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Looked at public high school and hyperventilating...can't compete


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I am planning a course plan for 7th and 8th grade and looking ahead to high school decisions, which would affect what I choose to teach next year. I got on the website of the best high school we have here in the city -- a very good school, one of the best in the state, but one that would require we move in order to be in the district.

 

They have a very detailed career-focused plan for each student with access to local community college classes, they offered the A+ program which gives you two free years of post-high school community college education, and many, many other opportunities. Because they ask sophomores to focus on a career track, they have incredible electives to offer. They have gifted classes...I could go on and on.

 

I started feeling like such a loser, like I could never offer anything on the order of that kind of education to my sons. It's all very cutting edge, and it makes these last few years of poetry memorization and basic Latin, and western civ and Saxon math look pathetic. I don't even know if my kids would make it in this kind of academic environment, even though I have been a rather rigorous homeschooler.

 

I have real reservations about high school for social and spiritual reasons. And there are financial logistics to moving to such a district.

 

How did you all reach the decision to homeschool though high school? Did you consider public, did you feel your kids could make it either place, that you could provide a solid education, or do you think public school better prepares our children for the real world.

 

I do not want to keep my children in a homeschool ghetto and then send them out the door into a world where they cannot survive. I've seen several hs highschoolers graduate recently with no plans, no directions, inadequate skills. Lots of hs families are becoming very anti-college.

 

The other thing I see happening in public schools is a lot of web-based, technology-based learning, aimed at collaborative team projects. Does this reflect what is happening in the workplace? Will my sons be unprepared to work in a 21st workplace if they don't have this kind of education? I see no way to provide a comparable education in this area.

 

Tell me what you know...Thanks!

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How did you all reach the decision to homeschool though high school? Did you consider public, did you feel your kids could make it either place, that you could provide a solid education, or do you think public school better prepares our children for the real world.

 

I do not want to keep my children in a homeschool ghetto and then send them out the door into a world where they cannot survive. I've seen several hs highschoolers graduate recently with no plans, no directions, inadequate skills. Lots of hs families are becoming very anti-college.

 

The other thing I see happening in public schools is a lot of web-based, technology-based learning, aimed at collaborative team projects. Does this reflect what is happening in the workplace? Will my sons be unprepared to work in a 21st workplace if they don't have this kind of education? I see no way to provide a comparable education in this area.

 

Tell me what you know...Thanks!

 

Wow. I have never for one second worried that my kids would get a better education in the public schools, even though we live in a A-rated district. In fact, I regularly look at the websites and curricula of our very best local private schools and feel sure my kids are better off at home.

 

I honestly can't imagine what your local schools could be offering that would outweigh the opportunities of homeschooling: individual attention and curriculum designed for each child, flexibility to follow interests and provide much more enrichment than can be done in a group setting, the freedom not to have other kids' discipline problems and attitudes interfere with learning . . .

 

For what it's worth, my daughter has already "graduated" and was accepted (by unanimous vote of the admissions committee, we heard) to the college program of her choice. She's now mid-way through her sophomore year, and her only complaint is that her classes are not as interesting or challenging as what she did at home.

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can't imagine what your local schools could be offering that would outweigh the opportunities of homeschooling:

---individual attention and curriculum designed for each child,

---flexibility to follow interests and provide much more enrichment than can be done in a group setting,

---the freedom not to have other kids' discipline problems and attitudes interfere with learning

 

 

I was wondering the same thing. :confused:

 

But then again, value is in the eye of the beholder.

 

:seeya:

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Hhmm, after having completed our first semester of high school I feel pretty competent we made the right decision to homeschool through high school.

 

I think the success is based for me on outsourcing classes I felt I couldn't thoroughly teach. The teachers that teach my dd's online classes are experts in their field and passionate. She's also had to learn how to deal with a huge increase in workload, which I'm glad she's done at home so we could guide her somewhat. One class does do online group projects, so they can get exposure to group technology skills.

 

You can find really specialized classes online to fit your student's interest. I do think that having a different teacher also helps them to step up to the plate that they may not do otherwise.

 

I've chosen to really focus on the other classes she does at home and do them really well. Instead of just reading out of the teacher's manual or handing her a reading list, I'm trying my best to be a good teacher, but just at a couple subjects, so it's do-able.

 

Can your son take community college classes too? We can here in the junior and sophmore yrs.

 

I also wonder how many students really know what career tract they want in high school? A great books curriculum teaches them to make connections throughout history, to hear the "great ideas" and decide do they agree with them. Latin and logic can teach them how to think critically. They may not get all this in a career tract school.

 

Now all that said, many kids obviously do well in ps. They are motivated, have great curriculums and caring teachers and form a good group of supportive friends. I don't think anyone could fault you for going that route.

 

I've only seen a few kids faulter after homeschool. They came from dysfunctional families and may have anyways. I've seen a couple succeed during their first couple yrs at college and had very little trouble adjusting. They came from loving families, had an average high school curriculum and got involved in several extracurricular activities immediately when they entered college. Their parents were very supportive and helped them along the way to reach this goal.

 

It can be done!

