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Chrysalis Academy

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

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Chrysallis, if your daughter isn't involved with 4H, you might want to check out your local program. We have kids in horse showmanship who volunteer in an equine therapy program and get a lot of great experience as well as forge connections in the industry.

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I love this thread! Chrysalis, my daughters are right behind yours (11yo, twins), and I have been thinking some of the same thoughts. Fun stuff! (I mean that - it's really fun for us!)

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I want to share my children's paths, because I think they are relevant. Oldest knew she was to be a violin teacher from the time she was nine. However, we insisted on breadth in her education and I'm glad we did--she mentioned as she got out of the car to begin her undergrad--maybe I'll major in physics after all! She did end up in music, but the sciences and her horses are still dear to her heart. We counted her time on stage as English credit.

 

My next did horses, and sheep, and music, and flew, and did a zillion sciences, but ended up flying. Her epiphany came standing under the Eiffel Tower on the 4th of July, meeting two Band of Brothers soldiers. She's in the military, but ended up majoring in history.

 

Next one wanted the military, but loved her horses and her steers and is now in AROTC, majoring in Farm & Ranch Management of all things! She's also minoring in computer science--found an interest there in DE classes.

 

Next one's real love is reading, but can't figure out a job that anyone will pay him to read all day, so he's in computers (which he also loves), doing the engineering thing, so as my brother says, "Be a good engineer so you can afford all those books." The AF is paying for his education. 

 

My last? There's a conundrum! She's fabulous at math but doesn't really like it. Doing well in her computer classes at the university, but loves to compose, play her cello, raise sheep, draw and draw, but says she wants to fly. I am insisting that she had a solid foundation, so that will be open to her. We count her many hours on stage as English, along with her public speaking through Youth City Council, sports and 4-H. 

 

So, all that rambling was to say--we aim for a solid college-prep foundation, at least through pre-calc, with 4 sciences, with lots of drama, 4-H, Scouts, music, etc. thrown in. Yeah, my kids are very busy in high school. 

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Rose -

 

I opted to try to minimize the requirements and then let the child's interests dictate the rest of the classes. The requirements list was a combination of what my husband and I wanted our children to know as adults, and what colleges wanted.  (Colleges wanted more than my local ps required.)  My children knew this.  Their requirements list was more extensive than just 4x5.  They had things like drawing and speech and peace studies and natural history on the list.  Their transcripts described a wildly tailored education, full of electives which reflected their interests.  In order to include everything, we chose where we were going to skimp.  In our case, it was history, although much of the extra stuff we wanted but weren't mentioned as college requirements appeared as social studies courses, or parts of other courses, so they had plenty of social studies credits.  Both children also had another subject that they did a bit less of, and some they did more of.  One skimped on science and foreign language to do more social studies (but still had 4 sciences and some foreign language) and the other skimped on social studies (but still had 5 or 6) to do more technical stuff.  We did great books TWEM style, worked hard on writing, and one semester each of community college composition, speech, and drawing.  That was the language arts portion.  It took a ton of work to get them writing well enough to take a college composition class and literature was skimped in the process.   And other things.  In the end, they had quite a list of language arts.  We substituted scifi for the last year of great books because my kids weren't up for Steinbeck and Hemmingway.  We did a math book a year.  That was non-negotiable.   Science was natural history, community college chemistry, physics (one at home and one in community college), and some other things.  They had foreign languages, some by immersion and some at home.  They did lots of things from my requirements list that didn't count towards one specific class.  I recorded everything they did and then AFTERWARDS divided it up into courses, for the most part.  As we went along, I kept a tentative list of what might count towards what course so I could say things like, "You need to read two more works of literature this year."  At the end of the year, we abandonned whatever schedule we had had and they worked on a finishing-off list.  They worked pretty hard. Many of their classes did not involve completing a textbook or someone else's syllabus, since that wouldn't have allowed us to work either on the things they needed extra help with (like writing) or on the things that particularly interested them.  I got around the problem of ruining interests by making them too school-y by watching them, and if they had been working on something quite awhile, asking them if they wanted to turn it into a course.  I would tell them what sorts of things had to be added to their project in order to do so.  I rather arbitrarily decided that for something to count as "school", it had to involve academic skills (reading and writing).  Sometimes they said no and sometimes they said yes and helped decide what books should be included, how they were going to document their project, and what sort of output was going to be produced.  It was all very worrisome and on the surface looked pretty disorganized, but it was actually much more defined than it looked.  We decided before high school what they needed to know to be grownup and what they needed for college admittance, and I decided what a "credit" was going to be,  and what sorts of things I would be willing to count as school and what I would not.  I chose a college application strategy (minimal standardized testing plus community college classes - no SAT subject tests or AP classes). After that, it was just a matter of keeping track of what they had done and how they were doing on those lists.

 

Remember that the idea is to make your child able to SURVIVE college, not just to get him or her in.  This means that actually works better to think about what academic skills and knowledge base they will need (and non-academic but I didn't count that as school), and then work on those things in high school rather than focusing too closely on 4x5. TWTM describes this pretty well and explains how to learn anything in an academic way, making it possible to design ones own courses.  Make sure you outsource things you don't feel confident about handling at home or just plain don't want to do.  For me, this was chemistry, calculus, and some writing.

 

I've written much clearer posts in the past on how I managed all this.  Someone might be able to direct you to them, if you are interested.  I think we did a good job of mixing requirements and interests and although the system I used was nerve wracking because it seemed so different from everyone else, in some ways, it seemed a good deal safer and surer.

 

Nan

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Thank you, Nan, for that long explanation of how your planned classes, and created classes out of what your kids were doing.  I've been inspired by your posts for years, especially your posts for parents of 8th-graders-or-therabouts!  And I'm intrigued by your natural history course - would you be willing to describe that in more detail, or direct me to a post where you've already done so?

 

My academic training was in psychology & neuroscience, but my life/job/work training is in organic farming and gardening, native plant propogation, and restoration ecology.  I currently work as a consulting agroecologist.  I feel like I should be able to pull off a pretty stellar natural history course!  And I'm thinking a lot about how I want to teach biology.  It's the science I know the best, and love the most, and feel most motivated to teach at home, but it's also the science I feel least satisfied to follow a textbook for, if you know what I mean.  I'd really like to delve into all the aspects of biology, including environmental science, watershed science, restoration ecology, and agroecology, and I want to include developing a strong understanding of the local flora and fauna and the watershed, with lots of hands on projects and labs and stuff - and this all gets me really excited, and I think my kids would really like it and would benefit from this knowledge, no matter what they eventually decide to study or what career paths they choose.  But it doesn't fit neatly into the whole biology-chemistry-physics box, KWIM?  So I feel a little nervous, even though what I really want to do is  3 or 4 years (starting in 8th) of biology/ES/natural science at home, then having them do their chemistry and physics at the cc.  

