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You have to come to your own peace with it, and it's an agonizing process! But reading Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives really helped me realize there's a place out there for very different kinds of kids, a GOOD place, that fits the student's needs and interests. Whether we can all afford these places is of course, the catch, and it's partly financial stress that makes us feel we have to do what we perceive colleges as wanting rather than what is best for our children during the high school years. But a mom from these boards whom I know well, who had her child follow a very relaxed and largely interest-based program, had him accepted into a wonderful LAC (with scholarship); that same LAC has accepted people who follow TWTM more closely, and those who load up on APs. So there isn't one single way that guarantees acceptance into one of these types of schools. There really is room for more than one kind of excellent education.

 

Putting this in caps because I think it is a major problem.

 

YES, THERE ARE PLENTY OF COLLEGES OUT THERE WHO WOULD LIKE A STUDENT WHOSE EDUCATION WAS INTEREST-BASED, BUT THEY ARE NOT AFFORDABLE FOR EVERY FAMILY.

 

Now I've gone way overboard emphasizing that statement, but that is what lies behind so much anxiety on the high school board. Families need their children to get scholarships or to go to the few schools within commuting distance of their home or to ivy league colleges or... It is much more a matter of fit this-or-nothing. That is a major problem. We can talk about the educational benefits of interest-led education until we are blue in the face but it won't help the student who is stuck having to compete for a place in their local state school when that school is completely overwhelmed with applications and has an admissions policy of just scooping up the top blank percent of the local public schools.

 

Sorry for shouting...

It is hard to combat fear with philisophy. I know this from peacwalking.

 

Nan

 

Nan

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Now I've gone way overboard emphasizing that statement, but that is what lies behind so much anxiety on the high school board. Families need their children to get scholarships or to go to the few schools within commuting distance of their home or to ivy league colleges or... It is much more a matter of fit this-or-nothing. That is a major problem. We can talk about the educational benefits of interest-led education until we are blue in the face but it won't help the student who is stuck having to compete for a place in their local state school when that school is completely overwhelmed with applications and has an admissions policy of just scooping up the top blank percent of the local public schools.

Nan

 

This is our issue. We have NO money for college, paycheck to paycheck, barely any retirement, and dc will NEED scholarships. Period.

 

I'm very busy and just popping in very occasionally on this thread but enjoying it!

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:iagree::iagree::iagree:And that, in a nutshell describes my dilemma for making decisions about high school. I think I see a better way, but then I look at the college requirements and I pale.

 

And, get this, I can even feel pressure about letting a kids follow passions....

 

I did this, too. Lisa (swimmermom3) spent a whole season talking me down out of the tree as I panicked over and over about this. In the end, she took what I said and used it as a definition of an education for my youngest. I decided to split his education into two halves - the first half minimized the requirements in order to leave him lots of time to develop those interests and the second half threw him into cc science and math classes so he would be prepared for engineering school. This approach worked well for us. Perhaps something like that would work for you as well?

 

Nan

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Lisa - Just remember that some of SWB's decisions about which translations to recommend depended on whether there was a cheap paperback version readily available, something which could be read in the bathtub.

 

I think you need a vacation. I wish I could give you one. You are beginning to doubt yourself even in areas where you are strong. Exhaustion makes one do that. Try not to worry. If you are finding this discussion depressing (and it is depressing, for those of us who have done this before, because we forget that many of the participants are new) just forget it. You are doing a fine job. Things like which translations don't matter. Many public schools do a fine job. I think less depends on us than we think it does. Have faith in your children.

 

Lots of hugs,

a grateful Nan, who followed your ideas for youngest and is now seeing them bloom fabulously

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Yes! This! And this is not specific to WTM, btw, but any open-ended curriculum or interest-led study. The student is gathering all this information, but then what to DO with it?

