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What would you have done differently to prepare your child for high school level work? What would you have focused on? What would you have chosen to meet those subjects? What would you drop?

 

Thank you in advance for your hindsight.

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I would have emphasized memory work more. Started Latin (and worked it) earlier. Hired a math Tutor. I would have started grammar instruction far earlier. I wouldnt' have been so intimidated by what I didnt know- kwim?

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We're not officially in high school yet... but I can tell you that I wish I had eliminated twaddle from ds's reading regiment from the get-go. We're playing catch-up now (8th) to get him ready for the Great Books. Its tough. His brain isn't familiar w/ this advanced vocabulary he is faced w/.

 

The sad thing is, I thought 6 years in an "excellent" Christian school would have prepared him better for the rigor of high school reading.

 

Dd 6th is reading only classics from this point on. Slow & steady as she goes...

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So far, nothing.

But we didn't do what most people regret and we did do what most people wished they had.

 

I've long held long-term goals and big picture mentality about homeschooling and that helps keep us on track with few regrets

 

:auto:

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Hindsight. Ah, sweet hindsight.

 

Let's see...my older daughter is 19 years old, and will graduate with her BA in mathematics with a minor in art in December 2009 at age 20. She came home in 7th grade at age 12. So, if I had known then how short the time would be, and how exponentially it would pass in the last two-three years of her time at home, I think I would have spent more time on field trips in 7th and 8th grades, and less time stressing about the math she kept procrastinating for a year.

 

I am glad that we emphasized reading, writing and thinking. Speaking. Manners. Life skills. I am grateful for the years that we spent, three little women, maintaining our military family life and home together while learning, growing and enjoying each other. (I see the fruit of that now that my older daughter has asked my younger daughter to be her maid of honor. They are truly each other's dearest friends. They treasure and support each other's differences. Fostering that friendship is more important than any of the academic work we did together.)

 

Things I would add? More drama (both performed and attended!). More oral reports. More summarizing, synthesizing, and collating ideas. More open-ended questions with no right answers. More chapbooks, fewer binders. More chronological work, less "perfected" work. Unlike the others, I wouldn't trade any of the so-called twaddle we read and watched together for anything. Some of my dearest memories will be the hours of Buffy, Harry Potter, Back to the Future-Indiana Jones-Star Wars-Excellent Adventures (Bill and Ted count for history!) we shared.

 

Things I would eliminate? Formal geography. We had plenty of life-skill, real world travel, reading maps and navigating the airplane about...geography wasn't delightful to any of us. (Camping and using a compass, however? Great fun!) Another thing to eliminate...lab science that didn't build on previous lab work. All the random "this week we are doing this experiment" work. One long, systematic study of a concept, over 2-3 weeks? Priceless. With full lab research, and display, a la science fair. But not weekly "mini" experiments. Tedious to them, me, and difficult to manuveur without expensive equipment. Better to understand scientific method, do it WELL 3-4 times a year, and then do those weekly labs at the college level.

 

Honestly, when I look back at our high school years (and I'm just finishing up the "home" part of that with my younger daughter, who moves into dual enrollment in the spring), I am very satisified. My older daughter has naviagated a tricky time of life, truly loves learning, has maintained academic excellence throughout her university career, found the love of her life and still loves us pretty good too (grin), has a plan and a set of goals for herself, works diligently with honor and courage, exhibits kindness and generosity, and has a curiosity that isn't driven by assignments or requirements alone. She may be majoring in math and art, but she loves history, science and language equally well. And this second child? Entirely different, yet the same. Kind, funny, interesting, interested. Well-spoken, well-mannered, attentive and curious. Full of joy.

 

Frankly, all this retrospective makes me wish I could go back and live it all over again. So the main thing I'd suggest is that you just ENJOY your teens. The years with teenagers go by so very fast, and are so splendid. Watch movies, play word games, roast a hot dog, dye their hair blue (yes, even blue), go shopping for Chucks, teach 'em to drive, and prepare to be amazed. My kids are SO much better than I was at their age. So much wiser, kinder, friendlier, happier, more certain and confident.

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I am glad that we emphasized reading, writing and thinking. Speaking. Manners. Life skills.