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Hurray! It's the ever-practical Nan in Mass who years ago convinced me that it was okay to wander off the traditionally straight and narrow educational pathway. :001_wub:  Although I'm not sure, Nan, that you meant it was okay to run like a bat out of hell down the  meandering path and overshoot it by a mile because you didn't anticipate that bend or worse yet, fork in the road.

 

I was thinking about you the other day when I first saw this thread. There was a conversation a couple of years ago about educating our youngest being like trying to hit a moving target; you throw texts, curricula, projects, and ideas at them, hoping feverishly that something will stick. Homeschooling Sailor Dude is still like that and as usual, since it is January, I am experiencing that unique blend of excitement and high-wire anxiety that has marked the experience of educating this child.

 

"How do you design high school for the child you have? First, and foremost:

 

1. Be flexible- like Gumby. "Flexible people never get bent out of shape."

The kid you are teaching today is not the same kid you taught yesterday and will be in many ways, unrecognizable in a year. For whatever reason my boys are way more guilty of this than my dd was.  In 9th grade when Sailor Dude had his semester at the high school, he quickly learned how to work the system, getting his "A" while putting minimal effort into school. I've always needed a proverbial cattle prod to get him to work even though in the pool, his work ethic was outstanding. His sophomore year, he met up with Mrs. Inspektor at PAHS for AP English Language and suddenly he had to work his duff off. Those kids were every bit as bright as he is, and often they were brighter. Mrs. I really challenged him. At first, I had to micromanage him in getting his work done. By the end of the year, he was more self-sufficient. This year, my slacker is managing 4 AP classes and an honors language class on his own. It's not perfect, but for the first time, he truly owns his own education. 

 

Being flexible doesn't mean you lack standards. You have to keep your eye on your (the student and you) goals.

 

2. Know your line in the sand.  Just like Nan wrote above, know what's critical for your student, you as the teacher, and your family. Nan's family was involved in peace walking and this led to a different set of goals (among other things). Some of you will need to find ways to incorporate interests into academics and others will be able to let it be. Sailor Dude has had to have time for swimming since he was 6 and now, he needs time for sailing. These are his extracurricular activities. The only time they show up on his transcript is for a half credit for PE. He did a 40-hour life guarding class, a 40-hour sailing instructor certification course, and worked for about 5 hours for his Marine Board license to operate a power boat. That was "Water Safety."

 

My line in the sand of 4 credits each of math, science, English, foreign language, and social sciences, doesn't leave a lot of time for electives. With my oldest child, I thought electives were the sexiest part of high school. For my youngest, I think they are a pain in the backside. We put a lot of effort into making core classes interesting and challenging. You really can find the balance, but everyone's experience is different so it's hard to find a blueprint.

 

3. Believe that "less is more."  Don't aim to do high school perfectly; aim to to it to the very best of your student's and your abilities. When you feel compelled to make 300 page course plans set in stone and bound at Kinko's, take a deep breath, and go read posts by regentrude, who manages to keep it simple and challenging.  She with the prettiest lesson plan does not win in high school. Do the core work well.

 

4. If you don't know it, can't do it, or don't like it - find someone that can. Do not cheat your child.  Nan said it above and it bears repeating, get help! If you can't do Algebra I, don't make it the pinnacle of your child's math education. Don't limit them because of your own limitations.

 

5. Show up every day.  It doesn't matter how good your plans are if you don't do them. Show up for work and make sure your student is right there with you. This is your job - both of you- and it's important.

 

Rose, you show a lot of common sense in your posts. You'll be fine. Pay attention to the signals your student is sending you. Listen to your own gut. Change course when you need to, but not just for the sake of change itself.

 

 

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It seems that you and I have the same problem.  DD is a generally strong student who could pursue just about any career that she wanted, but she has decided she wants to be.............................wait for it.............................a farmer.  She is horse crazy and admires her grandfather (my dad) who was a farmer, and has decided that she wants a stable where she teaches riding through Parelli method, along with running educational programs of various types at this stable.  She has very specific plans for her career/stable.  I have tried to explain to her that it is near impossible to make a living off of a small farm, and that her life as a farmer will be a 24-7 job that keeps her in poverty, but this is where her passions are.  I decided I need to lay out the facts for her and make sure she is informed of her choices and options, but then I need to shut up and step back, because her career can't be my choice.  She'll be in 8th next year.  I'm hoping somewhere between now and 12th grade some common sense will kick in.  I am hopeful, but not optimistic; she has wanted to be a farmer since she was 4-5.

 

Like you, I will make sure DD has a strong college prep background, so that she can pursue whatever she likes.  That means English, math, history, science, and 3 credits of foreign language (she'll have an Algebra I, Latin and a French credit when she enters high school); all electives will be her choice.  I am open and enthusiastic about the idea of tailoring the core classes to her interests (i.e., a year of French literature for an English class, or an interest-led history, or equine science as one of her sciences).  I did suggest the possibility of a biology or business major with an equine science minor so that she can support herself in another way, "if need be", and those majors would be helpful to a stable also.  I have mixed feelings on suggesting a backup major "if need be".  I think it can be very motivating to know you don't have a net under you as a backup and *must* make your chosen major work for you.  At any rate, I'll toss out ideas and point out pros/cons of something, but I won't attempt to direct her career path.  In fact, if she wants to take the money we have set aside for college and start a business instead, as long as she has a solid business plan, I'll grit my teeth and go along.  But as of right now, we are talking as if college is a given and she seems happy with working hard toward AP and DE credits to get into a competitive school.

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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So, all that rambling was to say--we aim for a solid college-prep foundation, at least through pre-calc, with 4 sciences, with lots of drama, 4-H, Scouts, music, etc. thrown in. Yeah, my kids are very busy in high school. 

 

What a relief! Apparently we're all set with this high school business... We've got the bolded in spades! 

 

Oh wait - you probably weren't referring to the kind of drama that goes on around here... ;)

 

 

ETA: Thank you for the detail in your post Margaret! I've always wondered how your children ended up on their various paths. So interesting to read the background info!

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Well, my sophomore has decided to make me stretch my follow their path ideals outside my own comfort zone, but it is her decision. I like to see my kids have 4-4-4-4-3/2+2. (4 English, 4 science,4 math, 4 history, 3 foreign language (or 2 yrs each of 2 foreign languages). How they fill those requirements has been very, very loosely guided.

