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Nontraditional Schedules in HS: assigning credits, grade level, counting hours, etc.


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If you follow some sort of a nontraditional schedule for high school, whether because you have a student taking DE classes, or who is very involved in an extracurricular, or who is accelerated, or if you school year round, or if you do 4-day weeks, or block scheduling, or unschool, or follow any other scheduling/credit assigning method that is outside of the 36 week/5 day a week school year schedule, I'd like to hear from you.

 

What is your unique schedule? Why did you choose it? How is it working for you?

 

How do you assign credits, assuming you may not be starting a class in the fall and finishing in the spring? Do you count hours and assign the credit when they are done? Or decide how much material constitutes a credit, and assign the credit when that material is completed?

 

Likewise with deciding grade levels: If your student is finishing the material for one "grade" at a different time than May/June, do you consider them in the next grade "early" (or "late")? Or does that really not matter for anything, other than PSAT/NMSF status?

 

I may come up with additional questions, but I could use some inspiration/experience in thinking outside the box for high school scheduling for my rising 9th grader.

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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I always mandated the amount of time my students need to spend on school; how they divided the time among subjects was their choice, and which of the selected materials for a self designed course they used was their choice as well. (Exception: daily math requirement for DS). We had to work around a lot of DE with DD, and around DE and work and sports with DS.

 

For some courses, there is a certain standard canon (textbook) and I award credit upon completion: math, science.

For self designed courses, I counted hours (with DD) and awarded credit when I was satisfied with the amount of work done: English, history. With DS, I have a better feeling for the amount of work per credit and no longer actually log hours; I just keep an eye on how much gets done.

 

I paid no attention to grade levels and don't see how that comes into play at high school. When my 13 y/o took her first college physics course, we decided to call that year "9th grade" because it seemed to indicate that she was doing at least high school level work.

Grade matters when you decide which year is Jr year for the PSAT, if the student has NM potential.

 

With math, we started the new book when the old one was finished. Sometimes DD worked on two math courses in parallel. Credit is listed in the school year when the course was completed - whether it was started in the previous year was irrelevant.

For other subjects, we simply stopped when we had accomplished enough.

Edited by regentrude
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I'm not thrilled with the direction things are going now.  I'd like to set a certain amount of time, but I also don't want to be too rigid about it.  I just don't know what is the best thing to do.  DS is fairly independent now.  I do sit down with him for certain subjects regularly.  Some I just touch base.  What he tends to do at this point though is touch base with me and then get to it when he wants to get to it.  That's often late at night.  I'm especially torn because this is how I operated myself.  I have been insisting he work on certain subjects during school time which at this point is basically anytime I'm sitting down working with his brother.  Another downer to this though is there is nowhere quiet and comfortable for him to go while I do that.  I'm thinking of getting another desk where he can do that. 

 

So I'm still thinking about this.

 

 

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Part of where I'm coming from with my question is grappling with a kind of mental shift that I think may come with high school - at least for us.  Let me start by saying that I don't have any interest in replicating traditional high school at home, but my goal is to prepare my student for success in college and give her the skills to be a lifelong learner. We would prefer to use primarily interest-led topics to fulfill those goals, while checking off the college entrance requirements while we are at it. 

 

The shift I'm sensing - and maybe I'm a slow learner! - is that it seems like in the lower grades, where you are pretty much working on every subject every day, or in roughly even blocks of time over the course of a week, you can keep track of days and when you get to your goal/required number - 180 or whatever - then you are done with that year's schoolwork.  Whether you choose to do the 180 days in 36 5-day weeks with a summer break, or more spread out, doesn't seem to matter; it seems pretty clear when things begin and end.

 

But I'm thinking that for high school the shift in attention is to credit hours.  And credit hours may be earned in lots of different ways - spread out across a year, bunched into semesters, or many other alternatives.  What regentrude describes for her dd's schedule appeals to me, tracking time spent for subjects and then assigning credit when a set amount of material is finished (for things like math and foreign language) or when a certain number of hours are reached (content subjects). I'm just trying to get my mind around how that all might work if you relax the day-as-unit way of thinking and go with the hours-as-unit kind of thinking.  It seems like it would add a lot of flexibility.

 

I don't want this followup post to narrow the responses people offer, I'm still interested in a broad range of stories and hearing about how others handle nontraditional high school schedules. I'm just thinking onscreen here, which is sometimes risky!

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We school year round now, we unschooled elem school, so I got used to mon traditional paperwork, lol.

 

For reporting to the school district, I put classes on our paperwork for whichever year most of it will be done in. If it's not quite completed, I list it anyways.