 

Does the student have to do anything with the knowledge? As adults, we read and aquire knowledge but don't do anything with it. I agree that sometimes it is useful to do things if one needs to do things with the knowledge in order to process it or remember it, but I think it is ok to let some knowledge lie dormant until a use comes along. And along the same lines, do you really need to grade? (The answer might be yes - that is a real question not a rhetorical one.) Some of us don't give grades. I give feedback on completed work and I write a narration that serves as an assessment for my school system. Both of those are easier for me to do than to grade. In order to grade, I would have to give age-appropriate assignments rather than letting my children attempt things that I know they aren't haven't a chance of carrying out perfectly. Either that or I need to grade them compared to something other than an adult, like another body of students - something I don't have the experience to do. Therefore, I don't give grades, I just give feedback about ways in which they might improve next time. I leave the grading to somebody else. Mine will have community college grades for college application purposes.

 

Just something to think about...

Nan

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I have known where my sons were headed and I *still* found it impossible to follow that advice. The college requirements list is terribly narrow compared to my family's educational goals for high school. In the end (after much panic), I tossed up my hands and told my children that we were going to give them the education they (and we) wanted for them and then try to find a college that would accept them. I warned them that we were cutting down their choices, possibly drastically cutting down their choices. At the time, the educational opportunities that might cause problems (like peace-walking) seemed much more important both to them and to us than keeping their college options wide open. Besides, there was quite a lot of overlap between what colleges wanted and what we wanted, like learning to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, finishing a math book every year, being widely read, understanding how the natural world works (in other words, science) and aquiring a second language.

 

I remember so very clearly the disappointment and panic rollercoaster I rode when I first began planning high school and realized that we might have to sacrifice the advantages that homeschooling had been giving us and the opportunities to improve drastically (in non-academic ways - our school system does a better job than I do academically, much better) on the raising of our teenagers. I remember the relief when we decided that our own educational goals (one of which was to get our children through the teenage years ALIVE) were far more important than anything else and that it was ok to restrict their choices of colleges, that they were restricted anyway, already.

Nan

 

You are right, of course. I just need to find what works for us and find some peace about it--quiet those voices that tell me it's not enough, or it's not the 'right' way. I also need to let go of the idea that I/we can do it all and decide where I think the trade-offs should be.

 

And, to be honest, I think I need to just sit with a notebook and think and write what our goals are for Ds and why we choose homeschooling in the first place. I think our own philosophy has gotten lost and I've been reading too many 'how to homeschool' books. Then, when I've done that I need to have a conversation with Ds. Dd is another issue altogether since I think music is going to play a huge part in whatever she does. I'll cross that bridge later. :D

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And, to be honest, I think I need to just sit with a notebook and think and write what our goals are for Ds and why we choose homeschooling in the first place. I think our own philosophy has gotten lost and I've been reading too many 'how to homeschool' books. Then, when I've done that I need to have a conversation with Ds. Dd is another issue altogether since I think music is going to play a huge part in whatever she does. I'll cross that bridge later. :D

 

Another thing that Nan mentioned and I'll reiterate: Trust your kids.

 

They will astound you.

 

Best regards,

Jane

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By the way, I may not have talked about it much, but my youngest has been doing those independent projects. He will have a number of them on his transcript. They have been a huge part of his high school education, a place where he developed and firmed up his academic skills. The topics were sometimes non-academic, but these particular projects were definately carried out in an academic manner (unlike lots of other things in his homeschooling). For example, one project was slight-of hand tricks. He learned them from a book, following written directions, practiced, developed his own versions, and then wrote a paper about his approach. Despite the non-academic seeming topic, the rest was exactly what TWTM taught him.

 

Nan

 

This is exactly the kind of thing I think about doing all the time, though with subject matter/interests specific to my Dc. I end up feeling very frustrated when I start throwing this type of thing aside to meet some 'requirement'. I'm not saying there isn't a time to consider requirements, but I didn't begin homeschooling with the idea that we would check off boxes designed by strangers.