 

Well, she wants to follow 4-3-3-4-gazillion ;) She has decided that it is the path she wants to take. She wants to drop science for sure. She wants to only take one more math (she will actually have completed either AP stats or cal bc....which ever one she takes next yr, but she does not want to take math her sr yr.) She doesn't want to take science next yr while she is taking math and wants to wait and take bio her sr yr.

 

She wants more time to devote to foreign lang and she says she doesn't care if it impacts where she can go to college. She wants to follow this path and land where it takes her.

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Maybe check out volunteering opportunities at any of these autism equine therapy places.

 

California link

http://www.autismspeaks.org/resource-guide/by-state/116/Equine%20Therapy/CA

 

Thanks for this link! One of the programs is nearby and accepts volunteers at age 14, linked through the program at the CC that she's already interested in.  Nice!

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It seems that you and I have the same problem.  DD is a generally strong student who could pursue just about any career that she wanted, but she has decided she wants to be.............................wait for it.............................a farmer.  She is horse crazy and admires her grandfather (my dad) who was a farmer, and has decided that she wants a stable where she teaches riding through Parelli method, along with running educational programs of various types at this stable.  She has very specific plans for her career/stable.  I have tried to explain to her that it is near impossible to make a living off of a small farm, and that her life as a farmer will be a 24-7 job that keeps her in poverty, but this is where her passions are.  I decided I need to lay out the facts for her and make sure she is informed of her choices and options, but then I need to shut up and step back, because her career can't be my choice.  She'll be in 8th next year.  I'm hoping somewhere between now and 12th grade some common sense will kick in.  I am hopeful, but not optimistic; she has wanted to be a farmer since she was 4-5.

 

Like you, I will make sure DD has a strong college prep background, so that she can pursue whatever she likes.  That means English, math, history, science, and 3 credits of foreign language (she'll have an Algebra I, Latin and a French credit when she enters high school); all electives will be her choice.  I am open and enthusiastic about the idea of tailoring the core classes to her interests (i.e., a year of French literature for an English class, or an interest-led history, or equine science as one of her sciences).  I did suggest the possibility of a biology or business major with an equine science minor so that she can support herself in another way, "if need be", and those majors would be helpful to a stable also.  I have mixed feelings on suggesting a backup major "if need be".  I think it can be very motivating to know you don't have a net under you as a backup and *must* make your chosen major work for you.  At any rate, I'll toss out ideas and point out pros/cons of something, but I won't attempt to direct her career path.  In fact, if she wants to take the money we have set aside for college and start a business instead, as long as she has a solid business plan, I'll grit my teeth and go along.  But as of right now, we are talking as if college is a given and she seems happy with working hard toward AP and DE credits to get into a competitive school.

 

Karen you post made me practically spit out my coffee - it could have been written by . . . . my mother!!  I reluctantly finished my PhD in Neuroscience, then took off for 4 months to work at an organic coffee farm in Guatemala, and then came back to go to an organic farming training program at UC Santa Cruz . .  . and the rest is history!  My mother was horrified and appalled that I would "throw it all away" to follow the profession that she worked so hard to get away from.

 

I don't actually make a living as a farmer, but I do make at least a partial living by helping farmers be more diverse and sustainable, and helping them transition to organic farming.  DH, who has a degree in Enviro Studies with a concentration in Agroecology from UC Santa Cruz, now works for municipal gov't as a Water Conservation program coordinator, after back surgery made full-time farming impossible.  I agree with your assessment that farming is a tough way to make a living, but there are a ton of interesting jobs on the edges of farming - ag education, various natural resources management jobs at nonprofits or the public sector.  But I completely agree with you that insisting she get a solid high school education that prepares her for anything! Most of the successful farmers I know either made a bunch of money first, or have a spouse with a full-time job with benefits, or inherited family land.  A lot of them write books on the side, and none of them are intellectual slouches.

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Rose - You are far more qualified to make a good natural history program than I. Lewelma (probably missing a few l's in that) has a great series of posts about how to do science from a more hands-on perspective. I think you have solved the science problem. Add a few catch-all social studies semesters for the other odd things you want them to do in order to expand their world (I put travel there), make a list of what study/writing/research skills you want them to have and a list of literature they need to get through for you to consider them educated and stick those in language arts somewhere, figure out how little foreign language and art and music you can bear for them to do, and you will be all set. We are sieve-brained in our family, so I concentrated on skills rather than knowledge base (except for some science). I taught them the skills and left them to decide what knowledge base they wanted to aquire. This worked well, although at times I felt like I had created a monster. They don't always choose to teach themselves things you think are valuable and it is a little disconcerting to see them taking meticulous notes and working things out on the white board and defending their views about... poker. Hmmm... (That actually turned out to be full of statistics, game theory, and risk analysis, all of which have turned out to be very useful for an engineering student, but still...) I made lots of lists of skills I wanted them to learn and of books that I wanted them to read. That was my approach to natural history. A large part of natural history was experiment design. Youngest spent a year designing an experiment, presenting it to my husband, having him critique it, fixing it, carrying out the experiment as written, then writing it up and having it critiqued again. Another large part was learning to keep a field journal, which involved drawing. They learned to use various instruments - micrometers, microscopes, telescopes, a balance, ... They learned to use a dichotomous key and various types of field guides. They a lot of local flora and fauna. They worked on weather and tracked hurricanes. We did some astronomy. We live on a lake and spend part of the summer sailing in the ocean, so obviously, water was a huge thing. We looked at things from the point of view of energy flow, and producer-consumer-decomposer, and ecosystems. We did some chemistry. Youngest (who was headed for engineering and for whom science was super important) had listed under science on his transcript a year of Natural History/Field Studies and a year of Natural History/Experiment Design, plus community college chem 1+2, physics 1+2, and bio 1. He did the natural history the first two years and the community college science the last two years. It worked really well and combined the best of both worlds. His transcript was organized by subject, rather than by time, because many classes weren't done all in a chunk. One of the subjects was "Independent Studies". He had a lot of technical things listed there, like a year's worth of electronics. He also had some wierd interests, like sleight of hand lol. Just be warned that if you take an approach like this, EVERYTHING becomes a negotiation. This is good because it keeps you from being unreasonable or unthoughtful about your requirements and because it proves that your child's education belongs to your child, not you, but it can be wearing. And at times, as I said, I felt like I had accidentally created a monster. When you teach a man to fish rather than just giving him a fish, you give up a TON of control over the situation. : ) All good, but at times disconcerting.