 

Anything started new over the summer goes on the next year report, usually. Sort of;)

 

For example, ds is finishing up geometry this month, then will be starting Alg 2. I put both on our plans for this year, but will give a grade for Geo this year, then a .5 credit of Alg 2 this year too, then another half credit & final grade next year, I think. That one is kind of throwing me.

 

He'll be doing Govt this summer, that will go on next year's transcript, even though it won't be done during the traditional academic year.

Our state treats the school year as July- June, & we always have full summers so I've always put all our summer work on the next year's paperwork, as technically, anything in July & August is part of the next year.

 

SAT subject tests are cramping my year round style though. Ds wants to take 2 in June this year, so he needs to be done those classes & prep for the tests by then. (He could take them in the fall, but may take regular sats then, which would interfere).

 

We did some 1 semester classes this year too- I listed them either first or second semester for .5 credit.

 

Some things I'll likely re arrange on transcripts differently than How I reported them to our district as we went along- perhaps by subject rather than year. Specifically for electives, some I've changed my mind of how I want them listed & described for colleges after doing our district paperwork.

Only a few colleges I've seen ask for our actual school district paperwork and our transcripts (sigh, NY). He may not apply to those.

 

Grade levels, I don't worry about. When he finishes a class, he's done & starts the next one. For the most part.

We are going to take a summer break this year, but still do math (he decided to double up to do 3 courses in 2 years), & French (we never get to that during the year), & Govt (prep for elections)

 

We started this schedule because we Foster / adopt & sometimes get busy with babies or long hospitalizations for our medical kiddo & school gets off track. Not really for high school anymore as he now does almost all of his work independently or its outsourced, but when younger, for sure. We added new electives this year mid year when we found some cool TTC courses to build unplanned classes around.

 

Oh, I don't count hours for credits, I choose the material & when it's done, it's done. Then onto the next course.

 

Not sure if any of that was clear or helpful:)

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Both clear and helpful, thank you! 

 

One of the things I'm considering is having Shannon start on 9th grade work "early."  She's finishing up everything I had planned for the year in the next month, and rather than padding out the spring with more stuff, I figured why not get started on next year's planned courses? We have a late summer/early fall extended vacation planned, so if we knocked out some work now that would mean a stress-free vacation. And she's definitely prepared to work at a high school level, and we're both more excited about starting on the upcoming plans rather than adding things on to the tail end of this year. I can't think of any cons to doing this, other than it takes us off of a more traditional school year.  But really, it seems like as long as we've been homeschooling we've been ready to start the next thing in the spring, March or April, anyway, and we've been doing that all along. I don't know why it should feel any different this year.

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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Let me take a stab.

 

D basically has been working at her own speed since sixth grade.

 

Most of her work is done during the academic year but she likes to do some things intensively during the summers, such as geometry (7th into 8th), number theory and AP Human Geography (after 8th), and Arabic 2 (after 9th). This summer, after 10th grade, she will either be studying Arabic or another language intensively while abroad or studying Russian and political science at a university.

 

Our "together" academic subjects are done in blocks when possible: this year she did bio in the fall and is doing AP Environmental during the spring; next year she'll do math and US govt in the fall, science during winter session when she's not taking her languages, and macro econ during the spring.

 

She also unschools geology and astronomy. I may bundle all that learning together as separate credits.

 

Kind of confusing, I know.

 

I don't count hours but material. Maths and sciences are easy. Social sciences get a little tricky determining what exactly constitutes a credit. That's one of the reasons why I write my own syllabi for AP courses. (I outsource English and foreign language.)

 

Dd is accelerated and will graduate a year early. This year is 10th grade. Next year will be 12th grade. I'm not sure yet how I'll do her transcript---if I'll just bring 8th grade forward as 9th grade or what. I may pick and choose from what she did in 8th because some was definitely high school level input and output while the rest was only input.

 

The PSAT counts for National Merit when it is taken in the student's next-to-last year of high school, which for most is junior year. For my dd that will be this, her 10th grade, year. For someone taking five years to graduate (for health or whatever reason), that would be during the fourth year of high school. D had to write a letter to the NM scholarship people attesting that this is her next-to-last year since she selected 10th grade on the PSAT form (at that time we weren't certain she would graduate early).

 

(Good gravy, writing all this out makes me realize just how crazy our life must look from the outside. D drives this train!)

