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Advice from h/s parents of high schoolers

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Hi there,


I would love to hear any advice from parents homeschooling their high schoolers.


What types of curriculums did you find useful when your child/ren were in primary levels?

For example for success in high school and beyond, did you find lots of different subjects covering many areas provided a good grounding or was a more relaxed, smaller focus better?


I am h/s a little one and at the moment I teach more in a traditional school type manner - lots of different curriculum, so that I can give her a good basis. But I wonder whether I may be giving her too much information. For example we do traditional curriculum for LArts, Maths, Reading and then add in a plethora of other things and I am wondering whether it may just be too much. But on the other hand I know in the school system they would be doing loads of different topics.


I am wanting to ensure I am smart and teach things that will be useful and of quality, not just seatwork. I am concerned about retention.


What advice would the parents on this forum have for us, and what types of curriculum did you find really prepared your high schoolers properly for university etc?


Thank you so much!


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You'll find there is a wide range of how homeschoolers educate their children. Some use all textbooks. Some use none. Some school for a set number of hrs. Some unschool. It really is about finding what works for your family and makes your children thrive educationally. There are numerous ways that lead to successful outcomes. And remember to enjoy it along the way. It goes by way too fast! I can't believe my 4th baby is a rising sr!


If you would like a glimpse into our home, this thread sort of gives an idea. http://forums.welltr...-real-tea-time/

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For primary levels? Have fun, read lots of books on various topics, play math games, encourage learning to read, exposure to spoken foreign languages, messy art projects, nature study.

This would be my advice for little ones, as well. You just don't have time to do these kinds of things later on, and really they are foundational in getting understanding "into the core" of your child. And I also feel that making gradeschool not look like high school prevents burn-out later on. At least, be sure your child enjoys textbook learning, before you commit to it in the early years; real prep for high school can begin gradually in junior hi and feel new & exciting if it's not the same old thing. A love of learning goes a long way. And time after schoolwork for independent exploration and creation seems key for developing a learner.


Some random things of value to me (and as 8Fill said, it will differ in every family, which is the joy of homeschooling):


1. Math every day in some form or another, even if it's games or drill activities. I love Singapore math, for short lessons and real thinking. And I think both understanding of concepts and drill activities are really helpful for high school.

2. Being a "reader" of your child's composition skills (which can be done orally in the early years), and giving a steady stream of feedback over the years, both positive and constructive. Communicating in writing is so important, and the one element that can't be reproduced in any "program" is feedback from a reader.

3. Also stop to think about your own values, your faith, your priorities in life that you don't want to forget to include at the BEGINnning of your day and not leave til you've run out of time. If you value a classical education, then begin a love of that early on. If you want a deep understanding of your faith as a part of creation or throughout history, then include that value right from the start. Don't tag on your priorities as an afterthought.



Those are the components I think prepare your kids for success in high school. And two other things come to my mind:


1. Take the time in the early years to evaluate who your student is, in many areas, and how he learns, what his weaknesses and strengths are. Then balance the skipping over of things he doesn't need, with doing them anyways so he feels successful.

2. I think homeschoolers sometimes forget that children in group schools have hundreds of role models, while our kids need us to be the person whose shoulder they can look over. Take the time to show a child how to behave, how to look things up, how to ask questions, how to revisit what he has learned in different ways. If I could go back, I'd probably do even more modeling for my children.


I've seen folks succeed using all kinds of curriculum and no kind of curriculum. I feel these kinds of things matter more.


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My thought is that by the time you get to high school it matters really very little what curriculum you did or didn't use in elementary school. If possible, yes it is best if your child has good foundational skills particularly in math and reading so they do not need remedial work. That's something most curriculum will accomplish though.


This may sound odd coming from someone who advises students on high school and college admissions, but in elementary and middle school I would focus more on the bigger picture. Yes, get solid math and reading, but remember the real reason to homeschool isn't just about teaching academics. It is about your child's whole development. What I see at the high school level is that students who have a solid foundation in social, emotional, and lifeskills are the ones who fair the best. So just to think about the big picture that includes:

  • Strong parent-child relationships
  • Kindness and concern for others
  • Enjoying learning rather than just expecting to be entertained
  • Keeping curiosity and creativity alive
  • Traits like work ethic, internal self motivation, and the ability to withstand frustration,
  • Life skills (cooking, household stuff, money management)
  • Strong body and healthy life management (sleep, stress, eating, exercise)

So, think about what you'd hope for in these areas for your teenager and see how you are putting down the foundation for that now.


Hope that is helpful!

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