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The English Credit/Great Books/Integrating history & lit

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I know this has been discussed before, so if anyone can direct me to a thread where it has been hashed out, that would be most welcome.

 

I have 9th grade (yikes!) mostly planned, in concept:

Geometry

Biology

Integrated Health & Fitness (OM)

Spanish 2

 

But I'm not exactly sure how to manage credits for English and History.  What I have planned feels like 3 distinct things, although each might not be a whole credit:

English: Rhetoric & Composition

English: Ancient Literature

Ancient History

 

Or, it could be 2 things, which is actually how many credits worth of work I want to do:

Great Books - Ancient History & Literature - more than one credit's worth of work?

English: Rhetoric & Composition - less than one credit's worth of work?

 

How have people handled Great Books study, integrating English Lit and History?  On the transcript?  In practice? Do you count hours and then figure it out at the end? Do they spend equal amounts of time in the "english" and "history" pieces? Do you separate out the composition/rhetoric piece, or is it built in?

 

I'd love to read how different people have handled this, both how you've actually done it, and how you have transcripted it.

 

ETA:  I should mention that creative writing is my dd's passion, so she will be doing that on her own time for sure, and it could easily be counted as an elective credit or packaged up with other writing stuff into a full English/Writing credit.  I was trying to keep it down to 6 credits, though, to leave plenty of time for extracurricular writing and the other time consuming activities in which dd participates - theater and horseback riding.

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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Great question, Rose!  Definitely listening in.  :lurk5:

 

 

(And can I say that I share your faith in the ladies of this board. "I'm sure it's here somewhere..."  :tongue_smilie: )

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We did integrated Great Books and history (for Ancients in 9th and for Medieval+Renaissance in 10th grade)

Each year, I kept track that we spent enough hours to warrant two credits, gave one credit each for English and history, and explained details in the course descriptions. (Actually, with DD I tracked hours; with DS I had a pretty good idea how much material can be covered within one credit)

 

ETA: As for spending "equal amounts": I found it impossible to say which activity belonged to English and which to history, because the overlap is so great, so I decided not to bother. That's why it is an integrated course, and not two separate courses aligned side by side.

Edited by regentrude
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We did integrated Great Books and history (for Ancients in 9th and for Medieval+Renaissance in 10th grade)

Each year, I kept track that we spent enough hours to warrant two credits, gave one credit each for English and history, and explained details in the course descriptions. (Actually, with DD I tracked hours; with DS I had a pretty good idea how much material can be covered within one credit)

 

ETA: As for spending "equal amounts": I found it impossible to say which activity belonged to English and which to history, because the overlap is so great, so I decided not to bother. That's why it is an integrated course, and not two separate courses aligned side by side.

 

Thanks, regentrude. Did you do writing incorporated into the Great Books course, or did you do anything separate for writing?

 

I want to do rhetoric-style study as described by SWB, but the actual compositions assigned will be from lit & history.  I know what I want to use for rhetoric, but again, I have a hard time getting my mind around where that fits on the transcript. I'm not sure whether that needs to be called out separately, or whether it all gets wrapped up into a 2-credit Great Books study.

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We did integrated Great Books and history (for Ancients in 9th and for Medieval+Renaissance in 10th grade)

Each year, I kept track that we spent enough hours to warrant two credits, gave one credit each for English and history, and explained details in the course descriptions. (Actually, with DD I tracked hours; with DS I had a pretty good idea how much material can be covered within one credit)

 

ETA: As for spending "equal amounts": I found it impossible to say which activity belonged to English and which to history, because the overlap is so great, so I decided not to bother. That's why it is an integrated course, and not two separate courses aligned side by side.

I did it the same way as Regentrude. It never came up for either of my two college kids nor my high school senior who has had several acceptances already. I listed it as English I-IV, and since colleges expected to see World History and American History listed separately, I did that as well. I did not track the hours. My kids worked very hard in these courses and covered a LOT of ground, much more ground than my local PS has ever covered, so I didn't worry about the nitty-gritty. I gave a summary of our approach to history and literature in the course descriptions, and attached a curriculum and reading list. I've never been questioned about it nor been given any indication that it was a "ding" against their applications.

