trying to get a chance to get back here and sit down and read this...we've had out of town company and I am just digging out and will come back later. I'm also trying to get to some stuff on my to-do list, etc. I just want to SIT and READ through this thread-lol

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I am trying to get a chance to get back here and sit down and read this...we've had out of town company and I am just digging out and will come back later. I'm also trying to get to some stuff on my to-do list, etc. I just want to SIT and READ through this thread-lol

 

I'm in the same boat and starting to wonder if I am subconsciously avoiding this thread! Though I am using it as an excuse to urge Dh to get cracking on a laptop.:D

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Okay, I read through-SO much good material here!!!!! A few quick thoughts-First, Doodler, the David Albert stuff didn't discourage me, don't worry! I see what you meant. Second, the OpenCourseware stuff may really be a help to us-need to look into this more. Third, MissMoe-awesome ideas-this is what I mean, trying to find worthwhile activities that are age appropriate and stretch them-that's where I struggle. I'm still at grammar stage-lol. And Colleen, thank you so much for your offer to help specifically with our plan, and I may have a go at that, but I'm thinking it is more this: a lot of my personal frustration now is that we're in what feels like a very transitional time right now-dd12 is (very) hormonal and it's affecting our relationship and a TON of drama in school time, she's struggling spiritually-God doesn't feel "real" to her, and she has just decided to drop one of the interests in her life that has consumed a huge amount of her time/energy for several years and trying to get closure with that and we're not sure "what's next". We're very stressed financially for the first time in a long time, and because if it I'm in kind of a midlife crisis of "am I where I'm supposed to be in life, I should be working for our future" type, etc. And I'm scared to death about hs'ing high school. And dd is starting to talk about graduating early to go to college early-so more pressure there. So a lot of what I'm dealing with is translating over into school angst. And actually most of it is directly related, but that's some of what is making me want to throw in the towel. And it's not very much that's related to our actual school plan, I guess. As you can see, it's more the relational type stuff/big picture things.

 

Anyway, I think perhaps a middle ground is the thing as far as structure vs. interest led, etc. I also think we all need to maybe think in terms of separating out content subject from skill subjects. Maybe the answer is to let them lead in the content subjects (history, lit, etc.) in the direction their interests take them, but make sure that the skill subjects (writing, etc) are being applied within the context of their interest areas. I personally just think math is non-negotiable: we use curriculum for that (at least for dd, but ds is more mathy and I can almost see branching out with him.)

 

The problem is having the time to piece it together, make sure of what the skills are and that they're hitting them, etc.

 

Can't WAIT to read the Rebecca Rupp book. The theory of the reading of books as the main thing is kind of what I was thinking of with the Colfaxes. It is very Robinson Curriculum, actually, too. For a few months this past winter or so I started being drawn to a RC type thing. Not specifically RC at all, but wondering how it would work to do math and then just let her read, read, read high level books and then write. I am still toying with this thought.

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...a lot of my personal frustration now is that we're in what feels like a very transitional time right now-dd12 is (very) hormonal and it's affecting our relationship and a TON of drama in school time, she's struggling spiritually-God doesn't feel "real" to her, and she has just decided to drop one of the interests in her life that has consumed a huge amount of her time/energy for several years and trying to get closure with that and we're not sure "what's next". We're very stressed financially for the first time in a long time, and because if it I'm in kind of a midlife crisis of "am I where I'm supposed to be in life, I should be working for our future" type, etc. And I'm scared to death about hs'ing high school. And dd is starting to talk about graduating early to go to college early-so more pressure there. So a lot of what I'm dealing with is translating over into school angst. And actually most of it is directly related, but that's some of what is making me want to throw in the towel. And it's not very much that's related to our actual school plan, I guess. As you can see, it's more the relational type stuff/big picture things.

 

:grouphug::grouphug: Hoping not to sound like I'm making light of your situation here, but I wonder if just doing a simple routine of math/grammar/writing (one lesson per day of each) and reading lots of content would help? Then you'd know you have basic skills going, and can start dealing with all the rest of life with a little more ease? :grouphug:

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Okay, I read through-SO much good material here!!!!! A few quick thoughts-First, Doodler, the David Albert stuff didn't discourage me, don't worry! I see what you meant. Second, the OpenCourseware stuff may really be a help to us-need to look into this more. Third, MissMoe-awesome ideas-this is what I mean, trying to find worthwhile activities that are age appropriate and stretch them-that's where I struggle. I'm still at grammar stage-lol. And Colleen, thank you so much for your offer to help specifically with our plan, and I may have a go at that, but I'm thinking it is more this: a lot of my personal frustration now is that we're in what feels like a very transitional time right now-dd12 is (very) hormonal and it's affecting our relationship and a TON of drama in school time, she's struggling spiritually-God doesn't feel "real" to her, and she has just decided to drop one of the interests in her life that has consumed a huge amount of her time/energy for several years and trying to get closure with that and we're not sure "what's next". We're very stressed financially for the first time in a long time, and because if it I'm in kind of a midlife crisis of "am I where I'm supposed to be in life, I should be working for our future" type, etc. And I'm scared to death about hs'ing high school. And dd is starting to talk about graduating early to go to college early-so more pressure there. So a lot of what I'm dealing with is translating over into school angst. And actually most of it is directly related, but that's some of what is making me want to throw in the towel. And it's not very much that's related to our actual school plan, I guess. As you can see, it's more the relational type stuff/big picture things.

 

Anyway, I think perhaps a middle ground is the thing as far as structure vs. interest led, etc. I also think we all need to maybe think in terms of separating out content subject from skill subjects. Maybe the answer is to let them lead in the content subjects (history, lit, etc.) in the direction their interests take them, but make sure that the skill subjects (writing, etc) are being applied within the context of their interest areas. I personally just think math is non-negotiable: we use curriculum for that (at least for dd, but ds is more mathy and I can almost see branching out with him.)

 

Personal relationship frustration is what led to us dropping the textbook route for everything. That year where my son was 13/14 was awful. He fought school every step of the way. This coming from a brilliant kid who had flown through everything I put in front of him up until that point who was suddenly coming apart at the seams.

 

We didn't drop curriculum all together. It wasn't an all or nothing situation. I still planned classes for him. He still took outside classes. But as his outside interest developed, gradually I had to expect less from those classes. Instead of reading the 15-20 books on my plan for his English class, we went with 5 or 6 books. Instead of a large skill research paper for science, he was planning and teaching classes to young children. The curriculum was still there, but the expectations were greatly adjusted. Because he couldn't fit everything in.

 

And the planning gradually changed from mine to his. His senior year was all his. I didn't plan a thing. He took over and finished his senior year with about 10 credits.

 

But it doesn't start like that. You are still the teacher at 12,13, 14, ect. Don't look at my list of things and feel like your student wouldn't be able to do those things. My student did those things over a 4 year period with most of them happening his last two years. And I had to work hard to find the first few opportunities for him. After he had a lot of experience being out in the community, he started to find the opportunities himself. I don't think most kids are going to be able to instantly learn through their interest. They need lots of guidance perhaps over a series of years.

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Okay, I read through-SO much good material here!!!!! A few quick thoughts-First, Doodler, the David Albert stuff didn't discourage me, don't worry! I see what you meant. Second, the OpenCourseware stuff may really be a help to us-need to look into this more. Third, MissMoe-awesome ideas-this is what I mean, trying to find worthwhile activities that are age appropriate and stretch them-that's where I struggle. I'm still at grammar stage-lol. And Colleen, thank you so much for your offer to help specifically with our plan, and I may have a go at that, but I'm thinking it is more this: a lot of my personal frustration now is that we're in what feels like a very transitional time right now-dd12 is (very) hormonal and it's affecting our relationship and a TON of drama in school time, she's struggling spiritually-God doesn't feel "real" to her, and she has just decided to drop one of the interests in her life that has consumed a huge amount of her time/energy for several years and trying to get closure with that and we're not sure "what's next". We're very stressed financially for the first time in a long time, and because if it I'm in kind of a midlife crisis of "am I where I'm supposed to be in life, I should be working for our future" type, etc. And I'm scared to death about hs'ing high school. And dd is starting to talk about graduating early to go to college early-so more pressure there. So a lot of what I'm dealing with is translating over into school angst. And actually most of it is directly related, but that's some of what is making me want to throw in the towel. And it's not very much that's related to our actual school plan, I guess. As you can see, it's more the relational type stuff/big picture things.

