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What unusual subjects do you require or make compulsory for your kids.

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I had to laugh about the sex-ed bit. I've had two homebirths. My children weren't present, but they were in the house during one and the oldest ones usually knew when I was pregnant as soon as I had two mornings of vomiting (not something I could hide). The olders have all watched birthing videos and c-section videos.

 

 

My homebirthed extended breastfed teenager just assumed that I was going to bottle feed after a medicated hospital birth and didn't think I should TTC because "Doctors cost money and formula costs money and pain medicine costs money!" and when I laughed and said I'd never used pain meds when I had babies, he looked horrified and indignant and said, "Well, you SHOULD! If you try to have a baby at your age (very early 40s) you're probably going to DIE!!!!!!!!"

 

I'd have divorced him so fast it it would have made his head spin if he had been my husband and I had been 15-25, lol. I probably would have spent my life savings on any attorney who promised me to give him the least amount of visitation possible, too.

 

We had a very nice conversation about his new iPod touch while I was in transition and he had no clue anything was going on with my body. When he came back from visiting a friend, ds2 was sleeping comfortably and I didn't want to disturb him so I asked ds1 to get me a bowl of soup.

 

ds1 said he was going out again and didn't have time so I'd have to get it myself. I asked him if he could bring me a couple of oranges instead.

 

ds1 said, "Mom, do you feel okay? You're not sick or anything, are you?"

 

I said, "No, I just don't want to get up right now. Could you please get me a couple of oranges before you go?"

 

He grumbled a bit, came into the bedroom, put the oranges about an inch from the baby's head and didn't even notice anything unusual so I didn't say anything. I guess I was mildly pissed about the "sick" comment, because I was definitely NOT sick and I felt BETTER than okay, so I didn't mention the baby either and he went back out to his friend's house.

 

My daughter kept asking me when I was going to call him and tell him he was a big brother, but I didn't want to. Finally I let her do it.

 

Within five minutes, I heard the screech of tires from a speeding teenaged friend-driven vehicle and ds1's feet pounding up the steps as fast as he could run.

 

"Thanks for the oranges." I said, "I really wanted soup but it's no big deal that you were too busy to get it for me."

 

Sex ed 101.

 

He's still not ready to be someone's husband, but he's a lot closer than he was.

 

/threadjack

 

/tmi

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Chess

 

Why chess?  (Curious...my ds takes chess lessons from a Grand Master as per DH's request. He can't really tell me why, but he wants him to study chess.  Would love another perspective.)

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Nature identification is required here, too. This year, we are focusing especially on birds, as well as bird songs. We have been enjoying Peterson's Birding by Ear (Eastern/Central), by Walton & Lawson. We've also enjoyed Common Birds and Their Songs, by Lang Elliott.

 

My children are required to learn how to cook. Along with that, they have to participate in all the aspects of getting food on and off the table -- meal planning, grocery shopping, comparing prices, hauling it all in and putting it all away, preparing the food, setting the table, serving a meal, and all the clean up. I want them to become self-sufficient people, KWIM? So, no just "showing up" for meals at this house, LOL!

 

They must learn how to do some basic sewing -- how to hand sew a straight seam, how to hem, how to tuck/adjust clothing, how to sew on a button, how to mend, how to put on a patch, and (later) how to do some basic things on a sewing machine (e.g., a simple skirt, a pair of pants, etc.). We don't actually sew all that much -- that is, we are not crafters -- but I just think there are some basic skills that a person should know.

 

I wish I had more practical skills, but I never learned how to crochet or knit. FWIW, in some countries, these are required subjects, as is basic woodworking. I remember how in college, my Scandinavian friends were shocked that I had never learned to knit! Anyway, my girls are learning these skills (because they want to) through the handicraft DVDS from Simply Charlotte Mason. They are focusing now on crocheting (which I can't teach) and hand sewing (which I can teach), and really enjoy Rebekkah's clear style and explanations.

 

My children are required to learn how to read music, play an instrument at a basic level, and sing in a choir. This year, we are also doing Composer Study (Bach, Handel, Haydn) and Artist Study (da Vinci, Michelangelo, Monet). We are enjoying these so much that I think this will become a new "requirement!" :) Very much worth making time for, IMO.

 

They have to keep learning French. At some point, I may let them drop Latin, but not French. We're probably not going to achieve fluency with the resources we have available, but we can plod. So, continuous French here. It's a whole other way of thinking and being.

 

I don't know that this is so unusual, but we will study at least one Shakespeare play per year, probably more than one as they get older. They are loving A Midsummer Night's Dream -- fairies and queens! What's not to love?

