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How do you design high school for the child that you've got?

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I'm thinking ahead to 8th grade planning, which necessitates thinking ahead to high school planning.  And it brings me face to face with the elephant in my particular room:  I'm not sure if the high school program I envision is going to be the high school plan that my dd wants to follow.   :huh:

 

My dd loves homeschooling, and has no desire to go to high school ever - she thinks at this point.  She loves learning at her own pace, getting to follow her interests, and having free time to dream and fantasize and play.  Her passions are horseback riding and acting, with a side of writing plays and moviemaking, perhaps, although she likes acting the most.  We have a local stable nearby where she takes lessons and works twice a week, and we have a local children's theater company that puts on several high-quality productions each year.  So her passions are being fed to the extent I can afford.  I tailor her classes to her interests as much as possible.

 

But here's the thing - with the best will in the world, I have trouble seeing horseback riding or acting turning into career paths.  I think they are fantastic interests, and I support her desire to pursue them whole-heartedly.  But I can't help feeling that it's my job to make sure she keeps her academic options open.  So I'm planning a strong college-prep high school (she definitely wants to go to college, I'm not pushing that).  And I want to make sure she has time to pursue acting and horseback riding as extracurricular interests for as long as she wants to.

 

So my plan is to do 4x4 for sure - 4 english, 4 math, 4 science, and 4 social science, as well as Spanish at the cc.  I guess the tension is that I can think of all kinds of electives that I think would be useful, help enrich her mind and life, and expose her to other things she might come to love and want to pursue.  Or, she could spend all her electives doing theater classes and equine science classes.

 

What would you do? Would you try to direct your child at all via their electives?  I don't mean direct them toward becoming a doctor or a lawyer, I mean direct them toward broadening their exposure and trying out things you suspect might interest them?  Or do you have your core requirements and leave the electives strictly up to them?

 

It's not much of a confession to admit that I love science, and I'd love my kids to pursue some kind of science.  I try not to be pushy about it, but I do insist that they will have the math skills and the science background so that if they decide to go that route, they will be able to.  But when it comes to planning, I find myself planning out this ideal high school sequence for a Biology or ES student.  And I'm not sure whether that's the student I have.  And I'm not sure how to balance my own enthusiasm/passions with hers, and to be supportive, un-pushy, yet encourage exploration.  

 

Does anyone else grapple with stuff like this?

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I forgot to add - part of the reason this is staring me in the face right now is that I'm trying to figure out what to do about 8th grade science.  She's doing Algebra 1 now, so math isn't a limiting factor.  Should I pretend I have a STEM student and do a high school class in 8th grade to get a head start?  Or do I let 8th grade continue to be interest led science and not worry about high school prep until we're actually in high school?

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I set the core classes, basically the same as you have. And I let my kids choose all of their electives.

 

For my eldest, that means a whole bunch of poetry classes though she has no intention of going into any sort of English or creative writing field. She just enjoys writing poetry in her free time. For my second, it is all theater type classes, though she does plan to pursue that in college. I have asked her to please double major in something a bit more practical. She agrees and is leaning toward education, as that will still leave open her evenings, weekends and summers for theatrical work, even if it isn't her paying profession.

 

I will add, I have absolutely no interest in poetry or theater so they didn't get their passions from me. I had envisioned high school as being a deep study of Latin, Greek and great literature. Of course, my girls couldn't imagine anything more dull. <_<

 

ETA: I consider one science class to fall under core classes and if my child was ready for a high school level science in 8th grade - that is what I would do. My eldest did high school level science from 7th grade up. My current 9th grader is squeaking by with Physical Science this year. I know there are some who would consider that more of a junior high science, but that happens to be her math and science level at this time.

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I have come to understand that for me, planning high school requires humility.You must plan for the kid you have, not the one you were or the one they could be if they only worked harder. It was a hard lesson learned with ds1. Very bright, but entirely uninterested in grades, hoop jumping, or "things he was just not interested in." I pushed hard his 9th grade year and it was pretty much a disaster. So, in the complete revamp of high school, I took stock of non-negotiables for me and unbeknownst to me, he read The Teenage Liberation Handbook and we tried to find some middle ground. So my rules were: math, Literature every year. History/science for 3 years, FL for 2, had to take PSAT and SAT. He was going to go to college. Period.

His response was okay fine. I get to pick what Literature, math, science, history and FL. And no prep class unless my score is really bad.

 

So I read a ton of Nan in Mass's posts. A lifesaver. I made a list of every possible sort of class he could do. And then he picked. And we designed things together. He ended up with a very interesting transcript, though he did fit them into traditional boxes (demonstrated in the organization of course descriptions). His sophomore year, he mostly read, played guitar and video games. And he did math. With mostly good grace.

 

So, as I have a bunch of kids to still get through high school, I decided to take 8th grade to introduce them to the concept of harder classes, why college is awesome and you want to go, and how to get there for yourself. Dd2 is pretty traditional, she wants to swim DI. She has been easy to schedule. Mostly because school is a git-r-done sort of thing with her and real life is in the pool. I worry she is missing out on lots of other cool things, but she needs to be herself and I have to let her do that. 

 

The rest are still being sorted. Some LDs are going to make it more challenging. But humility continues to be my lesson. My goal is for them to look back on high school and not feel that drudgery and checklists were the heart of their education.

 

But for your dd, horses and acting can be career paths. Horses can lead to all sorts of interesting classes. Theater and acting can as well. Interest led classes can be more than electives. 

 

Good luck!

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Mostly listening, but...