 

Nan

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Thank you, Nan, for that long explanation of how your planned classes, and created classes out of what your kids were doing.  I've been inspired by your posts for years, especially your posts for parents of 8th-graders-or-therabouts!  And I'm intrigued by your natural history course - would you be willing to describe that in more detail, or direct me to a post where you've already done so?

 

My academic training was in psychology & neuroscience, but my life/job/work training is in organic farming and gardening, native plant propogation, and restoration ecology.  I currently work as a consulting agroecologist.  I feel like I should be able to pull off a pretty stellar natural history course!  And I'm thinking a lot about how I want to teach biology.  It's the science I know the best, and love the most, and feel most motivated to teach at home, but it's also the science I feel least satisfied to follow a textbook for, if you know what I mean.  I'd really like to delve into all the aspects of biology, including environmental science, watershed science, restoration ecology, and agroecology, and I want to include developing a strong understanding of the local flora and fauna and the watershed, with lots of hands on projects and labs and stuff - and this all gets me really excited, and I think my kids would really like it and would benefit from this knowledge, no matter what they eventually decide to study or what career paths they choose.  But it doesn't fit neatly into the whole biology-chemistry-physics box, KWIM?  So I feel a little nervous, even though what I really want to do is  3 or 4 years (starting in 8th) of biology/ES/natural science at home, then having them do their chemistry and physics at the cc.  

 

I would love to come to your school.  The longer I homeschool the more I enjoy science and I wish the big 3 weren't so compartmentalized in high school education. Belatedly, I wish we hadn't focused so much on what colleges are looking for in science, but had done more in satisfying the basic "literacy" requirements that are also part of my line in the educational sand. Basic religious, cultural, and philosophical literacy is important to me as well as a basic understanding of music and art. To some extent kids are good at acquiring technological literacy on their own. Perhaps I hold on to that rather old-fashioned idea of what makes a good citizen and a well-rounded human being. Part of that includes what you are talking about in having people actively knowledgeable about their physical surroundings.

 

To have my student take what he has learned in physics, chemistry, and biology and bring it back to the table in nature studies and earth science with a more mature perspective than he had in middle school would be amazing - or at least it is my mind. :tongue_smilie: I don't know exactly what kind of literacy you call this, but the naming of things and knowing about watershed science seem important to me. Sometimes you have to vote on local land use and it's good to have a clue. If you are a homeowner, it's a good idea to know why it's a bad plan to plant ivy and butterfly bushes in your yard that backs up to a protected green space.

 

Ugh!  All this to tell you that your science plan sounds lovely, so run with it, girl. Because I am still a navy knee sock  and plaid uniform rule follower at heart, I'd probably figure out how to get the big 3 on my students transcript and still do what I want to do. But there are many people on this board who've not followed the traditional path in science and their kids are in STEM majors - probably because of crooked path, not in spite of it.

 

Please keep us posted on how the science begins to take shape. I'd love to follow along.

 

 

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Well, my sophomore has decided to make me stretch my follow their path ideals outside my own comfort zone, but it is her decision. I like to see my kids have 4-4-4-4-3/2+2. (4 English, 4 science,4 math, 4 history, 3 foreign language (or 2 yrs each of 2 foreign languages). How they fill those requirements has been very, very loosely guided.

 

Well, she wants to follow 4-3-3-4-gazillion ;) She has decided that it is the path she wants to take. She wants to drop science for sure. She wants to only take one more math (she will actually have completed either AP stats or cal bc....which ever one she takes next yr, but she does not want to take math her sr yr.) She doesn't want to take science next yr while she is taking math and wants to wait and take bio her sr yr.

 

She wants more time to devote to foreign lang and she says she doesn't care if it impacts where she can go to college. She wants to follow this path and land where it takes her.

 

Eight, this post made smile and chuckle, although my head began to hurt because I've been there.

 

Hmm. We could always introduce her to Sailor Dude. :tongue_smilie:

 

 

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Reefgazer - One of my son's friends went to Hampshire (really expensive LAC) and majored in organic farming. He now has a CSA. His mother inherited a farm and he is working that land or I'm not sure he could do it. His family invested heavily in his education - private schools all the way along. I suspect he had a hefty scholarship and has no school loans to contend with. He's all excited because this year he had enough money to buy an oxen team. : ) It can be done. My sister has several friends who did it, as well - majored in farming and then rented a farm and farmed. They chose their crops carefully. I'm not sure how it works if you decide you are going to grow something that isn't a high-priced luxury crop like organic food or giant garlic or petals for salads. And I don't think any of these people started with huge college debts.

 

Nan

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Nan and Lisa, thanks for the encouragement! I'm going to follow my heart with this one (meaning the science), and not worry so much about the box-checking,  especially the next few years.

 

A big thing I heard from both of you - and from other posters on this thread - is Be Flexible.  Be ok with letting go of control.  Focus on the child in front of you.  Teach what you can teach well, well.  Outsource the other stuff, so you don't hold your child back.  Be the grownup: if you don't bring accountability and focus and dedication to their education, how can you expect them to?

 

Nan, I'm printing out your message to keep front and center as I plan:   pick the skills you want them to have - not just academic skills.  pick the books you think they should read and the things you think they should know to be an educated person, and have the tools to keep learning for the rest of their lives.  Lesson plans can be way more about book lists and skills lists and key knowledge rather than daily plans.  Be flexible: start, adjust, change focus, refocus.  start again. lather, rinse, repeat.  

 

And really, if it doesn't seem like it is going where we want it to, or if the "it" suddenly changes, we have a great CC right down the road, and it would be easy peasy to spend a couple of years there knocking out requirements and even getting an AA to boot.  If she should find that she wants to do that.  Kind of a massive safety net, no?

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Rose - You got it. That is exactly it. And yes, without the safety net of our community college, I might not have dared to do things the way I did. This requires lots of cooperation from the student, but on the other hand, when they are learning what they want to learn and can see that what they are doing is taking them a direction they want to go, they are far more likely to be cooperative. Mine did lots of things that never made it onto their transcripts. I just tried to get their transcripts to reflect most of the education that they had had during those years. Some things were listed under extra curricular activities. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING THEY DO starting in 8th grade. It may be a lot of work to sort it all at the end of junior year when you are getting ready for college applications, but at least you won't be stuck trying to remember and having to make half of it up. You can xerox the title page, publishing page, and table of contents of any books they read or use and put them in a binder. Keep lab notebooks and field journals because some colleges want to see those as proof of "lab science". Make sure you finish a math book every single year and do plenty of writing. Decide early what your strategy for getting into college is going to be and make sure you have some sort of outside verification, either testing or outside classes or something, in math, language arts, foreign language, and science. Make sure you talk to your child about the strategy and make sure it matches your child's goals. If they want to go to Brown (which might require something fairly spectacular like saving the world or being in the Olympics), then you need to take a different approach than if they want to go to Northeastern (which requires SAT2's of homeschoolers) or the local community college (which may require a GED or some proof of high school graduation). You can't be preparing them for the community college while they think you are preparing them for Yale. Don't forget to write everything down and keep work samples lol.