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They have a very detailed career-focused plan for each student with access to local community college classes, they offered the A+ program which gives you two free years of post-high school community college education, and many, many other opportunities. Because they ask sophomores to focus on a career track, they have incredible electives to offer. They have gifted classes...I could go on and on.

 

I started feeling like such a loser, like I could never offer anything on the order of that kind of education to my sons. It's all very cutting edge, and it makes these last few years of poetry memorization and basic Latin, and western civ and Saxon math look pathetic. I don't even know if my kids would make it in this kind of academic environment, even though I have been a rather rigorous homeschooler.

 

........

 

I do not want to keep my children in a homeschool ghetto and then send them out the door into a world where they cannot survive. I've seen several hs highschoolers graduate recently with no plans, no directions, inadequate skills. Lots of hs families are becoming very anti-college.

 

The other thing I see happening in public schools is a lot of web-based, technology-based learning, aimed at collaborative team projects. Does this reflect what is happening in the workplace? Will my sons be unprepared to work in a 21st workplace if they don't have this kind of education? I see no way to provide a comparable education in this area.

 

Tell me what you know...Thanks!

 

I understand your concerns about rigor. But people who are as concerned as you are do not produce young adults who lack plans, direction, skills, and desire for a life after high school (college or meaningful life work).

 

I sent my child to a very rigorous private high school with amazing extras. She regularly comments (both to me still and on occasion to her teachers) that she gets off very easy at that school -- with its service learning component and its extracurricular sports and skills and its Saturday classes -- compared to when she was studying with mom at home. Circumstances dictated my leaving home schooling, but had she remained with me, she would have been by no means robbed of direction or rigor.

 

As to team-based, web-based collaborative learning, I just finished a college degree that required a great deal of team-based, technology-intensive collaborative learning, and one of the classes was a grad class. I've never been "trained" in that kind of learning, but let me just say -- it ain't rocket science. Really. Not. Better to be trained in strong individual effort and good manners. That will help carry a team along better than the whole group sputtering along to the mediocrity of the least of the members.

 

Make sure your math follows a strong path, including use of technology at the pre-calc level. Make sure you incorporate strong writing. Read and dig and collaborate when and where you can. Learn the basics of science, with physical science in 8th grade if you can. Arrange for farming out or independent study with a tutor or college classes for stuff you know you can't do well at home.

 

Worry, sure, but worry with a direction in mind. Read here, learn, glean. If this is the path you want to walk, then go and keep your eyes on the goal.

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I do not want to keep my children in a homeschool ghetto and then send them out the door into a world where they cannot survive. I've seen several hs highschoolers graduate recently with no plans, no directions, inadequate skills. Lots of hs families are becoming very anti-college.

 

The other thing I see happening in public schools is a lot of web-based, technology-based learning, aimed at collaborative team projects. Does this reflect what is happening in the workplace? Will my sons be unprepared to work in a 21st workplace if they don't have this kind of education? I see no way to provide a comparable education in this area.

 

Tell me what you know...Thanks!

 

I think these are great questions. I know my husband has expressed his desire that our ds14 get some "real" classroom experience. Because our local high school is not very home-school friendly (would likely make him re-take classes he already mastered at home), we agreed to give him that real-world experience in dual-credit community college classes his junior and senior years (supplemented with other classes here at home).

 

As far as technology, web-based, collaborative team projects - these can have some merit, but more often than not, 1 or 2 kids do all the "work" (and consequently gain all the benefit/learning). The others get a grade, without necessarily increasing their learning. Certainly team projects will be a part of most people's work, but there are many valuable ways to learn to work as a team. (Volunteer in church or community, clubs, team sports, working together as a family,..., the possibilities are limitless!)

 

All the "classical" enthusiasts recommend the benefits of a broad education: critical thinking, clear WRITING, solid mathematics, etc. These tools will allow a student to tackle ANY challenge the future holds - including learning to work on a team, use the latest technology (web-based or otherwise), and produce something of value.

 

That being said, I was holding my head this afternoon while my ds14 COULD NOT GRASP the algebra concept we were working on. I kept thinking, "maybe he'd get it if he were in school". I took a deep breath, asked God for patience and wisdom to explain it better, and we continued. He must master it before we move on! At least in home school, we have that option.

 

Our schools are also very good, and it is intimidating to think they offer more/do a better job. Maybe the highly-gifted students do get more, but I don't know that all students excel in that environment. That's where you and dh have to pray together and determine what's best for your dc.

 

HTH,

Cindy

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I am planning a course plan for 7th and 8th grade and looking ahead to high school decisions, which would affect what I choose to teach next year. I got on the website of the best high school we have here in the city -- a very good school, one of the best in the state, but one that would require we move in order to be in the district.

I've been doing that also. I visited our local private schools. The elite schools which cost $20K/year still do math, english, foreign language, science, etc. They have a fancy computer lab & science lab, but they still do the same things we will do at home, in combination w/ online classes, excellent curriculum (like Chalkdust math), tutors if needed and CC.

 

I started feeling like such a loser, like I could never offer anything on the order of that kind of education to my sons. It's all very cutting edge, and it makes these last few years of poetry memorization and basic Latin, and western civ and Saxon math look pathetic. I don't even know if my kids would make it in this kind of academic environment, even though I have been a rather rigorous homeschooler.