 

Anyway, I think perhaps a middle ground is the thing as far as structure vs. interest led, etc. I also think we all need to maybe think in terms of separating out content subject from skill subjects. Maybe the answer is to let them lead in the content subjects (history, lit, etc.) in the direction their interests take them, but make sure that the skill subjects (writing, etc) are being applied within the context of their interest areas. I personally just think math is non-negotiable: we use curriculum for that (at least for dd, but ds is more mathy and I can almost see branching out with him.)

 

The problem is having the time to piece it together, make sure of what the skills are and that they're hitting them, etc.

 

Can't WAIT to read the Rebecca Rupp book. The theory of the reading of books as the main thing is kind of what I was thinking of with the Colfaxes. It is very Robinson Curriculum, actually, too. For a few months this past winter or so I started being drawn to a RC type thing. Not specifically RC at all, but wondering how it would work to do math and then just let her read, read, read high level books and then write. I am still toying with this thought.

 

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: That is a tough place to be in and I am really sorry. My youngest gave up swimming and the end of seventh grade due to an injury. It was his whole identity and social network. Rebuilding an identity and a social network take time. The hormonal half-wit syndrome does not do him or me any favors either.:tongue_smilie: I am fairly sure he is angry with me with how school turned out this year and it is part of why he wants to go to school in the fall, besides being lonely. It is a transitional time and I understand the midlife crisis part all too well. If I get a job, and I should, then someone is bound to come home. After all that is what has happened the last two years.

 

Anyway, nothing useful to add, just a sympathetic heart. Colleen's idea is a good one. I like starting the year that way during this age anyway. You never know who the kid is that is going to show up for that first day of class. They change that rapidly.

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Thanks for the kind words and sympathy. I think *I'd* be ok with just doing math/grammar/writing and tons of reading, but this is the kid who is saying, mom, we haven't done enough Life Science, so and so friend was talking about the types of pine cones and we haven't studied that at all, I am falling behind, etc. We do have some good co-op classes, which is great. The more I can farm out, the better for her and for me. Money is the limiting factor, but at least we're getting some outside stuff.

 

Miss Moe, thanks-I do realize this was over time. I can definitely see that eventually she is the type of kid who may take over like yours did, since she is driven and wants to do well anyway. Also I think what swimmermom said is perfect-it is a transitional time and you don't know who is going to show up-that next year dd could have developed a huge interest in government, or teaching knitting, or who knows what, and that may develop into something even more. I am just reading a great book, Kisses for Katie, about a wealthy suburban girl who at age 18 ended up moving to Uganda and adopting 14 kids, etc. So who knows what God's plan is for our kids, and I guess I need to be more trusting that He will equip them for His plan for them. I am in a ducks in a row kind of person, a planner, so I'm trying to learn to trust more.

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...Anyway, I think perhaps a middle ground is the thing as far as structure vs. interest led, etc. I also think we all need to maybe think in terms of separating out content subject from skill subjects. Maybe the answer is to let them lead in the content subjects (history, lit, etc.) in the direction their interests take them, but make sure that the skill subjects (writing, etc) are being applied within the context of their interest areas. I personally just think math is non-negotiable: we use curriculum for that (at least for dd, but ds is more mathy and I can almost see branching out with him.)

 

The problem is having the time to piece it together, make sure of what the skills are and that they're hitting them, etc.

...

 

This is about what I have done, especially as we look towards transitioning to mostly community college classes for senior year. I found mine worked much better when school was reduced to a list of skills to aquire, books to read, papers/projects to do, and community college classes to take. At the end of 9th grade, we had a pretty definate skills-oriented plan in place along with a reading list and a list of misc things needed to finish high school. I adjusted the plan every 4 months or so and they added their own things to the list. It worked very well. They needed to transition to being more independent, working on their own projects, and their world needed to expand, taking outside classes and traveling. The end result, when you looked at what they did day by day, didn't look all that different than a more school-like method of homeschooling but it was organized entirely differently.

 

I've mostly been ignoring this thread because I happen to be busy at the moment, but it occurs to me that something my youngest said this spring is applicable. He said that he thought the difference between him and the the other cc students and the reason he was getting 4.0s in his CC classes was because of the way we homeschooled, because I gave him so much say in what he was doing or not doing, because I let him choose things to study independently and counted them for school, because I let him negotiate every single little assignment, because I encouraged him to be independent even if the end results weren't perfect. He says he wouldn't have learned how to teach himself if I hadn't homeschooled as loosely as I did. I took the "I think you should" approach to high school rather than the "you must" approach. I left most of the content choice to my children and concentrated on figuring out which skills they would need. I wasn't very efficient about the skills. A good teacher is able to teach skills using the content of the child's choice. I just straight taught the skills. I found that if I tried to combine it with content, it just plain didn't work. My children refused to follow the directions, going off at a tangent or just plain balking. Or I found that I had misjudged and the skills and content didn't combine happily. Or I found that I had misjudged and the assignment was too hard or would take forever or didn't teach what I thought it would or ... Anyway, I found it worked better to just teach the skill separately or find some way for them to learn it, and then tell them to find some way to practise and leave it up to them to figure it out. It was more efficient of my time, even if it was less efficient with theirs, and everyone was less frustrated and we didn't wind up wasting time trying to do the undoable.

 

Other people seem to manage just fine. I don't know why we couldn't. That is what I mean when I keep saying here that I am not a good teacher lol.

 

Nan

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Thanks for the kind words and sympathy. I think *I'd* be ok with just doing math/grammar/writing and tons of reading, but this is the kid who is saying, mom, we haven't done enough Life Science, so and so friend was talking about the types of pine cones and we haven't studied that at all, I am falling behind, etc. We do have some good co-op classes, which is great. The more I can farm out, the better for her and for me. Money is the limiting factor, but at least we're getting some outside stuff.

 

So then you say, "Hmmm... you seem to be right about that. Perhaps you need to look that up." TWTM teaches a way of teaching oneself that involves using a spine. It might be worth teaching your daughter that method. The upper level sciences are tricky because they involve lots of foundation information that needs to be memorized AND lots of skills AND lots of more regular type content. They don't fall into one catagory or the other. We did loose science up until the second half of high school when we switched to community college classes.

 

(Math is most definately a textbook subject at a rate of one textbook per year, non-negotiable, in my family of engineers. None of my children even tried to negotiate the math problem sets lol. They tried to not-show their work or not correct it, but they didn't try to not-do it. Not that there isn't plenty of applied math going on as well.)

 

Miss Moe' date=' thanks-I do realize this was over time. I can definitely see that eventually she is the type of kid who may take over like yours did, since she is driven and wants to do well anyway. Also I think what swimmermom said is perfect-it is a transitional time and you don't know who is going to show up-that next year dd could have developed a huge interest in government, or teaching knitting, or who knows what, and that may develop into something even more. I am just reading a great book, Kisses for Katie, about a wealthy suburban girl who at age 18 ended up moving to Uganda and adopting 14 kids, etc. So who knows what God's plan is for our kids, and I guess I need to be more trusting that He will equip them for His plan for them. I am in a ducks in a row kind of person, a planner, so I'm trying to learn to trust more.[/quote']

 

I haven't read the book but I did explore her website. She reminds me of the starfish story. "It made a difference to that one."

 

Nan

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One other thing: there are some kids who clearly, and I mean clearly and obviously in every way, learn more effectively -- more easily, with more engagement, more retention, more cross-over benefits -- from this type of interest-based exploration and self-initiated learning. You couldn't miss it even were you to be blindfolded. That's why some of us do this: because for these individual children, we found our magic in this direction (and in my case, it would have been a decade of &%*# to try to do anything differently).

 

Given that kids and their needs are so different, I wouldn't expect this to be the case for all. Some do well with their parents as teachers. Some thrive on outside structure and accountability. Some grow into their interests and can take off from them independently later, in college or afterwards. Some do a bit of all of the above. It can vary from year to year.

 

It's all fine! If you have one of these other types, by all means go with what suits that child, and don't try to impose something else. It would be as ill-suited to the kid and to your relationship as a teacher-directed, formal structure would be for mine. If you've got something you're happy with as is and your child is thriving, don't mess with it to try to be like someone else. Threads like this are meant to provide encouragement and options, to give people an idea of what other approaches might look like, not to lay down the law that "this way is best."

 

Yes, this! I have two kids that are perfectly happy with the formal academic path. One approach does not fit all students.

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My children refused to follow the directions, going off at a tangent or just plain balking. Or I found that I had misjudged and the skills and content didn't combine happily. Or I found that I had misjudged and the assignment was too hard or would take forever or didn't teach what I thought it would or ...

