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Scholé and Charlotte Mason in the High School Years and Beyond


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As you know it is always hard to get your message across clearly on a board.  We should get together and have coffee!!

 

One of the kids I tutor has serious mental health issues, and feels stupid all the time.  By being a co-learner and describing my own struggles, it helps him to accept his own faults and be less of a perfectionist. When I teach the material directly, he just feels stupid and shuts down. Better for him to explain it to me as it is empowering and motivating.

 

 It is funny how the ideal learning situation is so very different for every kid. I don't think it is possible to get it right at every single moment for every single child.  I think we have to accept that we only do the best we can do.

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In high school I don't teach content, rather I co-learn content and teach/model study skills.  We are currently learning physics and english together.  We work to the same schedule and do the same wor

I tutor part time.  I am not a homework helper; rather I fix messes for B&M students.  I evaluate the student, create an annual plan, purchase separate materials, and set separate homework. I basi

Woodland Mist, I feel like such an impostor but I wanted to give this thoughtful question a bump in the hopes more people will contribute.   Impostor because we are not classical, we outsource so he

I have followed all of the threads on beauty, virtue, rest. schole.    I am not sure how much I have to add to the conversation and I am definitely working on the application of it.  The transition to do "more" obvious academic work for high school as a priority and to receive more output was a battle I felt when my oldest switched to high school.  I felt pressure to amp up and that was difficult to balance with the younger ones.  I felt a struggle to schole and to school.  Up until this year, I think school may have been winning by a nose.  Now I feel I have my groove on and this is what I have learned the last 4 years.

Rest:  Allowing the time TO BE is imperative.  Blank space has to be included in the calendar and protected. Blank space is the time to rejuvenate and be.  It is the time to marinate in new thoughts and discussions, to process and discuss internally and externally.

Another side of rest I discovered is in allowing schoolwork to be.  the less is more philosophy.  I no longer try to fill in all the gaps.  I let the curriculum be enough and I let dc figure it out. when i say figure it out I mean think about it, re-read it, and marinate.   If given the time to be it is surprising the conversations that pop up with the neighborhood gardener and how a history walk can turn into a talk on coal formation. 

When just filling a bucket, the information can overflow and dump out.  When we are careful to fill the bucket and allow margin we keep in the bucket what we know and are able to slosh it around and put in different order, get a different perspective. 

Virtue:    I have focused on teaching do your best, complete your work in time allotted, and to the best of your ability.  If we need to take a step back and look at mastery of the basic math facts, do it.  If we need to review algebra, do it.  layer upon layer because that is virtue, that is truth.

Beauty:  I added music appreciation and nature walks in the midst of book work.  This year I incorporated poetry memorization back into schoolwork.  I had taken out all of the beauty and virtue out so we could get book work done.

All of these, beauty, virtue, and rest are needed to balance truth and schole. 

 

Bookwork is important, but it isn't the be all and end all.

I also think this philosophy clashes with other homeschoolers because it appears laid back.  I think it puts everything in its proper place and priorities get balanced because the goal is truth, beauty, virtue, and rest and that tumbles over into life.

 

 

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We have had a very different year this year. My oldest is at college which has greatly changed the dynamic as I now only have one grade (9th) to teach since I have twins. It has also changed because my dd was diagnosed with a very rare autoimmune disease, Retinal Vasculitis, which due to meds has had to change the way we do school. Not necessarily a bad change but a very different experience. We are incredibly busy but it seems more peaceful probably because it has to be.

 

My twins have several outside (online) classes which have both caused more stress and lessened more stress. However, some of the things that I have seen work to allow us to enjoy the journey and teach from a place of rest are -

 

- having a written lesson plan and check off sheet for each of the kids on their desk by Monday. Also, going over their week with them on Mon morning has allowed them to think through and plan their week better, which with Doctor spots over an hour away has become imperative.

- daily sit down time with Mom. We read our Bible, poetry and are reading SWB's, "History of Western Science" out loud. While I am reading, they can draw, put a puzzle together, play with the dog etc. We also do many of their history questions out loud. This allows them a bit of a mental break and a chance for us to laugh, chat and connect.

-Scheduled time to follow their passions. We do better if we all know there is time for everyone to do what they love.

-Friday's are designated as a sleep in day, (necessary because my dd takes her meds on Thursday night which completely wipes her out) then chores later in the day.

-I have to say that this year we are more scheduled but there is more built in time for rest. I also have become far more watchful of how my kids are responding. Can they really not handle the work or is this something else? Do we have the appropriate level of academics and can I teach it more simply while still maintaining the same level of academics?

-Honestly, in the end, it has come down to my attitude. My ds mentioned to his Aunt at the end of the summer how stressed I was and that he was concerned for me. That was a huge eye opener and I have taken a purposeful step in creating a much calmer atmosphere. I have been better about keeping the house neat, keeping fun, warm drinks available, keeping a tighter schedule and allowing for time to be at rest.