 

I know one of the reasons my son wants to continue w/ homeschool is the wider choice of electives that I can give him. So, yes I do think that my student should choose his electives.

 

That being said, something needs to be left over for extracurriculars. Not everything explored needs to be a class. And high school isn't the end point for exploration. Your college student will have access to a wide range of electives, too.

 

And I think that the teacher should have some fun too. Or else this becomes a slog and that doesn't seem good for the homeschool either. Even if she doesn't choose to take multiple sciences, you can still enjoy creating fantastic core science courses for her.

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I love your thread title.

 

I'm finding that I am grappling with something in this line too. I have to set aside the idea of multiple languages and deep discussions of literature to make room for computer science.

 

You could use a love theatre for lit study by digging into several major works. You could consider riding as meeting PE. That might give you room for the other things you want to expose her to.

 

I remember long ago some posted about being a classical Unschooler. She wanted to let her kids' interests run free but also felt that she should expose them to a lot so they could discover what they were interested in. How could they fall in love with knights and castles if they'd never encountered them?

 

I love this idea but also struggle with achieving it.

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I too am planning for 8th grade next year with an unmotivated child. He does not like doing school at all. He cares nothing about schoolwork. He is open to going to college. Right now I am clueless on how to get him there if he works so slow now.

 

Listening...we need help

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I mandate the core classes, based on the admissions requirements of colleges they might potentially attend. But even there, they will be different for my different children, because they have different levels of motivation.

 

I let them choose electives based on their interests. For my DD , that included culinary chemistry, whereas DS has history of martial arts and psychology. That's the whole point of electives, in my opinion. They are there to enrich, not to be career preparatory.

If your DD wants to study equine studies and theater for her electives, that's fabulous, and I'd encourage that.

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What would you do? Would you try to direct your child at all via their electives?  I don't mean direct them toward becoming a doctor or a lawyer, I mean direct them toward broadening their exposure and trying out things you suspect might interest them?  Or do you have your core requirements and leave the electives strictly up to them?

 

It's not much of a confession to admit that I love science, and I'd love my kids to pursue some kind of science.  I try not to be pushy about it, but I do insist that they will have the math skills and the science background so that if they decide to go that route, they will be able to.  But when it comes to planning, I find myself planning out this ideal high school sequence for a Biology or ES student.  And I'm not sure whether that's the student I have.  And I'm not sure how to balance my own enthusiasm/passions with hers, and to be supportive, un-pushy, yet encourage exploration.  

 

 

 

You can expose your kids to a lot of different things without requiring the "exposure" to be in the form of electives or a formal class.

 

Fwiw, my kids have a core curriculum that they have to complete. The core curriculum is based on their interests as much as possible, so none of my kids will have a transcript that looks much like his/her siblings (except for foreign language).  The electives are completely up to them to choose. 

 

I think it is great that your daughter has two activities that she is really excited about.  I would let her devote as much time as she wants to those activities even though that means she won't have time to explore other avenues.

 

Just speaking for myself, but when my oldest began high school, I felt like I was running out of time and only had 4 more years to fit everything in. I had to stop and remember that high school is only 4 years and learning will continue beyond that point. 

 

Good luck in your planning. 

 

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I forgot to add - part of the reason this is staring me in the face right now is that I'm trying to figure out what to do about 8th grade science.  She's doing Algebra 1 now, so math isn't a limiting factor.  Should I pretend I have a STEM student and do a high school class in 8th grade to get a head start?  Or do I let 8th grade continue to be interest led science and not worry about high school prep until we're actually in high school?

 

If she is interested in science, do whatever course she is interested in. You can see if it turns out high school level or not.

If she is not interested in science, it's a moot point, since you can't do an interest led course and will simply have to pick something.

 

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Also, please remember that not every single thing you child does has to be "transcript worthy". You can enrich and expose them to many things without making it into "credit".

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I have the same dilemma. Initially I planned to require several classes in addition to the core classes: economics, government, art, art history, world religion. But that leaves very little room for his own choices. I thought somehow there would magically be room for everything, but strangely that doesn't appear to be true. This year ds is doing some outsourced electives and is loving them -- dystopian literature and science fiction films. They don't fit any of my boxes, but he has been getting a lot out of them. But he doesn't have time to do that AND one of mine.

 

I still really would like him to do some sort of religion class. I think religious literacy is important, and we haven't done nearly enough of that. But I'm contemplating dropping the other extra requirements or being more flexible. Maybe art can just be informal -- making sure to visit museums a few times a year. I'm still thinking it through.

 

So I read a ton of Nan in Mass's posts. A lifesaver. I made a list of every possible sort of class he could do. And then he picked. And we designed things together.

 

That's a great idea. I don't think my ds has an idea of the vast array of subjects one could study. For that matter, I don't think I think broadly enough myself. I never would have thought of a science fiction film class myself. I don't suppose you still have the list you made?
 

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I looked at my local hs's college prep track requirements. They're basically the core academics plus PE/Health and fine arts. We cover those with sports and choir/theater/violin. Just because T likes her sports and her performing arts groups doesn't mean they aren't fulfilling the elective credits. The other elective that you'll probably want to include at some point is Driver's Ed because of the insurance discount. That's a very standard elective too.

 

To put this in perspective, Geezle will take core academics plus one fine arts or practical arts (home ec, shop, etc) elective and either PE or a sport that exempts you from PE each year when he starts high school. That's what's needed to get a diploma if you're in special ed. It's very cookie cutter, but it's also easy to follow.