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Luckymama, your dd's journey has always been inspiring! It's nice to have it all typed out like that.  Shannon's passions are, currently, theater and creative writing with a side of horseback riding, and the theater thing can definitely be a time and energy sink in certain seasons of the year.  And it seems like the juice for creative writing has some ebb and flow to it as well, and I don't like standing in the way when it is flowing.  So letting things have their more focused seasons of intensity (with more regular dosage of math and languages) makes a lot of sense to me.  I don't think Shannon will officially graduate early, but she will start doing DE at some point in the next year-ish, most likely. I know that this would throw any kind of traditional high school schedule for a loop.

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Both clear and helpful, thank you! 

 

One of the things I'm considering is having Shannon start on 9th grade work "early."  She's finishing up everything I had planned for the year in the next month, and rather than padding out the spring with more stuff, I figured why not get started on next year's planned courses? We have a late summer/early fall extended vacation planned, so if we knocked out some work now that would mean a stress-free vacation. And she's definitely prepared to work at a high school level, and we're both more excited about starting on the upcoming plans rather than adding things on to the tail end of this year. I can't think of any cons to doing this, other than it takes us off of a more traditional school year.  But really, it seems like as long as we've been homeschooling we've been ready to start the next thing in the spring, March or April, anyway, and we've been doing that all along. I don't know why it should feel any different this year.

 

We have started on a lot of the stuff I had planned for 9th.  It's always been that way.  I plan a bit ahead and we move on to the next thing whenever we are ready to.

 

DS is taking his first test in a "real" class today.  I'm almost gnawing on my desk. 

 

I was kind of hoping this parenting gig got a little easier.  Nope...

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The shift I'm sensing - and maybe I'm a slow learner! - is that it seems like in the lower grades, where you are pretty much working on every subject every day, or in roughly even blocks of time over the course of a week, you can keep track of days and when you get to your goal/required number - 180 or whatever - then you are done with that year's schoolwork.  Whether you choose to do the 180 days in 36 5-day weeks with a summer break, or more spread out, doesn't seem to matter; it seems pretty clear when things begin and end.

 

But I'm thinking that for high school the shift in attention is to credit hours.  And credit hours may be earned in lots of different ways - spread out across a year, bunched into semesters, or many other alternatives.  What regentrude describes for her dd's schedule appeals to me, tracking time spent for subjects and then assigning credit when a set amount of material is finished (for things like math and foreign language) or when a certain number of hours are reached (content subjects). I'm just trying to get my mind around how that all might work if you relax the day-as-unit way of thinking and go with the hours-as-unit kind of thinking.  It seems like it would add a lot of flexibility.

 

I really did not see a big difference between the middle grades and high school in the way we school - we never worked on every subject every day or in even blocks over the course of a week, we never used any kind of scripted curriculum that gave assignments, and we never ever counted 180 school days. We have always had learning spill over into summer break when we traveled, read widely, did field trips and into weekends.

The one thing that was different about high school was to make sure the admissions requirements for selective schools were met; that required a lose four year plan. But even within that framework, we had a lot of leeway. One reason our unconventional schedule works so well is that we avoid scripted curriculum that gives daily lessons and assignments. So nothing about our materials attempts to force us into a 5-days-a-week-an-hour-a-day rhythm.

We like the flexibility. It allows the kids to use small chunks of time effectively. Right now, DS came home from his DE English course, had lunch, and has about half an hour before leaving for work. This would not be enough time for a scripted lesson of a standard curriculum, but he can fit in a TC lecture for his elective. I am very supportive of him having a job because I think he learns a ton, and I also support his intensive athletic training because I can see how valuable that is for his development. We will have to spend some time over the summer filling in for the time we are not spending now on the shorter days, but that's easy to do.

Edited by regentrude
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Does frequently living out of a suitcase count as nontraditional?

 

For as long as we live in Europe, I fully intend to take every travel opportunity that we can afford. I can't always predict the next opportunity, so I try to remain very flexible with the humanities. We don't unschool them, but I will change focus or reading selection to better complement the travel. I would hesitate to sign up for too many courses with a live component. I don't want to lose our flexibility.

 

Now we are in the USA for a month, and I shifted some plans to accommodate the trip. We had to drag some textbooks here (math and Latin) that we will also drag back. But we will take a different approach to Danish while we are here and do not have access to our tutor.

 

I count hours. Our umbrella school requires that we do so, and I have come to like that. DS doesn't bother to argue with the clock. I am with him and I know what he is doing, so I don't worry about slacker hours or dawdling. Our umbrella school considers 180 hours a credit, BTW.

 

We do not keep a rigid schedule. Instead, we are constantly doing a balancing act to ensure that no subject is neglected. And we school for 40 weeks per year, which helps a lot.

 

 

 

 

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Does frequently living out of a suitcase count as nontraditional?