 

Also with so many international students, and the Great Books approach being more common in Europe, my guess is that colleges are not entirely unaccustomed to integrative coursework.

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Thanks, regentrude. Did you do writing incorporated into the Great Books course, or did you do anything separate for writing?

 

Yes, we incorporated writing into the course.

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I know this has been discussed before, so if anyone can direct me to a thread where it has been hashed out, that would be most welcome.

 

I have 9th grade (yikes!) mostly planned, in concept:

Geometry

Biology

Integrated Health & Fitness (OM)

Spanish 2

 

But I'm not exactly sure how to manage credits for English and History.  What I have planned feels like 3 distinct things, although each might not be a whole credit:

English: Rhetoric & Composition

English: Ancient Literature

Ancient History

 

Or, it could be 2 things, which is actually how many credits worth of work I want to do:

Great Books - Ancient History & Literature - more than one credit's worth of work?

English: Rhetoric & Composition - less than one credit's worth of work?

 

How have people handled Great Books study, integrating English Lit and History?  On the transcript?  In practice?

 

We're in the middle of this now, and I'm planning to have it as three credits as that's the way it feels to me and the amount of work involved as I think all three areas are important for him, at least in 9th grade.  If it evolves differently, or ends up taking much less time than it looks now, we may modify things.  I'm also planning on the transcript showing the literature and history as individual courses but making clear that they're coordinated.  We read the literature roughly as the history is covered, but the skills we're striving to develop and enhance are somewhat distinct.  Schools often coordinate things like having American (U.S.) History and American (U.S.) Literature courses offered the same year and enter them separately. Our literature and history are closely connected, but our "rhetoric & composition" isn't particularly connected to the lit. and history; also, in our case, I think we're reading and analyzing  literature to an extent worthy of a separate course.  I don't think there's just one right way to do it.

 

 

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We're in the middle of this now, and I'm planning to have it as three credits as that's the way it feels to me and the amount of work involved as I think all three areas are important for him, at least in 9th grade.  If it evolves differently, or ends up taking much less time than it looks now, we may modify things.  I'm also planning on the transcript showing the literature and history as individual courses but making clear that they're coordinated.  We read the literature roughly as the history is covered, but the skills we're striving to develop and enhance are somewhat distinct.  Schools often coordinate things like having American (U.S.) History and American (U.S.) Literature courses offered the same year and enter them separately. Our literature and history are closely connected, but our "rhetoric & composition" isn't particularly connected to the lit. and history; also, in our case, I think we're reading and analyzing  literature to an extent worthy of a separate course.  I don't think there's just one right way to do it.

 

 

 

I agree! There are lots of ways to do it, and I like to see the approaches different people take.  I agree that I feel like our Rhetoric  & Comp course - particularly the Rhetoric part - isn't really tied to history and lit, it feels like a separate study, although topics for compositions will often come from our studies.  That's why I considered doing it separately - a 2-credit Great Books course (or split up on the transcript between World History and World Lit) and a separate Rhetoric & Comp course. But, it feels like too much.  So then I flirted with having a writing course that is half Rhetoric and half creative writing, which is probably more how the time will shake out.  So:

 

World History - 1 credit

World LIt - 1 credit

English: Rhetoric & Composition - (1 semester/1/2 credit)

English: Creative Writing -(1 semester/1/2 credit)

 

With math, science, spanish, and IHF, that makes 7 credits. Is that too many?

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All of our literature is not coordinated with history, so keep that in mind when you read what I have done.

 

We have to count hours.  90 hours = 0.5 credit

We keep track of everything we do, and hours are kept to the 0.25 hour.  It might sound tedious, but it isn't once the system is up and running. And I love the running record of what actually got done.

 

If DS spends 1.5 hours writing a history paper, we can divide that time between History and Composition. The split doesn't have to be 50/50 - we just can't double dip.

 

At first, I didn't like counting hours much, but I have grown to love it. It is hard to argue with the clock. :tongue_smilie:

We also have course objectives to meet, so just clocking hours without making progress doesn't cut it.

 

ETA:  DS has seven credits.

 

 

 

Edited by Penguin
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With math, science, spanish, and IHF, that makes 7 credits. Is that too many?