 

I bet they would do fantastic. It sounds like you have middlers. Now is when you kick it up a notch and get more serious w/ logic stage expectations. That is what I am doing w/ my middlers.

 

I have real reservations about high school for social and spiritual reasons.

 

Me too! My girl-crazy son would not do well w/ flirtatious girls winking at him in class. Kids have s*x at our local schools in nooks & crannies where they can be alone for a few minutes between classes.

 

 

The other thing I see happening in public schools is a lot of web-based, technology-based learning, aimed at collaborative team projects.

I can't stand group projects. I think they are over-rated. I may be wrong.

 

Does this reflect what is happening in the workplace? Will my sons be unprepared to work in a 21st workplace if they don't have this kind of education?

 

Reading TWEM will help you see the benefit of Great Books education. Even Drew Campbell talked about this in LCC. Instead of focusing on technology ed, learn how to "think" so you can conquer anything you want later on -- after you get the foundation by studying great thinkers.

I see no way to provide a comparable education in this area.

 

Its wise that you are thinking through this now, since you have middlers. I had this panic attack about a year ago and did lots of research. Online schools such as The Potters School, Scholars Online, etc provide rigorous courses taught by experts who are passionate about their field of study. We are homeschooling in a world w/ lots of possibilities for outsourcing.

 

Tell me what you know...Thanks!

 

 

.

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How did you all reach the decision to homeschool though high school? Did you consider public, did you feel your kids could make it either place, that you could provide a solid education, or do you think public school better prepares our children for the real world.

 

First, I don't think any public school -- high school or college -- prepares anyone for the "real world." Our local school certainly doesn't. At least, I hope all the crap that goes on there isn't a reflection of life outside the brick walls. It's ridiculous. I've said before that if my son has to worry about fighting a co-worker at the office to keep him from stealing his briefcase, then I don't have any experience in the "real world" either. Hopefully, by the time they're holding jobs, they've found a way to express their Alpha Male behavior that doesn't involve a rumble in the parking lot.

 

Second, while I think my son *could* make it in public high school, I don't think he actually would. He is *not* motivated and was basically ignored as long as he sat quietly in the corner -- doing nothing. For this, I cannot blame the teachers. They have students with *real* problems and actually told him and us that they couldn't be bothered wasting time with someone who had the skills/gifts and refused to use them. If he had been able to keep his "class clown" tendencies in check, they would have never complained about him. :D

 

And finally, I have no confidence in the academics at the local school, either. It's basically daycare for teenagers. A graduate from that school who is successful in college, even at the CC level, is a rarity, not the norm.

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Even though I'm the type who came to homeschooling thinking it would be relatively easy (laugh long and hard ath that if you will--I now do), I was rather nervous for a while last year when dd said she wants to homeschool high school, even though that's what I'd been thinking about. But I did some research and got some great information here and am happy about it. She starts next year (she's only 13) so she can get more self-discipline and learn to write an essay first, etc.

 

We will probably outsource a few higher courses with our local high school (no cc close by), such as later lab courses & Calculus, but this is not certain. Since she wants to be a science major, I have some great stuff on the shelf. I looked for more challenging courses in math and science since that's the direction she's going (so math for mathy kids who can learn by reading a text book as she does, for eg). We may also do one or two classes online, but really want to keep our costs down, so probably one at the most next year (Latin at this point.)

 

Staying at home means that we can tailor subjects dd hates to make them more palatable, and to include things pertinent to her goals. This means she'll do the history of science and the history of mathematics (she hates math even though she's mathy) but go lighter on political history of the world, etc.

 

I'm not a fan of those collaborative efforts. In fact, I cannot find polite words to say how much I disagree with the huge emphasis put on that in public education nowadays. Kids can learn to work together in other areas such as sports, dance, other group activities. And, yes, doing science labs together, but each writing his/her own report.

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In the end, though, I'm not homeschooling for academic excellence.

 

I, too, am in a top-rated school system. It sounds fabulous on paper. And for some children, it actually is fabulous. My nephew is thriving there. My oldest, however, did not. As a middle-of-the-road student, intelligent but not superly so, and rather unmotivated, he didn't get into those classes with the top teachers. Or when he did, it didn't work out, for one reason or another. And the "other" classes weren't nearly as good at the top classes. My son swung between top and other, flunking or bored, and eventually gave up and stopped trying. For example, one of those top teachers early in his math path spent the year working on being qualified for a top-teacher something-or-other and didn't do as good a job as he could have with my son. This, too, contributed to my son's problems. I'm not complaining about the teacher; I, too, am a teacher now, even if just at home, and I totally understand that these things happen. My point is that it wouldn't have happened at home. He could have gotten lost and I could have not noticed for a few months. But then, instead of the teacher having to keep going forward and just telling him to come talk to him after school, I have the flexibility to back up to the point where he got lost, even if it is months back. I usually tell people that our public school is great, but my children learn better at home. I know for sure that my middle one wouldn't have done well at school. He very badly needed that flexibility, being wired a little differently, being dreamy, being a late-bloomer (only academically - at 13 he took a subway across Tokoyo by himself). So you can ask yourself if your particular child is in a position to benefit from the wonderful programs offered at the school. So many of my son's classmates are drifting now, not sure what they want to do, that I don't think homeschooling could be any worse.