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I've run into the "not going anywhere" philosophy when researching the teaching of writing. One of the prime creators of the whole "kids should have workshops, draft and revise like real authors" movement, Lucy Calkins, told of a third grader who rebelled against school writing -- limited to memoirs (for eight year olds!) and personal narrative -- and was writing stories at home under the covers with a flashlight. To Calkins, this was sweet, but she emphasized that it shouldn't become "dead-end" writing, writing that wasn't made into some kind of polished form and "published," even if in being posted on the classroom wall. Any writing that sat in a private journal without being mined for publication wasn't purposeful or right to her.

 

This horrified me at the time and horrifies me more now, with the increasing emphasis on performance at the expense of process in most schools. It's as good as saying, your writing doesn't belong to you, you must go about it in the way that others find useful.

 

Wow, this horrifies me too. Dd spends hours writing 'books'. They are filled with mispellings and probably even areas where they make no sense to anyone but her. But, I do see her writing improving, and the mere act of creating and producing is training her to think.

 

Lucy Culkins must consider Emily Dickinson an utter failure then.

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This is our issue. We have NO money for college, paycheck to paycheck, barely any retirement, and dc will NEED scholarships. Period.

 

I'm very busy and just popping in very occasionally on this thread but enjoying it!

 

In the same boat here, except I should be busy and instead I'm reading and responding to this thread! (Sorry for all the posts. I'm lazy and don't feel like dealing with the whole multi-quote business.)

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You know to me, and I'll open a HUGE can of worms here, the one thing that really bugs me about what I read in WTM for the high school level (and I was reading HoAW this weekend, which is what I'm basing this on) is that it's education without responsibility. There's no accountability on what to DO with the information or what the CONSEQUENCES are of the information or the higher wisdom we should GAIN by studying the materials. It's just thing after thing. Occasionally she pulls wisdom out in HoAW. I actually liked it more than I imagined I would. I think she has done fascinating things with it. However once you say you want those discussions about wisdom and consequences and what it means and what the implications are, then the mom needs a lot more help, kwim? And I don't actually see that happening in straight WTM, not unless the mom is bringing WAY more to the table than I am, lol.

 

We are not responsible/accountable to TWTM. The principles/resources/methods in it are meant to support families, not the other way around. See article I linked after 1Togo's post.

 

The problem for many mothers is tying their faith, beliefs, etc. to what they are teaching. SWB doesn't do that in WTM, so TOG, MFW, Biblioplan or other packaged curriculum become the guide, but really that isn't the answer for many of us.

 

SWB wrote a great article (at least for Christians, but perhaps the principles can be applied by others, too) that might pertain to this:

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/a-neutral-education/

 

Basically, the principle I'm thinking about from this article is that the knowledge we acquire from all this reading/studying/etc. should be synthesized in the family WITH the help of whatever belief system/organization/group/church/etc. to which the family subscribes.

 

There are an awful lot of people, though, who don't feel as free and ready as you do to take what they need and toss the rest, and thus there can be real confusion or question about whether you can combine your child's interests with TWTM layout, and to what extent. That's why we get all these anguished threads where people try to figure out what's okay to do and what's not, what's classical and what's not, what's "allowable" in terms of interest-based learning and what's required whether interest is there or not.

 

...But those who only have access to the book don't know about all the additional, more flexible information you get from the downloads or personal meetings at conventions.

 

Thankfully the author has provided these boards, the links to articles, and a link to PHP (where one can find downloads) to the public for free, so that anguished people can come here, interact with others, and find out how people are using some of the methods or resources in TWTM and TWEM, and how we branch out with all sorts of interest-based learning. I expect that many TWTM readers have internet access, and with today's culture, have probably discovered the forums. I'm sure untold thousands of people (myself included!) have already been helped over the past 13 years. It can only get better - I looked last night, and I think there are over 56,000 people *registered* here, nevermind those who just read! Amazing source this place is.

 

I have watched over the years as people hesitated to make the leap from more structured to TWTM. I think many of those are people who have actually read and understood TWTM lol rather than just reading it as a list of textbooks and tasks.

 

:iagree: and I agree that it takes guts.