 

Nan, I thought that we called that Socratic discussion. :D

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Just wanted to jump in here and give out lots of :grouphug:'s. I am now embarking on my 5 th go round of high school....and I still have that same giant pit in my stomach.

 

I sat here today with our history textbook, TOG year 2, and a gazillion anthologies, classics, non-fiction DK books, etc, etc, etc.....staring...staring....staring....waiting for them to do something....waiting for them to become some form or format:tongue_smilie: Hoping I could pull this all off once again....

 

Seriously, my kids did not turn out the way I had planned....maybe we are not made out of ivy league stuff, But, my kids are well educated, know how to learn, not afraid to try new things....they are not hemmed in by their lowly beginnings...but the world is open to them. It was my job to open it....it is THEIR job to step inside....or outside, however you look at it.

 

For my next child...academics will be very streamlined...to the point....Git it done....so she can focus on her loves...art, music, drama. She is determined to hone those skills....so our focus in studying other subjects are to strengthen her loves.

 

My homeschooley Mom self is screaming LATIN!, LOGIC!, AP, CC, PHYSICS, CALC, DANTE, SHAKESPEARE!!!! And we will cover them.....but with her goals and desires in mind.

 

I always need a plan and a schedule in order to get anything done....but my plans are tweak able, and my schedule leaves enough room for flex.

 

Ok....I am off to YOGA....and then to begin actually setting up our school plans for this year.

 

:grouphug::grouphug: to all of you.....

Faithe

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I am listening to Ben Franklin's autobiography at the moment and he just got done explaining how this method served him better than the contradictory method of argument. Perhaps my failure had some learning value afterall, even if it was just to let my children use the Socratic method to persuade me not to make them do things they didn't want to do. My youngest commented that he would not be getting As at cc now if I hadn't let him control as much of his education as I had. What he was trying to say was that I have consistently refused to be responsible for his education and that although he got less education at first this way, now, in community college, he understands that it is his responsibility to learn, not just his responsibility to show up and sit through the class. I was amazed to hear him say it. It was something I only semi did on purpose.

 

The older I get, the more I realize that what we do not do is often more important than what we do.

 

Nan

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I've always known that a good bit of the reason I have gotten away with being rather extreme in my approach even to the extreme of homeschooling is that my children had fairly defined goals. Where the child didn't define them, the family goals did. It is much easier to do something out-of-the-box for history, for example, if you know your child is going into engineering school. It is much easier to honour their request to do something or not do something if they can make a coherent argument for or against it based on their own individual goals. When they are younger and you ask them to do something hard, they may say, "I hate this," and it is easy to answer, "I know but you have to do it anyway." When they are in high school, they say, "I hate this," and often times it is more a general comment about how their day is going, not a request to be doing something else, because they know that this is one of the steps to someplace they have chosen to go. When it is an "I hate this. Remind me again why this is important?", you really have to listen and reassess because they might well be right, especially when it comes to the timing or the amount. Maybe they do have to do that, but do they have to do it now? Or do they have to do that much of it?

 

The thing that keeps me awake at night is that having told me where they want to go, they trust me to get them there. They trust that if I say it is important for them to read this, that it really is important for them to read it. They trust that if there is something they need to do to get into the sort of college they aim to attend, that I will know about it and help them arrange for it to happen. I am petrified that I will let them down. They are ultimately responsible for what they know but I am the parent and the school and they know they don't know what they don't know and they need me to guide them. It is an awesome responsibility. I think it is very natural to be frozen into immobility and ineffectiveness by fear.

 

Oh Elizabeth - I can't follow a pre-made curriculum either, except for math or occasionally a high level science textbook. That is why I treasure TWTM. The directions work as is or come with directions for how to modify whateveritis to work.

 

Nan

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I am listening to Ben Franklin's autobiography at the moment and he just got done explaining how this method served him better than the contradictory method of argument. Perhaps my failure had some learning value afterall, even if it was just to let my children use the Socratic method to persuade me not to make them do things they didn't want to do. My youngest commented that he would not be getting As at cc now if I hadn't let him control as much of his education as I had. What he was trying to say was that I have consistently refused to be responsible for his education and that although he got less education at first this way, now, in community college, he understands that it is his responsibility to learn, not just his responsibility to show up and sit through the class. I was amazed to hear him say it. It was something I only semi did on purpose.

 

The older I get, the more I realize that what we do not do is often more important than what we do.

 

Nan

 

Absolutely yes! Answering this with tears in my eyes, Nan. What you have given your boys in priceless in so many ways. You have shown your boys how to learn, not just what to learn. The how doesn't really involve how to take Cornell notes, write a lab report, or skim a text book. It involves taking the information acquired from those activities, turning it on its head, examining it from a dozen different angles, and asking questions until your brain is going to explode. Then you take those answers and string them together with more questions. You make connections; sometimes you get unbelievably excited. You extend one aspect, one idea, into a whole new slew of ideas.

 

This is how I understand it when Doodler is talking about extending an interest-lead activity. No. I don't think kids will naturally make an extension. Sometimes it is difficult to go someplace that you have no idea exists. Sometimes you need someone who gives you the tools and the road map to get there, but politely refuses to drive you themselves.

 

I have often wanted to ask Doodler if part of her philosophy in educating her daughter did not result solely from her dd's particular needs? How often did Doodler, Jane in NC, or regentrude walk into a classroom to see an ocean of faces like mine - blank. Utterly, dutifully blank. Not a question in sight except, "Could you please clarify the homework?"

 

I was raised to be a well-behaved, rather rigid, box-checker. Neither of my parents graduated from college, and even though there were plenty of good books in the house and frequent trips to the library, there was no such thing as a Socratic discussion. "Because I said so," was the answer to everything. One conversation that occurred in the car coming home from school is still seared in my brain. I said something to my mom, and she said, "You are just repeating what you have read from others. Don't you have an original thought of your own?" Further into the drive, I tried out an original thought on her. "That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, " was her response. That was probably the last original thought I trotted out for many years to come.

 

In high school, I did everything I was supposed to do. I took four years of math when it was far from the norm and four years of Spanish. I had a year of chemistry and two years of biology, but had to miss the physics class because it was offered at the same time as AP English. I took the right tests and scored the right points. When I left for college, I packed my same approach and took what I thought I was supposed to take. In six years, I never once took a class because I wanted to or because I was interested in it. For me, this was a recipe for burn-out and disaster.

 

Sadly folks, you can be half-way bright, go to class, do the work, get a degree and still be an intellectual moron.

 

It took graduate school with a couple of professors who refused to accept the blank face to get me headed in a new direction, to actually flex my brain. One of them in particular, did not say, "Lisa, you can do more, " and leave it at that. He said, "You are capable of more and here are some of the steps you need to take. Work hard, come see me, and discuss what you discover." He also reminded me that the dumb questions are the ones that remain unasked in class.

 

That experience and homeschooling have ignited a passion for learning, but I still need to work hard to keep the passive learning from creeping in. The next step for me is to take those thoughts and ideas and learn to bring some semblance of order to them and to then be able to communicate them appropriately. Another ten years and I should get there.:tongue_smilie:

 

Edited for clarification: What I have found for teaching my children, is that content, skill lists, and highly-detailed lesson plans are fine, but it is questions like those in TWTM and TWEM that prompt the real learning, for our household anyway. However, sometimes I need to start from an area of interest or passion in order to make the questions work for the student. For example, this year, in teaching my junior to actually answer essay questions completely with supporting evidence, I had to start with subjects or topics that he had an interest in. It was much easier to get him to ask questions and to extend them if he felt something for the topic. Once he mastered the format in areas of interest (primarily marine science), he could transfer it to any subject without a great deal of fuss.

 

I have two passive learners along with one aggressively active learner. As much as my constant debater twists me up in knots, I'll take that any day over the blank face. I know personally in the long run, just what a blank, obedient face costs.

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How often did Doodler, Jane in NC, or regentrude walk into a classroom to see an ocean of faces like mine - blank. Utterly, dutifully blank. Not a question in sight except, "Could you please clarify the homework?"

 

One of the highest compliments I received was from a student who gave me credit for inspiring her to become a math major. Was it my insight that motivated her? Nope. It was my passion. She said that she had never met anyone who felt passionate about ideas as I did. Hah! She never met the participants on the WTM boards!

 

 

Sadly folks, you can be half-way bright, go to class, do the work, get a degree and still be an intellectual moron.

 

Please give yourself more credit.

 

 

We say this all the time on the board and its worth keeping in mind especially with new high school students. It is not really about the content, the checklists, and the beautiful plans that are spot perfect on paper. Learning is about all those Socratic questions, but sometimes a kid has to be passionate, before he's really willing to put thought into the questions, before he asks them from genuine curiosity.

