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Does "Do the next thing" work for high school?

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I love to have a plan, but my follow through on writing it all down is terrible, so we "do the next thing." DD1 also grades her own work and I check it periodically. I feel like this isn't structured enough to be acceptable in high school, though we are planning on using CLEP, DSST, and AP for the majority of her courses. Assuming she passes most of the tests, that will give some validation, right?


Our state doesn't require anything beyond just a letter each year, and that we take the standardized tests (which she gets around 90%tile in). Still, I feel like a slacker, but can't seem to pull myself out of it. I was on top of it when she started homeschooling with a virtual school, but really got out of the habit when I realized it wasn't necessary on my part and she prefers to just do things on her own so she doesn't have to wait for me. With a toddler running around and another one on the way, the days are fluid. Also, I've tried to tell her a bajillion times to let me know 5-10 minutes before she needs me, but that happens less than half the time.



It seems like as the kids get older, they have more independent work. Does that change for high school? Do I have to grade more myself and get into her lessons more again? I'm just trying to wrap my head around my role as a homeschooling mom to a high schooler.

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For some classes, yes, and for some curricula, yes. In high school math and grammar, we still do the next thing. I also have done that more often than not with writing using IEW, CW, Lively Art of Writing and a rhetoric text. For writing, I usually spend the summer getting acquainted with the curriculum, but during the year we move to the next thing with very little teacher planning on my part. I do plan weekly schedules, but I don't plan yearly schedules for these subjects. Logic and vocabulary books also lend themselves to the "do the next thing" schedule, though again, I usually get the big picture during the summer.


Science, history, government, literature -- when not outsourced -- take more planning. Even with a textbook, it just takes more planning to lay out a week's work, plan for labs, plan for discussion, etc.


If you are planning to AP test after a course, you will definitely need to plan the materials, the study and the timing.




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I agree with Florida Lisa. Because of all the MORE and DEEPER discussions with some high school topics (Literature, History, Government, Science) and more potential need for mentoring/tutoring (higher math; honing the writing), you end up spending a LOT more time with your high schooler than previously, in some subject areas.




Science, history, government, literature -- when not outsourced -- takes more planning. Even with a textbook, it just takes more planning to lay out a week's work, plan for labs, plan for discussion, etc.



Hmmm... as far as being able to "do the next thing", I actually had the opposite experience, as I found using a textbook for science, history and government actually took me *less* time for prep and planning, and was much easier to just do the next thing since it was right there in the material.


(However, perhaps that is because up until high school, I was creating all of our curriculum, so it seemed so simple and to take so little time for prep to use a textbook -- it's amazing how easy it is when I just use the material that's there as-written, rather than trying to blend 6 things together and put my own spin on it... :tongue_smilie:)


Also, I used summers to line up labs and additional resources and create general lesson plans, so I would already have a list to refer to during the school year, which greatly reduces time of planning and prep-work during the year. If you are using Apologia for science, there are some great pre-made weekly lesson plans on the Donna Young website. And a lot of high school programs include a schedule, which makes it easier to "do the next thing" -- just follow the built-in schedule.


Also, I found that because most classes are 1 credit (i.e., take 1 year to do), we could only do about 5 to 7 classes, so that drastically reduces the number of things you have to prepare for, and makes it easier to "do the next thing".


Guess it really boils down to what type of teacher you've been so far, whether you will find it possible to continue with the "do the next thing" way of homeschooling, or if you will find it more or less work to continue that way.




The real "time-kicker" to me, or what made high school MORE work to me, was not so much the prepping/organizing of the classes, but:

1. the daily/weekly discussion time with the student

2. even more -- all the administrative and counselor type things you have to spend so much time on:

- researching resources

- grading and record keeping

- making and updating transcripts

- extracurriculars

- researching whether or not to do: AP, dual enrollment, CLEP, SAT II, etc.

- what of those resources is available in your area and when

- how best to prep for ACT/SAT tests -- and registering for them

- college search and admissions

- scholarship search and applications




Just my 2 cents worth! :) Warmly, Lori D.

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Well, I've done three with the "do the next thing" and it's worked well. I should caution you though, make sure you keep up on the checking. It's easy to let it slide, with poor results.



I agree with keeping up on the checking. Also - this year, on the advice of some of the ladies on this forum, we've gone to having a daily seminar time when we go over the material from one of his subjects. This has been the best thing ever because it gives me time to really see how (and if) he's connecting with the material.

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I think "do the next thing" can work depending on the student and the course. Some courses we did, ie vocabulary study, were easily done as a "do the next thing". They also required little input from me except to make sure the work was getting done. The students, too, were responsible workers. But courses that require discussion are pretty much impossible to do that with except that I often assigned reading (with or without worksheets) and had discussion once weekly. Some courses that tend to need more "teaching" may be do-able as a "do the next thing" if that course is on dvd or some other media. Sometimes I had the boys watch their lessons and "do the next thing", but I always made sure to go over the content with them at least weekly - daily if possible.


Much depends on what type of curricula you choose as well as how much input you want to have yourself in the course/learning.

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I also agree that do the next thing can work incredibly well with some things and you can even incorporate the deeper part of do the next thing.


I spend a lot of summer time organizing courses for my students. I didn't use to do that as much (I did you an out of box curriculum Sonlight for a long time).


But for math I look over the number of exercises that we need to do a week to finish the book in a year and then tell him that is what he needs to do. Sure, sometimes an exercise takes a bit longer, but I always try to make sure that we have a week or two of spare time compared to the full year (in our case I use 36 weeks). Same with science, although this year I am using someone else's schedule for a text so he has a set schedule of things to do.


On some things I have to push (labs for instance) and sometimes we call a lab day and do labs all day (last year, doing biology, he had not done any dissections, so we did them all in one day).


In history, I'm fortunate to have the framework of things in Tapestry so we have set assignments to be done each week and as long as they are done on the end day, we are set. My oldest actually teaches the D level history in my small co-op so he has to prepare his own materials and theirs.


For ongoing things like papers, I find having a couple of deadlines built into the middle is helpful with younger high school students who have not done long ongoing projects.


I do occasionally get behind on grading, it is always a mistake, there is only so much chemistry I can grade in one sitting.

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I check my two high schooler guys work daily. It's just too important to fall behind here. We "do the next thing", which means sometimes they do double Physics and no Math . . . but we're always talking about it each day. And when they are taking a test, all their materials are removed from their work area, and I grade it immediately afterward. Homework I grade sometime BEFORE the next time they do that subject.


My guys are good, but they do like to take breaks, and it's just good to be accountable! :)

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I think I'll have to get in the habit of checking her work daily... I'll need to get in the habit of being more involved for DD2's school when that starts anyway. I checked some things today and I was pretty disappointed. I'm hoping this will be a turning point for both of us!

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