 

I don't know your DC nor the particulars of the classes, so take this with a big caveat, but it doesn't strike me as too much.  If, for example, the IHF and creative writer, for example, are pleasant diversions, that makes it easier.  As a backup, you could make one a half credit if you're having a hard time completing it or going a bit into the summer.  On the other hand, it's harder to add something well into the year if you're already pretty booked.  My 2c.  It will probably all be pretty clear as the year goes on.

 

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I don't know your DC nor the particulars of the classes, so take this with a big caveat, but it doesn't strike me as too much.  If, for example, the IHF and creative writer, for example, are pleasant diversions, that makes it easier.  As a backup, you could make one a half credit if you're having a hard time completing it or going a bit into the summer.  On the other hand, it's harder to add something well into the year if you're already pretty booked.  My 2c.  It will probably all be pretty clear as the year goes on.

 

 

Thanks for the input. You are right about creative writing, it's something she will do anyway and certainly doesn't have to be a credit, even. IHF I plan to start early, maybe even this spring/summer, so that won't take the full year to complete.  The big unknown is theater - if she is cast in major productions, that can have a big impact on time, free and otherwise. She really wants to take a Theater class at the CC in spring semester (right after she has turned 14), so I'd like to have the option of a 1/2 credit class in the Fall, possibly, freeing up time in the spring if she does decide to do the DE theater class.

 

Right now in 8th, she has what I would consider 5 credits worth of work, and that feels like the right amount, leaving plenty of time for creative writing time (she's writing a fantasy novel), horseback riding (she's at the stable 2 afternoons a week for a total of 6 hours a week), and theater (bouts of frenetic activity, 6-20 hours per week, followed by weeks completely off). Adding two more full credits feels like it would really eat into her personal creative time, which I'm trying to avoid as much as possible, while still creating a solid, college prep high school education (and college acceptance worthy transcript!)

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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Right now in 8th, she has what I would consider 5 credits worth of work, and that feels like the right amount, leaving plenty of time for creative writing time (she's writing a fantasy novel), horseback riding (she's at the stable 2 days/6 hours a week), and theater (bouts of frenetic activity, 6-20 hours per week, followed by weeks completely off). Adding two more full credits feels like it would really eat into her personal creative time, which I'm trying to avoid as much as possible, while still creating a solid, college prep high school education (and college acceptance worthy transcript!)

 

Just because I'm sorting out some of the same issues myself and am trying to gain perspective...

 

Do you mean 2 days a week for 6 hours each day or 2 days totaling 6 hours a week? 

 

Thanks!

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Just because I'm sorting out some of the same issues myself and am trying to gain perspective...

 

Do you mean 2 days a week for 6 hours each day or 2 days totaling 6 hours a week? 

 

Thanks!

 

 

The latter - 2 afternoons a week, 3 hours per afternoon, 6 hours total.

 

Plus weekend shows, but those aren't super frequent.

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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The latter - 2 afternoons a week, 3 hours per afternoon, 6 hours total.

 

Plus weekend shows, but those aren't super frequent.

 

Just to be totally neurotic....

 

Do those times count driving? I'm trying to see if what we are doing is typical. You are apparently my standard of measurement... :lol:

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Just to be totally neurotic....

 

Do those times count driving? I'm trying to see if what we are doing is typical. You are apparently my standard of measurement... :lol:

 

:lol:   No, it doesn't, but as the stable is 5 minutes away from the house, it's a moot point.  I'd probably count driving time if it was significant and if we didn't get other things done (i.e. listening to audiobooks/lectures, discussing reading) on the drive.

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Just to be totally neurotic....

 

Do those times count driving? I'm trying to see if what we are doing is typical. You are apparently my standard of measurement... :lol:

 

just to give you another data point: in 9th and half of 10th grade, my DD was about 20 hours/week at the stable which is 10 miles out of town.

ETA: and my 11th grader spends 12 hours per week in various martial arts classes; this involves two weekly trips to the city which is 100 miles away, adding 8 car hours.

Edited by regentrude
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In reality ours looked like this.

Composition = .5

History = .5

Literature = 1

 

But the transcript shows one English and one world history credit. The literature essentially double-dipped.