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I have followed all of the threads on beauty, virtue, rest. schole.    I am not sure how much I have to add to the conversation and I am definitely working on the application of it.  The transition to do "more" obvious academic work for high school as a priority and to receive more output was a battle I felt when my oldest switched to high school.  I felt pressure to amp up and that was difficult to balance with the younger ones.  I felt a struggle to schole and to school.  Up until this year, I think school may have been winning by a nose.  Now I feel I have my groove on and this is what I have learned the last 4 years.

Rest:  Allowing the time TO BE is imperative.  Blank space has to be included in the calendar and protected. Blank space is the time to rejuvenate and be.  It is the time to marinate in new thoughts and discussions, to process and discuss internally and externally.

Another side of rest I discovered is in allowing schoolwork to be.  the less is more philosophy.  I no longer try to fill in all the gaps.  I let the curriculum be enough and I let dc figure it out. when i say figure it out I mean think about it, re-read it, and marinate.   If given the time to be it is surprising the conversations that pop up with the neighborhood gardener and how a history walk can turn into a talk on coal formation. 

When just filling a bucket, the information can overflow and dump out.  When we are careful to fill the bucket and allow margin we keep in the bucket what we know and are able to slosh it around and put in different order, get a different perspective. 

Virtue:    I have focused on teaching do your best, complete your work in time allotted, and to the best of your ability.  If we need to take a step back and look at mastery of the basic math facts, do it.  If we need to review algebra, do it.  layer upon layer because that is virtue, that is truth.

Beauty:  I added music appreciation and nature walks in the midst of book work.  This year I incorporated poetry memorization back into schoolwork.  I had taken out all of the beauty and virtue out so we could get book work done.

All of these, beauty, virtue, and rest are needed to balance truth and schole. 

 

Bookwork is important, but it isn't the be all and end all.

I also think this philosophy clashes with other homeschoolers because it appears laid back.  I think it puts everything in its proper place and priorities get balanced because the goal is truth, beauty, virtue, and rest and that tumbles over into life.

 

Rest. Virtue. Beauty.

 

I've given much thought to this post lately. My dd's classes and extra-curriculars had staggered start dates at the beginning of the semester, so it wasn't until several weeks in that we realized that particular mix of classes and extra-curriculars were not conducive to rest, virtue, and beauty-- or even truth and schole. 

 

We tried many fixes, but in the end decided to change a few classes and drop a couple extra-curriculars. It was a tough decision, but we almost immediately had a return of the treasures we had thrown aside in an effort to...to what? I'm not even sure....  It's so easy to get caught up in the high school frenzy...

 

Anyone else made any changes this semester?

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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We have had a very different year this year. My oldest is at college which has greatly changed the dynamic as I now only have one grade (9th) to teach since I have twins. It has also changed because my dd was diagnosed with a very rare autoimmune disease, Retinal Vasculitis, which due to meds has had to change the way we do school. Not necessarily a bad change but a very different experience. We are incredibly busy but it seems more peaceful probably because it has to be.

 

My twins have several outside (online) classes which have both caused more stress and lessened more stress. However, some of the things that I have seen work to allow us to enjoy the journey and teach from a place of rest are -

 

- having a written lesson plan and check off sheet for each of the kids on their desk by Monday. Also, going over their week with them on Mon morning has allowed them to think through and plan their week better, which with Doctor spots over an hour away has become imperative.

- daily sit down time with Mom. We read our Bible, poetry and are reading SWB's, "History of Western Science" out loud. While I am reading, they can draw, put a puzzle together, play with the dog etc. We also do many of their history questions out loud. This allows them a bit of a mental break and a chance for us to laugh, chat and connect.

-Scheduled time to follow their passions. We do better if we all know there is time for everyone to do what they love.

-Friday's are designated as a sleep in day, (necessary because my dd takes her meds on Thursday night which completely wipes her out) then chores later in the day.

-I have to say that this year we are more scheduled but there is more built in time for rest. I also have become far more watchful of how my kids are responding. Can they really not handle the work or is this something else? Do we have the appropriate level of academics and can I teach it more simply while still maintaining the same level of academics?

-Honestly, in the end, it has come down to my attitude. My ds mentioned to his Aunt at the end of the summer how stressed I was and that he was concerned for me. That was a huge eye opener and I have taken a purposeful step in creating a much calmer atmosphere. I have been better about keeping the house neat, keeping fun, warm drinks available, keeping a tighter schedule and allowing for time to be at rest.

 

I started to bold the parts I could relate to the most or that were particularly helpful, but then I realized I was bolding almost the entire post. Rereading it now, I feel even more reassured about our recent changes. Thanks so much for posting!

 

   :grouphug:   regarding your dd's diagnosis.

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I subscribed to this thread way back, and just now felt restful enough to read it all the way through. This year has been too much anxiety for me. I've struggled so much with my 9th grader's increased work load and how to balance that with my younger kids' needs. It wasn't until this weekend that was able to internalize the difference between working from a place of rest and just trying to avoid work. I realized that for me to teach from a place of rest, I need to do a lot of upfront work. I need to keep myself and my kids on task. I need to get up in the morning, take a shower before my 6yo wakes up, and prepare myself to face the day. Then I can be calm, rather than anxious. My dd14 has a heavy load, but we've made a schedule and said, "Hey, if you are working consistently from 8 to 3 (with reasonable breaks and a lunch hour) you really can do this. Then you can have time to relax and peruse your interests. When you start your day with browsing the internet and taking a nap, we all get anxious and learning can't happen."