 

As did we. And physical fitness and performing arts.

 

We did emphasize these skills often under subject headers such as "history" or "science" or "literature" or even "latin"

:-)

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Hindsight. Ah, sweet hindsight.

 

...

 

So the main thing I'd suggest is that you just ENJOY your teens. The years with teenagers go by so very fast, and are so splendid.

 

 

Thanks for your wonderful post, Lori. I'm seeing the end of my daughter's time at home coming ever closer and am realizing that time is passing very quickly indeed. On the whole, homeschooling has been a wonderful experience, and I feel that I know my daughter much better than I did when she was attending school for hours each day.

 

As for things I'd do differently .... Just a couple of smallish things -- I'd have done a more formal Geography program since sometimes I wince when I hear that place X is near place Z. And, I'm sorry that back in 7th grade, she didn't work on penmanship. Other than that, no regrets!

 

Regards,

Kareni

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So far, nothing.

But we didn't do what most people regret and we did do what most people wished they had.

 

I've long held long-term goals and big picture mentality about homeschooling and that helps keep us on track with few regrets

 

:auto:

 

Moni,

Would you feel comfortable sharing your goals and how you manage to stay on track? Did you use TWTM or a different model, as your guide, if any? Thank you :)

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I wish we would have started earlier. There were so many obstacles to keep us from homeschooling. The biggest one being that I am a single, working mom. I wish I was bold enough to get started with homeschooling in middle school. I can look back at so many years that we wasted. I just wish we would have jumped in and gotten started earlier.

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We're not officially in high school yet... but I can tell you that I wish I had eliminated twaddle from ds's reading regiment from the get-go. We're playing catch-up now (8th) to get him ready for the Great Books. Its tough. His brain isn't familiar w/ this advanced vocabulary he is faced w/.

 

The sad thing is, I thought 6 years in an "excellent" Christian school would have prepared him better for the rigor of high school reading.

 

Dd 6th is reading only classics from this point on. Slow & steady as she goes...

 

Beth, I agree about better preparation for the Great Books. By the way, who will he be taking his Great Books course from? Wes Callihan by any chance? I just spoke with him the other day to get my son on his list for 2009. Any chance our boys will be in the same class?

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I interrupted the WTM cycle twice. Once to do geography, and once to do American History. In those two years I should have been doing the medieval and renaissance periods and the pre-modern period. I really regret not having those reference points now to share with my oldest son, and I'm glad I get another chance with my two younger boys, 11 and 13.

 

I regret all the GameCube time. :cursing: I'm enjoying this year more than I ever have because we're doing more work at home, and less at a co-op. We have more time to talk about what we're learning. When we are out of the house too much, the subjects get segregated from real life. My kids learn best when they can relate what they've learned to real-life events. GameCube does very little to help.

 

LoriM's post reminded me that we used to watch movies together and I regret that we often don't have time for that anymore. When we watch movies and read books aloud we have a common vocabulary and that does so much to help education along.

 

I only have a sophomore, so I don't know much else about what mistakes we might have made. :tongue_smilie:

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I would have done more testing with my middle schooler in order to prepare him for that eventuality in high school or college.

 

I've never been completely happy with any science program I've used. I would have liked to have somehow provided more comprehensive science training to him, but I'm not sure how I would have accomplished that since I've never found anything that really wows me....

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Resurrecting this thread to see what others might say.

 

My oldest is just starting high school this fall. I wish I had not skipped around so much with curriculum especially in math. I wish we had focused better on writing.

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MOre writing -

More writing.

More WRITING.

 

:iagree:

 

I have come to realize that much of the writing that I assigned over the high school years could have been more interesting and meaningful. My big "duh!" -- very late in the game -- has been that if I let my two write about what resonates for them (within the context of the course/book/issue at hand), and not worry so darn much about narrowing the scope based up on my own notions, they learn what they need to in the long run -- and they write far more interesting papers.