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In reality ours looked like this.

Composition = .5

History = .5

Literature = 1

 

But the transcript shows one English and one world history credit. The literature essentially double-dipped.

 

As I plan more, I think that work-wise, it will end up in reality being:

 

World History - 1 credit

World Literature - 1 credit

Rhetoric .5 credit

 

With both the History & Literature components including writing papers.  The Rhetoric component focused more on the study of writing.

 

So typing it out just so I can see it:

Geometry - 1

Spanish 2 - 1

Biology - 1

World History - 1

World Literature - 1

Rhetoric - .5

Integrated Health & Fitness - 1 (this will be front-loaded to the summer & first semester)

Theater Arts - 1 (this will be a 1-semester DE course)

Extracurriculars: Creative Writing, Horseback Riding, Theater

 

 

So that comes to 7.5 credits, but one of those credits is a 1 semester college course.  We'll front load the other subjects and lighten up as needed when we add in that course.

 

How does that look?

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I have huge time management issues in this area, as well, and a prospective ninth grader, to boot. DD is at the barn three days a week for 4-5 hours at a pop, swims two hours a day several days a week, and I have seven credits scheduled for ninth grade English, history, Algebra II, Honors bio, Latin, French, and Equine Science. Something has to give and I suspect it will be the swimming, but I still am uncomfortable with seven credits.

 

The latter - 2 afternoons a week, 3 hours per afternoon, 6 hours total.

 

Plus weekend shows, but those aren't super frequent.

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So, Rose, you know I'm in the thick of this with a ninth grader right now. I will say that I knew I'd overscheduled & that I would probably have to drop something. We ended up dropping something for reasons not related to time, but, in retrospect, it ended up being for the best (although sad, unfortunate, and upsetting!). 

 

Based on what I know now, I would counsel going into 9th grade with LESS vs. MORE planned. For some kids, the adjustment to 'high school level' work across the board is nothing - just the next level up. For other kids, even though they've already been doing some (1-2 classes worth) high school level work, it is quite a bump in the road.

 

There is time to add more for 10th if 9th went well & Shannon has had time to figure out where all her creative time will fit in with horseback riding & theater. I wouldn't have listened last year, though, as I couldn't imagine dropping anything from what we had planned. It was all important, ya know? Just my $.02 from the 9th grade trenches.

 

Edited to add that I scheduled her for 7 credits + two 0.5 credit electives (fall/spring) taught by local moms. She's down to 6 + two 0.5 credit electives while she's still struggling with her time management & having enough free time for her, it is much better. It should have been six credits total, but she really enjoys seeing her friends every week at the outside class.

Edited by RootAnn
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So, Rose, you know I'm in the thick of this with a ninth grader right now. I will say that I knew I'd overscheduled & that I would probably have to drop something. We ended up dropping something for reasons not related to time, but, in retrospect, it ended up being for the best (although sad, unfortunate, and upsetting!). 

 

Based on what I know now, I would counsel going into 9th grade with LESS vs. MORE planned. For some kids, the adjustment to 'high school level' work across the board is nothing - just the next level up. For other kids, even though they've already been doing some (1-2 classes worth) high school level work, it is quite a bump in the road.

 

There is time to add more for 10th if 9th went well & Shannon has had time to figure out where all her creative time will fit in with horseback riding & theater. I wouldn't have listened last year, though, as I couldn't imagine dropping anything from what we had planned. It was all important, ya know? Just my $.02 from the 9th grade trenches.

 

Edited to add that I scheduled her for 7 credits + two 0.5 credit electives (fall/spring) taught by local moms. She's down to 6 + two 0.5 credit electives while she's still struggling with her time management & having enough free time for her, it is much better. It should have been six credits total, but she really enjoys seeing her friends every week at the outside class.

 

I think that's great advice and I appreciate hearing from the trenches!  I would certainly prefer to have it only 6 credit hours during the year, to be honest. Which we're close to, leaving aside the Theater Arts JC class which is really only half a year, though clearly will be very time-consuming (and a 7th credit).  If we limited Rhetoric to the Fall semester, and did IHF mostly over the summer before and after, I think that gives a reasonable workload in total, with a nice spread over time.  The extracurriculars are really the great unknowns in terms of time sinks, of course, so we'll have to play that by ear to some extent.