 

I don't have any real, coherent thoughts, but thank you ladies for this thread. I'm slowly clarifying what my goals are and what I want our homeschool to look like. I used to think I wanted the "best, most rigorous " education. But none of us are happy when my goal is rigor. I can't live up to my own standards. Working hard to learn in the mornings and early afternoon, then having free time for us to read or draw or climb trees in the afternoon sounds heavenly. I find that laziness on my part in the mornings and evenings just leads to anxiety and I can't enjoy free afternoons to learn and think because I always feel behind.

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 It wasn't until this weekend that was able to internalize the difference between working from a place of rest and just trying to avoid work. I realized that for me to teach from a place of rest, I need to do a lot of upfront work. I need to keep myself and my kids on task. 

 

This is so true! It's something I'm trying to work on too.

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I don't have any real, coherent thoughts, but thank you ladies for this thread. I'm slowly clarifying what my goals are and what I want our homeschool to look like. I used to think I wanted the "best, most rigorous " education. But none of us are happy when my goal is rigor. I can't live up to my own standards. Working hard to learn in the mornings and early afternoon, then having free time for us to read or draw or climb trees in the afternoon sounds heavenly. I find that laziness on my part in the mornings and evenings just leads to anxiety and I can't enjoy free afternoons to learn and think because I always feel behind.

 

You have plenty of real, coherent thoughts! I'm so glad you posted! I can relate to so much of what you've written...

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  • 1 year later...

I like to read the thread.

 

Reacting on the 'Sabbath during the week' idea:

 

In Belgium all students from preK - 12, have no school on wednessday afternoon.

They can make homework or attend music or fine arts lessons, sports etc.

As dd attend the academy for fine arts on wednessday afternoon, we have just the morning for lessons.

I scheduled it with most of our '1time per week' subjects.

Therefore the wednessday got a different feeling.

M-T are pretty similar days. Then we got Wednessday as 'odd day' and then T-F are similar days again.

This cycle works for us.

 

And yes we still continue with the 30 min. per class system

This way we can still manage to do all the work without evening homework.

 

My son attends a university that has few to no classes on Wednesday.  The students are encouraged to get out and take advantage of all the city (Washington, D.C.) has to offer.  This may mean just getting off campus and studying in the Reading Room at the Library of Congress or it can mean attending the recent committee hearings for cabinet positions. Last term, ds used the Wednesdays several times to go to the National Gallery to work on projects for Modern Art History.

 

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Oh my goodness, you have articulated my thoughts! I feel this way all the time. If I start feeling relaxed about a path or a decision, dd is sure to hit me with something completely new and out-of-the-blue in the next day or so.

 

You know I am grinning at this description. I hate to tell you, but that doesn't really go away when they go away to college.

 

Years ago, I had a great discussion here with NaninMass and that's where I first heard the "moving target" description. Reading Nan's tales and how she learned to adapt helped me so much.  I remember talking about "throwing" the elements of education at the kids and hoping something sticks.

 

Sailor Dude would send me around the bend and up the trees with astonishing frequency. I would spend all summer making "perfect" plans, buying the "perfect" curricula, and studying my brains outs only to have it explode in the first couple of weeks. (My brains and the plans!)  There was the 8th grade year where my non-reader child decided to stay up all night before the first day of school to read The Hunger Games. He had never done anything like that in his life. He told his older siblings at the breakfast table.  They suggested he read Fahrenheit 451  (because there is a crazy book lady like Mom, who is burned up with her books), 1984, and Brave New World. In the time span of one night, our American-focused lit plan was out the door and replaced by Dystopian literature. 

 

School has always been like that for us.  If I understand the concept correctly, the idea of schole means to me, giving up the idea of perfection, scaling back to the essentials and leaving room for meaningful discourse and the occasional deviation. It's flexibility with a purpose, but without getting blown off course. It's okay to change direction, but you still need to have a direction.

 

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School has always been like that for us.  If I understand the concept correctly, the idea of schole means to me, giving up the idea of perfection, scaling back to the essentials and leaving room for meaningful discourse and the occasional deviation. It's flexibility with a purpose, but without getting blown off course. It's okay to change direction, but you still need to have a direction.

 

 

Thanks for mentioning this. It is along the lines of something I have been thinking about lately...

 

In a magazine article written several years ago, designer Rachel Ashwell (Shabby Chic) was quoted as saying:

 

    I have never cared for matching pieces, clutter or frills; but now more than ever, I believe less is more.

    A spare look allows special pieces to take center stage.  I don't look for perfection in my home. What I am after is a feeling.

 

In many ways, I think this sums up my thoughts about CM and schole. I'm not looking for perfection in implementation. I don't really care anymore exactly how CM did things or what she would do now if she were alive. It doesn't matter. What I want to know is what her writings have to offer me. What can I dust off and still use, even though it has imperfections that come with age and is not quite aligned with today's tastes or standards...  What still holds value after so many years?