 

Nan

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Oh - and make sure they have some classroom experience before they go off to a four-year college. Try to build a ramp up to it rather than throwing them suddenly to the wolves. And decide on some sort of grading scheme. I did pass/fail (which everything says you shouldn't do) and let their community college GPA be their high school GPA. Mine had enough cc classes to do this. You can pick whatever strategy you want but you need to be able to justify it to colleges.

 

Nan

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Nan, may I jump in and ask what their community college semesters looked like? If you could provide a sample semester's list of courses (along with your high school courses) or maybe two sample semesters? I'm trying to figure out what is do-able for my guy while juggling his interests in other areas too. (He is in his second semester of CC now with a math-science heavy course choice.)

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Hmmm... It varied a lot. Both mine started with speech and drawing, both non-writing heavy, more social classes. The learning curve was pretty steep, nothing too big but lots of little things, like remembering to put their name on the paper and raise their hand, knowing that hundreds equals the floor or level,buying textbooks, office hours, online homework, how to use the cow in the caf. Mine needed to get used to this stuff before the content ramped up. Next they took composition and the basic computer applications class. Then they began taking a math and science each semester. Meanwhile, at home, they were doing their other subjects- foreign language, writing, TWEM, social studies,independent project, music, or whatever. They were almost always doing some sort of social studies, literature, writing (mine needed extra help here), a foreign language or two (sometime combined with another subject), math,science, independent project or two, and gymnastics. We had a schedule of subjects but not courses, if that makes sense. Their natural history, for example, was broken up into several subjects. They had a book they were reading. They did their nature journal. They read articles and presented them. They had an experiment that they were working on. There was a place in the day or week for each of those things. I would have liked to do it in a less scheduled fashion, but it turned out that I always gave them too much work if we didn,t have a schedule and they liked knowing when the good things were going to come and when the bad things were going to be over. They had homework, stuff they did on their own during the evening or weekend. We made no progress in math or FLs unless they touched them twice a day, and they did lots of reading and wrote papers out of school hours.

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<snip>

 

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

 

<snip>

 

I would like this on a t-shirt and maybe a bumper sticker!  :D

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I would like this on a t-shirt and maybe a bumper sticker!  :D

We would be awesome in public together.  :D

 

On a more serious note, thank you so much to all of the ladies who have shared their nontraditional high school paths.  I have one child for whom I think nontraditional might be the best choice for many reasons, and this is occurring to me more and more as of late.

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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. 

 

I love this post and I(who NEVER wear slogans) would so wear the t-thirt. Some years we are lucky if it's quarter-a$$ed.

 

 

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  I'd really like to delve into all the aspects of biology, including environmental science, watershed science, restoration ecology, and agroecology, and I want to include developing a strong understanding of the local flora and fauna and the watershed, with lots of hands on projects and labs and stuff - and this all gets me really excited, and I think my kids would really like it and would benefit from this knowledge, no matter what they eventually decide to study or what career paths they choose.  But it doesn't fit neatly into the whole biology-chemistry-physics box, KWIM?  So I feel a little nervous, even though what I really want to do is  3 or 4 years (starting in 8th) of biology/ES/natural science at home, then having them do their chemistry and physics at the cc.  

 

I would so do this, Rose.  You can definitely do 3 years without a thought - 8th doesn't count, Biology, Environmental Science.  These are so normal.  And a 4th year could be some fun elective - agriculture, natural history, independent study, etc. And as you know, biology can be anything you want it to be -- there is no core.  I usually suggest one unit each for the different levels: cell, organ, individual, and system, but you could easily just do 3.  So botany/zoology fits organ level, evolution for individual level, and ecology at system level.  If you want to dabble in cell bio then do it for a month in the worst of the weather when you don't want to be outside. 

 

I have also written up a plan for a kid who wanted to study chemistry and physics by way of astronomy http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/445575-ds-has-found-that-he-loves-astrophysics-or-is-it-cosmology-or-astronomy-help/post 14.  I organised a bunch of questions to guide him into being interested in chemistry and physics because they would be required to understand astronomy, his passion.  I'm sure you could do something similar.

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Not reading any of the replies, here are my initial thoughts.  First, I absolutely think that sometimes we get ahead of ourselves a little bit with our first child, especially when they are bright and do lots of things early.  It's almost like with the second child you realize, wow, he/she is actually really little still.  I think it's great to look ahead and think about what will keep the most doors open for her.  That is what I am trying to do also.  I want homeschooling to open more doors, and not limit their choices later down the road because I didn't plan ahead.  But at the same time, I think you could also look at those interests of hers more globally.  Maybe don't worry about how she is going to make a career out of acting or horseback riding just yet.  Think about all the skills she is learning and habits she is developing that will be applicable to any number of careers and life experiences down the road.  Memorizing lines for a play?  Well, maybe that skill will come in handy in medical school in 10 years when she has to memorize every muscle and bone and nerve in the body all at once.  Acting on a stage?  That can help develop confidence and public speaking skills if she decides to be a politician or a lawyer or a manager or pretty much any job on the planet.  Taking care of a horse?  That would develop great life skills of meeting the needs of another creature, perseverance, getting up to do the job even when it's cold and rainy out.  Those are really good character building things.  Honestly, I don't think it matters if a child does robotics or swimming or ballet or any other extracurricular activity if it is something that ignites them and that they love.  They are learning to follow their passions but at the same time that when you want something, it takes work and dedication.  Maybe she will become a horse trainer, and all of those years she spent with horses will serve her.  But maybe she will become something else, and all those things she learned from the time she spent with horses will still serve her.  It's not wasted time.  Plus, she may develop a life-long hobby and interest.  What I think is so awesome about homeschooling is exactly this.  You can get in the framework of what you need, even in a rigorous way, yet still have time to follow your passions and get to know what you want.  I would rather my child spend a bunch of electives in high school and figure out then that he does or doesn't like a certain subject for a career, than to waste a few years in college on one major, only to decide as a 2nd semester junior that, after taking a bunch of classes in X topic that they really don't want to do that.  I love homeschooling exactly because we have the time and the freedom to do just what you are describing.