 

For as long as we live in Europe, I fully intend to take every travel opportunity that we can afford. I can't always predict the next opportunity, so I try to remain very flexible with the humanities. We don't unschool them, but I will change focus or reading selection to better complement the travel. I would hesitate to sign up for too many courses with a live component. I don't want to lose our flexibility.

 

Now we are in the USA for a month, and I shifted some plans to accommodate the trip. We had to drag some textbooks here (math and Latin) that we will also drag back. But we will take a different approach to Danish while we are here and do not have access to our tutor.

 

I count hours. Our umbrella school requires that we do so, and I have come to like that. DS doesn't bother to argue with the clock. I am with him and I know what he is doing, so I don't worry about slacker hours or dawdling. Our umbrella school considers 180 hours a credit, BTW.

 

We do not keep a rigid schedule. Instead, we are constantly doing a balancing act to ensure that no subject is neglected. And we school for 40 weeks per year, which helps a lot.

 

Definitely counts. Thanks for sharing.

 

BTW, I "liked" your post twice, which means I unliked it, then liked it again - so if you get any weird notifications, that was why - fingerslips!

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If you follow some sort of a nontraditional schedule for high school, whether because you have a student taking DE classes, or who is very involved in an extracurricular, or who is accelerated, or if you school year round, or if you do 4-day weeks, or block scheduling, or unschool, or follow any other scheduling/credit assigning method that is outside of the 36 week/5 day a week school year schedule, I'd like to hear from you.

 

What is your unique schedule? Why did you choose it? How is it working for you?

 

How do you assign credits, assuming you may not be starting a class in the fall and finishing in the spring? Do you count hours and assign the credit when they are done? Or decide how much material constitutes a credit, and assign the credit when that material is completed?

 

Likewise with deciding grade levels: If your student is finishing the material for one "grade" at a different time than May/June, do you consider them in the next grade "early" (or "late")? Or does that really not matter for anything, other than PSAT/NMSF status?

 

Editing previous answer for some "non-traditional" detail. Kiddo is working about 3-4 years ahead of grade level and this year we decided to call him a junior (but are open to bumping him back down if needed).

 

Unique schedule, why we chose it, how it's working:

 

We use a mixture of unstructured learning + outsourcing + DE for high school.

 

We choose what we choose due to interest + loving the DE semester schedule. We also choose based on obvious progression from courses the previous year. I really like our semester calendar. It gives us a much clearer idea of how days will be structured (or unstructured). He doesn't need a full school year for some courses. This works better for him.

 

Assigning credits:

 

Math and science are straight forward. Finish a course, no matter how many in that subject in a year and I award a credit per course.

 

For lit and history, he'll use DE for "10th-12th". In "9th" he has an unschooled British lit and a World History that we are actually taking 4-5 years to finish. So despite the time we have spent on them, each yearly stage is about 0.2 credits worth (for a total of 1 credit each). I didn't decide when we started that he would be at a certain grade level for these courses. There was no need at the time although I could see he was working at the high school level. It's only after he expressed interest last year to apply to colleges early that I went back, pulled up records and started seeing how I could group together courses with grade levels.

 

Next year, we'll wrap it up and call them 9th grade English and 9th grade World History. UC is not going to count 9th grade anyway. And he has test scores and college-level work in "junior" + "senior" year for validation purposes. These courses were really purely for the interest and wonderful discussions we share. These are probably our only purely home brewed courses so we want to have as much fun and depth with them as we can.

 

In terms of scheduling, we realized that 4 DE courses a semester work best for him. He has taken DE in summer too (but not more than 2 courses or 2 full time commitments at a time).

 

ECs fit in where they fit logically. This semester he wanted to try something more challenging academically and it's totally cut into EC time. But he will have enough ECs and community service to show, maybe just not very impressive amounts. We will just hope for the best.

 

Some transcripting oddities:

 

He won't have 4 social studies credits. I don't want to force things and expect him to be well rounded. He is pointy and would rather spend more time in math and electives.

 

So right now, he actually has a gap in his social studies. One credit in 9th, one in 11th and one more coming up in 12th (but we are actually doing a little of that world history every year, remember?). He also has a gap in his science subjects but will have a good number of lab sciences. The pointy will hopefully make the less pointy look less weak. :leaving: (A mom can hope right?)

 

A subject-based transcript alone is not the answer for him because UC wants to know when a course was taken and will use their own formula to calculate weighted GPA. Although I won't need to submit a transcript to UC, I will need one as a reference point for DS to fill the application.  So our transcript is both subject and grade level based with some space to indicate when a DE course was taken (e.g. 11th grade Fall, 11th grade Spring, 11th grade Summer etc).