 

We don't have to decide about the Theater class now, of course. I think she'll probably have to make a choice between doing the class, and being in a production that semester. I don't think she can do both. So we'll just have to wait and see what the quality of acting opportunities are when we get closer to the decision point. If she's cast in something great, we have no problem with putting off the Theater class till another year.

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Pushing a credit or two to summer is the only way dd is going to be able to get a solid, but realistic number of credits. It will be at least 7 with some partial credits that she will work on over the years. 

 

If she tried to do them all during the traditional school year, she would need to drop some of her other activities, or we would need to lower academic expectations. Continuing to go year round allows her to do as much as possible in various aspects of her life. It's a better balance for her.

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Ok, I have to revisit this topic, because I still can't make it work out.  Leaving aside credits for the moment, and just looking at the content I want to cover:

 

English: Rhetoric & composition - 5 hours per week (minimum).  This is following SWB's description of how to do writing in high school - 2-3 hours of rhetoric study, plus weekly composition(s)

Great Books: Ancient Literature - 5 hours per week.  My list isn't that crazy - 2 epics, 5 plays, selections from Ovid, Hesiod, Plutarch, Plato, and The Arabian Nights.  That is 9 complete works and 3 partial.

Great Books: History - 5 hours per week. This is two TC courses and readings from one (slim) textbook plus some additional supplemental reading

 

I don't see how to cover that basic level of material without making it 3 credits.  If you have done Great Books (combined English/History) for just two credits, can you tell me what that looked like? How many works of literature did you study? how many papers did dc write? how much of a textbook, or how many TC courses did you do?  

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Just to assure myself that I'm not crazy, I'm perusing TWTM and here is what I see for high school:

Rhetoric - 3 hours per week

Grammar and writing skills - 3 hours or more per week

Great Books: History & Reading - 10 hours per week

 

That's 3 credits, and time spent straight from the venerable SWB's mouth to my ear, so it's not like I'm making this up out of thin air, right? I'd love to hear what other people have done here - specifically, in terms of how the time worked out, how many papers they wrote, etc.

 

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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Three credits because it is 16 hours? Can you use some of the work in history as the basis for writing and grammar, or is that a crazy amount of coordination?

 

Mostly responding to subscribe.

Edited by SusanC
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Three credits because it is 16 hours? Can you use some of the work in history as the basis for writing and grammar, or is that a crazy amount of coordination?

 

Mostly responding to subscribe.

 

Well, 5 hours a week for 36 weeks = 180 hours, which is a hefty credit. I'm planning 38 weeks just because that is how long it seems like it will take to get through the history, lit and science we want to do.  So that's what I'm going by to say it's 3 credits worth of work. If I'm not understanding that correctly, somebody tell me!

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Rose, here are some previous threads on how LA typically takes longer than a normal one credit course. (And I didn't even find the ones I was actually looking for! So, check back because I might add more as I find the one or two I'm specifically remembering.)

 

What is considered an English credit?

How to keep language arts from dominating your day? (middle school thread - but topical)

How many credits to count this as?

---------------

ETA:

Great Books & high school credits

Assigning credit for Great Books/English/History

10th Eng and great books transcript & credit questions

Literature- part of english credit or separate?

English Credit - Splitting Writing and Literature into 2 credits (You posted on this one! fairly recent)

English credit-what makes up one full credit?

9th grade subjects

What is an English credit?

 

A little off-topic, but perhaps something for your records?

Great Books on transcript

 

I addressed the 'credit' aspect of your question. There are two schools of thought on that:

1) Count everything LA as 1 credit no matter how much you do & how much time you spend. (So, you'd have 1 credit LA, 1 credit History)

2) Count by hours spent & award credit appropriately in 1/2 credit increments. (1 credit World Literature, 1 credit World History, 1 credit Rhetoric/Writing)

 

From a time aspect, it was pointed out repeatedly during these threads & others that LA typically takes more time than many other subjects and that a credit of LA is routinely 1 1/2 times what it might be for history, foreign language, or even math. Some people choose to make their Great Books reading heavy & cover their writing in Rhetoric. Others make their History reading-heavy & their LA reading-light with more writing. Some other people alternate years -- one is literature heavy & writing light with the next year switching.

