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Throw out your craziest, most unusual courses of studies or programs for high school credit?

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That's what I'm looking for. Something quirky.  Different. Not necessarily not rigorous.  Just different.

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First one I thought of was High Tech High's projects. I especially liked The Maritime Project. There are some really creative interdisciplinary projects in there. 

and this thread 

 

I don't feel as creative as I used to be. 😞

 

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History
- In order to complete a required History credit for a DS who did not care for History, a homeschooling friend of mine had him study Medieval history in the context of medieval weapons and warfare, and he combined that with his interest in blacksmithing to create several knives in the medieval style.

Science
- One person on these boards created an ornithology (study of birds) course as one of her child's high school Science courses.
- I've also seen Equine (horse) Science for high school.
- And Horticulture (gardening) done as Science for high school.
- What about the student argonaut program of the Jason Project?

Fine Arts
- Someone on these boards awarded a credit for game design and creating storylines for a role-playing game (possibly it was Dungeons & Dragons).
- One friend had a daughter really into the local History Recreation group who earned her Fine Arts credit through designing and sewing historical period costumes.
- I taught a 1.0 credit high school class for my homeschool co-op 3 years ago that was "Fine Arts: Film Appreciation".

Literature
- For Lit. one year, we created our own "Worldview in Classic Sci-Fi Lit" (we read things like Frankenstein, The Time Machine, Animal Farm, The Giver, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and more).

- Great Books Sci-Fi and Dystopian lecture series:
Chrysalis Academy has been working through one of those two Great Books courses (How Science Fiction Works, and, Great Utopian and Dystopian Works) -- here's a thread from last spring with some interesting discussion about it, and more book ideas: Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature by the Great Courses. In that thread she links to her Good Books list of Sci-Fi titles and list of Dystopian Lit., so that might be another good list to look at. 😉 And here's a thread with a review: "Great Courses How Science Fiction Works".

For slightly different Lit. programs check out:
Movies as Literature
- Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings -- year long study of the 3 books of Tolkien's trilogy, plus can add some other works
- Where the Brook and River Meet -- Anne of Green Gables year-long study

More unusual focus ideas for literature:
"Roots of Steampunk Literature"
"Literary spoof, satire, sarcasm, anyone?"
"Can I feel dumb here and ask about Victorian era lit.?" -- 19th century female author lit. study
"Science Fiction" and "Science Fiction unit"
""Utopian and Dystopian lit." and "Dystopian society or sci-li lit. for middle school?"
"Fairytale unit for high school?" and "Need ideas... classics: Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, etc."
"Creating an English course based on Fantasy Literature"
"High literature which is inspiring"
 

Also, check out PAGE 5 of the big pinned thread "High School Motherlode #2" at the top of this board -- lots of interesting ideas for the different subject areas under the sub-headings of "High School Subjects/Cores" and "DIY and Out of the Box  Courses / MOOC Courses". [See also the threads on the "non-big-3 (biology-chemistry-physics)" sciences for some more science ideas.]

Here are 4 threads from that pinned thread, to get you started brainstorming:
Making high school unique, non-traditional, speciality, out-of-the-box courses (kinds of courses, and ways of doing high school unconventionally)
Tell me things you do to give your high schooler a unique experience
Out-of-the-box high school courses
"Outside the box" for high school?

And here's one for middle school, but you could possibly use one of the ideas here and ramp it up for high school:
"Out of the box subjects for 8th grade..."

ETA -- PS
Also, there are a LOT of interesting courses you can use as a "spine" for a more out-of-the-box study -- from Coursera, or The Teaching Company Great Courses (often can be checked out from your local library), or online classes at Athena and other online course providers.

Also, check out interests of your DD and what's available in your community. Example: if gardening is an interest, look in to a Master Gardener course locally, or Community Gardens, or your University Extension office.

Edited by Lori D.
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Us, junior & senior years:

STEM + Classics: "Nature and Number": reading Euclid, Archimedes, and Theophrastus in Greek, while analyzing/critiquing the mathematics and science in the texts. (Someone else is doing that with Middle Girl, not me...)

1/2 credit of Driver's Ed combined with 1/2 credit of bicycle maintenance and repair, with some enthusiastic guidance from the local bike repair shop owner.