 

I have two passive learners along with one aggressively active learner. As much as my constant debater twists me up in knots, I'll take that any day of the blank face. I know personally in the long run, just what a blank, obedient face costs.

 

Part of the tricky thing, I think, is helping our students develop their passions, something which we as parents might see before our kids do, or something that we as parents may choose to ignore because That Is Not Our Plan for Johnny. My son has been interest driven and passionate from the get go. It was pretty easy to plant interesting books around the house, suggest fun field trips, and later watch him branch out on his own. I think I may have lucked out in having a kid whom I understand--despite not caring for mathematics. But even active learning adolescents have their moments when the road is not clear, particularly during hormonal flair ups. Yet the show goes on.

 

Happy to report that my son has spent the week in London and has done what many of us would want our kids who are on their own in London to do: he saw Henry V at the Globe, hung out at the British Museum, even went to the Tate because he thought he'd give modern art another (unsuccessful) try. Nan and I have ranked independent travel skills among the more important skill sets that our kids have. Not everyone else sees this as important. And not every kid is going to desire boarding a plane and taking on an adventure.

 

I am going to return to the WTM and WEM. Whether our kids see growing their own food, politicking, mastering Liszt, or building a sailboat as their priority, I do like that the reading lists of TWTM give our kids a common vocabulary and that WEM helps guide us as parent/teachers with solid questions.

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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.

 

I think TWTM started out with that kind of thought: that all you need is great books. Along the way, because people wanted and/or needed lessons planned out and scripted for them etc., it got more complicated. But the premise is still the same, that a great education can be based in reading great books.

 

David Albert's family did a lot of bartering, from what I understand. The whole family would volunteer together if they would take on a young kid; the mom traded massage for lessons; things like that. My husband currently does equine electro-magnetic therapy (which he adores doing) on the weekends, I staple show ribbons and bake for the teachers, and dd does a couple of hours of office work a week in exchange for her lessons and riding fees. It can be done without a lot of expense, but it definitely requires a lot of thinking WAY outside the box.

 

But even if you stick totally with the idea that you only need books (I'd add borrowing documentaries, music, and other materials from the library, plus online free courses like coursera and Open Courseware), you can still mix up structured, formal learning and lessons with interest-led research. The point I meant to make with referencing David Albert was that his younger daughter's interests, even as a young teen, did not seem particularly academic. She followed interests that were much more physical and musical. She was allowed and encouraged to follow them anyway, as far as they could do so, until she was ready to stop. (That's another interesting thing about them: they let her quit things she was really good at, instead of forcing her to continue just for the transcript). Yet eventually she had that shift into a more academic mindset and went on to college successfully.

 

I'm sorry if the reference discouraged you; it was meant in entirely the opposite way.

 

I find their approach fascinating, especially the bold print above. Not sure I could do it though. I have often thought just as Rupp does, but somehow can't quite jump off the ledge and do it.

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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. :)

 

Just wanted to say, I am going to take TOG out of the box, not literally, but I'll be picking and choosing and substituting and slashing and adding in some other materials I already have here at home.

 

BUT, I'm going to actually sit down and make my plan for how we will cover the year all during this summer, including what will be graded. And I will have everything I am using printed and ready to go. I just know myself way too well to think I can do it throughout the year.

 

Then I'll at least have a road map and if I want to toss some of it every now and then for a different approach, fine.

 

However, before I sit and plan I'm going to take a look at Doodler's post about more interest led learning. And, I've really got to sit down and think about each of my Dc--who they are, what they need, and what approach works best.

 

My number one biggest problem is that Ds is like me, interested in everything under the sun. When I say interested, I mean he would love to pursue the nitty gritty details of a myriad of topics. There just isn't enough time. Sounds good, but it gives me no clue where to focus for high school. It also makes mapping out TOG for the year a little tricky b/c we have to learn how to pick and choose and possibly pass up some great books and/or activities. And he asked me to plan his math and science so that he will have the option of a science major should he choose one. Yet, math is not an easy subject for him. It requires effort and study.

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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:

 

:iagree:Great post! The bold print above is just not mentioned enough. I have been re-reading several of my how to homeschool high school books and the exact opposite advice is consistently given. "look at the areas your Dc is likely to major in and the colleges your Dc might like to attend and plan your high school years to fulfill their requirements" or some similar statement is what I keep reading again and again.

 

I find this advice impossible. My Dc has no idea what he wants to do in college, let alone where he will attend (which, I imagine, may be driven by what major he wishes to pursue). I wonder if part of the pressure of planning high school comes from this idea that we somehow have to plan to accommodate some future version of your Dc who we do not even know yet, when what we should be doing is planning for the Dc we have before us now and leaving room to grow.

 

I hope I am still making sense. This thread has me thinking.....

 

I have made it through the entire thread. I need to print it out so I can highlight! It is so true that no matter what approach you use there will always be some sort of trade off. I'm convinced I need to find some middle ground. Ladies, you have somewhat derailed my planning and are causing me to re-think my plans. I suppose that's the chance you take when you read WTM boards.

 

I have been allowing Ds to put aside book work to follow interests (like speaking to the county health dept, and planning an event for our county Pet Expo). He has a wonderful 4H leader who will support him no matter what idea he takes it into his head to organize. As a result he's had several experiences with organizing, marketing, and hosting events, along with several opportunities to speak to large groups in the community. And one opportunity always leads to another, he is finding.

 

But, allowing him to do these things often got in the way of book work. Then I would tear my hair out trying to figure out how we would possibly still finish it all. Ironically, I was thinking for next year I need to reign in the extra activities in favor of school work. Now I'm not so sure. For the upcoming year he has an opportunity to organize, market, and help teach local homeschool riding lessons, plus a chance to volunteer at a museum (which could lead to an internship). I know these will be significant drains on our time. And he still has his 4H club to run. The leaders supervise him, but he does the bulk of the organizing and e mailing for the club, besides much of the event planning.

 

So, I suppose I'm left with making decisions (with input from Ds) about what may be worthwhile and what may not and trying to achieve some sort of balance between them and academics. And b/c of Ds having interest in so many areas, it is difficult.

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Jane - I love that there is a group of kids out there who have been raised on TWTM/TWEM, as different as each family's approach may be, who have had that common experience. I'm not sure why I feel that way. Perhaps because homeschooling is such an out-on-the-limb thing to do? I don't know. I just know that it pleases me enormously. I loved meeting Joan in Geneva and Colleen in NS and having so much in common. My son is friends now with a girl who has been doing TWTM. They clicked instantly. This is a good point.

 

Nan

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I find this advice impossible. My Dc has no idea what he wants to do in college, let alone where he will attend (which, I imagine, may be driven by what major he wishes to pursue). I wonder if part of the pressure of planning high school comes from this idea that we somehow have to plan to accommodate some future version of your Dc who we do not even know yet, when what we should be doing is planning for the Dc we have before us now and leaving room to grow.

 

I hope I am still making sense. This thread has me thinking.....

 

 

I've always strived to allow ds to explore his interests to whatever end. I can pinpoint intense interests that started at age 7. I'm sure he will finesse and meander on the path, but I see the direction he is heading.

 

I knew at his age what I wanted to do. I had no one supportive or helping me figure out how to do that, so by the time I was out of high school I quit trying. I'm 45 and realized a few years ago I would have been great at it, it wasn't simply a passing attraction. I sometimes get mad at myself for giving up, but my parents thought it was just a nice teenage interest that would pass when real life came to call. I could have made it my life and been quite happy.

 

I keep that in mind when discussing interests with ds. I restrain myself from jumping in too far and ruining the magic, but I always am there as a coach, and I never cut down his interests.

 

Lisa, I remember not sharing my thoughts with my parents many times, because I would get the "that's nice" or "you can't do that" sentiment.

 

I think many of our children will be ahead simply because we place value on their input and interests, even if we can't center an education around them.

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I've always strived to allow ds to explore his interests to whatever end. I can pinpoint intense interests that started at age 7. I'm sure he will finesse and meander on the path, but I see the direction he is heading.

 

I knew at his age what I wanted to do. I had no one supportive or helping me figure out how to do that, so by the time I was out of high school I quit trying. I'm 45 and realized a few years ago I would have been great at it, it wasn't simply a passing attraction. I sometimes get mad at myself for giving up, but my parents thought it was just a nice teenage interest that would pass when real life came to call. I could have made it my life and been quite happy.