 

Maybe my approach is... Shabby Schole. No perfection needed. Strict adherence not required. 

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I think this sums up my thoughts about CM and schole. I'm not looking for perfection in implementation. I don't really care anymore exactly how CM did things or what she would do now if she were alive. It doesn't matter. What I want to know is what her writings have to offer me. What can I dust off and still use, even though it has imperfections that come with age and is not quite aligned with today's tastes or standards...  What still holds value after so many years?

 

Maybe my approach is... Shabby Schole. No perfection needed. Strict adherence not required. 

 

Well said!  :hurray:

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  • 6 months later...

I sort of feel like I fit here.

 

My high school is very relaxed, so much so, that I don't really want to post on this board. The only daily subjects my 15yo has are math, science and reading from his literature list. He is doing a very CM approach to literature and composition because he is just wired that way. Seriously, if I handed him a writing or lit. curriculum, it just wouldn't work (tried that). He is done school by noon every day because he is efficient and pretty focused.  :leaving: We are following his interests, getting the basics done plus electives that I feel are essential, he is a year ahead in math compared to what the public school kids around here are doing, and he has every afternoon to farm with Dad.

 

(I feel that I must caveat all of that with the fact that he is likely not headed to university, and will probably end up in the trades; however, he will still have all the requirements to get into the university or college program of his choice because I am not in the US and our college requirements are different. Plus, he is my oldest, so who knows, maybe I am just royally screwing him up.)

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My high school is very relaxed, so much so, that I don't really want to post on this board. 

 

Us, too.  I basically just let my teens choose what they want to study.  I think the reason I stay on here is that even by choosing what they study, my teens still read a lot of classic literature (we get book ideas mostly from TWTM and AO), dd15 studies Latin and I use WTM writing methods.  

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Somehow I missed this thread the first time around and had to google Schole' for the definition. 

 

I really wish there were more resources for this way of homeschooling...blogs, books or something.  Whenever I read Schole threads, I agree with pretty much everything people have to say!  So, whatever it is...Schole seems to be a good match for our homeschool, too.

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I've pulled Charlotte Mason's Home Education off the shelf again and am seeing it with new eyes. The subtitle is Training and educating children under nine.  I would argue that many of the concepts even in that volume are relevant until perhaps nineteen -- if not ninety. Note that I'm saying concepts --not details. 

 

Perhaps one advantage of rereading it during the teen years is feeling no obligation to follow the details because they were meant for young children. The spirit of the writing takes precedence. 

 

I hope to spend some time with both volume 1 and volume 6 in the upcoming days. I also hope to revisit some ideas mentioned in this thread.

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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Charlotte Mason's first principle. 

 

Children are born persons. 

 

Not college applicants, not scholarship material.  

 

So many times I've heard (or said), "Oh my teen does xyz because they want to. Not because of college applications!" I've been revisiting this a lot lately. Is it wrong to do something just to jump hoops to get to where one wants to go? At what cost? Where's the line? Obviously there is no one right answer. I've just realized lately that sometimes things get really murky when the stakes are high.

 

So much is going on during the teenage years. So much growth in so many areas. Children are born persons and continue to be persons even when they morph into teens. 

 

Who are they now and how is the life they are living affecting who they will become? Are classes and activities stifling them or setting them free?

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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Charlotte Mason's second principle:

 

They are not born either good or bad, but with possibilities for good and evil.

 

The strong interplay between nature and nurture remains important, even in the high school years. We cannot control, but we can sometimes guide. We cannot force, but we can sometimes lead. Sometimes even aloof teens are watching how we live our lives (and are quick to note when it differs from the words we say or what we are asking of them). 

 

The teen years often involve experimentation and strong emotions. Unfortunately, they are also often the years when mental illness starts to show. It can be tricky to distinguish between the two. Being open to both the good and bad in our teens allows us to fully see who they are and to more adequately help them as they continue on their developmental journeys.

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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Good thread.  :thumbup1:

 

I have nothing of value to add right now, with children yodeling in my ears, but I appreciate the thoughts of others.

 

Maybe when the noise level dies down, I can think and type at the same time.

 

Or maybe not...;)

 

 

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Good thread.  :thumbup1:

 

I have nothing of value to add right now, with children yodeling in my ears, but I appreciate the thoughts of others.

 

Maybe when the noise level dies down, I can think and type at the same time.

 

Or maybe not... ;)

 

Looking forward to your thoughts when things quiet down to a more tolerable level.  ;)

 

Any thoughts, experiences, or musings on CM or Scholé in the high school years are welcome! 