Classics + English literature: Satire from Ancient Rome to 17th/18th century England

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We did Ornithology through Cornell last year and Paleontology through free Coursera courses with U of Alberta year before that. We've also done a Forensic Science class where I would stage scenes and we would do everything from measurements trying to figure out a scene to dusting for finger prints etc.(you can order it all from Amazon).  I was a lot more creative and less run down at that point, LOL. Oh and she took a blood spatter single day course at the Museum one day while we were in the midst of that. That was pretty cool too. 

I'm like Plum. I don't feel as creative as I used to be. I think teaching two kids how to read at the same time has taken over all of my creative juices. 

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Oh and dd did Astronomy with Wes Callihan last year- not the hard science type, more the humanities, "history of" type (I did not count it as a science course, but as a humanities elective). She puffy heart loved it and I honestly feel like she's gained a better connection with things that matter because of it. 

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One last- dd is taking Graphic Novel through WTMA this semester, and while I didn't consider this a crazy/unusual sort of course, all of my PS Mom friends are "she's taking whaaaat? How does that even count as a class?" Because there's nothing like that at the local Public schools. So maybe that counts as quirky?

I think my barometer is skewed as to what is quirky  though, because locally, if it's not on the standard list of AP classes, people think you're nuts for doing anything out of the box because they're all shooting for full scholarships and we aren't. We've marched to the beat of our own drum, LOL. On one hand my PS Mom friends seem like they envy we aren't on "the track" chasing distinguishments or whatever they call them on the PS Degree plan, and my kid isn't stressed to the nth degree freaking out about things, but on the other hand I think they all think deep down my kid is going to live in at home for the rest of her life and maybe get a job as a barista, and their kids are all going to be Masters of the Universe on Wall Street. 

Sometimes I would love to show them what someone like 8Fillstheheart's kids have done with really, really unique high school classes and the excellent way that's played out for them, but that's the equivalent to taking the red pill, so I don't talk of such things outside of the homeschool world. 🙃 They've just recently stopped thinking we're in a religious cult for homeschooling, so I can't going ruining my shroud of normalcy. 😉

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We've done a lot of interest-based courses:

Russian history, communism in the 20th century, multiple astronomy courses, works of CS Lewis, meteorology, philosophy of science and religion, literary allusions in the movie Inception, etc. (If my physics grad student was still in high school, I know we would have had fun designing a course around the movie The Martian. Love that movie and there is so much good stuff in it to research!!)

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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what I wanted to do: a french class called Paris through Balzac. It was entirely too much for the time we had and it required more planning on my part that i have the wherewithal for.

What I am doing:  a very disorganised but at least chronologically sound 🙂 class called:  Intro to Art History through Paris museums. Not for credit: DH is teaching ds a very occasional Intro to Business class, but specifically focused on public companies that have amusement parks (DS a huge coaster enthusiast).

eta that i dream of doing a class around the podcast 'Revolutions' but it is not something that will happen.

Edited by madteaparty
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50 minutes ago, Violet Crown said:

Adopt me.

Funny, I’ve thought about asking you the same. And the class never happened. Am going to his house (well the one that was turned into a museum, he moved a lot), I can send photos? 🙂

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A Cultural History of Victorian England
 History of Makeup

Both of these I made up for my daughter at her request. 

 

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17 hours ago, Plum said:

First one I thought of was High Tech High's projects. I especially liked The Maritime Project. There are some really creative interdisciplinary projects in there. 

and this thread 

 

I don't feel as creative as I used to be. 😞

 

That thread was fascinating.  So many lovely faces from the past to remember. 

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I gave ds 1/2 credit for carpentry. He helped his dad with work for several weeks. So, like a paid internship. Also confirmed he never wanted to go into the construction field. 

He also got 1/2 credit for "History and Technology of Space Exploration." He did a open course class on space systems engineering - cannot remember what company, and watched every video ever created about the space programs worldwide. That information he has still retained years later. 

 

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4 hours ago, madteaparty said:

Funny, I’ve thought about asking you the same. And the class never happened. Am going to his house (well the one that was turned into a museum, he moved a lot), I can send photos? 🙂

Yes to photos. Homeschooling really is about the education we wish we had received, isn't it?

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18 minutes ago, Violet Crown said:

Homeschooling really is about the education we wish we had received, isn't it?