 

I keep saying that TWTM is half-way between a traditional textbook-based education and unschooling. And I keep saying that we are doing a WTM education despite there being a long list of things recommended in TWTM that we haven't done, mostly because my children weren't there educationally or because there isn't time to follow every track in TWTM to its endpoint.

 

:lol: I remember when you (I think it was you) came up with the term of classical unschooling, and I thought, "YES!" I had liked many ideas I had read about years ago in books about unschooling, and then when I read TWTM for the second time (ds entering Grade 1) I realized how interesting (which is what had attracted me to unschooling before that) a TWTM-type of education could be. All that reading about history? The colouring pages? Writing your OWN narrations, instead of filling out a worksheet? Making a chicken mummy? Actually doing science experiments? Putting on plays to depict ancient stories? Forming our own opinions? Discussing? This was COOL STUFF for me!

 

For example, one project was slight-of hand tricks. He learned them from a book, following written directions, practiced, developed his own versions, and then wrote a paper about his approach. Despite the non-academic seeming topic, the rest was exactly what TWTM taught him.

 

Nan

 

So cool. This leads into what you wrote here:

 

Doesn't TWTM make other suggestions for the literary projects for each book at well? I think I remember a suggestion of making your own set designs for a play? This is how my children wound up doing things like drawing the circles of hell for Dante's Inferno and making a model reed boat for Gilgamesh and resetting a play in outer space. Not that I felt I needed TWTM to tell me it was ok to do something, but I lack experience in the realm of literature so the suggestions were useful.

 

Are you thinking about the part in the GB/history section where a possibility could be to write about a technical aspect of Greek drama, which might require research about staging of Greek drama?

 

Along these lines, I also want to point out two things.

 

In TWEM play-reading section, SWB suggests sketching the stage and furnishings, and then tracing movements as directed by stage instructions. Another suggestion she gives is to figure out how you, the reader, would direct and stage the play - she gives quite detailed instructions on how to do this. As well, she includes a list of interesting books about directing, scene design/construction, lighting, sound, costume, makeup, and how theatre designers connect script to image. There is also a list of plays on DVD or video.

 

The second thing is the chapter in TWTM called The Specialist. Anyone who is worried about pushing out interest-based projects might be relieved by reading this chapter. She typically talks about writing about aspects of history and literature. But with math, science, foreign language, computer programming, painting, sculpture, theatre, music, and sports; she suggests a variety of hands-on projects to undertake. The project suggestions themselves can lead to your own ideas for projects. She does suggest that these projects be supported by a shorter paper (than the papers where the specialist documents the history of something), but the defence of that is this: The student writing about the project forces him/her to evaluate his/her project. But even if you don't have your student write that shorter paper about a project, no one is going to slap your hand. It's just a suggestion (which I happen to think is a good one for good reason).

 

That's terrific that TWTM produced this result in your family. But I think you are far more willing to take your children's wishes and preferences into account than many people feel the book allows.

 

Thankfully Nan has been posting for years very specifically how she does this with her kids. It's one reason someone invented a thread tag called "nan's words of wisdom" that we see pop up fairly often. Over the years, I've very much appreciated her precise descriptions of teaching; and I know others have, too.

 

This comes up so perpetually on the boards that I don't see how it can all be a fault of people who are "misreading" it, but at least in part in the book itself. Remember how SWB has told the story of the publishers being astonished upon meeting SWB and her mother that they weren't rigid authoritarians; they got that from the manuscript too.

 

Actually they got that impression (rigid/grim/joyless, not authoritarian) from the book proposal, not the manuscript. And for those many people you are concerned about, here is the article from which the story came - it's called "The Joy of Classical Education."

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/the-joy-of-classical-education/

 

Yes, JOY. That, plus freedom, is what I believe is the spirit and message of TWTM/TWEM/the forum posters/WTM-site articles/PHP downloads.