 

Another thing to consider is that the core academic classes can be tailored to a student's interests as long as you're fulfilling the credit requirements of their potential universities. You don't have to do World Geography, World History, American History and Econ/Govt if you don't want to. You could do a 4 year cycle of history, you could eliminate geography and do a whole year of government and a whole year of economics. You could do European or Asian or African history. There's a lot of flexibility within the core academic requirements. The one thing to watch out for is the one life/ one physical science requirements and the # of lab sciences required. That depends on the university.

 

Another thing to consider is that freshman year is much more standardized than jr/sr year. As kids go along they specialized within the framework of the requirements. You don't have to have a 4 year plan in place before 9th grade, just a general idea about the requirements.

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I have a 12th grader who has excellent language abilities.  For awhile we packed his schedule with multiple languages including dual enrollment.  Then in the fall he told me that he doesn't want to continue that.  He liked the challenge of Latin ("5" on the AP last year), but he doesn't want to continue any language studies.  He really didn't enjoy the two modern languages he studied in addition to Latin. That's fine because he has tested out of any foreign language requirement that he may need at the 4-year schools he's interested.  So my "plan" was modified for his senior year.  He also still doesn't know what he wants to major in, but is leaning towards finance or accounting.  With his transcript, he could do liberal arts (unlikely now though), business, or a STEM field.  In summary, we did a broad flexible program that would work for a variety of majors.  The foreign languages were good to explore because he knows that he doesn't want to do that in college.

 

My 10th grader is more arts and English-oriented.  She has done the same program her brother did, but this year I added a formal studio art class for her fine/industrial art credit (her brother did welding).  She also takes piano and competes locally in that.  Lately she's been saying that she really doesn't want to continue art and music in college.  That's fine, she'll probably do both through high school on the side as an interest.  Only the studio art will be a for-credit class. She has talked about wanting to be a professional expository writer, and we've looked into the local 4-year that has a professional writing and rhetoric concentration in their English degree.  Given that bent, we're planning on AP English next year, and the following year she'll have a short story writing class with me and then take Research Writing with Lukeion (as her brother is this year).  She may do more studio art then, but maybe not.  Otherwise her schedule is still covering all the bases for liberal arts, business, or STEM, very similar to her brother without as much foreign language although still 3-4 years of Latin.

 

So while I recommend drawing up a solid college-level program, I advise keeping it balanced for a variety of options.  Many college freshmen change majors, sometimes not really settling down for a year or two.  Even within that, you have a chance to explore interests that may allow them to narrow their options.

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I labeled myself as a classical unschooler for years.  Didn't coin the term but appropriated it to describe our combination of interest-led yet, incongruously enough, mommy designed and mandated, homeschooling.  One of my kids was a theater kid, by the way, whose interests led to the technical side of theater, and he is a happily employed sound and lighting technician after earning a degree in show production.

 

I'm better now at describing what we did because I had to define it and describe it ad infinitum during college application season.  I wasn't the enlightened and relaxed homeschooler that I try to sound like now, not by a long shot!!  There were years of turmoil in trying to fit the kids into my preconceived little boxes, of my having to let go of my dreams, and into accepting the alternative path we went eventually took. As MysteryJen so aptly put it, planning high school requires some humility. But, now comfortably looking at it in hindsight it all seems brilliant because it worked!  Here's some hopefully practical examples and tips you can use.

 

For some kids, 8th grade is the point where they are finally coming out of the middle school funk, and a panicked mom may want to start pushing academics because they perceive their kid as being "behind".  It doesn't have to be that way as teens will naturally continue to grow and mature all the way through graduation, and their ability for more challenging and deeper work will grow with them.  You don't panic about your 3 or 4 year old being able to do the work of an 8 year old, why would you panic about a 13 or 14yo being ready for the work of an 18yo?  I spent most of middle school reading aloud, doing interest led science, literature and history.  One of my boys skipped 8th grade entirely and went straight into high school, but it was the right thing for him.  If you want to count work in 8th grade as high school, then keep notes on the work, and make the final decision about including it as you start working on college applications and transcripts. Do what works with the child you have in front of you now.

 

Theater and horses can be both electives and extra-curriculars, but I tried to make the elective have a twist, something they had to research, think about and apply. They had to earn that half credit!  For instance, my kids did a half credit elective on "career exploration", looking at the working world of professionals in a particular field. They read trade papers, worked as interns and did a final project. My theater kid worked as a stage manager and actually did a senior project where he wrote a manual for future stage managers in his youth theater group. He earned countless community service volunteer hours running the lighting board and helping the sound team at church.

 

Rose, your dd could do an elective on costuming, on horses in theater (the Lipinzaner horses or those Medieval tournament shows in places like LA or Vegas or Orlando). She could do an elective on animal psychology and how it applies to horse training.  She could explore set design, Japanese or Greek theater, write play adaptations of favorite scenes from literature, or look at the economics of a theaters, either Broadway or a small regional theater. Or the economics of a horse ranch -- from the cost of hay to farriers. It is a coy way to create an elective and open her eyes to all the aspects of the things she loves.  Maybe there is a career for her in it, maybe not.

 

I finally put formal logic, health and PE, I think, in the elective category on the transcript. The theater kid even had a basic home ec course.    

 

The high school map I laid out in 7th grade bore very little resemblance to what was on the transcript at graduation! Options narrowed as we made choices different from my grand WTM plan, but by the time my kids were 15-16 they understood more what they wanted and what those choices meant. Plan for the basic college prep courses, make time for well loved extra curriculars and keep an eye out for unique electives and opportunities.  