 

They are required to learn how to swim, practice basic water safety, and (later) ocean safety and boating safety. We live in a recreational area with lots of lakes and boats, and we also live within an hour of the coast, so this is essential training. We had at least six people die just this summer in kayak and canoe turnovers, and others drowned while tubing or at the beach. It happens every year, for as long as I can remember.

 

They have already completed a homemade course in First Aid. At some point (as teens?), they will be required to pass an official Basic First Aid course, as well as become certified in CPR. I'd also like them to learn about home safety and safe childcare, but they won't graduate from my school without passing First Aid and CPR.

 

We plan to work through Seven Habits of Happy Kids, some materials from Character Counts (Six Pillars of Character), and some materials on ethics (e.g., The Golden Rule, Love Your Neighbor As Yourself, etc.). So for at least the next few years, they will be required to study Habits, Ethics & Leadership (as a formal, school-based subject). Hey, it's official, it's in my signature! LOL.

 

This year, they are required to read 30 simple books on Civics -- covering topics such as voting, elections, duties of citizens, Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, the Capitol, the White House, monuments, the military, symbols of America, and so on.

 

Finally, my children are required to learn how to work. What that looks like can vary from day to day, but "work" as I'm defining it here essentially means getting up off one's bottom end and exerting oneself to complete a task requiring such physical and mental effort. Not all "work" can be accomplished from a seated position. Some work must actually be done while standing, imagine that! Or walking, chopping, sawing, bending, lifting, climbing, pulling, pushing, and so on. I don't know how things are overseas, but in America -- it's amazing, how many people just do not want to do physical work! It's as if the prevalence of screens has convinced us that, as long as we are looking at one, we're "working." Um, no.

 

As for whether or not they are "subjects" or "life skills," I think that, since this is my homeschool, another person's argument is a moot point. I don't really care which category they fall in, just so long as my children end up becoming proficient! And so, they are not optional here, but compulsory.

 

Taking Notes for Myself:

Later... self-defense, comparative religion, personal finances/stewardship, health & nutrition, human sexuality, home & auto mechanics, self-sufficiency, camping & woodcraft, truthfulness

 

I wish I could go to your homeschool!!  This is awesome!  :)

 

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Solfege is a requirement here.  It helps with learning an instrument and with theory.  And, it's always nice when the kids can harmonize like the Von Trapp family.  Makes for great Christmas caroling.  :)

 

Homebirths and sex ed...my ds got a tutorial on placentas after my 2nd homebirth.  My midwives are awesome.

 

Cranky cows...mine are screaming at me right now.  Can I be added to the adoption list?  :)

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I hope no one took my comment about these things being life skills rather than subjects the wrong way. All I meant was, I think a lot of us would teach these things whether our kids attended school or not.

 

Also, judging by the couple of other international posters here, there might be a bit of a cultural difference I hadn't been aware of as an Australian. I forget how much broader our education system tends to be, so what is unusual to me is very different to what is unusual to some of you. 

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I had to laugh about the sex-ed bit. I've had two homebirths. My children weren't present, but they were in the house during one and the oldest ones usually knew when I was pregnant as soon as I had two mornings of vomiting (not something I could hide). The olders have all watched birthing videos and c-section videos.

Our youngest two were homebirths! So three have witnessed birth, even cut the cord with dad's help. And with all my Bradley videos, they've seen lots of good stuff!

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And what about alcohol education?!?

 

Our French exchange student was shocked at how ignorant his fellow public high school classmates were about healthy alcohol consumption. His parents, and apparently many European parents, teach children from an early age about healthy attitudes toward alcohol. I'm not sure how this happens, but the uncontrolled binge drinking among US teens/young adults is crazy. I'd like to help minimize that type of drinking for my kids if possible.

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And what about alcohol education?!?

 

Our French exchange student was shocked at how ignorant his fellow public high school classmates were about healthy alcohol consumption. His parents, and apparently many European parents, teach children from an early age about healthy attitudes toward alcohol. I'm not sure how this happens, but the uncontrolled binge drinking among US teens/young adults is crazy. I'd like to help minimize that type of drinking for my kids if possible.

 

We do, but it's part of one of those things we teach as we go along, family and cultural views and values, not a separate subject in and of itself. We have absolutely no issue with drinking; we do not believe in imbibing until drunk or incapacitated. I agree that it's out of control here in the US, but it is due to the demonization of alcohol. Yes, there some people that need to avoid it completely (my grandfather was an alcoholic. I helped clean out his home after he died and that had an impact on me).

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On an individual basis, yes, you will find alcoholics nearly everywhere. As general population wholes, statistically, I believe the US has a much larger issue. Underage drunkeness and drug use is sky high.

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And what about alcohol education?!?