 

My youngest probably would do fine at the school. But by now, I've discovered that I'm not homeschooling for academic excellence. I'm homeschooling to make interesting adults, and ones who aren't too scarred by having to deal with their peers at a time when their peers aren't civilized yet. (Homeschooling let my very sweet middle one keep his sweetness.) I'm not sending my youngest because as good as the school is, it still has to teach every subject for at least a semester, and every subject has to fit into the same sized box. Homeschooling, my children can learn a little bit of something and quit when their curiosity is satisfied, or spend three hours a day on math if necessary. They can do part of their learning in an untraditional manner, like travelling. They can spend a few weeks cramming French before going to France and ignore their math until they get back. But the biggest reason I'm also not sending my youngest (and middle one) is because homeschooling, we can concentrate on educating for adulthood, not just educating to fill in boxes, educating for well-rounded-ness, and educating for college entrance.

 

Educating to make an interesting adult, though, means that I have to work HARD. I can't just hand them textbooks in school subjects and help them finish them. I have to help each child figure out where their interests and talents lie, then figure out possible uses for the interest or talent, then help them figure out which things they want to put time and energy into, and then help make it happen. If it is something big, then I have to figure out what they need for background. So making up an example, if I have a child who loves paper airplanes, I have to figure out possible next steps: Would they like to branch off into origami? Geometry? Remote control airplanes? Would they like to study birds? And I have to help them to dream: Would they like their pilot's license eventually? Would they like to design helicopters? Would they like to fly to the moon? What can they do with this interest? Half the time, they just want to keep playing with paper airplanes and put more energy into some other interest. But if they do want to pursue it, being children, they often have no idea what the possibilities are. I don't either. I'm usually the one responsible for figuring out that if they want to get their pilot's license, they need to know x, y, and z, and figuring out how to fit that into a high school plan. I have to figure out whether this project contains enough learning to be part of their high school education, or if it is just for fun. And I have to blend that together with our more general educational goals. Even though it is hard for me, I think I can do this better than our high school. Even if they could manage to figure out what my child wants, they usually don't have the resources or the flexibility. Some things they can do better, like debate team and robotics club. Our school does offer projects, especially some cool ones in biology. Often, though, projects require going out into the community, which is easier if you aren't in school.

 

It sounds like your school is a bit better at providing projects than ours, with career tracks and all, but what about the projects that don't lead to a career? Can they fit those in? Can your student take classes at the CC anyway, without going through the public school? One of the good things about our public school is the chemistry teacher. He is enthusiastic and good at chemistry; I'm neither. My middle one is taking chemistry at CC this year, though. His teacher is equally enthusiastic. And we can compare the two classes because his cousin is taking the public school chemistry this year (advanced), and we see that the CC class is moving twice as fast. This is comforting to me.

 

So for me, it boils down to this: I have the time and resources to make those extra high school projects happen. They aren't debate or something the high school can do better. I think the projects balance the many inadequacies of my home teaching. My children are allowed to take CC classes as homeschoolers. This gives them career prep or college prep options I would have trouble providing. I have the means to give them laptops and other technology, so I'm not too worried about that aspect. And at home, I can focus their education on learning to teach themselves as adults, so I'm not too worried about gaps in their knowledge. I'm hoping their education doesn't stop just because they graduate.

 

Thinking about all the families I know, I can see that for some, life itself is such a struggle to survive that there is a limit to the richness and diversity of the experiences they can provide for their children. They really need the public school to provide those things. For them, a good, safe school is a great blessing.

 

Sorry this got so long. Every year, I worry over this, and every year, I remind myself that even though it sounds great, it probably isn't the right thing for my children.

 

-Nan

Edited by Nan in Mass
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Wow, Nan, that is a fantastic post.

 

We have top-rated schools in our town, and my brother teaches in a neighboring district that's also considered fantastic, and he's been ragging on me to put them in high school when the time comes (they're in 5th now) because of all the opportunities the school offers that I "couldn't possibly provide". Thanks for the pep talk!

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There's the money issue. We have one income, and it's a generous middle class income, but it's stretched very thin, and I know I could provide at least a decent high school education with community college classes, some tutoring, some online, but I would have to work at least part-time for that to happen.

 

And as Nan has said, to do high school right, you have work hard yourself. I just don't see where the time would come from to do that -- working part-time -- and frankly the energy. I'm no spring chicken anymore. I'm 43 and seem to get tired faster every day. The idea of me working, planning and doing school better, running a household, doing all of this -- simply overwhelms me. If we had some extra money without me working....

 

Does anyone else feel as tired as me? Are you all working, if so, how are you getting everything done? Cause this is the only way I can see to offer a home school high school product I could feel satisfied with.

 

And I know some dear friends -- three families -- who work parttime in order to keep homeschooling, and their children are left alone too much and are not self-motivated, and they are not learning -- not even the basics that they should be. These are great people, and I love them, but their path is not working. Their lives seem to be cautionary tales.

 

I don't mean to be dramatic or negative, but I want to make sure I'm getting the straight scoop here.