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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My younger daughter is a 9th grader this year. Last year was not a great year for us academically. She was a bit over-scheduled and we had other outside appointments/activities going on along with it. I wish I could have a redo of last year. :( 

 

So, this year I'm feeling behind. I know I need to let go of this and just work with where we are. It means cutting some things out, which neither she nor I like to do, but there you have it. :) She's also my STEM girl, so I feel the struggle between checking boxes and putting heavy math and science in front of her along with all of the very tempting and appealing humanities that go so well with a CM/Schole education. She's also my I-want-to-do-everything girl, so it's hard for her to deal with the idea that she literally can't do everything. :)

 

My overall goals for this year include: staying better focused and consistent in general, pushing harder in math, bringing grammar and writing up, staying on-track with science and foreign languages and hoping for the best with the rest. :)

 

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My younger daughter is a 9th grader this year. Last year was not a great year for us academically. She was a bit over-scheduled and we had other outside appointments/activities going on along with it. I wish I could have a redo of last year. :(

 

So, this year I'm feeling behind. I know I need to let go of this and just work with where we are. It means cutting some things out, which neither she nor I like to do, but there you have it. :) She's also my STEM girl, so I feel the struggle between checking boxes and putting heavy math and science in front of her along with all of the very tempting and appealing humanities that go so well with a CM/Schole education. She's also my I-want-to-do-everything girl, so it's hard for her to deal with the idea that she literally can't do everything. :)

 

My overall goals for this year include: staying better focused and consistent in general, pushing harder in math, bringing grammar and writing up, staying on-track with science and foreign languages and hoping for the best with the rest. :)

 

If I could have a redo, it would be 9th grade too. I can relate to much of the rest of your post as well. Box checking and scholé are far from fast friends...

 

My overall goals for the year:

 

Decide which boxes are worth checking

Make health as high a priority as schoolwork

Provide a home life and environment that encourage scholé

Nix the nagging and lead by example

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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I wish we could start over and we're only six weeks into the year! My goals are to

 

Try and relax and put some fun back into our lessons, in my quest to get things done, I've managed to remove a lot of the good things.

 

Be excited and rejoice when I see progress! Point out what he's doing right more than what he's not getting right.

Edited by mama25angels
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I think my goal is to trust my plans and not panic or start looking at other things when things get difficult. What I've planned for my son is what will work best for *him* so I need to just relax, watch his progress and not micro-manage.

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I wish we could start over and we're only six weeks into the year! My goals are to

 

Try and relax and put some fun back into our lessons, in my quest to get things done, I've managed to remove a lot of the good things.

 

Be excited and rejoice when I see progress! Point out what he's doing right more than what he's not getting right.

 

Realizing there needs to be a change 6 weeks into the year is much better than realizing it 6 months into the year! 

 

A great reminder about pointing out the good. It's so easy to overlook the good and focus on the bad.

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I think my goal is to trust my plans and not panic or start looking at other things when things get difficult. What I've planned for my son is what will work best for *him* so I need to just relax, watch his progress and not micro-manage.

 

Yes!  I had a moment (hours) of panic last week and had to talk myself through why we made the choices we did for the year. Growth isn't easy. Difficult times should be expected, but sometimes that's easy to forget and the panic sets in. 

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I think my goal is to trust my plans and not panic or start looking at other things when things get difficult. What I've planned for my son is what will work best for *him* so I need to just relax, watch his progress and not micro-manage.

Exactly. Me too!

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Realizing there needs to be a change 6 weeks into the year is much better than realizing it 6 months into the year!

 

A great reminder about pointing out the good. It's so easy to overlook the good and focus on the bad.

Thank you, this week has been particularly hard because he failed two tests. I've made some changes and I'm hoping they work.

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I've thought a lot about this thread/this concept over the last couple years because we try to be a Schole school. We are currently in year three of high school with our first high-schooler and it's been a lot of learning on the job. Let's see if I can put thoughts into words . . .

 

I think the biggest barrier to schole for me has been being intimidated by college entrance and its expenses. We had to have all these credits and we had to have these high scores. AP and dual-credit. Attention-getting extra-curriculars. PSAT and SAT and ACT; make sure you prepare! Oh, and there's tons of scholarships out there, if you just do the research to find them, and then write the necessary essays or whatever. High school can QUICKLY become a form of "teaching to the test" rather than teaching for life, and that just grates on my schole sensibilities. Not to mention I have younger students to whom I need to devote most of my teaching/parenting time. I just do not have the time to co-learn with my high-schooler. (Though I hope to when the youngers get to this age.)

 

Sometimes, when I would get overwhelmed, I liked to dream about how high school could be with college completely out of the picture. Deep down I wondered if that was the way it really should be. But I was too afraid of messing things up. This was my firstborn, and a college degree was a must to be hire-able in his field of interest. 

 

But I feel like I'm far enough in that I'm able to look back and assess a bit. 

 

Successes:

Outsourcing a bit, but not too much

Scheduling in down time, but not too much :D

Making DS use a student planner

Requiring time/exercise outdoors on a daily basis

Requiring a commonplace book

Taking the PSAT for practice-- and no prep pressure

Making sufficient sleep a priority

Requiring that DS read to his siblings on a daily basis

Getting DS involved in CAP, ballroom dancing

Allowing DS to select a few courses (this is where I long to do way more)

Making DS re-take algebra 2

 

Regrets:

Two years of foreign language - yes, I know this is "required" at many schools but I still feel it was a lot of wasted time, money, and energy that could have been used better elsewhere

A classical rhetoric course. I should have kept it simple and kept to a writing/lit combo.

