Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

swimmermom3

"Outside the box" for high school?

Recommended Posts

NZ does not care one whit about a mummy transcript. They require excellent grades in 4 subjects on the equivalent to the A levels in the UK (I believe slightly lower than the APs, but they do require 2 years of study to complete the curriculum), or moderate grades in 5 or 6 A levels. You also must pass the english and math entrance requirements if your A levels don't include those subjects; these requirements are lower so that a music major does not need A level math and a physics major does not need A level english.

 

So I have complete control over any out of the box approach I want to use, with the exception that it must allow him to pass (and do well on) these exams.

Ruth, can you explain what you wrote above (bolded)?

 

In the Netherlands, the only way to get accepted into a university (only 10% of students go to university) is after passing the VWO state exams. These are exams with a written and an oral part, for 10-11 subjects. This includes at least two modern foreign languages, and students on the classical track (gymnasium) also take Latin and/or Greek.

 

There is no way -for example- to do History 'out of the box', if you don't use the assigned textbook, you won't pass the exam. Obviously going above and beyond the requirements, like you are doing with math or by adding lots of TC lectures for History, will result in passing the exam for that subject, but there is only so much time to go above and beyond, with 10-11 subjects and that many foreign languages I won't be able to do that with all or even most subjects. I feel completely 'boxed in' by those exams :(. I could really use some of your positive perspective :D, if you can explain what you are planning to do (in general terms of course).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tress, I'm so sorry you feel locked in. 10 exams is a lot more than what we have to do, and perhaps that is the difference.

 

For my older, he will only take four exams (at year 13 level) because I am pretty sure that he can really excel in his best subjects - math, physics, chemistry, and music. If I were worried I would have him do more subjects and take the year 12 exams also in case he bombed the Year 13 ones, but I am not worried, not for this child. We are putting all our eggs in one basket so to speak.

 

As you said for math he will be over prepared, physics is really the same regardles his of the textbook you use, chemistry he will have to use the approved books because there are a lot of reactions to memorize that are exam specific, and music is performance and theory exams and we are already using abrsm so it dove tails perfectly. English I will outsource for a year with the correspondence school. As each subject is a two year class except english ( as he is going for the lower level exam), only nine classes in high school are spoken for and only two of those require a specific books (chemistry). This means I have 11-15 classes in which I can do anything I want.

 

We will take up some of that time doing half classes in the social sciences like economics, psychology, philosophy, etc with no exams to follow. We can also use up some of that time putting in the extras like the science fair or writing a novel. In contrast to the Americans I do not need to have him finish a class in a year, it can overrun. So if it takes him longer to learn chemistry than two years then it takes longer, he just has to be ready by some November for the exam. So I can start six months early so we don't have to rush. We are also spreading out the exams, physics on ninth, math in tenth, chemistry and english in eleventh grade, and music in twelfth. So less pressure, plus if he bombs the exams we have time for a back up plan.

 

Like you, memory intensive classes like chemistry, history, biology, geography require a specific book to study. But for classes focusing in analytical skill ( physics, math) or performance skills ( music and mandarin) you can use any book and then just get a study guide in the last month.

 

I hope you can find a way to make it work for you. Good luck.

 

Ruth in NZ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmm.  I guess we have done both "in the box" and "out of the box", though, as someone else said, and as seems to have been discussed ad nauseum, I'm not even sure what that means.  There are so many building-based schools doing things in so many different ways, that the idea of being "out of the box" seems...well, perhaps a bit pretentious to me.

 

I'll say this as well...while I loved the idea of doing things a little differently with my oldest child (who is now a sophomore in college at a moderately selective school), there's no getting around the fact that it does make some aspects of college application/admission more challenging, esp if you have a kid who is not consistent in standardized test performance, or who chooses to forgo the tests (we had no SAT subject tests, and she only sat for the SAT once.  No ACT or APs.)  And there's a bit of a feeling of reinventing the wheel as far as some coursework.  Yeah, maybe what we did was better for her, more individualized, more whatever...but maybe not.

 

Another point:  I've homeschooled a long time, and have seen a lot of people come and go.  It appears to me that those who stick to a traditional curric ("in the box", I suppose) are more likely to continue to homeschool, for whatever reason.  I do think there comes a point where it is a heck of a lot of work/money/disruption to follow all the rabbit trails.  No judgment there...my 5th grader, always traditionally homeschooled (well, traditionally as far as doing school in bursts in the car between horseback riding, sewing, choir, piano, etc is traditional) kid, went to school this year and LOVES it.  Loves that darn box, lol. 

 

Okay, so as far as "out of the box" ideas:  first on my list is foreign exchange.  There are several programs, but my oldest did Rotary and went to Turkey for 11 months.  I created a couple of language arts and history courses for her to do while experiencing the exchange (which included a bit of in-country travel, tours, etc.)  She studied Turkish independently in the year before and after the experience (side note:  unless you are lucky enough to find a local tutor, "out of the box" languages like Turkish are a pain to implement as coursework, and some of the colleges appeared to find the study a little flaky.) If college is the goal, the universities do seem to appreciate the Rotary exchange program.