 

I keep that in mind when discussing interests with ds. I restrain myself from jumping in too far and ruining the magic, but I always am there as a coach, and I never cut down his interests.

 

Lisa, I remember not sharing my thoughts with my parents many times, because I would get the "that's nice" or "you can't do that" sentiment.

 

I think many of our children will be ahead simply because we place value on their input and interests, even if we can't center an education around them.

 

I am too much me to center my son's education around his interests, but I do take them to heart and try to incorporate them into his formal education when I can. I also don't particularly enjoy debating the merits of various assignments with The Lawyer, but it has definitely helped me to sharpen my goals and to be absolutely sure of the purpose in assigning the work I give him. I know how much I dislike, "Because I said so," as a reason, so I try hard not to inflict that on him.

 

Now, my son has a passion for local politics. That is not on my teaching agenda, but learning how to research is. So I can let him "follow the money" in developing his research skills. The efficient thing to do would be to have him research a topic related to his current studies; the effective method with this child is to develop the skill on a topic of interest. Otherwise, I am always swimming up river against a strong current and not getting anywhere.

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I posted a thread about interest-led learning and was directed to this thread. GREAT READING!

 

I was like a previous poster, a perfect student that took the classes I should, do what I was told, and regurgitated it on a test only to receive an A. After college, I stated that I would never return to a college campus. I haven't and still do not want to take any class or listen to lectures. Only in the last few years have I even realized that I actually LOVE to learn, but I do it in areas that I choose, with books that I choose, and on my own terms. The clincher, I retain it. Dh on the other hand, refused to be told what he had to learn and rebelled against the system. As a very intelligent young man, he barely graduated high school simply because it bored him and conforming was not a motivation for him. He still hasn't reached a point in life where he sees studying and reading as anything other than torture.

 

I have kids just like both of us. One that just wants the list to complete so he can move on and one that balks at the list and requirements and just wants to delve into his own interests. They both hate "school."

 

I really want to explore this type of education. I would LOVE it I think. But, practically, what do you do with the kid that would never choose to study history or science? A very straight forward text with no "extra" reading, but the occasional research required? Or a kid that just hates to read? How do you ensure that they have the requirements that they need for college such as upper level sciences?

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I think *I'd* be ok with just doing math/grammar/writing and tons of reading, but this is the kid who is saying, mom, we haven't done enough Life Science, so and so friend was talking about the types of pine cones and we haven't studied that at all, I am falling behind, etc.

 

So then you say, "Hmmm... you seem to be right about that. Perhaps you need to look that up." TWTM teaches a way of teaching oneself that involves using a spine.

 

:iagree:

 

HappyGrace, what I quoted of you above reminds me of a thread I read recently. The OP (I understand, though, that it's your child who is saying this, not you) was worried about how her 2nd grade child was not writing on par with a local p.s. kid. I wonder if your situation is similar. Only with yours, perhaps it's about content and not skills. There are basic areas in content that are good to introduce, and then there are specifics that I think are negotiable. IMO pine cone study falls under negotiable specifics (why not types of leaves, for example). That's why I agree with Nan - it's an opportunity to show your daughter how to use her budding research skills of reading and writing. She could even ask her friend what else her friend's class is studying (for content), memorize a list of types of pinecones (or whatever the class is studying) and read and write about the topic, to set her mind at ease about "falling behind." Show her that she can study these things and more, with her tools for learning.

 

Or you could do what I sometimes do and say, "We'll be studying biology next year all year - you could 'officially' study pinecones then if you like; reading, writing, and experimenting with them. Or, you could go do some research on your own today after your required work is done - go up to the woods and see how many different kinds you can find, bring them back and show me - they are beautiful!"

 

When my son began talking about computer programming a few months ago, some of his underlying thoughts were, "Mom, I'm not as up on computer technology as other teens are...I need to find out more, learn more, catch up with them." So, we did some research, located a book that seemed like a good starting point, and off he went. A bonus event was that we recently had some friends visiting, and the man is a computer geek. Dh and I had forgotten about that. Well, the man and my ds got talking, and next thing you know, the man's wife was making noises about how it was time to go, and the man didn't want to leave - he said, "Wait, I can't leave NOW! I have finally found someone who GETS me!!!" :lol: They live an hour away and we don't have easy access to transportation, but I have visions of my family going to visit them and sending ds off to the man's basement AKA computer-haven, so the two of them can rip apart computers together for three or four hours some weekend afternoon. As for ds having felt "behind," he now finds that most of his buddies around his age couldn't care less about programming and computer guts. I think, though, that because of his research, he finds that understanding iphones, modems, video games, etc. is a lot easier now, so now he doesn't feel "behind" anymore.

 

None of my children even tried to negotiate the math problem sets lol. They tried to not-show their work or not correct it, but they didn't try to not-do it.

 

:lol::lol::lol:

 

When they are in high school, they say, "I hate this," and often times it is more a general comment about how their day is going, not a request to be doing something else, because they know that this is one of the steps to someplace they have chosen to go. When it is an "I hate this. Remind me again why this is important?", you really have to listen and reassess because they might well be right, especially when it comes to the timing or the amount. Maybe they do have to do that, but do they have to do it now? Or do they have to do that much of it?

 

We have started to experience this. Ds has some general ideas of what he'd like to do in a few years, and so we've talked about some basic skills he'll have to learn beforehand. It does help to have talked about that, because I have been able to remind him a time or two about why it's important. As well, I've been able to listen to his argument about a particular assignment, and say, "OK, you're right. We'll cover that later this week when we do thus-n-such."

 

I think many of our children will be ahead simply because we place value on their input and interests, even if we can't center an education around them.

 

This is one hope that keeps me going!!

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The thing that keeps me awake at night is that having told me where they want to go, they trust me to get them there. They trust that if I say it is important for them to read this, that it really is important for them to read it. They trust that if there is something they need to do to get into the sort of college they aim to attend, that I will know about it and help them arrange for it to happen. I am petrified that I will let them down. They are ultimately responsible for what they know but I am the parent and the school and they know they don't know what they don't know and they need me to guide them. It is an awesome responsibility. I think it is very natural to be frozen into immobility and ineffectiveness by fear.

 

Nan

 

Nan, I think the bolded needs to be highlighted and addressed in these conversations b/c we all have different educational backgrounds, different resources (everything from finances to time per individual child), and different children w/different educational goals. All of those are going to have play part in student/teacher responsibilities as well as our guidance counselor roles. How we perceive those responsibilities/roles is going to be family dependent.

 

For example, while I agree w/KarenAnne (Doodler) on the benefits of non-pre-packed curriculum and interest-led education, what that translates into w/in an educational framework in our household absolutely does not resemble what KA does in hers precisely b/c of all of the above. We have differing perspectives on how interest-led education works w/our children.

 

For example, In our house final educational decisions are not made by my children and, in reality, this is an approach that is a lot more work for me than other options. I respect my children's interests and goals and discuss course options w/them, but the actual framework of the course, the workload, deadlines, etc, those are dictated by me for probably 75-90% of their work (excluding outsourced classes. I am strictly addressing work done at the high school leve at home.)

 

With my kids, the "whats" are going to influenced by their individual goals. I see my role as guidance counselor to make sure that I assist them to get to the end they want b/c they don't know the path there. For example, for my ds that wants the top-tier schools I feel far more constrained on the whats and the required outputs for various courses vs. one that is planning on going to the local CC. Admission criteria do play a huge role in what we do. (For example, it is much easier to plan for 3 SAT subject tests and take them as they go through the courses vs. trying to take 3 at the last minute for admission requirements.)

 

Various educational approaches/options do lead kids down different paths. Where the paths lead will open doors to certain options and close doors to others. As guidance counselor and adult, my understanding of the "map" becomes part of the discussion about the "whats." I also want to try to make their transition from our homeschool into whatever environment they have chosen to pursue as smooth as possible. (that means attempting to have at least some comparable level of input/output in time/effort/energy)

 

There is no single answer. There is no right approach. However, that is only true w/in the context of specific individuals w/known end-goals and pre-"screened" counselor decisions. (as an extreme example, if I had a child that had the goal of becoming an engineer and wanted to attend MIT, if their plan included 2 sciences and math ending w/alg 2, there is a disconnect b/t plan and realistic outcome.) That is where we must be educated as guidance counselors when we don't follow the traditional sequences.

 

It is an awesome responsibility. But, whether approaching this from a confined or wide open path, I have still managed to have children inspired in creating/designing courses w/me built around their interests. It is plan that works for my view of my role as guidance counselor where as others like KA are happier w/less restrictive roles. the spectrum of possible options is as numerous as children and readers of this thread.