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Listening in because I am also planning my oldest's 8th grade year....

 

I can say that I have made a decision (I think!) about whether or not I will start her on high school science in 8th grade. My local school district requires all freshman to take an introduction to chemistry and physics class (followed by a state test on it), so they can't begin taking the three major science classes until 10th grade. If I start my daughter on the big three in 9th grade, that leaves her room to either take a fourth science or even double up on science via elective, both of which will make her stand out to the state universities. 8th grade science for her will either be interest-led (if she gives me any ideas, lol) or physical science with Derek Owens. I am going to hold off on purchasing her science materials until late summer, though; just in case she makes a big leap in maturity or desire for depth in science. She loves science and wants to go into a science field (she wants to get a Ph.D. in toxicology) so I am open to starting her on high school science early, but not unless she asks for it.

 

As far as electives, I think they will be up to her. We will take it year by year. She is going to try an online Latin course next year, and if she enjoys it and doesn't get burned out by it, Latin may be one of her electives some or all of her high school years.

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I think that she is still very young. I changed my mind about careers several times while I was IN university, never mind before Grade 8;  & looking back, I don't think it had much to do with my electives.....

I would really really really resist any pigeonholing now. Some kids are late bloomers in many academic fields, some kids decide on a field & then figure out they need some academic foundation & muscle through it it, etc. So just because a kid is not 'into' stem for example, doesn't mean they won't end up in a stem related field 5 years down the road.

I think your plan of language, math, science plus a 2nd language is solid.  I'd let her pick 2nd language & electives & just be on the lookout for cool and neat opportunities, field trips etc.

 

There is one thing I'd push - mostly because it's my hobby horse LOL - and that is psychology and specifically behaviorism. I think it would dovetail nicely with her interests.

If you get a good grip on behaviorism, whole fields open up in very different ways. It's applicable in animal training and in acting (well, in all of life, actually....) 

Even if she stayed 100% committed to her twin passions, I can envision tons of career opportunities.

 

Training horses for film

The animal care fields - vet school or vet techs (which are now increasingly professionalized. They're nurses in effect. And now some specialize in emergency medicine or behavior or wildlife etc)

Ethology

Film making itself is huge. It's not just about hollywood, kwim? It's a whole industry of corporate training films, for ex. using communication skills

then there's the whole stage management & organization of film & theater. From stage design to production to design to project management etc....

making movies about training horses :)

 

 

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Following this thread with great interest!

 

Here is where we are, with my 13yo ds, currently in 8th grade. He is doing Algebra 1, though he absolutely will not finish it by the end of the year. He will instead finish it partway through his 9th grade year, and then move directly into Geometry. I allowed him to choose his own science for 8th grade, and he chose a high school course (Hewitt's Conceptual Physics), which we are working through at his level (he reads the text, we do experiments/projects, and he does some of the end-of-chapter work, but not all, and no testing). I wanted him to become familar with the format used for high school science since he was basically unfamiliar with textbooks beyond math prior to this year. He's enjoyed it enough that he is looking at Conceptual Chemistry for fall!

 

As far as extracurricular interests, like you I have been planning 4x4 for the basics throughout high school. Some of this he may well choose to do at the JC, after his introduction to it next fall with a basic art class. I am giving him input into the "required" courses - English, math, science, history/social science - as well as having him choose and research extracurricular options. His interests lie primarily at this point in auto mechanics and engineering, so he's looking at taking engineering concurrently at some point. He also loves art and computer science, so I am sure he will be exploring those as well. I found that sitting him down in front of the computer and opening the course catalog for the JC really opened his eyes to all the possible topics to study (example: Comparative Mythology), so it will be interesting to see where he goes next! And truthfully, while I see him doing plenty of science during his hs years, I'm not as sure about history/social science!

 

I agree that you can introduce Shannon to many topics without delving deeply into them, or trying to count them for credit, and just hope that something you share with her will ignite a spark of interest! In the meantime, she should definitely continue to enjoy her passions, as they may well lead her further than any of us can see at this point.

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Listening in because I am also planning my oldest's 8th grade year....

 

I can say that I have made a decision (I think!) about whether or not I will start her on high school science in 8th grade. My local school district requires all freshman to take an introduction to chemistry and physics class (followed by a state test on it), so they can't begin taking the three major science classes until 10th grade. If I start my daughter on the big three in 9th grade, that leaves her room to either take a fourth science or even double up on science via elective, both of which will make her stand out to the state universities. 8th grade science for her will either be interest-led (if she gives me any ideas, lol) or physical science with Derek Owens. I am going to hold off on purchasing her science materials until late summer, though; just in case she makes a big leap in maturity or desire for depth in science. She loves science and wants to go into a science field (she wants to get a Ph.D. in toxicology) so I am open to starting her on high school science early, but not unless she asks for it.

 

As far as electives, I think they will be up to her. We will take it year by year. She is going to try an online Latin course next year, and if she enjoys it and doesn't get burned out by it, Latin may be one of her electives some or all of her high school years.

Are you legally required to do what the local public district does? I keep an eye on their requirements because that is what local colleges will be used to. But their guidelines are not binding on me as a homeschooler.

 

YMMV

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These are all *great* posts, thank you all so much for sharing!

 

Shannon is definitely interested in science.  She's just not passionate about it the way she is about theater and horses.  She's pretty interested in everything.  I've used this year to give her a broad exposure to science and social science topics via an expanded Big History project, and its been awesome.  I think doing something similar next year - maybe designing a course around the work I do (agroecology, restoration ecology, watershed science), which I know I could do a great job of teaching, because I know and love it.  