 

Another idea, but this involves finding or perhaps creating a team, is Academic Decathlon.  Oldest did Academic Decathlon one year (our local homeschool program had a team) and we expanded on the subject areas to make curric for her.  She did well in the competition, and that probably helped make the courses on her transcript for that year look less "out there."  If you can back up some out of the box work with some standardized testing, like the SAT subject tests, I think it helps legitimize your program.

 

Some solid extracurric activities can be expanded upon into coursework.  Oldest was active in our local Youth Court program as an attorney/judge, and we made it a Legal Studies course.  She got great references from the mentors in that program too.

 

My current high schooler, a 17 year old junior, is solidly in the box, and it is AWESOME, lol!  I don't regret the older daughter's course of study, and not sure if anything could have been done differently, considering her temperament, etc (and she did great academically during her first year at a challenging school; Dean's List all three quarters) but I hope people aren't feeling like homeschool failures because they are working off a checklist of sorts. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have two older children: one exclusively in the school system until senior year (home then for depression) and one who did a bit of homeschooling. It's not that their experiences were bad, but they did give me some reasons to question certain aspects of the "box."

 

"Pretentious" to even talk about being outside of the box? Hmmm. Not everyone is well-served by the checklist. There is easily room for both concepts in homeschooling. This year we have been very much in the traditional school mode. Sailor Dude's classes are not innovative, but they are academically challenging and he seems to be okay with that. But we both are already itching for next year, his senior year.

 

I think we are going to take English and science "outside the norm" or whatever one wants to call it. He is the last child home and to celebrate nine years of homeschooling, I think we are going to do a lot more of his work on the road.  I figure if I really put the screws to any extra spending for the next 6 months, we may able to provide scuba diving lessons to go with marine science work. My son always seems to thrive when he can see the relevance of his classes to every day life. There is some geology work to be done in the Eastern part of the state

 

I think we are also going to indulge in our love for Shakespeare and work on seeing some more live performances on a more professional level than we usually see them. At the end of this year, ds will have two AP English courses completed and nothing else to prove, so we can revisit his favorite Greeks and pursue that TC course A Day's Read, that we have always meant to get to.

 

When senior year is over, ds will most likely head to school across country and I will return to work full time.

 

For our final year of homeschooling, I fully intend to go out in a blaze of quirky glory. Of course, me being me, it'll still look good on the transcript - I hope. :tongue_smilie:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would have quit homeschooling if I had to approach education in any traditional way. I have to "reinvent the wheel" to keep myself interested and enthusiastic. If I had taken a textbook, traditional sequence highschool approach with my kids, instead of enjoying learning with my 10th grader bc we are studying things I have never done with any of my other kids, I would be bored to tears and functioning on autopilot. Autopilot is a bad place for me personally as a teacher b/c I engage less bc I have to force myself to pay attention. ;)

 

We are loving Russian history, the history of communism, and our War and Peace study. (all 1200 pages of it! :) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would have quit homeschooling if I had to approach education in any traditional way. I have to "reinvent the wheel" to keep myself interested and enthusiastic. If I had taken a textbook, traditional sequence highschool approach with my kids, instead of enjoying learning with my 10th grader bc we are studying things I have never done with any of my other kids, I would be bored to tears and functioning on autopilot. Autopilot is a bad place for me personally as a teacher b/c I engage less bc I have to force myself to pay attention. ;)

 

We are loving Russian history, the history of communism, and our War and Peace study. (all 1200 pages of it! :) )

 

This is an excellent reason to go outside the box.  I can completely relate. It's why it's more fun to homeschool as the kids get older, I'm finding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would have quit homeschooling if I had to approach education in any traditional way. 

 

Ds would have quit homeschooling if we'd been traditional. We didn't get to a lot of the great Out of the box ideas I had because he was making his own box - not even a box, I'd say, more like a path. Homeschooling gives us the luxury to do that. We've had to do it on a budget, I would have loved more travel, just not feasible. I truly think this is a great age for kids who want to explore rabbit trails even if you don't have a lot of money. 

 

As an example: If your child is interested in archaeology, you don't have to schedule a trip to Rome and Egypt, but you can study archaeology as social science elective or in lieu of history for a year. You can find local dig opportunities or find ways to create archaeological type activities at home. The Coursera course is great. 

 

Ds like WWII history - so the bulk of our US History study this semester is going to be focused on WWII. It's custom, not pretentious. It would be pretentious to expect that in a public school and I'm not trying to recreate that at home. 

 

He's not applying to selective schools by choice. His transcript reflects who he is and he's been able to study what has interested him along with mom's requirements. Yes, it has taken more time on my part, more planning (isn't that half the fun? :cool: ), however, I wouldn't have had this journey any other way. A few years ago I looked at my high school course list. I took every art and history class I could cram into the schedule and graduated a semester early - these were all my choice. For our homeschool to be successful, it was imperative I give ds that same choice. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...