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She regularly comments (both to me still and on occasion to her teachers) that she gets off very easy at that school -- with its service learning component and its extracurricular sports and skills and its Saturday classes -- compared to when she was studying with mom at home. Circumstances dictated my leaving home schooling, but had she remained with me, she would have been by no means robbed of direction or rigor.

 

 

Same here, for the one that goes to school (and most likely, the only one that will go - different kids).

 

To the OP, it really sounds to me like you've already convinced yourself the high school can do a better job. I would worry about whether or not you'd be able to weather the rough spots or fully commit to homeschooling for high school, if you really do feel the school is superior to what you could offer. I think you'd have to convince yourself that you can provide as much quality - it may be different, but a quality education all the same.

 

I suggest you talk to as many parents as you can (at least 6-8) of students in the school you're considering. Then you'll have the inside scoop, and a better picture of it in your head when you're weighing the pros and cons.

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We also have what is considered a great highschool. I've always tried to choose the very best school option I could for dd. But the schools just never ended up as advertised. She wasn't included in the right classes or programs that sold me on the school, or the teachers weren't properly trained yet, etc. I spent dd's 9th grade year ranting about the 3rd grade art projects the school required and all of the extra time she had to spend on meaningless group projects, and stupid hollywood movies that they watched in class. I now take all of the great press a school gets with a grain of salt.

 

On the other hand, I'm a single mom who works full-time and isn't home nearly enough. We've been leveraging community college, university, co-op, and self-motivation to get through the last year and a half. Our homeschool sure isn't perfect, but I will never go back. My top priority is academic excellence. But there's also something liberating about being your own boss. I decide which assignments are worthwhile. We sometimes modify the schedule to get through a more challenging weeks. And I no longer feel like a slave to someone else's schedule. DD is learning how to be self-motivated and set her own goals. In public school she was just going through the motions. We've got a long way to go, and I wish we could have started earlier. But for us there is no better way to grow up than through the process of homeschooling.

 

I love hearing about the great things our public schooled friends are doing. I guess I'm a little competitive because it just pushes me to get more creative and do more to make our homeschool better.

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I started feeling like such a loser, like I could never offer anything on the order of that kind of education to my sons.

 

 

Any school can look good on paper. ;)

I think the way to know for sure what it's *really* like is to attend for a day. Also, to talk to a variety of students and parents to see what they really are getting out of it. In contrast, all the time, the one-on-one tutoring, and discussions you've had with your own children has surely made them great students and critical thinkers, and able to see connections in ways that public schools don't have time to instill. :001_smile:

 

 

 

How did you all reach the decision to homeschool though high school?

 

 

 

1. Prayer.

2. Discussion with DH about each child's specific needs/skills/interests and how those could best be met.

3. Discussion with each child: What do you see yourself doing as a career? How can we best tailor your education to prepare you for that? What schooling environment would you work hardest in, or would be the best fit for you and your needs?

 

And we revisit it this each year, to see if needs/skills/interests have changed from the beginning of the school year to the end.

 

 

 

Did you consider public, did you feel your kids could make it either place, that you could provide a solid education, or do you think public school better prepares our children for the real world.

 

 

To provide opportunities or teaching that we can't provide, we continually consider outside options:

- online class

- homeschool co-op

- public or private high school enrichment class or after school activity

- community college class

- tutor

- swap teaching with another homeschooler with different strengths than mine

- apprenticeship

- internship

 

 

 

I do not want to keep my children in a homeschool ghetto and then send them out the door into a world where they cannot survive. I've seen several hs highschoolers graduate recently with no plans, no directions, inadequate skills.

 

 

Again, prayer. Also, career testing/career counseling can really help high school seniors get direction. Just getting in there as a young teen and working in a restaurant, in the family business, a summer job on a farm, etc., can help teens see what they do (or don't!) want to do as a career, and will definitely give them skills in how to be a good employee, what it takes to run a business, etc.

 

 

 

The other thing I see happening in public schools is a lot of web-based, technology-based learning, aimed at collaborative team projects. Does this reflect what is happening in the workplace? Will my sons be unprepared to work in a 21st workplace if they don't have this kind of education? I see no way to provide a comparable education in this area.

 

 

 

Again, some of this can be outsourced:

- community college class

- learn to do the tech/AV for church or other group by volunteering to help the tech/AV person

- volunteer to do put together a monthly newsletter (computers are great for learning by doing!)

- get a book (and there are lots out there!) on creating a webpage, and make one!

- make a film with a digital video camera and simple computer editing software with friends, neighbors or other homeschoolers (teamwork; tech)

- do oral reports/presentations using Power Point as part of the presentation

- join a group that will encourage your teens to step out: 4H; Youth & Government; Communicators for Christ; Teen Pact; National Forensics League; 4H; be a leader or assistant in Scouts or church Sunday school class, etc.

- check out The Rebelution website: http://www.therebelution.com/, where teens Alex and Brett Harris encourage teens to "do hard things" -- it includes forums for teens encourage one another, ideas in how to step out, gain direction, step up to responsibility etc.