 

All that being said, I think it's also great to expose our kids to new things and ideas, because how else will they know what they do like and don't like.  So, I would probably talk to her about all of those things.  Talk to her about how the high school electives will give her a chance to explore different subjects that she may not have considered.  I think if you involved her like that, she will be open to trying your suggestions as she gets older.  Again, the great thing about homeschooling for us is that learning isn't limited to the subjects we study for the transcript.  They have time to watch documentaries, go places, read, try new things, etc, anyway.  

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I love this post and I(who NEVER wear slogans) would so wear the t-thirt. Some years we are lucky if it's quarter-a$$ed.

 

 

I love that you love this.  I am all swollen with pride and street cred. :D

 

I will put your name on the t shirt list, and we will wear them proudly while drinking half caff coffee with half and half in it halfway between here and there.  Back soon with details to the first Half Club meeting and off to the printers to have some tshirts silk-screened. 

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I will put your name on the t shirt list, and we will wear them proudly while drinking half caff coffee with half and half in it halfway between here and there.  Back soon with details to the first Half Club meeting and off to the printers to have some tshirts silk-screened. 

 

May I have a t-shirt too? :blushing: :001_wub:

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Nan and I Rose (I can't seem to multi-quote) - I know a person could make it as a farmer or in one of the allied fields, and DD will have no student loans hanging over her and we even have family land to give her (my dad's former farm that we now own part of).  I guess I'll have to tell her to get working on the spouse-with-decent-pay-and-benefits, LOL!  But dang, it's not a financially comfortable life, even if you can pull it off.  If it makes her happy, I'm onboard, but I feel bad at the idea of her financially struggling in old age.

Karen you post made me practically spit out my coffee - it could have been written by . . . . my mother!!  I reluctantly finished my PhD in Neuroscience, then took off for 4 months to work at an organic coffee farm in Guatemala, and then came back to go to an organic farming training program at UC Santa Cruz . .  . and the rest is history!  My mother was horrified and appalled that I would "throw it all away" to follow the profession that she worked so hard to get away from.

 

I don't actually make a living as a farmer, but I do make at least a partial living by helping farmers be more diverse and sustainable, and helping them transition to organic farming.  DH, who has a degree in Enviro Studies with a concentration in Agroecology from UC Santa Cruz, now works for municipal gov't as a Water Conservation program coordinator, after back surgery made full-time farming impossible.  I agree with your assessment that farming is a tough way to make a living, but there are a ton of interesting jobs on the edges of farming - ag education, various natural resources management jobs at nonprofits or the public sector.  But I completely agree with you that insisting she get a solid high school education that prepares her for anything! Most of the successful farmers I know either made a bunch of money first, or have a spouse with a full-time job with benefits, or inherited family land.  A lot of them write books on the side, and none of them are intellectual slouches.

 

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I think my tee shirt would say "Radical Skimpers" lol.

 

You have to teach then how to think, really think. This can be via mathematical proofs or well reasoned historical research papers, or engineering problem solving, or difficult Latin translations, or scientific experiments, real ones they,ve designed themselves. You have to challenge them to use their logic and creativity. But you don,t have to make them do it in every single subject every single year. You don,t want to do that if you want to leave them energy to work on their own projects. Their own projects are work. They are hard. You can,t just load them up with your stuff and leave them the dregs of the day and expect them to want to do much but want to relax. I scheduled a chunk of the school day for their own projects. I made the time by choosing one subject in which to really challenge them each year, one to radically skimp, and I doubled up where I could, like doing history for youngest in French. Don,t skimp math. It is such a sequential thing that it is the limiting factor if they should decide to switch their major in college. For the rest of the subjects, learning to think and be creative and problem solve in one seems to transfer over to others pretty well. The steps for writing a paper are quite a lot like the steps in the scientific method and the academic skills used to learn something can be applied to most things. Beware of music and art and foreign languages. These aren,t much fun unless you put tons of time into them and get to the point where they come easily. A little can be fun for a little while but then the student is likely to become frustrated. I,m not saying don,t do them, just saying if you have a child who wants to, you are going to have to skimp even more.

 

Nan

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May I have a t-shirt too? :blushing: :001_wub:

Putting down quark for a tshirt.  :)

 

Nan in Mass gets a slightly different version because we in the Half Club recognize the value of everyone doing what works for her.

 

(None of you sound "halfway" or "skimping" in any way.  It sounds creative and interesting.)

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Beware of music and art and foreign languages. These aren,t much fun unless you put tons of time into them and get to the point where they come easily. A little can be fun for a little while but then the student is likely to become frustrated. I,m not saying don,t do them, just saying if you have a child who wants to, you are going to have to skimp even more.

 

Nan

 

In our case, we are skimping on other subjects in favor of languages. We're on our third year of Japanese. Ds is at the point he can read without translating in his head, so he's reading the Japanese without any regard for English. He smiled this week when he realized that. I remember a similar feeling when I was doing Spanish in high school. It probably was the late second or third year for me too. 

 

Also, we don't have a tutor, we have a program and work together. It's not ideal, but it is getting done. His ability has surpassed mine, which I knew would happen. Because of some of his goals, he would have been working on Japanese even if we hadn't made it a subject. 

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Rose, your mention of horses reminded me of the course catalog at the Paideia School. See page 7, Literature of the American West. I love the course description. I hope it gives you some ideas!

 

Wow, I got a ton of great ideas from those course descriptions! Thanks for sharing.

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I think my tee shirt would say "Radical Skimpers" lol.

 

You have to teach then how to think, really think. This can be via mathematical proofs or well reasoned historical research papers, or engineering problem solving, or difficult Latin translations, or scientific experiments, real ones they,ve designed themselves. You have to challenge them to use their logic and creativity. But you don,t have to make them do it in every single subject every single year. You don,t want to do that if you want to leave them energy to work on their own projects. Their own projects are work. They are hard. You can,t just load them up with your stuff and leave them the dregs of the day and expect them to want to do much but want to relax. I scheduled a chunk of the school day for their own projects. I made the time by choosing one subject in which to really challenge them each year, one to radically skimp, and I doubled up where I could, like doing history for youngest in French. Don,t skimp math. It is such a sequential thing that it is the limiting factor if they should decide to switch their major in college. For the rest of the subjects, learning to think and be creative and problem solve in one seems to transfer over to others pretty well. The steps for writing a paper are quite a lot like the steps in the scientific method and the academic skills used to learn something can be applied to most things. Beware of music and art and foreign languages. These aren,t much fun unless you put tons of time into them and get to the point where they come easily. A little can be fun for a little while but then the student is likely to become frustrated. I,m not saying don,t do them, just saying if you have a child who wants to, you are going to have to skimp even more.

