Saturday, March 8, 2008

What Worked – Part 4 The Highschooler

Here is the 4th and final installment in the ‘What Worked’ series. Just in time for me to start thinking about what I am going to use to educate these kids next year!

Will is going to be in 10th grade this year. I am not sure how that happened. One minute he was a little guy just learning his letters, not he’s a big guy learning things I don’t even remember learning.

The way we homeschool him has evolved quite a bit. In fact, I am almost hesitant to say I homeschool him because so much of his schooling is done outside the house. I am really only responsible for his History at this point.

He is old enough to start at the JR. College near us taking Duel Credit classes, meaning if he can test into the class, he can earn college and high school credit. We decided to wait until next semester to sign him up, maybe even next year. He really needs to concentrate on finishing up his Algebra 1 & 2 and his writing class this year before we feel like he is ready to take college level classes.

We did not end up signing him up for classes at the Community college 2nd semester. He’ll start in the fall.

In many ways I am less involved in his academic education but MUCH MORE involved in character training and life skills as I have ever been with The Highschooler. He has a real hard time with time management and he wants to skim over the important stuff so he can go do his own thing. He has various jobs outside the home and he now has a car to take care of. It has been a real learning curve but better to learn these things at home, than when he is responsible for taking care of a wife and kids.

He has had to do a lot of new things this year. Find and buy tires for his truck. Title transfer and other things related to car ownership. Learn how to manage school work and a job, learn to be on time. He is learning to be a man. He is learning how to be responsible. He is learning Mommy will not always be there to bail him out. These are good things to learn, they are time consuming, but they are just as if not more important than being able to solve algebra problems.

It has been hard in many ways to let go and let him fail. He has turned in papers late, or been late for jobs etc, because I have not nagged him. He has GOT to learn to be self motivated. I will not always be there to tell him what to do. He is learning that there is often pain involved in wrong choices or procrastination.

This highschool thing is hard! Suddenly we went from preparing him for the next grade, to preparing him for LIFE. Suddenly the stakes are higher. I know in homeschooling I always have a more long term perspective on education, but when they hit high school you realize that all those life skills you thought you had plenty of time to teach, have not been taught, and time is running out!

At Co op

Language Arts – He is taking an intensive, college prep writing class this year. It focuses on Essays, Sat writing, paper writing etc. There is not much creative writing in this class. Creative writing is a separate class he will probably take next year. There is some grammar and editing associated with this class as well.

This is the BEST class! His writing is so very much better than it was at the beginning of the year. I think he will be ready for the entrance exam to the community college after taking this class. He has not loved it however. In fact after we left co op a few weeks ago, he asked me in a quite outraged tone if I knew he was going to have to write a 10 page research paper when I signed him up for this class.

Biology – He will be taking the Apologia Biology class at the co op. I love the teacher; she is a nurse and really knows her stuff.

I love the Apologia stuff. We could put him in science classes at the community college next year, but we’ve decided to pay the $ to have him take the Apologia courses at the co op. I think getting a good solid foundation in CHRISTIAN based science courses is so important. Once he gets to college he’ll really need to KNOW what truth is so he is not swayed by all the non Bible based science he will get bombarded with.

Speech – This is a great class, it is not speech and debate, but public speaking. She will teach in the areas of how to conduct a job interview, how to give your testimony, how to speak in church or Sunday school. She’s going to make it applicable to what these kids need to learn, (sometimes homeschoolers get a bad name in the public speaking department)

Unfortunately the speech class was at the wrong time and he was not able to take it. I am hoping next year, but we’ll see.

Algebra 1 & 2 – This is not at the co op, but by a tutor. This tutor teaches the Pre algebra at the co op. She is my hero, because she is teaching my son algebra! He is a bit behind because they are going at his pace. I am happy and sad about this. I know I want him to GET IT not just get through the book, but I hate that my kids are behind. The plan is that they will get the last part of algebra 1 done quickly and move on to algebra 2. They are starting next week and will probably work through the summer next year so he’ll be done by 11th grade and can start geometry.

Whoo! Algebra has been that boy’s life for over 2 years. He’s going to want to burn those two algebra textbooks when he is done! His algebra tutor is an amazing lady. I only wish she did geometry!

At Home –

History – He will be doing Sonlight’s Core 100 (American History In Depth) He does all the reading himself. He reads the Readers, Read Alouds and History Readers; He is a good reader and can handle this amount. I also count this as a literature credit.

He is really enjoying the history books this year. He is reading the Joy Hakim’s Story of US as well as the assigned Sonlight readers. We’ve had some great discussions based on what he has read in those books.

Spanish – He is doing the same Rosetta Stone as the other kids, however he has to do it daily, and pass all the levels. HE did Spanish 1 last year, he will be doing Spanish 2 this year.

As I mentioned in the other posts, we no longer have access to Rosetta Stone Spanish. He will take a Spanish class at the Community College next year.

PE – He plays soccer daily with some of the other missionaries in the base. He gets up in the morning at 6 am to play. I have no worries that this kid does not get enough exercise!

Yeah, still true, he is one active boy!

That is really it. It does not seem like a lot but he will be quite busy. I hate that he is not taking art this year. He has been taking art for years and is really good but he just does not have the time this year.

This will get him 7 credits.

This is really my last year teaching him. After this year he will be taking most of his academic classes at the local Community College.

He also did drivers ed this year so he got a half credit for that and he and Bob are taking Guitar this semester so he get’s a half credit for that too.

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