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For example, In our house final educational decisions are not made by my children and, in reality, this is an approach that is a lot more work for me than other options. I respect my children's interests and goals and discuss course options w/them, but the actual framework of the course, the workload, deadlines, etc, those are dictated by me for probably 75-90% of their work (excluding outsourced classes. I am strictly addressing work done at the high school leve at home.)

 

 

Eight, I understand what you are saying here. I write most of my own curriculum for my youngest as I have very specific goals in mind as to what I want us to accomplish. Many hours of hard work, research, and soul-searching go into the development of those plans.

 

This past fall, my literature plan did not get off the ground. This child has never been a reader, and he suddenly decided to read classics that I had not planned on doing this year or had not planned until later in the year. As much as it pained me, I did set aside those original lessons. This was a gift I felt I had to run with; I wasn't sure I would get the chance again if I said, "No, you can't read that; it's not on the plan."

 

We went higher and farther than I thought possible with this child. It was more work than I have ever put into literary analysis and I would do it again in a heartbeat. He chose the books. They had to be classics and I dictated the written work. Literary responses had been negotiable in previous years, I would tell him what the goal was in doing the assignment and if he could provide me with an alternative assignment that accomplished the same goal, I would accept that. I did not have the patience to go through that negotiation process this year as I had to write new lesson plans as we went along.

 

Eight, I usually end up on your posts when I think my standards are slipping. So wasn't this a case of the student's interest leading the way? Yet, the academic results were superior to the original plan. Did I just get lucky? I am asking about this because I had considered playing with the same concept for high school if he is home in the fall and at this point, it looks like he will be. Although he has already assured me he has no desire to mess up my Ancient Great Books plans.:tongue_smilie:

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I've always known that a good bit of the reason I have gotten away with being rather extreme in my approach even to the extreme of homeschooling is that my children had fairly defined goals. Where the child didn't define them, the family goals did. It is much easier to do something out-of-the-box for history, for example, if you know your child is going into engineering school. It is much easier to honour their request to do something or not do something if they can make a coherent argument for or against it based on their own individual goals. When they are younger and you ask them to do something hard, they may say, "I hate this," and it is easy to answer, "I know but you have to do it anyway." When they are in high school, they say, "I hate this," and often times it is more a general comment about how their day is going, not a request to be doing something else, because they know that this is one of the steps to someplace they have chosen to go. When it is an "I hate this. Remind me again why this is important?", you really have to listen and reassess because they might well be right, especially when it comes to the timing or the amount. Maybe they do have to do that, but do they have to do it now? Or do they have to do that much of it?

 

The thing that keeps me awake at night is that having told me where they want to go, they trust me to get them there. They trust that if I say it is important for them to read this, that it really is important for them to read it. They trust that if there is something they need to do to get into the sort of college they aim to attend, that I will know about it and help them arrange for it to happen. I am petrified that I will let them down. They are ultimately responsible for what they know but I am the parent and the school and they know they don't know what they don't know and they need me to guide them. It is an awesome responsibility. I think it is very natural to be frozen into immobility and ineffectiveness by fear.

 

Oh Elizabeth - I can't follow a pre-made curriculum either, except for math or occasionally a high level science textbook. That is why I treasure TWTM. The directions work as is or come with directions for how to modify whateveritis to work.

 

Nan

 

This is a good description of where I'm at. My two oldest both have interests that will require them to have a college degree. There is a path that could take them into humanities (economics, international affairs with lots of languages) and a path that could take them into engineering and sciences (service academies, robotics, computing). I have heard what they think the end goal is and I know that they are on a very competitive path to get there. And that if they don't have strong math and science coursework, they will be excluded at the very beginning.

 

It reminds me of when they were little and I could look over their heads at the probable outcome of what they were doing and know that they were about to get hurt or break something or finally figure out the skill they'd been struggling with. My kids don't spend time thinking much about college applications or the requirements of different programs or that they will be measured against a bunch of other great kids when they make these applications.

 

That is what drives me to spend a perfectly nice Sunday afternoon researching physics syllabi instead of at the pool. (To their credit, the boys were building a trebuchet and reading books while I was at this.) It is what has me reading classics so that I can be ready to help guide them through their first attempts at literary analysis.

 

I suppose that my analogy might be one to weight loss. If I engage a personal trainer, I don't want him to say that he'll help me with workouts when I decide to come in. I want him to assess where I'm at vs my goals and say that to get there I need to modify diet in this way and add more exercising and is Tuesday better than Wednesday to start.

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I always need a plan and a schedule in order to get anything done....but my plans are tweak able, and my schedule leaves enough room for flex.

 

 

Well I've been UTTERLY offline for the last few days, because we got totally blown off the grid by the storm! No cell, no power, etc. What an adventure! Anyways, I did start working, like Faithe says, haha, on the pile of books staring at me, waiting for it to congeal and morph into something. What amazed me was how quickly my "oh yeah, definitely planning in a 3rd week of flex with each unit" turned into "well if I could just have that week back I could cram more in... :lol:

 

What at the moment I'm not sure what to make of is a dc who *generally* eschews textbooks but in a *particular case* picks up one and asks for it. Two times this has happened before. The first time she just wanted to read it, like THEN, and I didn't let her, saying I'd "schedule" it. Bad move. By the time we got to it, her interest was gone, the material outgrown. Next book was one so far above her I figured she couldn't make heads or tails of it (with a 30+ reading level??), so I had her do something else instead. This time it's a more moderate thing, but she actually likes a textbook. It's written by a phD who loves history and who writes reasonably well, so maybe it will be fine? But I still have this triple pit in my stomach of what happens if I create the organization (flexible but still structured) for the material she SAYS she wants and then SOMETHING goes wrong, something changes, and she looks at me in 2 or 3 months like I have 3 eyes and snakes for hair. Ugh.

 

Well anyways, that's where I'm at today. I'll go back to reading. Looks like y'all had fun while I was gone. I'm curious to see whether MtnTeaching ever bopped in! Maybe she's on a board break! :D

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The thing that keeps me awake at night is that having told me where they want to go, they trust me to get them there. They trust that if I say it is important for them to read this, that it really is important for them to read it. They trust that if there is something they need to do to get into the sort of college they aim to attend, that I will know about it and help them arrange for it to happen. I am petrified that I will let them down. They are ultimately responsible for what they know but I am the parent and the school and they know they don't know what they don't know and they need me to guide them. It is an awesome responsibility. I think it is very natural to be frozen into immobility and ineffectiveness by fear.

 

 

That's a very important concept Nan, that we're helping them do what they *don't* know they need to learn/do. Thanks for making explicit something I needed to think about more. :)

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What he was trying to say was that I have consistently refused to be responsible for his education and that although he got less education at first this way, now, in community college, he understands that it is his responsibility to learn, not just his responsibility to show up and sit through the class.

 

Yup, if we graduate our kids with that and even a MODICUM of basics (math, writing, etc.), they're probably going to be fine.

 

BTW, I had an AP Chem professor in high school who, the very first day of class, said her job was to be a facilitator, not a teacher, and it was our job to learn the material. Put us in our place! :D

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Just wanted to say, I am going to take TOG out of the box, not literally, but I'll be picking and choosing and substituting and slashing and adding in some other materials I already have here at home.

 

BUT, I'm going to actually sit down and make my plan for how we will cover the year all during this summer, including what will be graded. And I will have everything I am using printed and ready to go. I just know myself way too well to think I can do it throughout the year.

 

Then I'll at least have a road map and if I want to toss some of it every now and then for a different approach, fine.

 

However, before I sit and plan I'm going to take a look at Doodler's post about more interest led learning. And, I've really got to sit down and think about each of my Dc--who they are, what they need, and what approach works best.

 

My number one biggest problem is that Ds is like me, interested in everything under the sun. When I say interested, I mean he would love to pursue the nitty gritty details of a myriad of topics. There just isn't enough time. Sounds good, but it gives me no clue where to focus for high school. It also makes mapping out TOG for the year a little tricky b/c we have to learn how to pick and choose and possibly pass up some great books and/or activities. And he asked me to plan his math and science so that he will have the option of a science major should he choose one. Yet, math is not an easy subject for him. It requires effort and study.

 

Shan, you are SO SPOT ON here. It's not that I don't want to be flexible. It's that when things get busy and health issues step in and this and that, it degrades into nothing. Then I've got a bright kid looking at me in the face wanting MORE even though she has a pile of work. Nuts, she wants MORE than simply reading books. She *has* that hunger, and it takes some structure and forethought to provide that.