 

Nan

 

Thank you for articulating this so well.  This is the biggest shift we've been making since the new year - making sure to explicitly build in time for her to work on her projects.  Because if I load her up with 6 hours of really intensive, mentally demanding work each day, she doesn't have the juice to sit down and write a play or start her novel! So we are working on how to do this - because writing instruction is critical, and at this point it is the main tool for teaching her how to really think, and it's not something that I can skimp on, but at the same time it is a huge energy drain and it's hard to write for school all day and then still have juice for your own projects (if your project involves wanting to write, at least).  One thing we're doing is having one day a week with no writing assignment  but time scheduled for creative writing projects.

 

The other thing that is really helping, both with the thinking and with the energy for other things, is that we've slowed down dramatically the pace of the writing assignments.  So instead of a paper a week, she has two weeks to develop a paper - one week for the reading, researching, thinking, notetaking, outlining, and drafting, and then a week for revising.  And the revisions are iterative, and really focused right now on making sure that the paper, all the parts of it, are developing the thesis.  So during revision week I might give her one thing to work on each day. But by taking a whole week to revise, she is learning so much more from each paper than she was when I was trying to keep her moving more quickly and writing more of them.  I finally let go of the idea that we have to write about everything!  She's always got a writing project going, but it's in history or lit, not both, and not about every book.  This has really helped too.

 

Skimping? at this point probably the skimp-subjects are history and spanish.  Spanish because my goal is that she cover all the Spanish 1 material before taking the class at the JC, and that's 2 years away, so we have time to work on it a little each day, building, building slowly.  So it's a constant, but not a huge time sink.  I think two years of Spanish at the JC will be good enough for this child at this point, and I'm not trying to push that further.  From my own experience I know that if she really wants to become fluent, she needs to immerse for a few months, so preparing her to do that successfully if she wants to is all I can really do.  History I love, but she doesn't - she doesn't mind it, but it doesn't really light her fire.  So this is the subject that can be mostly reading and discussion at this point, with some papers, but not an effort to exhaustively survey the history of every time and place with great depth.  We can let that go.

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Putting down quark for a tshirt.  :)

 

Nan in Mass gets a slightly different version because we in the Half Club recognize the value of everyone doing what works for her.

 

(None of you sound "halfway" or "skimping" in any way.  It sounds creative and interesting.)

 

 

I'm in for the T-shirt too!

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Ok, since you are still with me: help me brainstorm a list of a few interesting, outside-the-box colleges that I can have Shannon look into.  The goal for this exercise is not picking which college she will go to, but just showing her some of the interesting options out there, and getting an idea of what their requirements are so we make sure we can fit things we do into appropriate boxes.

 

What I think would appeal to her the most is a college that has some of the best aspects of homeschooling:  lots of small, discussion based seminars, lots of freedom to create unique and individual majors, located in or near a beautiful outdoor environment (ideally near water, but this isn't a deal-breaker) where she could ride, rock climb, hike, and enjoy nature.  I'm not going to speculate about majors at this point, but her biggest loves at the moment are horses, acting, and writing (plays and story/novels).

 

I got Evergreen State College and UC Santa Cruz on my list.  What other colleges should I be thinking of?

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Ok, since you are still with me: help me brainstorm a list of a few interesting, outside-the-box colleges that I can have Shannon look into.  The goal for this exercise is not picking which college she will go to, but just showing her some of the interesting options out there, and getting an idea of what their requirements are so we make sure we can fit things we do into appropriate boxes.

 

What I think would appeal to her the most is a college that has some of the best aspects of homeschooling:  lots of small, discussion based seminars, lots of freedom to create unique and individual majors, located in or near a beautiful outdoor environment (ideally near water, but this isn't a deal-breaker) where she could ride, rock climb, hike, and enjoy nature.  I'm not going to speculate about majors at this point, but her biggest loves at the moment are horses, acting, and writing (plays and story/novels).

 

I got Evergreen State College and UC Santa Cruz on my list.  What other colleges should I be thinking of?

 

Averett University in Danville, VA has an equestrian major with concentrations in management, dressage, equine-assisted psychotherapy, and eventing.

http://www.averett.edu/academics/undergrad/equestrian/They also have a theater major, with the option of teacher licensure and a minor in musical theater. It also appears that they have an English degree with a concentration in theater.  http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/averett-university-3702 

 

Also, you could look at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, NC https://www.sapc.edu/Equest/equest.php They have a BA in therapeutic horsemanship, therapeutic horsemanship business management, and one in creative writing.

 

Both are small schools.

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What I think would appeal to her the most is a college that has some of the best aspects of homeschooling:  lots of small, discussion based seminars, lots of freedom to create unique and individual majors, located in or near a beautiful outdoor environment (ideally near water, but this isn't a deal-breaker) where she could ride, rock climb, hike, and enjoy nature. 

 

Quest University in Squamish BC

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Marlboro in Vermont, or Hampshire in Mass. I am not necessarily recommending them, just pointing out homeschooling like colleges. My middle one visited these. Marlboro had a quiddich team and was tiny. Hampshire has been around since I was in school, at least, and has the advantage of being part of a consortium that let's you take classes at UMass, Amherst, Mt Holyoke, and Smith. Both are discussion/project/writing oriented with portfolios rather than grades. When I was planning high school, I spoke to an admissions councelor at Hampshire. She changed my ideas quite a lot. She said that in order for grades to show on an app, the cc class has to be taken JUNIOR year, and that she would want to see at least 3 academic cc classes. She said even colleges that are test optional are going to want to see SAT scores from homeschoolers She talked about documenting what you do as well. If you are straying off the beaten path, check Hampshire,s requirements for homeschoolers ( about as specific as you,ll find) and the req,s for your state college, particularly if you live in Mass, both for applying AND for matriculation AND financial aid. Be aware that some want proof that you homeschooled and didn,t just drop out. Be aware that many colleges want to see SAT2 subject tests from homeschoolers. It can be helpful to look at Clonlara high school req,s or the NARS ones. If there is a possibility that your child might want to go to school or work internationally some day, you will want to see what you can do about acquiring official documents for them. Homeschooling is illegal some places and a mummy transcript can be a problem. For encouragement, go look at the college board 2014 acceptances thread!