Edited by quark
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How we started 9th grade is very different than where we are halfway through. I have no idea where we'll be by May, but we are getting more nontraditional by the week. Lots of extra-curricular commitments (academic and otherwise) make a 8-4 M-F type schedule impossible. For some subjects we're reverting back to a more Charlotte Mason approach. (Some days I worry it verges on unschooling...  :ph34r: )

 

For the most part I'm just watching and trying to figure out how to document everything. I was so glad to see this thread! Never in a million years did I think our high school years would veer so far from the path I had envisioned...

 

Hmm....on second thought....maybe they are coming back to the path I had envisioned long, long ago before the panic set in...

 

 

 

 

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I think I get your question... For my serious dancer daughter, she is taking 4 classes this year at a hybrid (2 APs - so lots of work pluse dance), but I wanted for her to have more credits this year as 4 just looks lame. So she did health in August - she finished the textbook, three projects, six tests, one paper. Just crammed it in before the classes started at the hybrid. She easily spent 60 hours on it, and she is a fast worker. I feel confident that she earned a 1/2 credit. I am counting her conditioning class for PE as well as all her dance stuff. She also started a graphic arts class for 1/2 credit. It is one of the photo shop in a box things. She will finish this by August. I imagine she will do another huge chunk in May after AP exams but before dance intensives. I have two friends who are in the "business" as graphic artists who will grade her portfolio. She will  do dual enrollment next year, an online AP, and a class at a hybrid - so three different 'schools' but that is where she is. 

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We are quite non-traditional, but we have always been that way - transitioning to high school has changed it a little, but not all that much.  I always say we are eclectic classical interest led quasi-unschoolers.  :laugh:

 

We have always homeschooled year round, 7 days a week.  We take random days off when we need/want, but our normal daily routine has always included at least an hour or two of something academic.  We fell into this schedule years ago because I work full time, so an hour or two a day of "school" every single day was the best fit for us.

 

Now that mine are all in or near high school, we still do something academic every day as a group, but they work a lot more independently.  And our mix includes some dual enrollment CC classes, some outsourced semester based classes (like Lukeion), and a lot of homebrewed, interest-driven classes.

 

As to how I assign credits - for the CC and outsourced classes, it's obvious - 1 year of Lukeion Latin = 1 credit, one 3 credit class at the community college = 1 credit, etc.  For homebrew classes, I do it based on the material covered, not so much the time spent - typically this is tied to finishing a textbook or learning a certain set of material to mastery.  Sometimes this takes a year, sometimes less, sometimes more. 

 

And like some other posters, I have some classes that stretch out over several years but are only 1 credit or .5 credits - for example, I have one child who has been intermittently taking art classes at our local museum, working on art projects, going to art museums, reading art history, etc.  I will roll all of that into 1 Art credit for her high school years, even though she's spent time on it each year. 

 

For the more elective subjects, it really is a matter of looking at what the student has done and is doing, and sort of packaging that up into a credit or 1/2 a credit. 

 

We follow the school year of July 1 to June 30, and we've never worried about grade level.  As others have said, it only matters now because of the PSAT/NM.  We haven't applied to colleges yet, but I am intending to do so with a subject based rather than a year based transcript.  My kids will have lots of APs and SAT IIs and such to substantiate their work, so I'm guessing it won't be a problem.  If it is, I'll create a year based version and just place the classes as best I can. 

 

I hope this helps! 

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I am not sure if I have a grasp of what we do in our non-traditional schedule!  Well, enough of a grasp to explain it you.

 

DS16 is a serious autodidact.  Many times I just don't know what he is doing each day.  He works from 8 am until he goes to bed.  He just never stops.

 

He takes math courses at Penn.  Next year, he will take physics courses there.  He takes AP Language through PA Homeschoolers.

 

Most of his days are spent on math and physics - reading, reading, reading, watching lectures. 

 

History - Like Quark, I think my kid has some gaps in this area.  He watches OpenCourseware Lectures on World History and has recently decided to now concentrate on the history of science.  His original plan was to take AP World History, but he may want to put his energy elsewhere.

 

He is taking his third year of Japanese - handcrafted by him.  I consider him quite fluent; he doesn't.  Last year, when in Japan for a cubing event, his stage events and tv/magazine interviews were in Japanese.  

 

Electives are built around his extra research.

 

He goes back and forth on how many AP exams he wants to take vs. spending time on topics which interest him.  

 

DD15 is another story.  She dances for 7 hours a day, not including travel time.