 

I accidentally overscheduled LA when planning for dd#1 this year. Oops. I'm trying not to do it next year. But, since my kid is an average one (not motivated, accelerated, or over-achieving), I struggle with time-spent-on-schoolwork not overshadowing the rest of her life. 

Edited by RootAnn
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I agree! There are lots of ways to do it, and I like to see the approaches different people take.  I agree that I feel like our Rhetoric  & Comp course - particularly the Rhetoric part - isn't really tied to history and lit, it feels like a separate study, although topics for compositions will often come from our studies.  That's why I considered doing it separately - a 2-credit Great Books course (or split up on the transcript between World History and World Lit) and a separate Rhetoric & Comp course. But, it feels like too much.  So then I flirted with having a writing course that is half Rhetoric and half creative writing, which is probably more how the time will shake out.  So:

 

World History - 1 credit

World LIt - 1 credit

English: Rhetoric & Composition - (1 semester/1/2 credit)

English: Creative Writing -(1 semester/1/2 credit)

 

With math, science, spanish, and IHF, that makes 7 credits. Is that too many?

 

Forgive me, Rose, if this has already been addressed, but what does your final goal for high school look like?

 

For example, my expectations are:

 

4 years of math

4 years of science

4 years of English

4 years of a foreign language

4 years of social sciences (Economics and Government are mandatory as are two years of history)

1 Art and Music Appreciation credit

 

For us, that's already 21 credits. It doesn't leave much room for "electives" or "must-do's" that come up along the way.  I wouldn't add an additional 4 credits of English over the four years, if I understand you correctly. 

 

Huge amounts of work doesn't necessarily mean that you are providing a better education.  I count 1 credit per year-long course and even though the English classes I teach are fairly demanding and we do a lot, I've never given more than one credit for literature and writing combined, with one exception.  This year, I am teaching English 12 and I consider it advanced, but without as much work as an AP English class because he has done both of those. Literature comprises 75% of the course with writing (mostly college application essays and supplements) at 25%.  Sailor Dude is taking a semester-long Advanced Research Writing course through Lukeion, so ds will have one and a half credits for English. I only did it this way because I wanted ds to keep reading literature throughout the year.

 

When you start high school, you tend to think you can cover everything, but it takes a while (at least in our experience) to get a feel for how much your student can do as the work gets more demanding.  Make your basic classes do extra duty. Art can often be taught in conjunction with history and over four years.  While many might not agree, I am a huge fan of sticking to about six credits a year and doing them really well. We are over that this year and I am reminded of why six is a good plan as the courses get tougher.

 

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Ok, I hear you guys.  I'm cutting things down so that we just have 1 English credit and 1 History credit and incorporating Rhetoric study (just a couple of hours a week) into English.  Whew, that does feel much more doable!  

 

I do think that the formal study of rhetoric is incredibly valuable and important, particularly since I have a child who is an advanced writer, and who wants to be a writer.  Writing is one of those foundational, hill-to-die on skills for me.  I would much rather graduate a kid who can't describe the Krebs cycle or who doesn't know when the 100 Years War was fought than graduate a kid who can't write clearly, and well, in all of her college classes.  So I find the idea of formally studying writing, along with writing & revising compositions, to be non-negotiable.  This year we're working through the book Writing With a Thesis, going through one type of essay, discussing it, reading example essays, and then she writes an essay of that type on her own, using a topic of her choice. Sometimes that topic is related to books or movies we've studied, sometimes it is more of an opinion/response piece, and sometimes it is persuasive. But I've seen her ability to both think clearly and write clearly grow by leaps and bounds. We are going to go through another book in 9th (They Say/I Say).  But other than that, writing will be in English or History, and I've just cut some things (mostly from history) to make the Great Books study plus writing plus Rhetoric study all fit into 10 hours a week.

 

Thanks for all the comments and advice. It can be a little overwhelming. It really helps to read everyone's experience and suggestions.

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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