 

Nan

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I'm loving these college recommendations, keep 'em coming!  I'm perusing all of the admissions requirements carefully.  SAT2s are almost certainly in our future since we want to keep the Univ of CA options open.  I guess that might be another thread, trying to figure out a SAT2 strategy.  I don't know much about those tests or which are the best to shoot for.  We'll definitely have CC classes in sophomore and junior years to show on the transcipt, and plan to do the regular SAT too, of course.  But my current thought is that I'd like to use SAT subject tests (because colleges we are interested in require them of homeschoolers) and CC classes as proof of competence and skip the APs altogether.

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Sweet Briar.  It's an all girls' college with a high grad school placement.

 

As far as SAT subject tests, you really need to look at them individually.  The math 2, for example, is better to take after pre-cal.  The Latin you want to take before you are too far removed from grammar.  The chem, otoh, is actually easier after AP or advanced level chem.  (Those are the only ones I am currently familiar with.  Dd is taking the French in June.)

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 And as you know, biology can be anything you want it to be -- there is no core.  I usually suggest one unit each for the different levels: cell, organ, individual, and system, but you could easily just do 3.  So botany/zoology fits organ level, evolution for individual level, and ecology at system level.  If you want to dabble in cell bio then do it for a month in the worst of the weather when you don't want to be outside. 

 

 

 

Not to derail the thread, but this really intrigues me. I am a philosopher, not a scientist, so I am out of my league here. And, I always have this sinking feeling when I start looking at Biology texts that there is no way we could do all of this in one year, especially with labs. Maybe it's just because I have a slow worker who has a very strict time schedule, but I find it refreshing to think that I don't have to cover it all :)

 

Problem is I have no idea how to split it up???

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Skimping....mmmm, I think I like the sound of that. I suddenly feel liberated! Really. I think for me, as long as I can fine tune my mindset, things don't seem so worrying anymore. I think we will skimp certain areas with glee and I will school myself to feel less worried about it. Perhaps even celebrate that we are different in that way! :hurray: Thank you Nan, texasmama, Rose and the rest!

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Not to derail the thread, but this really intrigues me. I am a philosopher, not a scientist, so I am out of my league here. And, I always have this sinking feeling when I start looking at Biology texts that there is no way we could do all of this in one year, especially with labs. Maybe it's just because I have a slow worker who has a very strict time schedule, but I find it refreshing to think that I don't have to cover it all :)

 

Problem is I have no idea how to split it up???

 

If you want to use the SAT bio subject test to show mastery, you may want to look at the topics on the test and choose those (since there is a molecular option and an environmental option).

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I want to share my children's paths, because I think they are relevant. Oldest knew she was to be a violin teacher from the time she was nine. However, we insisted on breadth in her education and I'm glad we did--she mentioned as she got out of the car to begin her undergrad--maybe I'll major in physics after all! She did end up in music, but the sciences and her horses are still dear to her heart. We counted her time on stage as English credit.

 

My next did horses, and sheep, and music, and flew, and did a zillion sciences, but ended up flying. Her epiphany came standing under the Eiffel Tower on the 4th of July, meeting two Band of Brothers soldiers. She's in the military, but ended up majoring in history.

 

Next one wanted the military, but loved her horses and her steers and is now in AROTC, majoring in Farm & Ranch Management of all things! She's also minoring in computer science--found an interest there in DE classes.

 

Next one's real love is reading, but can't figure out a job that anyone will pay him to read all day, so he's in computers (which he also loves), doing the engineering thing, so as my brother says, "Be a good engineer so you can afford all those books." The AF is paying for his education. 

 

My last? There's a conundrum! She's fabulous at math but doesn't really like it. Doing well in her computer classes at the university, but loves to compose, play her cello, raise sheep, draw and draw, but says she wants to fly. I am insisting that she had a solid foundation, so that will be open to her. We count her many hours on stage as English, along with her public speaking through Youth City Council, sports and 4-H. 

 

So, all that rambling was to say--we aim for a solid college-prep foundation, at least through pre-calc, with 4 sciences, with lots of drama, 4-H, Scouts, music, etc. thrown in. Yeah, my kids are very busy in high school. 

 

Thank you for sharing, Margaret.

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And really, if it doesn't seem like it is going were we want it to, or if the "it" suddenly changes, we have a great CC right down the road, and it would be easy peasy to spend a couple of years there knocking out requirements and even getting an AA to boot.  If she should find that she wants to do that.  Kind of a massive safety net, no?

 

Exactly. Totally what I am counting on in the back of my mind, should my/our high school plans be derailed!

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OK, some of the posts may be leading me in a direction that would make my child happier. She is a full-on humanities kid, for whom science and math don't come nearly as easily (currently in algebra 2 and honors bio, holding her own in algebra, but bio is a struggle). Her current goal is to be a writer (though I realize that may well change) and writing is her passion, with side dishes of art, psych, and history. She has no interest in a super-competitive school environment, though her ACT/SAT scores are already quite high as a freshman, and I really don't see her being happy in an environment like that. I'm honestly more interested in giving her the foundation to possibly get a really good scholarship and honors program at a school she likes than striving for an ivy. She does even have a good science score on the ACT. 

 

I'm really struggling with what to do about her current biology class and our overall science plans. After the horrible experience of dragging her through physics in physical science last year, I have realized high school physics is not in the cards for her, and the only potential AP science class I can imagine now is environmental science, maybe. My original plan had been to do honors bio (bio SAT subject test), honors chem, AP environmental (AP test). Given the issues she's having at this point in honors bio, I'm wondering if I need to just accept that it's okay if she does regular science, I drop subject and AP test aspirations in science (she doesn't share those aspirations), and concentrates honors and APs in areas she enjoys more (she did really well in honors English last semester), even though I know colleges want the most rigorous courses available. In the particular program she is (using APEX Learning ayop online materials with teacher support), the difference between regular and honors bio is some additional, more in-depth explorations, so I think I can switch her without losing ground.

 

So, would I be totally cheating my child by allowing her to drop back to regular bio (with lab), chem (with lab), and environmental science (and maybe trying for a bio E test after environmental)? I've already allowed her not to continue to Spanish 3 and start Latin instead (which she requested and is enjoying). I am hopeful she will go through Latin 3, but at least she has two years of modern foreign language at the high school level. This would likely allow more time to concentrate on other subjects and not stress as much, maybe even have time for her writing. She would jump at the opportunity, and I acknowledge a large part of this is about me---I was the science math person who was also good in humanities, while she is my husband, the English lit major, so it's sometimes hard for me to understand how the science and math are struggles for her.

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