 

I also think they need an audience. Writing papers for me -- as the sole audience -- becomes a task for a grade, draining so much from the student and the effort. So making sure that someone other than mom is going to read and talk about the ideas in a paper is another thing I would do differently. :)

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I have come to realize that much of the writing that I assigned over the high school years could have been more interesting and meaningful. My big "duh!" -- very late in the game -- has been that if I let them write about what resonates for them (within the context of the course/book/issue at hand), and not worry so darn much about narrowing the scope based up on my own notions, they learn what they need to in the long run -- and they write far more interesting papers.

 

I also think they need an audience. Writing papers for me -- as the sole audience (and with the sole objective -- as they see it -- of marking it up for a grade), drains so much from the student and the effort. So making sure that someone other than mom is going to read and talk about the ideas in a paper is another thing I would do differently. :)

 

:iagree:

 

My kids were enrolled in a public charter school, one all the way through high school and the other for just 2 years. The best part about it was that they had to turn in their essays to a teacher each month, a teacher they really liked and whose opinion mattered. It wasn't just the deadline that motivated them or the grade, it was writing for him and impressing him.

 

And I'm always for students writing about and studying about things that interest them. The kid who was NOT bound for liberal arts college had history and science and literature that all tied into his interests. The more traditional academic child is more open to exploring anything, but his essay topics were often something unique he thought of.

 

As to the main topic of this thread. I think the middle school years are a very precious time and instead of obsessing about high school skills you should be focusing on your relationship. High school is a busy time -- it starts busy and simply accelerates, and before you know it they are living on the other side of the country.

 

Of course you still work on basic skills, but the middle school years are a time of raging hormones and growth spurts, and your child may seem to lose all higher brain functions for 6 months to a year. Love that child in all his or her awkward glory and recognize that this is a cocoon phase. Don't worry that he or she doesn't seem on the verge of becoming the rhetoric dream child -- the difference between a 13yo and a 16 or 18 yo is HUGE!! A lovely and thoughtful young adult will start to emerge, I promise. Allow them to regress and grow at their own pace and love them while it is happening. And don't panic. Slow and steady, like the tortoise...

 

Read aloud. Bake cookies. On an especially hopeless day when they've apparently forgotten all their multiplication tables, drop everything and go to the zoo or go to lunch or watch an old movie together. Study something you've always wanted to but that is outside the WTM or outside the typical high school sequence. The important thing is to make some warm fuzzy memories. You will never regret doing these things.

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Actually, I feel GOOD about what we did to prepare for high school! A few things I am SO glad we did in those middle school years:

 

1. Took time out of the schedule to try out all kinds of fun odds and ends.

(in high school, just don't have the time any more)

 

2. Took a break from history and did a year of world culture/geography and comparative religions.

(SO helpful going into high school with an understanding of worldviews, and of other, especially NON-WESTERN peoples, for when you start your history cycle for high school)

 

3. Got involved with a great homeschool group with a lot of gr. 6-12 students.

(For social interaction, but also the older students draw the younger ones toward maturity, set good examples, etc.)

 

4. Did NOT push and make 8th grade like high school.

(You've got 4 years to do high school, and 8th grade is your last chance to be more relaxed, focus on nailing down the "basics", really develop good patterns of taking time to do things as a family)

 

5. Spent time doing critical thinking and logic stuff (Dandylion logic series; Fallacy Detective; Thinking Toolbox; Critical Thinking in Images, Logic, Patterns; etc.).

(Really helped "set the stage" for high school for going into analyzing Literature and film; learning about worldview; discuss/debate; etc.)

 

Could we have done *more* or *better* things? -- Sure!

 

But I have no regrets, as I did the best I could at the time, considering life circumstances, the children's level of maturity/development and attitudes, and what material was available to me. Looking back, I see the middle school and high school years as one lovely stretch of time in which I've really had the privilege and opportunity to develop wonderful relationships with each of our DSs. (For a little more on my mindset now that we are almost at the end of our high school journey with both DSs (gr. 11 and 12), see this recent post by me)

 

And for more responses on this very same topic, below are two past threads you may find enjoyable. ENJOY your high school journey with your children, no matter how "prepared" or "unprepared" you feel you are for it! :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

 

If you knew then what you know now

High school parents: looking back, what would your ideal be for 7th/8th grade?

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