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Do you do all the academic reading your high schooler does?


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For instance, if you assign, say, "read pages 2-21" in the biology text, are you doing that reading, too? 

Thus far in our homeschooling, I've always read what my kids read. (I'm NOT talking here about every last Nancy Drew or Hunger Games my children read! My kids are voracious readers, so they do tons of free reading--both fiction and non-fiction--wholly independently.) What I'm talking about is academic reading/nonfiction books/curriculum readings--actual content for subjects like science and history. Thus far, I have always read that content alongside with my children. It's been manageable because I only have two children, and our homeschooling lesson style has always involved tons of read alouds or very short readings that are easy for me to keep up with. It's just worked out that way--as a matter of course--that I am pretty much reading whatever they're reading for core subjects like science and history.

But now that I have a high schooler, I'm doing much more assigning of work and I'm not sure I will be able to read everything my ninth grader reads. I definitely want to read all the same literature she's reading (mainly so we can discuss the novels, but also because English is my jam), but I'm not sure I'll be able to do all the same text or curriculum readings she does, because, as I said, this year I'm assigning her much more independent work. But if you don't do all the reading your child does, how do you stay on top of the content well enough to be an effective teacher? (I've really enjoyed learning everything they're learning thus far in our homeschooling journey....)

I'm thinking of doing my high schooler's readings (part reading, part skimming) when I do my weekly planning session each week. I think I could do it all in under an hour, especially since everything is ultimately review (I've obviously taken all these subjects myself in high school or college), so I am mostly just reviewing the content, but I guess I'm just curious what other people do? My oldest has just started ninth grade, so it's my first go at homeschooling a high schooler. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your strategies!

Edited by EKT
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I couldn’t keep up.

I tried really hard in 9th grade for my oldest, but realized I just couldn’t do it and teach my other son as well.  9th grade was tough on me. I taught for 8 hours a day, then read ahead for 2-3 hours each night, and worked a 6 or so hour day every Saturday, prepping for the coming week. 

So, in 10th grade, I started outsourcing more and more. For some outsourced classes, I would use something like Derek Owens for science or MyHomeschoolMathClass.com for math, with a teacher who graded everything. I was completely hands off for those classes. I sort of taught American history, but if it involved a Great Course, I didn’t watch the Great Course with him. I let him watch it on his own. I also didn’t read some of the American History book. Mostly, I just let him read and watch the videos and write an occasional paper for that course. 

If I fully taught the course entirely on my own (like English), then I read everything. 

I found my balance. I figured out what things I could give him to read alone, and what I’d have to read with him. It’s probably different for each kid, and depends on the curriculum as well.  

Edited by Garga
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I read all core texts aloud.  I considered that be the homeschool equivalent of "lecture and discussion."  I also assigned supplemental stuff that I may or may not have read myself.  I discussed those with them as one who was authentically interested and knew how to probe about key issues.  

You'll find that as your student gets more advanced that teaching reading heavy courses becomes less about having the right answers and more about exploring possibilities.  Because of this, you can actually do a lot of teaching without having first hand knowledge of the text in question.  

Edited by EKS
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1 hour ago, Garga said:

I couldn’t keep up.

I tried really hard in 9th grade for my oldest, but realized I just couldn’t do it and teach my other son as well.  9th grade was tough on me. I taught for 8 hours a day, then read ahead for 2-3 hours each night, and worked a 6 or so hour day every Saturday, prepping for the coming week. 

So, in 10th grade, I started outsourcing more and more. For some outsourced classes, I would use something like Derrick Owens for science or MyHomeschoolMathClass.com for math, with a teacher who graded everything. I was completely hands off for those classes. I sort of taught American history, but if it involved a Great Course, I didn’t watch the Great Course with him. I let him watch it on his own. I also didn’t read some of the American History book. Mostly, I just let him read and watch the videos and write an occasional paper for that course. 

If I fully taught the course entirely on my own (like English), then I read everything. 

I found my balance. I figured out what things I could give him to read alone, and what I’d have to read with him. It’s probably different for each kid, and depends on the curriculum as well.  