 

Our French exchange student was shocked at how ignorant his fellow public high school classmates were about healthy alcohol consumption. His parents, and apparently many European parents, teach children from an early age about healthy attitudes toward alcohol. I'm not sure how this happens, but the uncontrolled binge drinking among US teens/young adults is crazy. I'd like to help minimize that type of drinking for my kids if possible.

 

Alcohol culture is so dependent on individual families and to some extent the country culture, alcohol price and availability. France is quite unique in it's wine culture, and Quebec is more similar to France in alcohol culture than it is to the rest of Canada. A French exchange student would probably be "shocked" at alcohol culture in almost anywhere else in the world. You can't buy a bottle of wine in the corner grocery store and legally start drinking it immediately on the sidewalk in most places in the world, but you can in France.

 

Not all of Europe has similar alcohol cultures at all. Norway is definitely on the binge-drinking end of the spectrum compared to other countries, partly because alcohol is so expensive and only sold in government liquor stores. People tend to drink a lot at home, then go out to clubs. 

 

Alcohol culture would be an interesting addition to World Culture. it's not usually mentioned in text books. The best way to learn about it is to experience it first-hand. 

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On an individual basis, yes, you will find alcoholics nearly everywhere. As general population wholes, statistically, I believe the US has a much larger issue. Underage drunkeness and drug use is sky high.

 

My wife suspects one of the reasons underage drug use is higher in the US than in NL is that the drinking age in the US is higher (21 vs 16 (for beer and wine) and 18 (for liquor), and in NL they don't card anywhere near as often as in the US... I bought rum once when I was 14 without being carded - here in the US I often still get carded if I buy alcohol and I'm 31). Drugs are smaller and easier to conceal than alcohol, so if they're both illegal for people under 21 but the drugs are easier to hide, then... So, drug use is higher in the US despite the fact that marijuana is semi-legal in NL and the cops/courts aren't going to go nuts over other drugs in small (personal use) quantities either. Never mind that forbidden stuff is more tempting.

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I still want you to adopt me, Margaret. And teach me how to deal with cranky cows.

 

 

Rule #1: Never turn your back.

Rule #2: Never get between a cow and her calf. 

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Archery

Horseback Riding

Personal Finance

Arabic

Programming

Chess

 

Nothing really that unusual now that I think about it.

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I kind of want to make several months as an exchange student living with a host family in a different culture* mandatory, but I think it'd be unwise (and unkind to the host family) to make it mandatory... I suppose I could send an unwilling kid to military school for that "different culture" experience, lol.

 

*Not necessarily abroad... abroad would be preferred, but I think that there are plenty of people in the US (and indeed some on this forum) whose culture is so different from ours that it would still be quite an experience to be immersed in their lifestyle for a while.

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Psychology

Media ecology (the effects of technology on our environment and behavior)

Catholic social teaching

 

None of these are separate "subjects" in elementary, although some might get a 1/2 credit in high school.  But they come up over and over.  I'm almost more concerned about these than about the standard academics.

 

Also, before they graduate, I expect them to have significant practice in teaching others (younger and older children, formally and informally, with and without books), and to have read at least a few classic works about education.   I get the impression that this is unusual today, even among homeschoolers, but my understanding is that teaching is a fundamental human activity that we all do in the course of life.  As Chesterton would say, it's too important to leave to the experts.  :001_smile:   But we can learn some things from their experience. 

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Mine are still young, so some of these are still wishful thinking...plans. :)  Off the top of my head...

 

We also tend to view the "life skills" as separate from school since we would teach those anyway (cooking, cleaning, finance, car repair...).  

 

These are more common 'round these parts, but may be a little unusual elsewhere:

Penmanship for quite a few years

Drawing

Music Theory/Piano

Nature Study/Notebooking

Commonplace-type books

I would love to add choir/voice but still working on that one

 

Maybe slightly more unusual (or unique to us):

Greek alphabet 

Cyrillic alphabet

(in that order)

We may add Hebrew alphabet afterwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DIY.org     I required dd13 for the last couple of years to do two projects a week.  She gets to choose whether it is cooking or art or building or . . . .       Her last projects were in architecture.  

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Subjects isn't the right word really, there are certain topics and skills I expect us to cover either due to an interest of dh or mine or to the fact that we consider them necessary for adulthood.

