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kwickles

So I suddenly have an almost 9th grader...please advise!

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 So here is my plan that I would like feedback on. As I've described here before (a while back) my oldest is smart and sensitive. She is easily overstimulated, frustrated by pressure, and anxious when asked about her future plans. I would not be at all surprised if she were a slow launcher, living at home into her 20's. She isn't really interested in college as an idea - though we literally live next door to one of the best state schools in Ohio. She is interested in horses, birds, and the environment. She does not take instruction from me well - I'm going to try and outsource all her classes this year.

So I'm thinking that a slightly laidback high school layout that will be adequate for college admissions but not overachieving might be the way to go? That way the college door is open to her but she doesn't have to take that route if she doesn't want to.

I was thinking WTMA Saxon Algebra, Ancient History, Ancient Lit, and Latin 1. Maybe Preparing for Rhetoric Writing (or whatever the class is that smashes all WWS into one). I thought for science I would sign her up for Cornell Lab's in depth bird biology course and add on some things that will make it enough for a science credit - bird banding, feeder watch, science project. Is that reasonable? Am I allowed to give a science credit for that? My fall back would be WTMA Biology. 

Thoughts? Advice? Please? I don't know how I got to high school already. It kind of snuck up on me.

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I'm sure others will have more specific feedback, but I've been under the impression that WTMA is the opposite of laid back. This seems like a very rigorous course load, not what I would choose considering how you describe your daughter. However, I haven't used WTMA. Maybe I'm way off base. Has she taken any online classes with them?

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No she hasn't but I'm at a loss for good, structured online classes that aren't so rigorous. I looked at the syllabi and thought she could do the work fine. The pressure might scare her though. 

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9 minutes ago, kwickles said:

No she hasn't but I'm at a loss for good, structured online classes that aren't so rigorous. I looked at the syllabi and thought she could do the work fine. The pressure might scare her though. 

Has she taken any online classes?

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Just now, TracyP said:

Has she taken any online classes?

 

No. But I think she would respond well to them based on her personality.

 

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1 minute ago, kwickles said:

 

No. But I think she would respond well to them based on her personality.

 

My daughter sounds similar, except she is very much feeling ready to launch. She took her first online classes (2 of them) this year and they were very stressful for her. She could do the work fine, but her anxiety over the classes was through the roof. It wasn't a completely bad experience since we both learned a lot, but we have chosen to do no online classes for 10th grade. You know your daughter best; if you think she can handle them then you could give them a try. I believe WTMA has a pretty generous refund policy.

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1 minute ago, TracyP said:

My daughter sounds similar, except she is very much feeling ready to launch. She took her first online classes (2 of them) this year and they were very stressful for her. She could do the work fine, but her anxiety over the classes was through the roof. It wasn't a completely bad experience since we both learned a lot, but we have chosen to do no online classes for 10th grade. You know your daughter best; if you think she can handle them then you could give them a try. I believe WTMA has a pretty generous refund policy.

Hmmm. This is so discouraging. I wish there were a way to outsource that wasn't so stressful. She really does respond better with someone besides me to answer to and school is way too much stimulation for her. I feel stuck.

 

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3 minutes ago, kwickles said:

Hmmm. This is so discouraging. I wish there were a way to outsource that wasn't so stressful. She really does respond better with someone besides me to answer to and school is way too much stimulation for her. I feel stuck.

 

Ugh. I'm sorry. I feel stuck as well. I wish I had a good answer for you. The science you picked looks pretty low key. Have you thought about asynchronous classes? You could look at Derek Owens for math. I wonder if there are other providers out there that offer asynchronous classes. Of course, then she would have to be somewhat self motivated since there are no deadlines. I think that would have worked better for my dd, but she isn't willing to do anything online at this point.

I hate to be a downer. Your dd's experience might be much different than mine. Like I said above, you could always try and drop the classes if necessary. They might be perfect for your dd.

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Online G3 sounds like it might be a good provider to start with for history/lit. It and Athena's Academy are for gifted kids. The classes are low output (so much less stress) and no grades are given. (So, you'll need to decide on a grade when the class is finished.) There is a live component to the classes and the kids can choose how much they want to participate in class. Discussion board posts are the usual homework - and nothing is super high stress about it. There is a real variety of classes, but some of them are filling up or full - so you might want to head over & see what she might be interested in. (There is a writing supplement for some of the classes if you need that component. I don't know anything about those, but several people on the gifted board have had kids take OnlineG3 classes.)