Not reading aloud to my high-schooler. I bought some Father Brown to do together, and it's still largely unread. :(

Not watching some Great Courses together. We are doing one this year.

Not outsourcing geometry. The proofs still need to be graded.  :leaving:

Worrying too much about "what everyone else is doing."

 

I'm on the fence about enrolling DS in a college DE class. It felt like we were doing way less than a lot of people with only one class in 11th grade but whew! It's tough for him. I'm hoping he'll pass but he's certainly not getting straight A's. I'm wondering if I should have him take pre-calc again (not for college credit, just for skill level) since he'll be done by Christmas. (Any opinions on this?)

 

I'm beginning to feel like one key for high school schole is that we should go for a slow burn. Part of this has been my own experience with my smart, but not gifted, high-schooler, and what has worked educationally. Right now I just think it's better to teach him right where he's at, and work hard, and get good grades, than to put him into DE and AP where true learning suffers and stress rises.

 

The other part has been from dipping my toe into the college world (college visits and the DE class). I've always been a bit perplexed when I hear homeschoolers talk about how bad the public school system is, and then out of the other side of their mouth they are wringing their hands about the competition of college admissions and scholarships. Well, which is it?

 

We've also been to a few college visits now, some "top-tier" schools for my DS's field of interest. I was talking to an admissions officer at Embry-Riddle, worrying about what courses DS should take and what the grades should look like, and she just smiled a little and said, "You'll have no problem getting in." 

 

What? Then why am I beating myself up about this?  :laugh:

 

I do NOT want to make it sound like I think high school should be easy and relaxing. I think young adults (boys?  :lol: ) should be working hard. The question is on what. Math should be one, but I will probably plan on fewer credits with my next high schooler. 

 

I know the question of scholarships remains. But a lot of academic performance depends on motivation. And I don't know about you guys, but my high-school male is just not overflowing with motivation, despite the occasional "your-grades-will save-you-money" lecture. I know that some of parenting is providing external motivation when our kids don't have it, but at some point you have to let them start taking ownership, or relationships will suffer. It's his life, his education, his tuition bills. You can't have schole when you are a slave driver standing over them! 

 

Maybe with my next student I will be braver, and we will just do math and write, and read and follow interests. Not sure how that would look on a transcript, but I'd have a lot more time to work on it!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Birchbark, 

Yes!  So much Yes!  My oldest ended up finishing highschool at a private school, but you express so much of our experience as well - foreign language issues, motivation and relationship balancing, how we compare to public school or other college applicants, etc.   

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Birchbark, 

 

Thanks so much for your post! You have some real gems in there!  

 

 

Birchbark quotes:

--I've always been a bit perplexed when I hear homeschoolers talk about how bad the public school system is, and then out of the other side of their mouth they are wringing their hands about the competition of college admissions and scholarships. Well, which is it?

 

--What? Then why am I beating myself up about this?   :laugh:

 

--You can't have schole when you are a slave driver standing over them!

 

You've given me lots to think about...successes, regrets, etc...

 

Thanks!

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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The other part has been from dipping my toe into the college world (college visits and the DE class). I've always been a bit perplexed when I hear homeschoolers talk about how bad the public school system is, and then out of the other side of their mouth they are wringing their hands about the competition of college admissions and scholarships. Well, which is it?

....

I know the question of scholarships remains. But a lot of academic performance depends on motivation. And I don't know about you guys, but my high-school male is just not overflowing with motivation, despite the occasional "your-grades-will save-you-money" lecture. I know that some of parenting is providing external motivation when our kids don't have it, but at some point you have to let them start taking ownership, or relationships will suffer. It's his life, his education, his tuition bills. You can't have schole when you are a slave driver standing over them!

 

I think your post answers your own question. Why stress? Bc unless your ds has significant investments in his name that will be funding college, the bolded is an unrealistic scenario. Tuition alone at Embry Riddle is about $35,000/yr. He can take out $5500 in loans in his name. The other $30,000 per yr (plus an additional $12,000+ for room, board, books/yr) has to come from somewhere. Cosigners? Grants (if your income qualifies)? Scholarships?

 

Competition for some scholarships is much stiffer than admissions. If $$ matters, how high school plays out matters.

 

Does it take APs and DE? That is a matter of opinion. I have had kids do it both ways. But my Dd who followed her interests and took courses we designed around those areas and did not take APs or enroll in a DE class prior to college applications was very competitive for scholarships.

 

Fwiw, I am not a slave driver over my kids. They have to be internally motivated and achieve competitive status bc that is what they want to do. If they don't, their option is to live at home and commute to the local 4 yr university.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I'm beginning to feel like one key for high school schole is that we should go for a slow burn.

 

<snip>

 

I do NOT want to make it sound like I think high school should be easy and relaxing. I think young adults (boys?  :lol: ) should be working hard. The question is on what. Math should be one, but I will probably plan on fewer credits with my next high schooler. 