 

Cooking- I except they will have mastered at least the basics of cooking from scratch (although dd1 is also interested in baking I don't push that as much)

 

Philosophy

 

Apologetics- what we believe and why

 

World Religions- no excuse for ignorance or hatred for anyone about what they believe

 

Nature Studies- my husband knows the basics (self-taught for the most part), I know a small amount myself- I hope to learn and impart much more to all of them, it is good useful information and besides that I want them to have an appreciation and love for the great outdoors

 

Basic car mechanics- so all of them male or female can take care of little things that come up without being totally helpless

 

basic house repairs- they may decide it not worth their time or have enough money they can hire it done but I want them to have the knowledge to do it yourself, I believe it is a worthwhile thing to take care of such things yourself, not to mention a money saver for most

 

Personal Finance- they will be well acquainted with making a budget, the pitfalls of debt, compound interest, planning and making goals, prioritizing etc

 

Health and Nutrition- not just the basics here. I want them to understand why we eat what we do, what food does for our body and what our body needs. Why the source of food matters and not all food is equal. Also, the whole gamut of what it takes to live heathily, the importance of sleep, rest, activity, not just exercise but finding ways to be active in our day. Keeping stock of your own mental health and taking care of yourself, signs to watch for and when to ask for help.

 

 

A lot of these subjects I learned on my own without any instruction because I was interested.

 

 

 

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Im going to list what we are teaching that I know are not offered at our local PS since unusual is a relative term. I suspect on this forum that most of us do these though:

Latin
Formal Logic
Free market economics
Philosophy
Apologetics

My children also participate in robotics classes at the moment but they are not required.

 

Edited by AnnaM

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When I think of requiring a subject, I imagine a kid having to study it regardless of how much they hate it. I know that that is not how most of you are interpreting this. Because of my views on personal liberty and self actualization, I would only require reading and math as the minimum. Even history and science child be dropped imo if my kids were breaking out in hives or something.

 

My kids will definitely get unusual subjects just by living with DH and I. DH would not let them go without understanding economics -- he is always taking to the kids about it already and the oldest is only 8. DH is also really into history and tends to cover a different person or time period in extreme depth every year. None of us escape the.."(laughs to self).. Oh, I was just thinking about this funny thing about Churchill.." So I am sure there will be uncommon aspects of history over the years (not that history is unusual of course)

 

We hike and camp and I use lots of things we find in the wild as food or medicine so my kids already have a better ability in nature identification than most adults. It isn't a if I sit them down to study it though. They get tons of astronomy and modern theory of physics while we camp too.. Because what else do reasonable people talk about under a night sky except string theory and Schrodingers cat and chasing light at light speed. :)

 

French is a requirement, but we speak it in the house so it is rather hard to escape. The older kids don't need to learn to read and write if it becomes a major issue but my basic expectation is that they will. I want them to do latin and the basics of Greek too.

 

And I am with the posters above who believe drawing is a skill I do"require" it (in a loose sense). I plan to continue until they have a fairly developed set of skills in realistic drawing and drafting.

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Psychology

Media ecology (the effects of technology on our environment and behavior)

Catholic social teaching

 

None of these are separate "subjects" in elementary, although some might get a 1/2 credit in high school.  But they come up over and over.  I'm almost more concerned about these than about the standard academics.

 

Also, before they graduate, I expect them to have significant practice in teaching others (younger and older children, formally and informally, with and without books), and to have read at least a few classic works about education.   I get the impression that this is unusual today, even among homeschoolers, but my understanding is that teaching is a fundamental human activity that we all do in the course of life.  As Chesterton would say, it's too important to leave to the experts.  :001_smile:   But we can learn some things from their experience. 

 

I love this topic and like seeing what has been listed, whether it qualifies as unusual or not. 

 

We require a sport/physical activity and music through high school, but did start earlier w/ both kids. Little did I know that my dc would end up seeking careers in those two fields. 

 

Unusual: energy-efficient homes. We built an energy-efficient home acting as our own general contractor. The kids were young, but worked as hard as adults. They get the benefits of passive solar orientation and efficient materials. You pay a mortgage till it's paid off. You pay heating and cooling bills forever. Might as well make those as low as possible. Bonus to the passive solar aspect: natural lighting (well, on sunny days). Both dc have made floor plans for their future homes. They did this in their own. Love it.

 

Free market economics, as mentioned above, is a must. My kids know to avoid student loans too. 

 

Regarding the bold above, my dd sought those out herself and read off of my shelf. I need to have my son read a few books, whether he will end up homeschooling or not. 

 

Great ideas here. I need to subscribe to this thread. 

Edited by Angie in VA
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Obviously lots of people do electives with child led interest, or parent led interest that a child is happy doing, but what subjects do you require, or consider compulsory for your children whether they want them or not, that are outside of the standard scope and sequence? 

 

 

 

- Electronics/Programming/Robotics;

- Advanced Maths & Physics;

- Inventions Club;

- Public Speaking & Debates.

 

They also must be good athletes, to able to swim very well and expected to learn a basic knowledge of self-defence.

Edited by rushhush08
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