 

Her work is planned out by the week, covering textbook materials/questions/videos.  I originally planned for about 5 hours per week for each subject.  I have recently decided to be more relaxed about things, accepting the fact that she may need to go into the summer and even next year.  Mainly, she is on track with completing a year of history and physics. Her output is fairly limited because of her rigorous schedule.

 

Math class is online.  

 

English has been done with 3 month studies.  First was Shakespeare.  Now, we are doing a Feminist study.  This has been a fabulous way to keep her engaged with deep learning. It has been awesome.

 

Anatomy was done through CK-12 and reading through a Dance Anatomy book.  I will give her .5 credit.

 

Now, she is onto Great Courses Understanding Music as an elective.  Enough?  I don't know, but she learns about music all day long too.  I will give her .5 credit.

 

DD15 struggles with staying on a schedule.  I have to believe that is to be expected for her situation.  She is super bright and, for seven hours a day while dancing, she is learning more than most kids at her age.

 

I guess I have just not worried about how many hours per credit.  Both of my high schoolers are very lopsided - one academically, one extra-curricularly.  

 

I know, without a doubt, that they are more engaged with their learning than most.

 

So - I have one who wants to graduate early.  One may need to graduate late.  Both lopsided.  Both learning in nontraditional ways with a nontraditional schedule.

 

My personality is such that I am a girl who is pretty "chill."  It works for our family. :)

 

 

 

ETA:  DD15 does school 7 days a week, in the early morning and in the evenings.  She is only with us half the time, so some of this is done via phone, skype, email.  I keep thinking I should start a thread with other step-parents in this situation.  It certainly makes for some clever solutions!

 

 

 

 

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My dd is headed into 9th grade but has already completed a couple courses I would list as part of high school. She spends chunks of time traveling for music where Internet access is not always available and hours each day practicing. I am still in the process of figuring out how to schedule and what courses will work with her schedule though I am thinking not much will change from what we are doing now at least this coming year. The following year DE or more than one online APs might need to be fit in.

 

We basically school from mid-August until July. There are about 6 weeks this summer devoted to two different music camps, a very long weekend traveling across the country for an orchestra performance, and another week plus in Ireland for competition so no school will happen then.

 

School work is completed whenever she has time....sometimes a regular 5 day schedule and other times school is on weekends. She does math and music theory online so those have definite amounts of work to be completed. Some courses I give her material to cover each day though it is more to help her spread out the weeks worth and she can do it however she wants. She works on writing with a tutor and we recently met an Irish woman teaching Irish Gaelic at a local university who is willing to tutor dd in that. Credits will be awarded with courses are completed...online course finished, textbook completed, or syllabus I created completed.

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I love the discussion! I woke up at 3 am with a total epiphany about how to do non-traditional, out of the box science the way I've been dreaming about for years. I don't  have time to post about it now, but I will later. Meanwhile, I really appreciate each and every post.

 

You know we're going to hold you to that!

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I love the discussion! I woke up at 3 am with a total epiphany about how to do non-traditional, out of the box science the way I've been dreaming about for years. I don't  have time to post about it now, but I will later. Meanwhile, I really appreciate each and every post.

 

Really Rose?  We have to wait?  Wow.  :lol:

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Both clear and helpful, thank you! 

 

One of the things I'm considering is having Shannon start on 9th grade work "early."  She's finishing up everything I had planned for the year in the next month, and rather than padding out the spring with more stuff, I figured why not get started on next year's planned courses? We have a late summer/early fall extended vacation planned, so if we knocked out some work now that would mean a stress-free vacation. And she's definitely prepared to work at a high school level, and we're both more excited about starting on the upcoming plans rather than adding things on to the tail end of this year. I can't think of any cons to doing this, other than it takes us off of a more traditional school year.  But really, it seems like as long as we've been homeschooling we've been ready to start the next thing in the spring, March or April, anyway, and we've been doing that all along. I don't know why it should feel any different this year.

 

We are taking advantage of early-finishing subjects to get a head start. We will finish science 3 months early, math 6 weeks early, history 4 weeks early, and literature right on time. When science is done he will start health, when math is done he will move on to the next math book, when history is done he will start civics, and when literature is done we will do an Anne Frank intensive over the summer. I would love for him to finish up the semester health & civics courses over the summer and get a big head start in math. He has done a very thorough prealgebra series and will do algebra next, but he can test out of a lot of lessons and just cover new material if it is too much review. We homeschool through our district's program, so we report grades as they are completed. Semester grades get recorded by semester and full-year grades get recorded once the whole thing is done (though we average the two semester grades).

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Still working on the science plan - I'll start a new thread when I get it together.

 

Meanwhile, bumping in case anyone else wants to share their nontraditional schedules! This thread has really opened up a logjam for me, so thank you all again for posting.