 

 

We're doing 9th and 10th grade this year with our boys; I was worried, too about how feasible this would be. But as we've prayed, the Lord has opened doors and opportunities as they have been needed, and many of the tech and teamwork needs are being answered in unexpected ways! I encourage you, if you feel led to continue to homeschool, that you, too will find doors open as you need them! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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The other responses in this thread address the issues you raised more directly, but I would like to toss out something that I just witnessed as an example of opportunities offered by a good school vs. homeschooling. We were recently at a major US art museum, viewing a special exhibit. Although we arrived at the museum when it opened and made a beeline for the special exhibit, we often found ourselves surrounded by groups of students (maybe 8th or 9th graders) who traveled through the exhibit primarily in packs. We had rented the audio tour so our movement through the exhibit was slow as we paused to listen to information from the curator and international experts. The students traveled in waves--moving quickly through the exhibit as they answered questions on several sheets of paper.

 

They were on a field trip from a "good" school, it appeared. They had objectives of things to find, examine, comment on. But one student would find an "answer" and the group would gather to fill in the answer. There was one young lady who stayed away from the pack, viewing the exhibit on her own at about our pace. She was observing and writing paragraphs. She was the exception.

 

"Good" schools present good opportunities, like this one to see art and artifacts from Europe that rarely travel across the Atlantic. This exposure may be recalled down the road in a history class, but whether most of these students took advantage of this opportunity I feel is questionable.

 

Further, by focusing on "finding the answers", I kept wondering if the students were looking at the objects themselves, looking beyond obvious answers. Our pace through the exhibit exemplifies the pace that homeschoolers can take with subjects that excite your child. You can take the time to read that extra book, watch that extra documentary, listen to that extra Teaching Company course, debate the viewpoints. Certainly not every homeschooler does this, but for those who do, it is a glorious ride.

 

Best,

Jane

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I have not worked hard enough or been present enough for my high schooler. This year, I went back to work to help pay down debt and help him with college expenses, but that isn't happening, since I am so anxious about "stuff" and feel so bad for leaving him to fend for himself (so tired from work and emotionally drained from family problems) that I am overspending.

 

Be careful. Only take on (employment) what will not drain you. I totally hear you about energy--I'll be 46 next month. You have to take excellent care of yourself when you are responsible for a high schooler getting his education.

 

A suggestion would be to let your high schooler pay for some of the extras you want to provide. Our CC classes here in No Va are $96 per credit, with most English and language classes being 5 credits and most others being 3 (not the same as high school credits--strangely, each semester-long course counts as 1 high school credit). So, my child's Spanish class cost him roughly $600, including books. That's something your 7th grader can save for--by 10th grade, they could pay for a class if they earned about $20 a month. I don't know about you, but we pay a babysitter that much for one night of sitting! So, three days of that sort of work a month could pay for all the foreign language (for example) classes at CC that your child would need.

It really isn't that much if you budget for it. See what I mean?

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There's the money issue. We have one income, and it's a generous middle class income, but it's stretched very thin, and I know I could provide at least a decent high school education with community college classes, some tutoring, some online, but I would have to work at least part-time for that to happen . . .

 

Does anyone else feel as tired as me? Are you all working, if so, how are you getting everything done? Cause this is the only way I can see to offer a home school high school product I could feel satisfied with.

 

I certainly do feel tired, even though I don't work for pay. However, I don't agree that scads of money are necessary to provide a really good high school education.

 

We paid for very few outside classes. In fact, the two distance learning classes I splurged on one year turned out to be a total waste of money. My daughter took a few online classes through Florida Virtual School, which is free to as as Florida residents. (It's my understanding that many states have similar programs.) That provided us a good option for classes I just didn't feel qualified to teach (math) and also gave her a record of grades from outside sources, including honors and AP classes.

 

Other than that, we did it on our own, with textbooks I bought on www.half.com and online resources (www.learner.org, www.ucopenaccess.org ) and plenty of books to read. (I like to buy, but you could certainly use the library for much of this.) Our local library has many of the Teaching Company courses available, too.

 

It's do-able. Honest.

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We were recently at a major US art museum, viewing a special exhibit. Although we arrived at the museum when it opened and made a beeline for the special exhibit, we often found ourselves surrounded by groups of students (maybe 8th or 9th graders) who traveled through the exhibit primarily in packs. We had rented the audio tour so our movement through the exhibit was slow as we paused to listen to information from the curator and international experts. The students traveled in waves--moving quickly through the exhibit as they answered questions on several sheets of paper.

 

They were on a field trip from a "good" school, it appeared. They had objectives of things to find, examine, comment on. But one student would find an "answer" and the group would gather to fill in the answer.

 

We had a very similar experience recently at the King Tut exhibit. My 10-year-old was more interested and better behaved than those students. In fact, he specifically requested that we hang back in one room and let the group pass us so that he could concentrate and enjoy the exhibit. That is an opportunity a student in a school group--even one from a good school--would not have had.

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I used to compare our homeschooling with the best high schools in our city. There are 2 really good ones here that everyone brags about and pushes to have their kids attend. Last spring my dd was chatting with several of her friends at church as they compared "war stories" about their first year of college. My dd was the only one in the bunch who homeschooled. The rest went to those top 2 high schools.