Thanks! This is very helpful! 

She is taking a French 1 class through WTM Academy, so I am just letting her do that all on her own. (I am not watching the lectures or helping her with anything; just fully outsourcing that class.) Outsourcing this class is definitely lightening my load, as French is not an area of expertise for me. 

I think I can handle keeping up with all her other ninth grade courses (we're doing all other courses at home, using curriculum for a couple of things, DIY-ing others). But I suspect we'll incorporate community college courses in 11th and 12th grades.... 

I appreciate your sharing how you've addressed things; thanks again!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, EKS said:

I read all core texts aloud.  I considered that be the homeschool equivalent of "lecture and discussion."  I also assigned supplemental stuff that I may or may not have read myself.  I discussed those with them as one who was authentically interested and knew how to probe about key issues.  

You'll find that as your student gets more advanced that teaching reading heavy courses becomes less about having the right answers and more about exploring possibilities.  Because of this, you can actually do a lot of teaching without having first hand knowledge of the text in question.  

Thank you for sharing your experience--especially the reading aloud part. (As I said in my OP, we've always pretty much read aloud content stuff, so I think I will try to find a good mix of reading aloud and assigning her readings. I think it may just take a few weeks to see what proportion works best.) 

I also appreciate your point about just discussing ideas (without necessarily needing to be an expert). Appreciate your chiming in!

 

Edited by EKT
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I feel like we are still feeling this out. 

For history, I read all the primary sources ahead, answer questions and when they finish, we discuss aloud. I don't pre-read (or read at all) the spine history text. 

Last year for Bio I did not read all the text ahead. I made it through about half and did not finish. I did a lot of Quizlet entry though, so I felt very familiar with the content.

Our lit and comp are outsourced. I do watch the lit lectures because I enjoy them.

For math, my oldest is the guinea pig and we are learning as we go along. My youngest gets my 2nd go through.

I don't read ahead on traditional logic II and it's starting to cause issues because I have to grade things that are not in the key (multiple possible answers).  I did read ahead for informal logic.  Again, it was a time thing.

Learning ahead Spanish is a big time consumer for me, plus some health stuff.

This year they are doing Derek Owens Physics but since we are self-grading I think I am going to need to go watch videos. I really need a refresher on some things like sig figs. I miss being hands on with science but physics is not my strong suit. I think I should probably study alongside them though. It's going to be hard to answer questions without something, and I might as well improve my physics. 

Mostly I can totally see myself in Garga's situation, and I have made concessions here and there, some of which I am learning aren't the best.. 

All that said, it's tough to weigh all of this, kwim?  We have had other family stuff and health stuff that takes time. I am just realizing that I should have done more ahead this summer.

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No, I am not reading everything. And I don't teach most subjects - I facilitate learning. To me that is a very important distinction that goes beyond semantics.

I teach math and physics. Teaching requires subject expertise beyond the level that is taught. Teaching means the ability to select the appropriate content, curate the resources, design effective assignments that have clear learning objectives, evaluate the quality of the work, answer questions, explain concepts. I could not possibly do that for history or French.

I facilitate everything else. Facilitating requires enough of an understanding of the discipline to select materials and resources that accomplish the goal and to find resources for help when the student's needs exceed my own expertise. I am not fluent in French and thus cannot be an effective teacher; I helped my student learn by selecting appropriate materials and finding a tutor. I am not an expert in literature or history; I know enough to select the topics and books I want them to cover and find suitable college level audio lectures given by teachers who are experts in their fields. They do the teaching.

Edited by regentrude
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There is absolutely no way I could keep up with all of the reading.

When my oldest was in 9th grade, I also had kids in grades 7, 5, 3, 1, and preschool.

And then I developed daily debilitating migraines.  There were days that I couldn't get out of bed or turn on a light.

I decided that our homeschool was going to have to be a lot of independent learning.

 

 

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It depends on if I consider myself the lead teacher or not. If I'm the teacher, I will at a minimum scan it. I tried a few times not doing it and I felt inadequate. If they have some other "teacher" source, then probably not. 