Sing and preach. So many times I mutter “this is wasted on you people. Let’s get back to it in 20 years” 😂

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Not as "out of the box" or quirky as some listed above but I just wrapped up a Forensic Science class that was a huge hit. Anyone who heard about it - parents, students, physicians/medical personnel, professors - all said they wished they'd had something like that in high school. I went all out, created blood spatter rooms, weapon arsenals, etc. Goodness, it was fun!

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Not really quirky, but I designed courses in Eastern Civilization and Asian literature for this year at dd's request.

Last year we did Dragonlore, which was a huge hit, but that was 8th grade, so we won't be counting it for credit.

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35 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

Last year we did Dragonlore, which was a huge hit, but that was 8th grade, so we won't be counting it for credit.

That reminded me that one of my dd's English credits was a fairytale study. It was really interesting bc we studied the main themes found in different cultures.

So many options for what they can study.

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My dd earned four levels of pony club certificates in both horsemanship and riding as well as owning and riding and caring for and cleaning the horse 6 days per week....

We counted that as 2 years of PE 

and 2 years of "Equine Behavior and Care"

Pony Club is super legit, very high standards, very hard to pass, very detail oriented and makes them learn about anatomy, health, diseases and problems of every kind, care, and even weights and measures of pounds of horse to roughage and concentrate feed...it's a heck of a lot of work.

If your child does decide to take up riding out of a true passion for the sport, be sure to enlist a very seasoned, older, experienced trainer with years of experience and a reputation for keeping kids relatively safe.  It's a super dangerous sport.

🙂

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3 hours ago, Violet Crown said:

Yes to photos. Homeschooling really is about the education we wish we had received, isn't it?

So true......

I have to say much of my really creative side went into elementary.

By high school my kids had some pretty serious interests that they were intense about...... My kids both enjoyed the freedom of doing mooc’s which really did not honestly offer enough content to give a semester credit for usually but they were high interest for them and unique topics.  The Business of Sport, for instance,  which studied Man United was super high interest for them growing up 45 minutes from Old Trafford.  We paired that with a couple of international business mooc’s and called it a semester of electives.  They also did micro and macro as mooc’s with Clep exams for other credits.  I used to sit down with the stack of mooc certificates in February or so and figure out how to combine as many as possible interesting course titles and electives as possible.  We still had a couple of months to supplement where needed.  

Our most unique elective was probably tower and hand bell ringing which I used to fulfill the music requirement for Ds.

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My younger spends 10 hours per week on research projects for Geography. He has done 4 over the period of 45 weeks. So 450 hours. I plan to make these into a 1-credit and three-0.5 credit courses. 

He has compared the impact of colonialism, resource identification, and leadership at independence to the economic and social development of Botswana vs the DR Congo today.  (full credit)

He evaluated the different perspectives of farmers, tourism operators, and environmentalists on how the Mackensie Basin should be used and the economic, social, political, and environmental ramifications of each perspective. Plus a two-day field trip to evaluate environmental impact of farming and conservation efforts in the Basin.  1/2 credit.

He evaluated the historical, political, and social causes of the hydroelectric dam project in the South Island, and economic and environmental ramifications of its construction. Plus a full-day field trip to tour the dams and river systems it impacted. 1/2 credit

He compared the causes and effects of the demographic transition timelines of Maori vs Pakeha (European) from a historical, political, and social point of view. 1/2 credit

We are doing these projects for his "geography" class, but they are getting big enough to be classes in and of themselves.  I just need you guys to come up with cool sounding names. 🙂 

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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5 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

That reminded me that one of my dd's English credits was a fairytale study. It was really interesting bc we studied the main themes found in different cultures.

So many options for what they can study.

That sounds really interesting, what were the main themes for each culture?  

That would make a great book, too!! You could quote extensively without worry as they are all in the common domain.  Or, a study guide, read a bunch the have a common theme, you figure out the theme, then you say some of the themes you noticed.  I would buy it, sign me up!

Edited by ElizabethB

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Well, none of these are crazy are too unusual, but they were the most different ones for us.  We did a class on "England during the times of Dickens."  We read some of his writings of course, but it was mostly studying what England was really like during the times that Dickens' stories took place.  

We did another class on Ancient China.  That one was fascinating!  We read books and watched a lot of outstanding historical movies about life in ancient China.  