 

I think it's cool that your ds is crossing over so well and exploring both sides of himself (math/science AND history). That's a good thing!

 

Well I'm glad you've figured out some fresh, radical ways to interact with TOG. The one thing I can't figure out is how people who are just starting out with it (yr. 1) are supposed to take advantage of the updates, because they won't all be ready before the start of the year. But whatever. You know maybe what I'll do is make a plan that gets us to Christmas and then reassess at that point and make more to get through the rest of the year. She always has this huge mental leap and growth spurt at Christmas. It's like working with a different child 2nd semester. THAT might be the smartest thing I've done in a while, lol.

 

Well we'll see. I got side-tracked pre-reading a book on the history of Australia and didn't get through the crunching to see how the overall plan would work out. And then I didn't work in those "skills" Nan was talking about. In fact, at least for history I've been pulling them out and doing them separately with other subjects. Seems to make our lives better, as it lets her enjoy her favorite stuff more. We hit 'em. It just becomes another thing on the checklist, a must-do, done a different way. Boy, talk about anathema, lol. I just said I don't make her WRITE about history. :lol:

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:iagree:Great post! The bold print above is just not mentioned enough. I have been re-reading several of my how to homeschool high school books and the exact opposite advice is consistently given. "look at the areas your Dc is likely to major in and the colleges your Dc might like to attend and plan your high school years to fulfill their requirements" or some similar statement is what I keep reading again and again.

It wouldn't be WISE to prep in only one direction, even if you could. Most kids don't know where they're ending up, and many change majors. You want a diverse education that opens doors, at least as much as possible.

I find this advice impossible. My Dc has no idea what he wants to do in college, let alone where he will attend (which, I imagine, may be driven by what major he wishes to pursue). I wonder if part of the pressure of planning high school comes from this idea that we somehow have to plan to accommodate some future version of your Dc who we do not even know yet, when what we should be doing is planning for the Dc we have before us now and leaving room to grow.

 

I hope I am still making sense. This thread has me thinking.....

 

I have made it through the entire thread. I need to print it out so I can highlight! It is so true that no matter what approach you use there will always be some sort of trade off. I'm convinced I need to find some middle ground. Ladies, you have somewhat derailed my planning and are causing me to re-think my plans. I suppose that's the chance you take when you read WTM boards.

 

I have been allowing Ds to put aside book work to follow interests (like speaking to the county health dept, and planning an event for our county Pet Expo). He has a wonderful 4H leader who will support him no matter what idea he takes it into his head to organize. As a result he's had several experiences with organizing, marketing, and hosting events, along with several opportunities to speak to large groups in the community. And one opportunity always leads to another, he is finding.

 

But, allowing him to do these things often got in the way of book work. Then I would tear my hair out trying to figure out how we would possibly still finish it all. Ironically, I was thinking for next year I need to reign in the extra activities in favor of school work. Now I'm not so sure. For the upcoming year he has an opportunity to organize, market, and help teach local homeschool riding lessons, plus a chance to volunteer at a museum (which could lead to an internship). I know these will be significant drains on our time. And he still has his 4H club to run. The leaders supervise him, but he does the bulk of the organizing and e mailing for the club, besides much of the event planning.

 

So, I suppose I'm left with making decisions (with input from Ds) about what may be worthwhile and what may not and trying to achieve some sort of balance between them and academics. And b/c of Ds having interest in so many areas, it is difficult.

 

Like you're saying, you may talk with your ds and find some things aren't as essential. On the other hand, sometimes when people give well-meaning advice about dropping something that "isn't going anywhere" they're missing the OTHER value the thing had. For instance my dd ice skated every day from K5-I forget what year. Olympic material? No. Good for her and enjoyable in other ways? Yes. Someone had told me to drop it down to 1 day a week because it wasn't going anywhere. In retrospect, I don't think that was the best advice. I think BUSY kids get more done than BORED kids.

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... I just think people don't often have a picture of what interest-led learning CAN look like, after the early grades. Some kids WILL extend an interest on their own. Others will need lots of guidance, initially or for a long time...

I fully recognize, and repeatedly say, that I know not all kids will do this. Certainly few will do it right off the bat. Not all parents will feel comfortable giving their kids such scope for independence in this way, and many will panic if the interest doesn't turn out looking like what the PARENT envisioned or feels is sufficiently academic. That's why earlier in the thread I tried to suggest different ways that the OP could build in room for interest-led learning with a larger planned structure.

 

My dd has expressed weariness that I would both expect her to be interested in pursuing the subject AND to create her own structure and learning plan. What my dd does in isolation for a particular subject for a particular short period of time doesn't necessarily translate into what she wants to carry the burden to do ALL the time. She has taken recently to saying she wishes she had a "teacher"... That's sort of wistful thinking about classroom learning (after the EXCEPTIONAL teachers on the VP online history and MP online classes!), but it reflects that there is that merging of maturity and readiness to take over the process. She's just not there with taking over all of it. That's her and where she's at. Happy for her to take over absolutely as SOON as she wants! No problem with comfort on my part, that's for sure! :lol:

 

That's actually what I'm hitting up against. She wants the Disney teacher (fun, great ideas of what to do with the material, etc. etc.) to match her level of interest and motivation to work. However I can't find anything in print that is as fun as she is, not if you just pick it up and use it straight. I had hoped TOG would get me there. We'll see. Doodles has graciously offered to let me pick her brain on amazing out of the box things to go with our topics, and I plan to take her up on it. :)

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I've always strived to allow ds to explore his interests to whatever end. I can pinpoint intense interests that started at age 7. I'm sure he will finesse and meander on the path, but I see the direction he is heading.

 

I knew at his age what I wanted to do. I had no one supportive or helping me figure out how to do that, so by the time I was out of high school I quit trying. I'm 45 and realized a few years ago I would have been great at it, it wasn't simply a passing attraction. I sometimes get mad at myself for giving up, but my parents thought it was just a nice teenage interest that would pass when real life came to call. I could have made it my life and been quite happy.

 

I keep that in mind when discussing interests with ds. I restrain myself from jumping in too far and ruining the magic, but I always am there as a coach, and I never cut down his interests.

 

Lisa, I remember not sharing my thoughts with my parents many times, because I would get the "that's nice" or "you can't do that" sentiment.

 

I think many of our children will be ahead simply because we place value on their input and interests, even if we can't center an education around them.

 

I've had to learn to specifically rein in this tendency myself. Watching enough TED talks has made me think that there are a lot of undiscovered paths through the impossible that I have no idea about.

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I posted a thread about interest-led learning and was directed to this thread. GREAT READING!

 

I was like a previous poster, a perfect student that took the classes I should, do what I was told, and regurgitated it on a test only to receive an A. After college, I stated that I would never return to a college campus. I haven't and still do not want to take any class or listen to lectures. Only in the last few years have I even realized that I actually LOVE to learn, but I do it in areas that I choose, with books that I choose, and on my own terms. The clincher, I retain it. Dh on the other hand, refused to be told what he had to learn and rebelled against the system. As a very intelligent young man, he barely graduated high school simply because it bored him and conforming was not a motivation for him. He still hasn't reached a point in life where he sees studying and reading as anything other than torture.

 

I have kids just like both of us. One that just wants the list to complete so he can move on and one that balks at the list and requirements and just wants to delve into his own interests. They both hate "school."

 

I really want to explore this type of education. I would LOVE it I think. But, practically, what do you do with the kid that would never choose to study history or science? A very straight forward text with no "extra" reading, but the occasional research required? Or a kid that just hates to read? How do you ensure that they have the requirements that they need for college such as upper level sciences?

 

Hi MotherGoose--Could I politely suggest that you sort out issues and causes in your own mind? For instance, I don't consider disliking to read a learning style or personality problem. Someone else can disagree. To *me* that's when you start looking for *reasons*. There may turn out to be vision or attention or phonological issues there. If someone has some stealth dyslexia or adhd or undiagnosed vision problems going on and they don't enjoy reading, that colors what you do about it, kwim? So I wouldn't assume it's just personality; look for reasons.

 

As far as hating school, yes my dd has said that over the years. But when you actually pin her down about *what* she hates, she's less specific. Sometimes it's actually just *one* thing in the whole day that is really ruining it for her. You fix that one thing, and boom you're back on track. Not sure the ages of your kids, but that's something to pursue. They can be pretty emphatic about things. Nuts, sometimes they're not even thinking of as school whole categories of things we think are school. So when they say they hate school, it might not include the stuff they like (history, art, whatever), only they stuff they dislike. :D

 

I've always slightly envied people with multiple kids, because it seems to create a sort of competitive or motivating dynamic the mom can harness. I think that can get you over humps on the things they don't like too. It's not like they like everything, but when it goes faster it's over sooner. The equivalent with an only (or psuedo-only) is to have lots of stuff scheduled (outside activities, etc.), so they just get moving and get it over with.