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This is why so many of us outsource much of high school. You simply cannot give your student a top notch education unless you devote *more* than full time hours to it in addition to schooling other kids and any other responsibilities you might have, you're a genius who understands these subjects at a college level across the board, your student just soaks up knowledge without a teacher, or you outsource.

In the homeschool world, a lot of people seem to think that teacherless education is easily possible and that parents can just executive function and organize their kid's education and that the kid can DIY literature with no discussion or feedback or can just learn math or AP level science from videos with no human help. I think that works a little sometimes, but that it does not create a superior education and that many people are overestimating the quality of education it does create and the applicability to all students.

Which is not to say that I haven't loved teaching parts of high school.

But this year I'm teaching just one half credit course for my seniors. And it's health. I'm out.

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I have some subjects I teach. I choose materials and presentation and provide feedback and explain things. Then there are subjects I outsource and get teachers who would do a better job than I.  In relatively few instances, I let the child self teach with books or other resources. 

I teach more subjects than I want to because of the difficulty of outsourcing the teaching of a child with dyslexia. So that is exhausting, but I still don't do it all.  

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Yes, I read everything that I plan to use.  It is an enormous amount of work but I don't think there's any other way that would work for us.  I spent all summer reading for my high schooler's US history and English classes .  

 

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5 hours ago, regentrude said:

No, I am not reading everything. And I don't teach most subjects - I facilitate learning. To me that is a very important distinction that goes beyond semantics.

I teach math and physics. Teaching requires subject expertise beyond the level that is taught. Teaching means the ability to select the appropriate content, curate the resources, design effective assignments that have clear learning objectives, evaluate the quality of the work, answer questions, explain concepts. I could not possibly do that for history or French.

I facilitate everything else. Facilitating requires enough of an understanding of the discipline to select materials and resources that accomplish the goal and to find resources for help when the student's needs exceed my own expertise. I am not fluent in French and thus cannot be an effective teacher; I helped my student learn by selecting appropriate materials and finding a tutor. I am not an expert in literature or history; I know enough to select the topics and books I want them to cover and find suitable college level audio lectures given by teachers who are experts in their fields. They do the teaching.

This I what I do.  So I teach A&P, Biology, Linguistics and sometimes English (I like to outsource this at least twice in high school).  I facilitate or outsource everything else. 

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I rarely outsource, even in high school.  I spend my summers putting together my kids' courses, reviewing materials/resources, and pre-reading some of their materials. Over the yrs I have found that finding quality resources and familiarizing myself with the general content and creating their plans leads to great course outcomes for my kids bc I have created the goals/objectives that I expect them to achieve.  (We have far greater success with this approach than when I have attempted to use prefab plans with the exception of a few select outsourced courses.)

We spend a lot of time in conversation in our home discussing things they are reading/learning.  No, it has not hampered my kids' ability to master content at a high level even though I am not an expert in any of the fields they study.  They learn to take ownership in their learning.  When neither one of us completely understands a topic, we research it more thoroughly or seek out someone who can help us understand. It isn't all or nothing.  

FWIW, I have had kids master content independently and to extremely high levels in subjects that I have zero knowledge of.  These are subjects that they have personally been internally motivated to master.  One of my kids taught herself French to fluency.  It took some experimenting to find the best way to help her learn, but we figured it out. She watched movies in French that she knew very well in English.  She read children's books in French that she knew in English.  She listened to French radio.  She worked with French grammar books.  After a few yrs, we sent her to a couple of immersion programs, etc.  We have a ds who taught himself multiple astronomy courses that later when he was in college as a physics major he was allowed to skip their lower level astronomy courses that used the same books after talking with the professors of those lower level courses.

Every family needs to figure out what works best for them.  For some families, outsourcing is the best educational option.  But, yes, moms can do it at home with their kids without their having all of the background knowledge, and yes, their kids can graduate from their homeschools with superior educations.  It really just takes recognizing when doing it home vs outsourcing isn't producing the mastery/outcomes that you know your child is capable of achieving.  FWIW, my adult kids have all told me that homeschooling taught them how to learn vs. expecting just to be taught.  They have shared that that has been a huge advantage at the collegiate level when they knew how to teach themselves material that wasn't explained well in class, whereas some of their friends have just floundered bc they didn't know how to go about self-mastery.

