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LoriM I have a question about an old post of yours

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You posted the following excellent post about the way you approach high school level work.





It's COMPLETELY up to the teacher. Always. In every course, we do it differently. In math courses, it makes sense to give some credit for daily work and homework. In English, emphasizing written assignments over "fill in the blank" type work is important to us. History, science and other "terminology" heavy subjects need some vocabulary quizzes but more emphasis on written work. (In many college classes, content ONLY is graded, and kids get away with atrocious grammar. ARGH.)


Finally, some of us renegade parents don't even assign grades. Don't "test" per se.


What I do at the beginning of the year is provide a SYLLABUS to my child that explains what the expectations for the course are. I give her the scope, the sequence I think would best achieve that scope, and course objectives. I let her know how SHE will know that she's understood the material--what resources are available to her to measure her own understanding. This means that quite often my kids give THEMSELVES tests and quizzes, make study sheets and have us "drill" them, and set up projects, experiments and longer reports in order to enhance their own understanding of some aspect of the material.


The other thing I include on this syllabus are the consequences of failing to meet objectives. Or what "adequate" meeting of the objectives means, versus exceptional or superior.


Have you ever seen the "6 Traits" approach to assessing writing? We pretty much use this across the board in all subjects.


Okay, then we SIGN the contract for the course. And we post those contracts on the bulletin board, along with a chart with weekly progress report squares. Then when we meet to discuss whichever subject within the week, we can check off her progress toward her goals in the course. It keeps us on target and keeps us from missing a subject for weeks (which we've done before...HEY, when was the last time we talked about HISTORY (insert sly glance from child here)...)


And then the general rule at my house is 15 pages of written work (in all "written" subjects combined) and 15 pages of math (drill, drill, drill) weekly. Between the two devices--page count and charting/meeting weekly, I manage to feel Like I have some semblance of control of the chaos that is a teenager's life. GRIN.




----End Quote----


My question is in regard to the consequences as highlighted above. What do you deem appropriate consequences for not completing the work acceptably?


My dd went to PS for 8th grade, but we've all decided that she is coming home next year for high school. I really love your approach, but worry that she will procratinate indefinately.



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It varied for each child. First, there were general "here's what won't happen if you don't stay on track." Typically these were lack-of-reward consequences, more than penalty consequences. Both girls were involved in very demanding summer programs, but could not be in those programs with school work undone at the beginning of the summer. Both girls enjoyed a youth theater program, but could not participate in the fall/spring production if their school work was not on schedule. They also enjoy regular (at least monthly) sleepovers with large groups of girls, but that couldn't happen if school slipped.


In the wording of the course description, which I also made VERY clear in our discussions about why bother with ABC course, I also let them know what future coursework was dependent on their success with this material. If this is a "stand-alone" course that they could experience, decide they hated (LOL) and drop, or if this were a foundations course upon which all future work depended--they could then decide just "how well" they needed to know the material.


So, that's what I meant--the combination of "upon this rock" learning and "this rock will hit you on the head" consequences. :)


Now that I'm further along with the younger kid I do want to say that I had totally different requirements for each child, even in the same course with the same book. But with both girls, if procrastination occurred, it was ALWAYS my fault. ALWAYS. It meant I didn't uphold my end of the bargain, which was to hold the regularly scheduled meeting, stay current with her study topics, and read beyond what she was reading so that we could have real conversations. Life would happen, and we'd slip a week or two. She would stagnate in the material she was trying to understand because we hadn't talked about it, and that looked like procrastination. That was NEVER my daughter's fault. It was my responsibility as the parent-teacher.


So, focus on what YOU will do as teacher, and make it really clear what you want her to do (so that you don't have unfair expectations she cannot meet), and then hold up your end of the bargain. Be humble about your mistakes. I've made a billion or two. :)


Good luck! Enjoy high school at home. It's the best time of all of hsing.

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Thanks so much for your reply. That is so very helpful. I can think of some things that would fit the bill there.


I also appreciate your comments about the procrastination. I understand what you're saying, and I believe you are right. My consistency will translate to her being consistant. I definately plan to stay ahead of her and be the leader in keeping us on track.


Thanks again!!

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