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...Lucy Calkins, told of a third grader who rebelled against school writing -- limited to memoirs (for eight year olds!) and personal narrative -- and was writing stories at home under the covers with a flashlight. To Calkins, this was sweet, but she emphasized that it shouldn't become "dead-end" writing, writing that wasn't made into some kind of polished form and "published," even if in being posted on the classroom wall. Any writing that sat in a private journal without being mined for publication wasn't purposeful or right to her.

 

Will you please point me to a quote that supports this?

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Thanks so much everyone. Sorry it took me so long to get back to this thread, there's just been a lot going on.

 

 

Is the biology going to be necessary for him as a stepping stone in the future? If not, I'd open your horizons a bit, do something quite out of the box, or dump it entirely.

This is the way that the state university admission requirements for science read:

 

Three course units in science, including

 

  • at least one unit in a life or biological science (for example, biology),
  • at least one unit in physical science (for example, physical science, chemistry, physics), and
  • at least one laboratory course.

The lab requirement won't be hard because I think that all of our science is going to have labs - it's suits his style so much & makes things so much more understandable to him.

 

 

 

Help me think out of the box on this one - he has turned down the opportunity to do Human A&P - says it grosses him out & "I don't need to know that much about my body." :lol:

 

 

Right now I'm either down to dropping it or doing it with the Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments, ie. literally just doing the labs and hanging the rest.

This book looks really good. I knew about the book they have on chemistry experiments, but not this one.

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

Each of the classes I listed is only 1/2 day and we can sign up for them individually - so the insect class would only be one miss. However, we are probably going to Europe in Sept. and he will miss 2 weeks of geometry then. I'm not sure about having him miss more. I should know w/in a couple of weeks if the Europe trip is "on" or not. We will be accompanying my husband on a business trip.

 

It partly depends on whether your son will have that mid-adolescent maturation leap between now and fall. He may or he may not, just yet. It depends on what went wrong last year, and whether that has been adjusted for or otherwise overcome.

It's really hard to tell. The last few weeks of the school year were very smooth, but we only had three subjects by that time, so I'm not sure to what to attribute the change, KWIM?

 

It also partly depends on whether your son is a visual-spatial learner. Some of your past posts have suggested that he is, in which case you may well find, as we did, that geometry is far, far easier for these kids than algebra I. In fact algebra I is notorious for being a sticking point for VSLs. For dd, geometry was better than algebra I, and algebra II is far better than geometry. Algebra I is the mountain top in terms of difficulty for these kids, which is difficult for me to grasp since for me it was the exact opposite. (I loathe geometry!) You may find that it gets better from here on out.

 

This is encouraging news - maybe it will play out this way for us. Yes, I do think for most subjects he is a VSL.

 

Anyway, another thing that might make a world of difference math-wise is having classes like the biology ones you mention, which incorporate math into scientific investigations and activities. Is the place where you would have him take the geometry class at all flexible or understanding of specific learning needs, so that he could miss one class every three weeks to go to the science labs?

I'm not sure how flexible they are. We'll find out more when I turn in his math placement test. I think he'll do fine on it (he's already done part of i), but their ability to be flexible will show almost immediately as I will be turning in digital photos of the white board that he uses for math. If that freaks the teacher out, we'll have to rethink the whole thing.

He needs both, right?

Yes. I listed the college admission requirements for science above. The admission requirements for math are:

 

 

Four course units of mathematics, in any of the following combinations:

 

  • algebra I and II, geometry, and one unit beyond algebra II,
  • algebra I and II, and two units beyond algebra II, or
  • integrated math I, II, and III, and one unit beyond integrated math III.

It sounds like the combination -- a textbook-focused class (I assume) and the applied math in the science classes -- would be ideal, and may also go a long way to help him recover from feeling like he isn't good at math. If you had the tutor still, he could make up the missed class with the tutor's help.

His old tutor isn't going to be tutoring next year but we will be asking the new teacher if she can work with him or can recommend someone.

 

I'm going to go back and read this thread slowly. It got much bigger than I expected - I'm sure there will be lots of ideas.

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