 

I like the concept of slow burn. I often think of yoga and finding the edge. Any less would not be enough, any more would be too much.

 

Finding that edge can be dangerous, though, as there is always the risk of slipping off the edge and falling...   I planned way too much for 9th grade. Way too many credits with lots and lots of extra-curricular activities. Commute time? Perfect for another credit using Great Courses lectures!! 

 

Fast forward a couple of years...

 

Fewer credits -- although more this year than we ended up dropping to in 9th and 10 grade. Commuting time is for meditation, quiet contemplation, talking or listening to noise  music of the teen's choosing...  We sometimes listen to NPR or a lecture (not for credit, just for fun/out of interest), but most often we talk.

 

During a recent commute, my teen asked me to stop my line of questioning about school because I was ruining one of her favorite parts of the day -- just thinking and talking with me about life. There had already been hours of school work in the am, she was headed to hours of intellectual/physical "work" (albeit unpaid), and there would be at least a couple more hours of school work when she got home much later that evening. In the quiet lull, her words sunk in as she stared out the window. A realization came. This, to me, is scholé. This life of solid academics, time both working and playing in nature, hours of deep conversation each day with people from many different walks of life, all with different worldviews and life experiences...

 

In such moments, somehow the number of credits seems a bit of an afterthought. Perhaps this is why:

 

Like birchbark, I don't want to give the impression that high school should be easy and relaxing. I suspect many of the scholé talks, lectures, and discussions are actually geared toward those who are already doing the dirty work -- the umpteen credits, the dizzying number of extra-curriculars, the mind-numbing hours of study. The concept of rest is for those who are becoming stressed and exhausted. How can we arrange our lives so there is truth, beauty, and wisdom in all this madness? At some point it seems prudent to say Physical and mental health first. This much and no more. The potential to miss the forest for the trees is enormous. If the price of admission and scholarships to a certain school comes at a cost to truth, beauty, and wisdom... that's one less school on our list.

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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I like the concept of slow burn. I often think of yoga and finding the edge. Any less would not be enough, any more would be too much.

 

Finding that edge can be dangerous, though, as there is always the risk of slipping off the edge and falling... I planned way too much for 9th grade. Way too many credits with lots and lots of extra-curricular activities. Commute time? Perfect for another credit using Great Courses lectures!!

 

Fast forward a couple of years...

 

Fewer credits -- although more this year than we ended up dropping to in 9th and 10 grade. Commuting time is for meditation, quiet contemplation, talking or listening to noise music of the teen's choosing... We sometimes listen to NPR or a lecture (not for credit, just for fun/out of interest), but most often we talk. During a recent commute, my teen asked me to stop my line of questioning about school because I was ruining one of her favorite parts of the day -- just thinking and talking with me about life.

 

There had already been hours of school work in the am, she was headed to hours of intellectual/physical "work" (albeit unpaid), and there would be at least a couple more hours of school work when she got home much later that evening. In the quiet lull, her words sunk in as she stared out the window. A realization came. This, to me, is scholé. This life of solid academics, time both working and playing in nature, hours of deep conversation each day with people from many different walks of life, all with different worldviews and life experiences...

 

In such moments, somehow the number of credits seems a bit of an afterthought. Perhaps this is why:

 

Like birchbark, I don't want to give the impression that high school should be easy and relaxing. I suspect many of the scholé talks, lectures, and discussions are actually geared toward those who are already doing the dirty work -- the umpteen credits, the dizzying number of extra-curriculars, the mind-numbing hours of study. The concept of rest is for those who are becoming stressed and exhausted. How can we arrange our lives so there is truth, beauty, and wisdom in all this madness? At some point it seems prudent to say Physical and mental health first. This much and no more. The potential to miss the forest for the trees is enormous. If the price of admission and scholarships to a certain school comes at a cost to truth, beauty, and wisdom... that's one less school on our list.

I like your example of your Dd and your conversations in the car. That is a perfect example of letting our kids establish boundaries for themselves.

 

I think an important piece to this conversation is what motivates our kids and how they respond to different choices. Personality can be a big influence on how they function. Within our family my kids are all very different from each other. What might be overwhelming for one person might energize another. (For example, being around a large group of people energizes my extrovert but exhausts my introvert.) Some kids thrive on challenge and constant go-go-go; others need and crave quiet alone time and shut down when faced by challenges.

 

We do make sure our kids know how their personal choices will impact their futures. If my introvert does not want to put herself out there in any type of out-of-her-comfort-zone activities, then she needs to be aware that means she will not be competitive for scholarships and will most likely be living at home and attending directional U. If my introvert rebels at the thought of the directional U and only has eyes for a different school, she needs to accept that she is going to have to engage in a way that doesn't necessarily come naturally to her. She has to make the decision bc we aren't going to make it for her, but there are very real world consequences for those choices.

 

The same is true for academics. Kids can either push themselves to high levels of achievement or go for more avg levels of achievement. Push to the top means our kids have more options. Don't means they don't.