Edited by 8filltheheart
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My older is a sophomore and I don't outsource everything nor do I read everything.  Kid does often take 1-2 classes at co-op, but even for at-home classes I don't read every word.  Sometimes I choose material that have a study guide, and we can discuss answers even if i haven't read it all.  Kid mostly self-taught chemistry, but I could step in and help, using the teacher's guide, and, if necessary, helping to find other resources to answer questions.  There are also differences with different kids.  My older likes to learn and educating that kiddo has felt more like 'making resources available' because they devour information.  That is not the case for my younger, so I approach things differently.  

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No. I do the literature reading, because that's my thing and I feel pretty strongly about close reading and diving deeply into texts (if I weren't able to do that with them at home, I'd want them to take lit classes elsewhere). And I keep up with what they're doing in history/social sciences, and we do a lot of it together, but I don't do all the outside reading I assign myself. I prefer to outsource science, but it doesn't seem to happen that way as much as I'd like (at least with a live instructor), so in those cases they've done their own stuff at home and I just check in regularly to make sure they're keeping up with everything and moving at a good pace. Math is my husband's territory. Languages get outsourced. I keep my two high schoolers together as much as possible for English and social sciences, and that lets me keep up with them fairly well, but there's no way I could do more than that (I also have a 3rd grader). 

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No, but if I consider myself the primary teacher I do read everything. I am a fast reader so I have not had an issue reading everything that my kids read for literature. For History I sometimes did the reading aloud method and then we discussed as we read. For a few resources we had a a curriculum guide so I didn’t feel that I had to read all the text in order to discuss it. But I had to be fairly familiar with it. 

My oldest taught himself Math with AOPS and then had a tutor for a year. My other two will outsource Math. All three kids outsource foreign language. 

For Science the only class I’ve taught at home has been Biology. I’m a physician and was a Bio major. So I did read the text before lecturing/discussing with them. But it was more like a review for me which was way easier than really learning something with them. 

 

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On 8/21/2021 at 6:45 PM, regentrude said:

No, I am not reading everything. And I don't teach most subjects - I facilitate learning. To me that is a very important distinction that goes beyond semantics.

I teach math and physics. Teaching requires subject expertise beyond the level that is taught. Teaching means the ability to select the appropriate content, curate the resources, design effective assignments that have clear learning objectives, evaluate the quality of the work, answer questions, explain concepts. I could not possibly do that for history or French.

I facilitate everything else. Facilitating requires enough of an understanding of the discipline to select materials and resources that accomplish the goal and to find resources for help when the student's needs exceed my own expertise. I am not fluent in French and thus cannot be an effective teacher; I helped my student learn by selecting appropriate materials and finding a tutor. I am not an expert in literature or history; I know enough to select the topics and books I want them to cover and find suitable college level audio lectures given by teachers who are experts in their fields. They do the teaching.

 

On 8/21/2021 at 10:23 PM, Farrar said:

This is why so many of us outsource much of high school. You simply cannot give your student a top notch education unless you devote *more* than full time hours to it in addition to schooling other kids and any other responsibilities you might have, you're a genius who understands these subjects at a college level across the board, your student just soaks up knowledge without a teacher, or you outsource.

In the homeschool world, a lot of people seem to think that teacherless education is easily possible and that parents can just executive function and organize their kid's education and that the kid can DIY literature with no discussion or feedback or can just learn math or AP level science from videos with no human help. I think that works a little sometimes, but that it does not create a superior education and that many people are overestimating the quality of education it does create and the applicability to all students.

Which is not to say that I haven't loved teaching parts of high school.

But this year I'm teaching just one half credit course for my seniors. And it's health. I'm out.

This, I facilitate and I outsource. I don't have time to read everything or be a master of all they are learning. This works best for us. 

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