 

I also think it's way too soon to pigeonhole a kid - she's only 12.  I can remember my parents saying "Oh, you're a people person, you're an English person, you aren't a math and science person" which I believed for a long time, and it turned out to be pretty backwards.  So I try and listen, and ask questions, and provide opportunities to do things she's interested in, but also to provide exposure to things she doesn't know about, but might be.  

 

It's also the case that she could start high school next year - I think she'll be working at a high school level in all subjects - but I really don't want to.  She's young, November birthday and started school at 4, so she'll graduate & start college at 17 even if we don't accelerate.  Neither of us is looking to have her graduate at 16.  She definitely doesn't want to "grow up too fast" in her own words.  So I don't know that there is a reason or benefit to automatically do high school courses in 8th grade, I very much doubt we would want to call that 9th grade at any point in the future.  Of course, what ever we do, I'll pick input and output at an appropriate level, but I do want to enjoy one more year of not having to worry about high school hoops.

 

Shannon is really a lovely child - she's happy, and positive, and smart, and pretty much not neurotic at all.  She's comfortable in her own skin, interested in lots of things, easy to teach.  I just feel so much responsibility - as I know you all do! - to make good choices for her.  And to protect her from the pressure she really doesn't want to feel at this point. Sometimes that means protecting her from all the voices inside my head!  :willy_nilly:

 

Anyway, thank you to everyone who has posted so far and I look forward to reading more great posts! This is really a helpful thread for me!

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I don't know if the following is what you worry about, Rose, but it is what I worry about with my younger son.  He is not as passionate about anything as your dd, but this is what would go through my mind if he were interested in theater and horses....

 

Things like theater and horses can of course lead to jobs, but these jobs can be harder to find, more competitive to win, and less well paid.  If I were to use up all her elective credits with a focus on these 2 things, won't I be more likely leading her into these fields?  Could there not something else that she is equally passionate about like psychology or economics that leads to jobs that are easier to get and better paid, but something she is simply unaware of at this young age.  Should I not encourage her to try out lots of things so that she can make a well educated decision rather than just following in the path that she set for herself at age 11?  

 

But then on the other side I think that perhaps I could use these interests to motivate her in her studies.  Perhaps horses and theater are just a means to an end -- a way to study deeply and passionately and develop all those lovely WTM skills.  Perhaps if I go with her interests she will become a better student, one who is *engaged*.  When she is older she can decide if and how theater and horses are in her future.  I should trust that as she matures her interests will either solidify or expand, and either way she will find her own path.

 

I find it incredibly difficult to know how to handle. 

 

I do know that if my ds had never seen an AoPS math book, he would be working towards being a violinist right now.  It was the exposure to something different that led him to believe there was another path that he wanted to walk.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

ETA: we were writing at the same time.  This is in response to your first post, not you most recent one.

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Here near the end of homeschooling, I see this so differently than I did 4 years ago. I started high school saying everyone will do 4x4. They will have 2 years of foreign language and electives that lead toward interest areas.

 

Ds will end up with 3 years of science - gasp! I have a degree in science. I love science. I never thought I would let a kid out of science. He was so burned out this year, he dropped it along with several other planned things and is taking a very light senior year. He will on the other hand have 8 English credits. He is going to be a writing major. He has already been accepted with excellent merit aid to his top college choice and to his second pick, a state college with an invitation to their honors college and great merit aid. Neither school cared if we dropped the planned science from his transcript. I checked. 

 

Dd will end up with only 3 years of social studies - double gasp! She hates history. One of her social studies credits is Psychology. On the other hand, she will have 7 or 8 science credits (my redemption :lol: ) Again, it will make no difference. She knows where she wants to go to college and what she wants to do. She will be admitted with top merit aid. I have no doubt. 

 

Their electives have been different than I would have planned. There were things I really thought they should be exposed to. There just wasn't time for everything. As they got older, their opinions got stronger. I'm glad about that. 

 

I guess I write all this to say, make your plans. Set your minimums. But hold it all loosely. Recognize the child you have. Don't try to force her to be someone she is not. Eventually she may choose a college and a program that take out even some of your minimums. A solid college prep education is a good goal, but realize even that can look different for different kids. 

 

I love how Jen said "The planning of high school requires humility." Yes. this. It isn't about you. It is about your daughter.

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Sometimes that means protecting her him from all the voices inside my head.

 

Oh my goodness.  DS asked me this morning if it was possible to study cooking in college, and within moments I was blabbering about kitchen chemistry and cooking as an extracurricular and how we could incorporate it...totally overeager homeschool parent moment. :lol:

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Geez, Ruth, are you eavesdropping on my innermost thoughts *again*??!!!   ;)  :D

 

Yup.  As I have said before, we are long lost sisters.  :001_smile:

 

What about tailoring her English and History and Science to be about theater and horses, but then having her electives be something different.

 

Or you could split her electives into two half credits  every year-- 1  for theater or horses, and 1 to explore other subjects.

 

 

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What about tailoring her English and History and Science to be about theater and horses, but then having her electives be something different.

 

I'd like to offer a word of caution - it does NOT always work to incorporate the strong interest into school that way. It is also quite possible that this may sour the kid on the interest because it's made into "school". Just like the advice is not to use a kid's favorite book as an essay topic.

They should eb able to simply enjoy a certain thing for its own sake - without it being used as a vehicle for tansporting all kinds of other courses.

