Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Keeping High School Work From Consuming our Lives

I loved our early homeschooling days. We used Five in a Row for a low-key, fun approach to learning. We spent a lot of time reading books together, doing crafts, and simple science projects. We were usually finished with our official school time before lunch.

I miss those days. Although my high school student is quite independent, and doesn’t require as much of my time as she did when she was little, her school days are quite long. She has 6 or 7 required subjects to fit in each week, and each subject must include enough time and content to count for a high school credit. We don’t have much time for “following rabbit trails” because I’m trying to make sure she is prepared for college and that she will have a strong transcript to get her there. Emily’s school days are quite long (from (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or later), plus she usually has catch-up work on the weekends. A good deal of the lengthy schedule is her own fault—she dawdles and gets off track frequently or has grumpy days where she’d just rather sit at the kitchen table for hours and do nothing instead of actually working. Some of the problem is the amount of work, though.

I’m trying to come up with some ways to make high school as manageable and enjoyable as elementary school was, or at least recapture some of that early joy.

One thing I already do somewhat, but would like to do more is double-tasking. When Emily’s literature selections reflect the same time periods that she is studying in history, her understanding of both subjects will be deepened. If I assign her essays and reports that relate to her history studies, these assignments can count as either history or English, but will provide content for both.
Emily is a sophomore this year and we are trying to get a lot of her core classes out of the way, so she will have more time to pursue her interests during her junior and senior years. Hopefully those years will be a bit more “fun” and flexible.  In addition to her core classes, she’ll have completed a health class and a her PE credit, as well as 2 years of Spanish by the end of this year. Last year, she took the computer applications course and personal finance courses that I wanted her to have. I’d like her to continue with Spanish, but may have her focus on it less next year, for a half credit instead of a full credit.  She’ll still be continuing with math, English, history, and science, but will have time for 2-3 courses for electives of her choosing instead of ones I’m requiring her to take.

I think an advantage of home school is that high school students have the time and ability to follow their interests and specialize in specific areas of interest. Emily is interested in criminology as a career. I’m not sure if she will stick with those plans, but I want her to have time to follow that passion now to find out how strong her interest is and to allow her to pursue her areas of passion. This year, she’s taking semester-long classes for psychology and criminology (Landry Academy online courses). Next year, she should have more time to focus on similar topics. (Landry also offers classes in terrorism, sociology, and crime scene investigation that she’d like to take.)
How do you keep high school studies from consuming your lives? I’d love to hear some more ideas!

Read more on How to Fit it ALL in while educating in the high school years:


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