For more rigorous providers (The Potter School, WTMA, Wilson Hill Academy, etc.), most people recommend starting with only one class, preferably in 8th grade (so the grade doesn't count) just to get used to the format & requirements. Some kids can jump into two classes (like my dd#1 & dd#3) or more without a hiccup. My dd#2 took one online class in 8th grade in an area of strength for her - and hated the live format. Part of it was definitely self-imposed stress of speaking up in class and always having to be 'on' during the class. She is finishing her 9th grade year with a combination of self-study classes and Mom-taught classes just fine. But, my dd#1 responds better to live classes. She took almost all her classes online or in person this year (four online providers, six live classes + one DE course + two self-study classes at home). Juggling multiple providers is tough, especially if they are all live.

I think the Cornell bird lab thing sounds great.

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It doesn't have to be all or nothing. She could try a couple of classes online in 9th and see how it goes. If she did that, she could perhaps take one class at one provider and one at another to get a sense of whether & where she'd want to take more classes in 10th.

Are you looking only for secular classes?

How about local, irl options?  Do you have any local hybrids that offer classes she might be interested in? 

Any local parents doing their own small group co-op that you could look into?

 

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virtualhomeschoolgroup.org has Saxon Algebra usually live and at-your-own-pace. It is run totally by volunteers so they will know what classes are offered in June, but they usually have Saxon Algebra. We have found the teachers to be good and helpful, and not rigorous. There is also office hours if your student needs extra help. I'm pretty sure they meet 4 times a week and do one lesson a day and the fifth day is a test. They have other classes also. And there is no charge for these classes. You can read more at the website. Hope that helps.

 

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Welcome to "the big kid board" (lol).

4 hours ago, kwickles said:

...Thoughts? Advice? Please? I don't know how I got to high school already. It kind of snuck up on me.

To help with transitioning into high school, you might check out the big pinned thread at the top of this board that has tons of linked past threads on a wide variety of high school topics. A few threads that you might find esp. helpful to start with:

Here's a very general "college prep" list of credits that would meet requirements for admission to most colleges (selective, competitive, and top tier colleges would need more credits and of higher rigor, but it doesn't sound like that's going to be the need here):

  • 4 credits = English (typically 1/2 Writing & 1/2 Literature, but lots of other options as well)
  • 3-4 credits = Math (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and some schools want a 4th math, often above Alg. 2)
  • 3-4 credits = Science, with labs (a few colleges want Biology & Chemistry, but most are flexible)
  • 3 credits = Social Studies (most colleges want 1 credit = Amer. History; some also want 1 credit = World Hist/Geog. and/or 0.5 credit each Econ and Gov't)
  • 2-3 credits = Foreign Language (same language) (Latin is accepted everywhere; ASL is accepted in a majority of 
  • 1 credit = Fine Arts
  • 4-8+ credits = Electives (examples: Computer, Logic, Health, PE, Religious Studies, Vocational-Tech, personal interest areas, additional Fine Arts, "Academic Electives (additional credits in the above 5 subject areas beyond the required), etc.)
  • 22-24+ credits = total  (that's about 5-6 credits per year of high school to be "college prep")

What does that look like time-wise in a day or week of high school? If using hours to help "track" credits, then it takes approximately 120 hours (minimum) to 180 hours (maximum) to make 1 high school credit. That divides out to about 4-5 hours per week per credit, or roughly 45-60 minutes per day, over the course of a 36-week school year.

6 hours ago, kwickles said:

 So here is my plan that I would like feedback on. As I've described here before (a while back) my oldest is smart and sensitive. She is easily overstimulated, frustrated by pressure...

I was thinking WTMA Saxon Algebra, Ancient History, Ancient Lit, and Latin 1. Maybe Preparing for Rhetoric Writing (or whatever the class is that smashes all WWS into one)...