 

That is life. We teach from the time they start making decisions that life is a myriad of paths formed by choices. They know their choices will impact their futures. So yes, they have to take ownership over the fact that it is their future, but as parents we need to make sure that they fully understand what those choices mean. (It can mean that have to intervene and not leave them totally to their own inclinations. For example, we may need to tell them they need to rest more. It doesn't have to mean to engage more. My 2 current college kids needed to be told they needed more down time. My current high school student has to be forced to go out of her comfort zone at least sometimes bc she would never engage otherwise. Both extremes are unhealthy. That is where we step in and over-ride their personal choices. But, in our family, the not wanting to engage personality is at an automatic disadvantage financially bc it is less competitive for scholarships. She recognizes it and she has to make choices based on that awareness.)

 

If families have more financial support to offer, there might be less external pressure influencing student choices. If students are pushing for competitive schools, the external pressures might be greater, just different motivators, etc. But, you cannot really ignore the truths that influence outcomes.

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 I've always been a bit perplexed when I hear homeschoolers talk about how bad the public school system is, and then out of the other side of their mouth they are wringing their hands about the competition of college admissions and scholarships. Well, which is it?

 

Both. The two are not mutually exclusive.

1. You can live in an area with bad schools and no school choices, and have to compete with students who have better schools available. In my small rural town, there is one public high school. The closest alternative for a magnet school or private school is 100 miles away. I know that my kids could have gotten better public schooling had we lived in different location. There are excellent public schools, but they are not available to us.

 

2. I can be dissatisfied with the caliber of the average US school overall, and regret that so much time in college has to be devoted to teaching at a level that could easily be covered in high school.  The College Physics class I teach at our STEM uni is about the level of the 10th grade physics course I took as a child. I can bemoan the abysmal quality of foreign language instruction that makes college level foreign languages start where 6th graders elsewhere start when they learn their second foreign language. 

None of this means that these students are not competing for admission and/or scholarships.

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If you and/or your teen keep a commonplace book or something similar, how does it work in your home? Is it assigned? Do you have a set time to work on it? Do you require an entry a day or some other frequency, or are entries in it completely voluntary? (If it's voluntary, does it actually happen?)

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I keep a commonplace book-- for me. Whatever strikes my fancy goes in.  It's just an old notebook, nothing fancy.

 

My oldest kept one last year as he worked through some lit from ancients and medieval times ;I didn't  dare call it a commonplace book, it was his reading log. ;)   I told him to write down 2 or 3 things each week that caught his fancy, such as a good description, nice phrasing, or even just something that sounded good to his ears.

 

He put a lot of Homer in that book.

 

I resisted the urge to turn it into literary analysis.  :)    I think that would have killed it for him.

 

Sadly, he is not keeping one this year; but he is willing to talk about his lit more, so I think the commonplace book last year helped him be more aware of the *art* of writing.

Edited by Zoo Keeper
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If you and/or your teen keep a commonplace book or something similar, how does it work in your home? Is it assigned? Do you have a set time to work on it? Do you require an entry a day or some other frequency, or are entries in it completely voluntary? (If it's voluntary, does it actually happen?)

My Dd started a commonplace book in7th grade. She has filled several. It is totally free-reign, never assigned. She loves a couple of her books so much that a few weeks ago she contacted me and asked if I could send one specific one to her at school. Hers are works of art with calligraphy and drawings and annotated with her thoughts.

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WMA, it is so interesting to see what I wrote a couple of years ago!  

 

We are really struggling over here this year with a calm environment designed for learning.  DS has made an about face in March, and decided that he would apply to American universities as an American citizen, this entailed meeting all the requirements in a very condensed period.  Our peaceful, learning environment has required a switch to a strong testing element (SAT, SAT essay, SAT subject tests, university applications) that we never expected to have to do and were not prepared for.  This in addition to Government, economics, biology, and mandarin 4, which were not required for NZ but are now required for America. In addition, our somewhat unschooling approach has created a massive headache for me when preparing the school/counselor materials.  I've never kept particularly amazing records or really thought too hard about american-style classes as ds had already achieved NZ university entrance through his exam marks. This has led to some serious soul searching as to what constitutes a class, what is 'honors', what is an external requirement by national exams vs what he has done because he wanted to.  I have really struggled to create structure to a somewhat amorphous learning experience.  In the end, we both feel good about what he has accomplished, but the last 5 months have been about hoop jumping, not learning, and it has not been pleasant.  I am really glad that I did not spend 4 years doing this!  We will see soon if he is able to get in to where he wants.  And he is aiming at the top, so he may have overshot what is possible. 

 

What I am finding is that looking at my next boy and wondering if he wants to follow his brother to America has caused me to think about testing, classes, structure, and hoop jumping. And I am not much liking where my planning is leading me.  I don't want my younger boy to spend all of high school hoop jumping just because of the disaster that his older bother encountered by making the decision in March of his Junior year. Seems unfair, but yet my mind can't help going in the direction of more organization, more box ticking, etc.  sigh.  It is never easy. Not when you don't know or when you do know.  I think there is just too much pressure on a homeschool mom.

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