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Tailoring English and History/social science is easy.  We're doing that now and are committed to continuing to do so.  We can fit in tons of theater, plays, movies as literature, etc. along with that. I love the idea of counting Psychology as one of the 4 social sciences - I'm also a big proponent that everyone should have a basic grasp of how minds work, their own and other people's.  And history is  probably the thing she's least excited about.

 

I'm also not worried about being able to provide electives as well as extracurricular opportunties in theater and horses, if she sticks with those areas - our local jc has an excellent Equine Science program, she could get a certificate or an AA.  It also has a really great Theater Arts dept. And with two semesters plus summers, I don't think she'll have problems fitting in plenty of classes in those areas.

 

Gotta go read an essay - back later.

 

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I'd like to offer a word of caution - it does NOT always work to incorporate the strong interest into school that way. It is also quite possible that this may sour the kid on the interest because it's made into "school". Just like the advice is not to use a kid's favorite book as an essay topic.

They should eb able to simply enjoy a certain thing for its own sake - without it being used as a vehicle for tansporting all kinds of other courses.

 

I was thinking about what 8 does with her kids.  Isn't one of them doing Russian Lit as an English class because she is interested in Russia.

 

So for example, you could have a semester of theater studies in each English class each year, rather than just covering a couple of plays each year.  So Shakespeare comedies one semester in 9th grade, and 20thc plays in one semester in 10th grade, etc.  Obviously, you don't go overboard, but increase the focus in her area of interest if that is what *she* would like.

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 And history is  probably the thing she's least excited about.

 

 

Well, then ditch history and focus on social science.  I ran a thread called Replacing history with social sciences during high school, and there were so many ideas:

 

law

philosophy

psychology

economics

sociology

religion

accounting

theory of knowledge

political science

epidemiology

history of science

cultural anthropology

geography

ethics

linguistics

current events

 

She could pick 1 a year, or 2 a year for 1/2 credit each.

 

The thread also looked at some universities to see what was acceptable, and seems like most university admissions allowed social sciences in place of history.  And you posted in the thread!

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I can't wait to come back and read this thread when I have time, but for now I just want to say, CA, that yours might be my all-time favorite subject line that I've seen for any thread on any of the WTM forums, ever! :001_smile:

 

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Regentrude, I hear what you are saying about not trying to turn passions into school subjects, necessarily.  I have thought about that.  I definitely want to preserve areas that are just hers - that I don't judge or assess or require.  Her film writing and other creative writinng is like that - I will give her feedback if and only if she specifically requests it, and it's completely outside of her English.  OTOH, because she is interested in both acting and writing for film, we are doing Movies as LIterature as part of her English requirement, and we read a couple of Shakespeare plays each year.   For the Big History project, the final project is to do a "Little Big History" of something - an invention or artifact or substance or something, its history, and its impact on human history - and I asked her if she wanted to do a history of the horse, and she was thrilled with that idea.  So I think it's possible to include a kid's passions if they want to, but it's also reallly important not to take them over.

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Are you legally required to do what the local public district does? I keep an eye on their requirements because that is what local colleges will be used to. But their guidelines are not binding on me as a homeschooler.

 

YMMV

 

No, I am not legally required to do what the local public school district does. I have checked out their requirements for high school graduation, but to be honest, for this specific child, I am keeping a closer eye on what Texas A&M requires because the requirements are vastly different. She wants to attend A&M, and their requirements are much, much higher. As in, they actually require Algebra II and biology, chemistry, and physics. :rofl:

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FIRST: JennW, lewelma and hornblower are GENIUSES. I am taking copious notes.

 

My DD12 is also a horse and theater kid. I also am looking ahead to high school to see what to do with those things or whether I should meddle in her passions, thinking I should stay out as Regentrude advised.

 

One thing that worked well for my sons was to find interesting, in-depth summer programs that would give them exposure to new ideas and also give them short-term goals to work toward. I focused on programs that awarded high school or college credit.

 

Cornell has an Equine Science program for rising Juniors and Seniors. DD and I have looked at that program, and talked about building a transcript that would help her get accepted into that program. It is still a long way away, and she could change her mind, but I use it as a way to help her think about the high school years, as a way to empower her to set her own goals that she can work towards. It's so much easier when you get your child to buy into a plan.

 

http://www.sce.cornell.edu/sc/programs/index.php?v=188&s=Overview

 

Maria

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I'm using the Diploma Program Planning Sheets from here:

https://iuhighschool.iu.edu/resources/forms.shtml

 

But, our state has simlilar lists that can be used to figure out what credit hours need to be earned to reach specified goals. 

 

I agree with the previous posts, not every thing has to be for credit.  I would make sure I had electives sufficient to meet my credit needs and then just enjoy the learning process.   

 

I too am using 8th grade to prep for high school's challenges. 

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Wow! This is a great thread!

 

I am beginning to plan my, now 7th grader's, high school. She is already doing some subjects on a high school level and is very busy pursuing her music so spreading out her high school education over 5 years will make life easier for her plus she enjoys the challenge of those classes. Like many of the kids here, she is going to need a slightly different academic experience than what I would have originally planned. I have been listening in on a number of posts on the high school board for about a year and taking notes on curriculum and online programs (I have a 5 page sheet of notes to go through very soon) trying to figure out a way to give her what she needs while allowing her time to pursue what she wants.

 

I posted a couple months ago questioning how much of certain subjects (especially math) she really needs to have since her plan, at the moment, is to pursue music in some way while I am trying to keep her options open for at least another 2-3 years in case her ideas change or she decides to double major or minor in something else. 