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17 minutes ago, lewelma said:

My younger spends 10 hours per week on research projects for Geography. He has done 4 over the period of 45 weeks. So 450 hours. I plan to make these into a 1-credit and three-0.5 credit courses. 

He has compared the impact of colonialism, resource identification, and leadership at independence to the economic and social development of Botswana vs the DR Congo today.  (full credit)

He evaluated the different perspectives of farmers, tourism operators, and environmentalists on how the Mackensie Basin should be used and the economic, social, political, and environmental ramifications of each perspective. Plus a two-day field trip to evaluate environmental impact of farming and conservation efforts in the Basin.  1/2 credit.

He evaluated the historical, political, and social causes of the hydroelectric dam project in the South Island, and economic and environmental ramifications of its construction. Plus a full-day field trip to tour the dams and river systems it impacted. 1/2 credit

He compared the causes and effects of the demographic transition timelines of Maori vs Pakeha (European) from a historical, political, and social point of view. 1/2 credit

We are doing these projects for his "geography" class, but they are getting big enough to be classes in and of themselves.  I just need you guys to come up with cool sounding names. 🙂 

Ruth in NZ

You could just group them as social psychology or sociology; usually in the beginning level of each they cover broad a broad range of topics. For a more selective college you could include more info in the description but I would just go with sociology or social psychology, whichever is more appropriate, or split some into geography/history and the rest into sociology.

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17 minutes ago, ElizabethB said:

You could just group them as social psychology or sociology; usually in the beginning level of each they cover broad a broad range of topics. For a more selective college you could include more info in the description but I would just go with sociology or social psychology, whichever is more appropriate, or split some into geography/history and the rest into sociology.

I could, but I'm not going to.  They are too cool to list under a title that implies textbook use and general topical coverage.  These are intense single subject courses, worthy of course recognition.  🙂  180 hours on comparing Botswana to the DRC is not really 'cultural geography' or 'sociology'. It is a course with a single focus. And ds has written nine 5 page papers for the topic during his study. I'm thinking something like

'Impact of colonialism on Sub-Saharan Africa.'

His half courses could be:

'The politics of land use in the South Island of NZ'

'Demographic history of Maori and Pakeha in NZ'

'Economic and Environmental Consequences of Damming NZ Rivers.'

Would be fun to put together a transcript.  🙂 

Edited by lewelma
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I took a 1 credit class in college called anthropologic films, or something like that. We watched a documentary every week then wrote a one page report. 

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We did another class on Ancient China.  That one was fascinating!  We read books and watched a lot of outstanding historical movies about life in ancient China.  

And you just happen to have the titles of those books/movies handy and are going to share them, right??

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I’ve been wanting to make a course that uses Pop Culture and Philosophy/Blackwell books. Dh and I enjoyed some of the lectures from the Great Courses Sci-Fi and Philosophy. Middle son is my big thinker and I think he’d like it. 

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I have a non-traditional learner with significant LDs, so I've had to get creative, especially with English.  

Visual Storytelling (just started this one)  How can you tell a story without using prose? We're covering full-length ballets (she's thrilled), live theater, film, graphic novels, and advertisements. It will count as an English credit, because we do discuss literary elements, story arc, etc.  in relation to what we're viewing.

Great Speeches is what it sounds like.  Read great speeches from ancient to modern times and discuss them.  She'll memorize and present one or two speeches of her choice. I'll count it for another English credit.

 

 

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Know what would be fun? A project-based Applied Engineering/Physics course using MIT's Guitar Building and Audio and Speaker Electronics (building a set of speakers),  building a camera (film or digital), etc.     

Also sounds fun (and also project-based): Urban Planning.  Maybe incorporate one or more of these short-term courses and design your own city.  You'd need to address every aspect: roads, utilities, government, zoning, industry, law enforcement, schools, etc. Done right, this would take a lot of work but would be really engaging.  I could see interviewing city planners, touring a water treatment plant, talking to realtors, going to city council meetings and so on.  This would be a really fun group or sibling project.   

I need additional children to be able to try out all my ideas. 😁

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Still a work in progress but I'm putting together a course on the history of the American muscle car for my DS. He wanted something fun and light for spring of his senior year, so I said come up with something and this is it.

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