 

Just adding my thanks. Thanks for starting the thread, Rose! 

 

I'll be waiting for the sequel...   :toetap05:

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We only have a few classes that fall into this category. One was a science class that one of mine started one year, but finished the next (the bulk was done in the 2nd year). I gave credit for that one in the year that it was finished. 

 

Another was a class done over two summers--one before the year, one after the year (June instead of May). I gave credit in the school year that was between the two summers. 

 

Don't overthink it--give credit to the school year that makes the most sense. Usually that will be the year finished, but it could be the year the bulk of the work was done. 

 

If it would look like everything was finished senior year, I would probably choose to do a transcript by subject instead of by year. 

 

As far as counting time--I do keep track of days. Most of the time, we do an hour per day per credit-hour subject, so I know if we did a subject that day, that's an hour. I don't log time or get overly specific. 

 

For an elective like music lessons, I would add up the music lesson time (30 or 60 minute segments, depending on the instructor) and approximate practice time (a daily average, again not a specific log, but time that I feel is accurate). Also noting things like performances etc... If I see it's enough for a credit or half a credit, then I award that. 

 

 

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We are not in high school yet, but nontrad. sched likely to continue.

 

We school year round usually, but lighter in summer, and sometimes not the same classes in summer as in rest of year. Son is 2E, so is "all over the place" as far as level goes. We ended up assigning our "weekend" to Sunday and Monday, b/c that worked better for us. Currently ds is in a co-op to which he is going to classes 2 days/wk, and also ice skates in middle of day on one of them. The co-op currently stops at grade 8, but is considering starting into high school which could affect what we do next year in as yet unknown ways.  Some subjects like math are required, others are "student initiated learning" or toward the "unschool" side which is likely to continue into high school. Maybe.

 

Coursework is mostly "do the next thing" such that when one subject level is done, the next one is started, whenever that may be. If it is "ahead" I don't worry about that. If it seems to be getting "behind" I do push harder to try to get it done, unless it turns out to be some area where an LD is getting in the way, in which case the pace may be determined by getting through or getting extra help for whatever the issue is. (such as dyslexia, if that was all gibberish and like mud.)  Also the LDs/2E aspect have meant that we've used a lot of things like Great Courses so that the material is fairly interesting, but involves less reading, as well as lots of documentary and audio learning.

 

In some areas ds gets intellectually bored by content geared to at his level, but finds that at the point that the content is at the right level often other aspects (even size of type) have become too much of a challenge, so we sometimes go with the more interesting content material, but slow it down, or find other nontraditional approaches to it.

 

We are registered with our state as being in a particular grade, and that stays the same unless I officially change it.  I think they use August 15 or 31 or something like that as the date of change up to next grade (that is when standardized tests have to be done by), but I tend to tell ds that he is now in #th grade in early June when local brick and mortar schools end their term.

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  • 2 months later...

  I always say we are eclectic classical interest led quasi-unschoolers.  :laugh:

 

This is so us.  I say that we started Charlotte Mason, then transitioned to classical, evolved into eclectic, became relaxed, and now, sometimes I think we're just lazy homechoolers. lol  We aren't quite unschoolers... yet, but we definitely push the limits.  I was searching for info on relaxed high school homeschooling and found this thread.  Great question, Rose.  The information shared here has helped a lot.

 

We spend a lot of time on field trips, with band, archery, and baseball.  Our book work comes and goes in spurts, but the girls are always learning just not on a traditional schedule.  I worry about it sometimes, but cannot envision doing it any other way and us staying sane. 

 

My soon to be 9th grader just finished German I and Physical Science for her first 2 high school credits.  We're going to spend the next few weeks wrapping up English and Social Studies since we have slacked there and are running a little "behind".  9th grade officially starts August 1.  Our goals are

 

Algebra I

Biology w/ lab

Modern History

English I - Comp and Lit

German II (outsourced)

Marching, Concert Band, & Symphonic Orchestra (outsourced)

P.E. (archery and cross country)

 

We'll use a text for Algebra, and do a Landry Academy 2 day intensive for the lab requirement.  Everything else will be a hodge-podge of resources.  Our schedule is 4 days a week all year with day 5 being music coop.  We take breaks for holidays and band camp.  Vacations are planned around educational field trips. 