 

I love reading all the btdt advice! Keep it coming, please!

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I'm using the Diploma Program Planning Sheets from here:

https://iuhighschool.iu.edu/resources/forms.shtml

 

But, our state has simlilar lists that can be used to figure out what credit hours need to be earned to reach specified goals. 

 

I agree with the previous posts, not every thing has to be for credit.  I would make sure I had electives sufficient to meet my credit needs and then just enjoy the learning process.   

 

I too am using 8th grade to prep for high school's challenges. 

 

I just wanted to thank you for the link to those forms.  I think making my own similar form will really help my son see the big picture.

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I do know that if my ds had never seen an AoPS math book, he would be working towards being a violinist right now.  It was the exposure to something different that led him to believe there was another path that he wanted to walk.

 

 

And there's the rub...

 

Who's to say his life is any better now? Who's to say there isn't a path that would be even better than this one, but he'll never be exposed to it because of his math focus?

 

Who knows what he is doing in the other realities of this multiverse?  ;) 

 

That's what gets me. There is not enough time to do all my so called non-negotiables, let alone have exposure to all the things I find worthy of being explored. Then, of course, there are the things I don't even know about, so I can't even begin to know how worthy they are...no wonder I don't sleep at night...

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And there's the rub...

 

Who's to say his life is any better now? Who's to say there isn't a path that would be even better than this one, but he'll never be exposed to it because of his math focus?

 

Who knows what he is doing in the other realities of this multiverse?  ;)

 

That's what gets me. There is not enough time to do all my so called non-negotiables, let alone have exposure to all the things I find worthy of being explored. Then, of course, there are the things I don't even know about, so I can't even begin to know how worthy they are...no wonder I don't sleep at night...

I don't know exactly how this happened, but I have been able to let go of this back and forth about what is "best".

 

It helps that I had many paths open to me in my own youth, and I necessarily chose one, not four of them...because I could only do one (or maybe two if I wanted to do a mid-life career change - but I homeschool instead so I think that counts).

 

These are my children's choices.  These are their lives.  It has helped me so much to lay out my responsibilities versus theirs and to accept that I will do some "non negotiables" half-way.  I glory in the half-way versus the not at all.  :D  I can't say how my great experiment turns out yet because my children are not grown so it is all theoretical to some degree.  But I strongly feel that once they hit middle school age, they need to take quite a lot of responsibility for the choices.  In some subjects, they do not get a choice.  I hand them WWS and say "do it!".  But I will increasingly offer them appropriate options and give choices.

 

Math focus versus violin focus...either is fine.  Either is good.  Either is meaningful.

 

As a 48 year old adult, there are wonderful books I've not read, amazing places I've not gone, valuable things I've not studied.  I will die someday with this being true.  So will everyone else, including my children.

 

I will likely never do a cartwheel or become truly fluent in a foreign language.  I know I will never become a medical doctor.  I will never own horses.  Sigh.  Somewhere in a parallel universe I am a veterinarian.  I am also in the Peace Corps...or was.  I am a missionary to Africa.  I adopted a pile of kids from foster care.  I ran a marathon.

 

I hope to help my kids go broad in many areas, but there is not time to do that and to play on a competitive basketball team.  The sports are very important to them, and they choose this.  If they didn't play basketball, they could do other things, but these are their lives and their choices.  I'm okay with that.

 

My kids have a really wide range of cognitive abilities so parenting and teaching has been humbling for a long time.  My output demand is low compared to many.  We do much orally that many people do written.  I hope it all turns out okay, but I know that much of it is not my responsibility but theirs.  I offer the banquet, and they decide what and how much to partake of it.  I lay out the options, and they choose. 

 

On my tombstone, the homeschooling epitaph will read, "Doing it half a$$ since 2007."  :D

 

None of this is practical advice because I don't have any yet.  I've not BTDT so it's all theoretical.  But I am so grateful to read the BTDT stories and shove that practical experience into my theories.  I am also grateful to be reaching a place at which I can outsource math for one child!  Whatever we all do for high school, it will be good for the kids we have.  It will be adequate.  It will be amazing. 

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Then, of course, there are the things I don't even know about, so I can't even begin to know how worthy they are...no wonder I don't sleep at night...

The late James Stewart author of those calculus books, was a violinist and a mathematician. Some people can be both :)

 

Learning new stuff is a lifelong process. The childlike sense of wonder. When I know about something and if it pique my interest, I'll learn it regardless how old I am.

When I was a kid, I wanted to learn the flute and violin. However I was already playing the piano (exams), horn (school band) and in school choir. I ended up learning the flute and violin while doing my undergrad. I know I wasn't musically talented enough to make a living from it so it was important to me but not urgent to learn.

 

My parents and my in-laws let us chart our own k-12 paths so chances are our kids will design their high school. No BTDT experience though since oldest is in 5th.

 

ETA:

I also wanted to learn the harp. That have to wait as I have no space for a full size harp at the moment. I wanted to try all the instruments of the orchestra :) I had tried timpani and taiko drums but haven't take lessons on those.

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The late James Stewart author of those calculus books, was a violinist and a mathematician. Some people can be both :)

 

That's only two. Amateur. Think of all he missed.... ;)

 

I wonder how our personalities play into our perceptions of things... the glass half-empty vs half-full....all the great we do vs all the great left undone...