 

All the other girls were moaning and groaning about how hard their first year had been compared to what they did in high school and all these girls graduated top of their senior classes so they were not slothful students. My dd told me that they mostly complained of the college work load and the quality and quantity of papers which were always due. She told me, "Mom, I used to worry that I would be disadvantaged coming from homeschooling but after listening to the other girls, I think I was more than prepared for college." Her confidence level soared after her first year of college. (She just finished 3rd semester.)

 

My youngest dd is 18 and LD. She's doing her first 2 years of college at CC then she'll be able to enter 4-yr univ as a 3rd year college student. She's already completed slightly less than 2 semesters at CC and she's making A's and B's, which is good for her.

 

If you're worried that your kids won't make it after high school, have them begin taking CC classes while in 11th grade. Keep an eye on their work. Remember, this would be their first time in college so don't just expect them to do everything right. My 18 began CC Amer. Gov't with an F on her first exam. I could have rung her neck!:banghead: She hated Gov't and didn't quite know how to study it to make good grades. Her older sister, a Poli-Sci major, and I worked hard with her for about a week and then she took off on her own. They just finished the semester and she got an A in the course.

 

Like somebody else here mentioned--- Any school can look good on paper or on their website. It's how their kids perform in college afterwards that tells all. Taking CC classes is one way to build your confidence and theirs.

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Regarding being tired and working. During middle school I worked at home about 6hrs/day. It wasn't something I wanted to do, it was something I had to do for my husband's business. It was do-able. The few days I've worked outside the home, all day, the kids would get their work done, but some of it would be done incorrectly or not at all, because I wasn't there to explain it to them. I would try to go over things at night, but it wasn't as effective as actually being there.

 

As far as paying for outside classes, it's something I budget for. If we get a tax refund, I save it for that. I should try to save a $100/month, but so far I haven't. If there's one subject you can do very well, you could teach a class for other homeschoolers and make enough money to pay for it that way. Potter's school I paid for over several months. I would take out money from savings if I had to, just because I know this is the only way I can provide her a complete education (I know I wouldn't be able to master all the subjects she needs).

 

I do get tired, but I also have to take care of my FIL who is sick. He's lived with us some months. I really enjoy reading their literature and preparing for that and history, so I wouldn't say that makes me more tired since I enjoy it.

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The other thing I see happening in public schools is a lot of web-based, technology-based learning, aimed at collaborative team projects. Does this reflect what is happening in the workplace? Will my sons be unprepared to work in a 21st workplace if they don't have this kind of education? I see no way to provide a comparable education in this area.

 

That reminds me of a cartoon I saw just the other day.

 

11th_grade.png

 

Do your kids not mess around with computers? Can you look in your newspaper's community events listings for local software club meetings? Various correspondence courses are available online. Certification in software skills is also a possibility for high schooled homeschoolers. I see no reason your child can't do web-based learning in technology aimed at collaborative team projects. That's what a blog is.

 

ETA: Sorry, I'm being overly simplistic. My point was that if you have any group of teens, including your sons' friends, and a computer, you can do this at home. They can set a goal, or you can, but either way, it is possible.

Edited by dragons in the flower bed
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I ALWAYS feel guilty when I see students filling out those sheets at museums. I feel like it exemplifies my laziness and my inability help my children get the most out of trips like that. But as you pointed out, those students are always rushing about. My children spend hours looking at something and talking about it. We spent half an hour watching the balls spin down the funnel at the science museum yesterday. I know they think about the exhibits at the art museum, too, because they tell me their ideas. I can see them applying everything they know as they look at something. I do this in literature (thanks to TWTM/TWEM). I know that if I don't leave them space, there is no room for their own thoughts and they don't think. I don't know why I feel guilty because I let them come up with their own conclusions on a field trip and places other than literature. What a great example! Thank you so much!

-Nan

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I would say that if you are concerned and want rigor for your kids, you will find a way to build it into your program in a way that fits your children. When it fits your kids, it doesn't even seem all that hard. Rose's comment about "fiddling around with computers" is on target. My son (14yo) is a member of a computer game development message board community where ideas are exchanged and games are coded and built, independently and collaboratively. He decided he had an interest, he found the online community, it is his activity, he is an active member (speaking of Socialization- it is one facet of how to behave in a community- and he has more posts to his community than I have here... and I have been here about 6 years) and he learns a ton! Next year, when he starts high school, I will have him record his time for that activity daily, and start documenting what he is learning so that I can award credit.

 

Of course, we also have traditional classes like math and latin. I may outsource at some point, but for now am planning to use Teaching Company and Chalkdust courses for next year. HOWEVER, if money were tighter I would utilize used Lial's texts for math (what we have done until now with success) and get a netflix membership or use online open courseware from MIT or podcasts from universities or other online sources- there are literally thousands of options that are FREE. If you need recommendations for a particular course, this board is a great place to find free recommendations. I cannot tell you how much I have learned just by opening posts that don't apply to me- yet. Now I can tell you a lot about curricula and courses out there that I have never used, because I have been a fly on the wall so often.

 

It is very easy to feel shaky when you compare what you are doing with other programs. This is true even if you start comparing what you do with what another homeschooler is doing. I guess my best advice on how to know if what you are doing is working is to look at your child. Is he/she thriving? Does learning appear to be taking place? Do they make connections between the material you teach and things they do and see outside of "school"? Do they perform well on standardized tests/outside classes?