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For us, I think it has been relatively simple. We've used almost exclusively college 100 level textbooks, exams, and in the sciences, often lab workbooks as well. So it was easy for me because when the curriculum was completed with mid-term and semester final tests, then a credit was completed. Though many of these would have been given 1.5 credits by our local high school for being AP or college level, I didn't feel like tracking half credits. Unless my student was going to sit the AP exam - for current college boy that meant the AP Comp Sci and the AP World History - I did not schedule the time strictly. Our goal is always to be finishing up by the end of May or early June, and starting up again in August so by having a longer school year it left time for illness, or field trips, family special outings, etc.

 

Math, English and Literature, Science were none negotiable, but science electives were common and the kids did get to choose the subjects. I then did a lot of online research and pulled together the materials. History was a bit more flexible but tended toward the classical style, and then I made sure they had enough content in order to break down to a credit of American History and World History. Since American Government and Economics is required for graduation in Michigan, we did "check the box" type curricula that were worth credit but not particularly rigorous. They chose their own foreign languages which resulted in Spanish for dd, Latin and German for eldest ds, Icelandic and Danish for middle ds, and French for the youngest ds. Since at least one fine arts credit is recommended for college admissions, and two is preferred, they each got to pick what they wanted to pursue. Music History and Art Appreciation for eldest, Art History (two credits worth), and Music Appreciation for next, Art Appreciation and Photography for middle, and Art Appreciation and Music Appreciation for youngest. Since we tend to pursue 24-28 credits for graduation but not PE, that means our kids have chosen other electives often in the sciences. DD chose formal logic and rhetoric as well as anatomy and physiology, advanced chemistry, and advanced physics. These were college texts so pretty straight forward. My MIL taught the A & P (she is a retired pediatric nurse and professor of nursing), and I really didn't get involved in it. About eight months of studying with grandma and she gave DD an A and declared her done.  For eldest he took additional literature, geology, a third year of German, two years of Latin, an additional art history, and had two years of computer programming. Middle boy took a college level zoology course that was crazy difficult and in retrospect, I should have done better research on that. It pushed him too hard since it turned out to be sophomore level and he didn't have the prerequisite. I am proud of the fact that he stuck it out, studied his brain cells into a stupor, and still managed an A. He also took Marine Biology, and a second foreign language. Youngest has had introductory aerospace engineering and introductory robotics engineering plus computer programming so far for electives.

 

In terms of awarding credit, I am all about mastery of content and however long that takes, it takes. In terms of say last year? Youngest ds completed algebra 2 in a semester instead of in a year. I gave him a full credit. Despite not spending the time allotted on it, he had earned it by mastering all of the material. I am not a big counter of hours though I do take into consideration what is average for a college prep course and if the curricula does not meet that will reject it. if my kids take longer, they still only get a credit...no additional credit due to spending added time on the material, and by the same token do not receive less credit because they sailed through the course. Somethings are easy for them, some tougher. For my science geeks, English/Writing/Literature always takes longer than any science course. I think I tend toward this because I spent a long time in high school spinning my wheels in classes. Once relegated to independent study, I took harder classes and got them done efficiently but my high school never docked me credit for not spending a pre-determined amount of time on the material. It was the depth and breadth of the material that determined the credit-worthiness not time. I do try to be balanced though. If it is a high school level course and my kid could get it done in two months, then it probably isn't for us and we'll find something with more depth so they at least spend a semester on it.

 

In terms of juggling it, we start around 9 a.m. and they study until they have met their goals for the day. I issue course syllabi at the beginning of the year so they know what they have to get done by year's end, and when their major deadlines for papers, labs, essays, and tests are, give some gentle guidance as they develop their schedules. Often they work from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 3. Some days shorter, some days longer, and if they fear the exam I will be giving  :D , sometimes study in the evening. One example of how this works out is this past week we spent Wednesday through Sunday traveling due to their rocketry competition which meant they lost three school days. Both boys had one science chapter and review left before taking their final, and both decided they wanted to be done at the end of this week instead of next. So they took their books with them and spent time on the road and before bed in the hotels working. They will take their exams tomorrow and Wednesday and be done for the year.

 

I was definitely a bit more tightly wound about AP coursework when the exam was going to be taken due to the exam schedule usually meaning the material had to be covered before the second week of May so there was time to review and prep for the exam. Also, we used AP course syllabi from the college board which set the pace for us. DE courses have been MWF or T/TH online classes so it has been up to them to keep up. 

 

Generally, I don't let a lot interfere with M-F from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. if I can help it so they have dedicated study hours. However, when things have popped up like medical appointments, or extracurricular activities, then like other students, they've simply done work in the evenings, or on the weekend to make it up and stay on schedule. When ds had mono and missed three weeks, he studied over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks to get caught up, evenings. It was unfortunate, but it is exactly what would happen in college, and in some employment situations so I considered it good preparation for adult life.

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