 

As far as that other stuff like attention and vision and dyslexia, well COVD is where you look for info on eyes. Anything by Jeffrey Freed or Holloway or "No Mind Left Behind" will work for attention and dyslexia, well that you can google. Barton has a free screening test you can to that sometimes turns up things. I'm just saying it's not all personality. When you get people who really REQUIRE alternative methods, there's usually a label they would get. Sometimes taking the step to get that label opens your eyes to more opens and frees you up to feel really confident you're making the right step. Just because we aren't *talking* labels in this thread doesn't mean people in this thread don't have kids with those labels. ;)

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Eight, I understand what you are saying here. I write most of my own curriculum for my youngest as I have very specific goals in mind as to what I want us to accomplish. Many hours of hard work, research, and soul-searching go into the development of those plans.

 

 

I know, I was wondering this weekend if I was spending more time than it would actually take for her to DO the work. :lol:

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I have been reading WTM as I have been reading this thread and have a few questions and thoughts. I realize WTM specifies a specific time period and suggested book list for history/listerature study, and it offers suggestions for science study, but doesn't WTM allow for interest-led learning in those subject areas? With WTM, the student makes decisions about the dates, individuals and events they want to study, and they make decisions about the essays they want to write. If the student has a particular interest/bent, wouldn't that show up in his choices for further research? Also, the chapter on junior and senior projects gives a general idea of the direction this intensive work could take; i.e. everything from history to sports. So, doesn't WTM provide for interest-led learning and teach the skills to accomplish it? I realize that for some families interest-led learning means the student decides on the big picture as well, but the proliferation of ready-made classical curriculum; i.e. TOG, Biblioplan, MFW, etc. shows that even the options in the WTM plan are more than most mothers can put into practice. This is certainly true for me. I enjoy reading posts by mothers who are planning every aspect of courses they plan to teach or leaving the planning up to their children, but just shifting away from packaged curriculum for history and literature using WTM guidelines is a big step for us.

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I have been reading WTM as I have been reading this thread and have a few questions and thoughts. I realize WTM specifies a specific time period and suggested book list for history/listerature study, and it offers suggestions for science study, but doesn't WTM allow for interest-led learning in those subject areas? With WTM, the student makes decisions about the dates, individuals and events they want to study, and they make decisions about the essays they want to write. If the student has a particular interest/bent, wouldn't that show up in his choices for further research? Also, the chapter on junior and senior projects gives a general idea of the direction this intensive work could take; i.e. everything from history to sports. So, doesn't WTM provide for interest-led learning and teach the skills to accomplish it? I realize that for some families interest-led learning means the student decides on the big picture as well, but the proliferation of ready-made classical curriculum; i.e. TOG, Biblioplan, MFW, etc. shows that even the options in the WTM plan are more than most mothers can put into practice.

 

Like you, I've never felt like there was some huge contradiction between what I do or am trying to do and WTM. I've read chunks of WTM every year since my dd was 4, and I've gone to the Cincy convention every year and heard SWB a ton, eaten lunch with her, etc. There's no dichotomy. There's tons of room and ENCOURAGEMENT to make it work for your kid. In fact, it was SWB's advice one on one that first helped me see I really COULD take the *principles* of WTM and expand them to meet my specific situation.

 

So anyone who wants to make a litmus test is just plain getting silly. I've been to SWB's talks and have her notes right here as I plan my year. I'm just planning it a really different way to fit MY kid and my situation. SWB never expected people to be little ants who march in line, mercy. Blaze your own trail. Start your own colony.

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OhElizabeth,

 

I wasn't suggesting a litmus test of comparison nor do I think SWB expects anyone to follow her suggestions to the letter. However, I was asking if WTM offers a general framework for interest-led learning. It seems you are confirming that it does. I've never met SWB nor I have attended a homeschool convention, so I am just working with her book and lectures and trying to understand what she is suggesting. Fwiw, I've somehow made our way through our years of homeschooling with books and a bit of online input, although I wish we had funds for more. So far, I don't think I've blazed any trails. I am usually just keeping up.

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I agree with Doodler's assessment of TWTM. I will say, though, that I don't really see TOG as a planned curriculum. It is a guide. For me it strikes a happy medium of giving me a direction to go without spelling out the entire course of study. TOG is going to look different depending on the family, choice of books and emphasis--much like TWTW. I can't comment on Biblioplan, since I haven't looked at it much, but I know we wouldn't do well with MFW for the simple reason that it is mapped out for you. TOG gives me more ways to tailor the plan.

 

I have some other thoughts about this discussion, but will have to post later as Ds is waiting for me to pick him up from his naturalist program.

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Doodler,

 

Thank you for the post. It helps me understand what you have been doing with your daughter. As regards visual versus textual materials, SWB writes somewhere in WTM that lectures, etc. should not be substituted for her reading suggestions, so I am assuming she believes they are valuable supplements. (I remember reading that in WTM last night but cannot find it now, so don't please don't quote me.) However, I do understand the limitations of a text-only approach since I've worked with significant learning problems in our home. Ultimately, we spent quite a bit of time and energy learning the skills needed for text-based courses, which helped at the college level.

 

For the high school persuasive essays, SWB's writing lectures outline the types of papers she suggests, and the section of WTM on writing papers as part of the Great Conversation provides other ideas. With the years we have left, I doubt that we could fully explore even those options. I wrote my post hoping for clarification on the difference between WTM and the interest-led learning discussed on this thread, and it seems to come down to types of materials used for learning and a framework and/or materials determined more by the student than the parent. I can see that WTM doesn't exactly fit those criteria.

 

Btw, since interest-led learning doesn't seem to include typical tests and quizzes, what types of assessment do you use - evaluation of papers, projects, discussions? WTM history/literature doesn't include tests either, so assessment has been on my mind.

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OhElizabeth,

 

I wasn't suggesting a litmus test of comparison nor do I think SWB expects anyone to follow her suggestions to the letter. However, I was asking if WTM offers a general framework for interest-led learning. It seems you are confirming that it does. I've never met SWB nor I have attended a homeschool convention, so I am just working with her book and lectures and trying to understand what she is suggesting. Fwiw, I've somehow made our way through our years of homeschooling with books and a bit of online input, although I wish we had funds for more. So far, I don't think I've blazed any trails. I am usually just keeping up.

 

Oh, I wasn't suggesting you were! There've been sort of hints at that (again, not you). I'm not sure if it's in your budget, but the talks on PHP are usually around $4 and would be a great experience for you. They're a huge help in putting things in perspective. She has some new talks on middle school and high school and writing that may be up. I found them very refreshing. WTM connects each things (write here, do this, do that), and the talks or more pulling it together and showing you what your skill goals are. That's when it clicks in your mind that there are LOTS of ways to get there and mix things up. She'll show you all the components of writing you need to do, then suggest to get them in history or science. That's when you go "Oh, you mean there are MORE ways to get those outlines in than JUST by outlining Kingfisher?" Ding, ding! And when she says they need to do beginning literary analysis or write from a thesis you realize that could be happening in ANY subject, with ANY materials. Nuts, it could even be done orally or with spider and venn diagrams with a dysgraphic dc. And when she says not to throw all the steps together at once but to increase skills ONE STEP AT A TIME, you realize that maybe for *your* student (my student) doing the step of thinking through that argument aloud IS the step and that writing it is two or three steps, ie. two or three steps too many.

 

Like I said, I don't think anything I'm doing is anti the spirit of WTM. I listen to SWB and I find myself right at home in those things. So I don't have her outlining Kingfisher. Big whoop. That was never the POINT. Kingfisher and some of those things were merely vehicles to accomplish goals.

 

That was all skills and WTM and quibbling how you accomplish those. For subjects and content, yes I see a ton of leeway there in WTM. I see SWB saying that you can't cover it all, just to cover something. She seldom seems particular about what they cover, which section they chose to outline, etc. The process of doing it with something was more important than the particular whats, because of course content is never-ending. And then you have her suggestions about freeing up room in the schedule for personal interests in high school and the glorious gap year. (She's actually pretty strong in her endorsement of gap years, something I've seldom seen mentioned here. I should do a search, as maybe it comes up more often and I've just missed it!)

 

Wow, where that came from, I don't know. :lol:

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