 

My other bit of advice is to pick something and stick with it, unless you can clearly see that it is not working for your child. Research thoroughly, create a solid program, and use it. If you keep your school your priority (even over "life") you will naturally have rigor in your program.

 

You will always be sacrificing something good that another school might offer in return for the choices you make in your home school. But for me, I try to rest in the knowledge that I chose wisely, and there is a lot of good in the program I am offering.

 

Best wishes,

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I fretted over my 1st child. Was I teaching enough? Would she succeed in college?

 

Then she won a 4 year scholarship to a college, and I fretted again. Does she really know enough to compete in the honors program?

 

So off to college she went, and her jaw hit the floor when fellow students would ask her to proof their papers. Kids from great schools couldn't write worth a darn. They struggled through Philosophy 101, and my daughter couldn't figure out what there was to figure out. School was boring. Granted--she is majoring in communications and not physics or biology, but still...

 

So as I prepare my 2nd child to graduate, I ask myself, "What is it that I did right?"

 

Well, I tailored the work to push my child as hard as she could go--not more and not less. If the program was not working and my daughter was struggling, I went in search for something that would teach it at her level. I had her write, write, write, write, write. I gave her a well-rounded education, and I did not make it easy for her. We talked about everything--you know--life: news, politics, health issues, faith...everything.

 

Many times my dd's peers do not have an adult perspective on much of anything because they have never had conversation with adults. All their experiences are with their peers. This shows up in work ethics, attitudes, and in the classroom discussions. She mentions it often.

 

I wonder if you were to sit in on classes and observe the work that was handed in at this school if you would be as impressed with the school. There are some GREAT schools out there and some of the teachers are WONDERFUL. But learning and education are so much more than what goes into a high school class's syllabus. The teachers sit around a table all summer long writing the ideal syllabus (I know, I did it one summer), and then they TRY to implement this into the class. Some classes are really good...but other classes have students that can't keep up so the teachers dumb down the classwork...lots of variables here. I'm not saying this is not a GREAT school--I'm just saying that not all kids come out of great schools with great educations.

 

My daughter finished her finals this week and came home to find me sitting behind a pile of mailing boxes and Christmas cards. The house was a mess--so without a word from me, she clean, dusted, vacuumed...the WHOLE house. She made Christmas cookies and she asked what she could do to help. Her attitude will take her much further than her grades will ever do. She is working at a job because the boss knew her work ethic and ASKED specifically for her--nothing to do with grades; everything to do with what she learned while growing up in my homeschool and learning our values.

 

So...some people may decide to send their children to high school. That is a decision for them to make, and it is a valid choice. Standing here and looking back at what we did--classes I offered, my lack of being able to help in science, our slow plodding through math, and my dd's horrible skill with writing and language usage...well, it all worked out.

 

I can't tell you what your child will do. I don't know where he wants to go in life and if you have what he needs. I do know that I am very content to keep my other kids home until they graduate. I have seen what the schools my dd's classmates attended had to offer by the type of work they are able to do, and only a few of the other honors students and honors classes have given my daughter any semblance of a challenge.

 

FWIW,

Jean

 

P.S. Last year my dd attended a private college with a good name (not top of the list, but good). This year she is at a state college--she transferred in order to get what she wanted in her major (and other reasons)....in case this matters. We are not trying to get into the top of the line schools. YMMV.

Edited by Jean in Wisc
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I want to give a slightly alternate perspective, because I really can see kids for whom a good public school is a godsend.

 

My ds has homeschooled for seventh and eighth grade, then returned to our system's math\science magnet, one of the best schools in our state. He did well in ninth grade, and was happy, but decided to return home for the rest of high school. Why? More freedom. More time. He is a swimmer, musician, loves to read. His time was so squeezed last year. He is taking both Spanish and Chinese now, as well as smaller self-studies in Russian and Japanese. I think he has learned more about him self at home, and is able to pursue his natural interests, in languages and linguistics, rather than go with the flow of math and science that his school emphasizes. But honestly, since this school has a history or producing top winners in the Intel competition, I mourn for the loss of that opportunity for him. It doesn't look like we will attempt to pursue this ourselves, though there is still a bit of time to make a decision. Good schools can offer much, particularly for overextended parents (I work all weekend and school two other kids).

 

OTOH, I have absolutely no regrets about the reduction of social influences. Even the very best students at his school, kids with perfect SATs who attend Harvard, MIT, Hopkins, and the Naval Academy, are apt to experiment with drugs. Not just pot either. It's very frightening. I totally agree with Nan that kids who don't get the very best teachers, (most who attend the school) often adopt a pattern of drifting that probably only a homeschooler would correctly identify, because it is so common that it's seen as normal.

 

Hang in there. I struggle too, mightily some days.

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I can't speak for your local system, but oftentimes public schools look great on paper but offer an inferior education. My older ds went to public school for 9th grade. They have lots of wonderful offerings, similar to what you described at your public high school. But our experience was that the teachers didn't care, wouldn't take the time to explore ideas with gifted students, wouldn't support parents who tried to resolve problems, etc. Yes, the classes looked great on paper, but no true education was happening there. I think this is often true in large school systems where they have the resources to offer lots of exciting sounding programs.

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