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I had grand plans of the electives and focus I wanted high school to take. Ds wanted none of that. Humility and accepting the student I had were a big part of it. I struggled the first year, then I found my high school course list. I took every art and history class I could. Most of my English credits involved creative writing, not literature. At that point, I realized my high school years had been exactly what I chose them to be. The least I could do was to allow ds some of that. I didn't go directly to college, he will, so there was a bit more guidance. 

 

The electives he chose were vastly different than what I wanted. For those time consuming interests, I found a way to make it a credit without making it drudgery. Some involved basically "unschooling" the credit with projects along the way that he designed and brought to me. He learned way more than just going through a set group of materials. 

 

I spent a lot of time in late 8th and early 9th reading this board, reading through our state requirements, college admission requirements, and finding a direction I felt happy about. For my child, with the added chaos in our personal life, he needed to feel like his education was something he was invested into. Otherwise, I'd have lost his interest, his motivation, and probably his trust. 

 

As he has started to define and refine career and lifestyle goals, I'm constantly looking for ways to reinforce how these studies will help him, guide him, and open doors for him. 

 

Remember when they were little and you came home and they had been asleep in the car or were so tired and too big to carry? You would steer their tired selves toward their bedrooms and make sure they made it there safely even if they didn't recognize the direction or were whiny. High school is kind of like that. Instead of the bedroom, it's adulthood/intelligent human/living to their potential (or at least recognizing it) - it's still guiding to hopefully someplace safe and someplace reflective of them. Sometimes my ideas would take him further off the path, so we stopped and refocused. Sometimes I am able to remind him I can see a little further down the road and trust me it's this way. 

 

I sent off his first transcript a few weeks ago. It looks very little like my original plan. It looks very much like him. I see the forming of a pretty cool adult, despite the fact he didn't want to travel the path I wanted. No one can do it all in high school. 

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And there's the rub...

 

Who's to say his life is any better now? Who's to say there isn't a path that would be even better than this one, but he'll never be exposed to it because of his math focus?

 

 

I know, I know.  Who is to say.  Which is why I'm trying for breadth with both my boys.  The more things they are exposed to now, the better they will be able to have informed choices in their career paths.  We've talked about this on the accelerated board, but even for a specialist like older ds, I focus on the breadth of possibilities within his speciality. He could use math in physics, biology, econ, chemistry, theoretical, etc.  And within each of these fields there are so many possibilities. He could do theoretical physics, astronomy, quantum materials, etc.  I encourage him to dabble in lots of ideas in lots of fields.  If he only focuses on physics for science which would be his preference and which is allowed in NZ, he may never realise that he would like to go into neurobiology and artificial intelligence. 

 

I'm not saying that a kid needs exposure to every possible field out there, or that they cannot change career paths over the years as they grow and change, I'm saying that getting a kid to dabble in lots of fields can help them make their own informed choices. 

 

Ruth in NZ

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For the record, I wasn't directing that at you, so much as using it as a starting point to wax lyrical about my own neurosis... ;)

 

:D  It has been good to be challenged on the specializing thing this past year, because it has helped me to clarify in my mind why a bit of breadth is important. 

 

This said from the mum of a beautiful 14 year old boy who just topped his record yesterday by doing TEN hours of math! :eek:  So clearly we don't get breadth every day. ;)

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I just wanted to throw this out there. Berea College in Kentucky is an "out of the box" college for kids with unique interests and passions. They are very selective, but not for the usual reasons at all, and if the student gets in, they have a campus job and that pays their tuition. It is a well endowed institution committed to a different style of learning and student, and have managed to make it so that their students do not have to worry about paying for tuition/room/board. They have equine studies and their program is so well known that their graduates do go on to work at racing stables, high end breeding establishments, etc. as trainers, nutritionists, etc. The key is gaining admission to the school.

 

Anyway, if one is looking at a more eclectic less standard route for high school, maybe looking at Berea College and their admission requirements, and the qualities and skills their students possessed that caught the eye of admissions might be worth the time to research them. I do believe there are a few other similar institutions in the US; they are not well known however.

 

Colleges that Change Lives might be an excellent book too look at because some of the schools that made it into that book are more unorthodox...not all, but some.

 

The gal that trained my horse makes a good living at it. She did not attend college, but did attend some apprenticeship programs and such. She also specializes in equine therapy for autistic children and has funding from many governmental and private sources for her services. She isn't rich in the monetary sense, but she has no trouble making enough to pay for her horse farm and stables, and fund a life that she loves dearly. It might not be common for adults to turn an equine passion into a career, but it's certainly not impossible either. I think the student needs to do a lot of research.

 

Anyway, I just thought I'd toss that out there and equine is for certain not the only unorthodox college major that Berea has. Plus, the campus is lovely, the area is beautiful, the winter is milder and especially for those kids who have lived most of their lives north of the Ohio River Valley, and there is a real friendliness in the community towards the students. It's a great place for the right kid!

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Faith, that sounds right up Shannon's alley, but when I check out the website, I can't find anything about equine studies.  Maybe I'm search-challenged?

 

Shannon has expressed interest in equine-assisted therapy.  I think she'd be very good at that.  

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Faith, that sounds right up Shannon's alley, but when I check out the website, I can't find anything about equine studies. Maybe I'm search-challenged?

 

Shannon has expressed interest in equine-assisted therapy. I think she'd be very good at that.

I will ask a friend of mine who has a niece attending there. It is possible I have the source of the program fuddled up because right now I know parents with kids at three different Kentucky schools some of whom are studying equine and in all of the talk talk, mayhave mixed them up! LOL

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