Previous posters have already shared what I was going to say about all online classes, plus the high rigor of WTMA, not being a good fit for an easily overstimulated, frustrated by pressure student, nor very helpful in having a laid-back high school. In addition to the great ideas above, here are several more recent threads:

Other ideas:

  • use materials with a video lesson component, so the DVD is the teacher, since "she does not take instruction from [you] well" -- and you are just there to facilitate questions -- examples: Math = Chalkdust, Videotext, Kinetic Books, ALEKS, etc.; English = Essentials in Writing + Essentials in English;  various subjects = Thinkwell; etc.
  • K-12 or whatever your local virtual public school charter is (school at home, with the school doing the admin. aspect)
  • hire a local tutor/mentor to do the grading and check in with her 1x/week, and you be available during the week for cheerleading and any "in the moment" questions
  • if permitted in your area, take just 1-2 classes at your local public, charter, or private high school, and do the rest at home
  • take a class WITH DD, so you're on a team together, rather than in a teacher/overseer position -- consider doing a free Coursera class or other MOOC (Mass Open Online Course) available online from many universities
  • do a Teaching Company Great Course together to cover History, and discuss together; for output, rather than tests and papers, work on a project together, or each do a project, or each go deeper on a particular project and create a powerpoint and give a presentation to one another about what you each discovered
  • do your English credits at home, but for the Writing assignments, outsource grading to a service (The Write Foundation, Susanne Barrett, etc.)
  • Accellus (secular), Time 4 Learning (secular), Switched On Schoolhouse (Christian) -- online and/or computer learning with built-in/automatic grading
7 hours ago, kwickles said:

...She is interested in horses, birds, and the environment...  I thought for science I would sign her up for Cornell Lab's in depth bird biology course and add on some things that will make it enough for a science credit - bird banding, feeder watch, science project. Is that reasonable? Am I allowed to give a science credit for that?

Yes, you can create your own course, and yes you can give a grade and credit for a "home-brewed" or "DIY" (do it yourself) course. I'm not familiar with this resource -- what you want is a text (or lecture series or whatever) that has a similar amount of material at a similar depth to a high school textbook or college intro course. It may be enough for 0.50 or 0.25 credit, rather than 1.0 credit, when you compare. My only concern is you already mentioned that DD does not work well under your teaching -- for a DIY course like this, you would still have to oversee and determine a grade and if she is accomplishing the work to the standards that you lay out in advance, as you are ultimately the high school administrator; will DD accept you in this role? Or would you also need to find a local person to outsource accountability for assignments, readings, project oversight, etc.?

Mostly, just want to welcome you to homeschooling high school, and encourage you that there are more options than ever before out there, making it both easier to homeschool and fit education to your individual student's needs and goals -- but all those options can also make it very overwhelming. Just take it one step at a time, and post a question for each subject or each specific question to get more targeted and helpful responses. Wishing you and DD a wonderful high school homeschooling adventure! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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7 hours ago, kwickles said:

Hmmm. This is so discouraging. I wish there were a way to outsource that wasn't so stressful. She really does respond better with someone besides me to answer to and school is way too much stimulation for her. I feel stuck.

 

 

We are using some video based courses, MP's Iliad/Odyssey and The Art of Argument for next year.  Each has a text/workbook component along with lectures on DVD.  So I'm only doing some grading and discussion.  It's not outsourcing, but close. 

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I'd go with more video or computer courses instead, so you can control the pace (less stressful!) Try starting with just one or two online classes and see how it goes for her. Better to "ease" into that I think. I hope you have a great year!

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My kids starting as 12 or 13 year olds prefer not to be working directly with me all day.  So I arrange most of their stuff to be hands off and use an online planner to create a daily checklist for them.  A few things that have worked well that have not been too taxing on exact deadlines (my kids do extracurriculars where it's helpful to have some flexibility)

  • Bravewriter online writing classes.  These only run short sessions 4-6 weeks and the deadlines for these felt gentle.  They are graded classes so felt like a nice, easy introduction to online format.  
  • Teaching Textbooks or Forester text/Math without borders lessons for math
  • Khan Academy Science paired with a guided lab kit.  Sometimes co-op classes have stood in for labs.
  • Classics book club.  We get together with a group of teens monthly to discuss a book.  Read 9-10 classics over the academic year.  This is a fun way to do lit!
  • Easy grammar workbooks provide good ongoing grammar review to be done independently
  • We use Middlebury Interactive Spanish with teacher assist.  That is an online program with no deadlines.  It is fairly expensive but it's fit the bill for us since it's flexible.  It's no problem to double up lessons some days and skip others.  
  • Various video series with writing for history.  We've found some co-op classes with gentle deadlines to tie in.  

This year my junior started dual enrollment classes and some of those were online with very rigorous schedules and he was really ready for that this year and he probably would have missed deadlines a couple years ago without me being in his face about it.   And I just need to be out of his face most of the time for all our sanity!   Good luck!  My younger is 8th right now too.

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