Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Charting Out High School

This chart is the guideline I use with my high schoolers (the details vary depending on the child, of course).

High School Chart PDF
High School Chart DOCX

It simply reminds me of what the standard transcript looks like so I can have a general sketch of what we need.  

History is chronological.  

I think that with Kieron, I will break the civics/economics/geography/government courses up into 1/4 credits covering 4 years.

Science --  I keep track of whatever science-related  things we do, and late in the junior year start compiling it under the different headings -- biological and physical science.   For example, this year we are focusing on biology and natural history, but there is lots of chemistry involved in biology nowadays, so we may have some overflow into chemistry in junior year. 

Natural History can be whatever is based on the world around us and can include reading, field work, research projects, or art (nature notebooks).    I usually break up more formal science work (eg from textbooks) by using lots of living books and encouraging the kids to investigate in directions of their choice.   One child studied trees extensively, another spent a lot of time on physics.   

Latin seems to go better for us when we go slowly.  So I usually do 1/2 credit a year, totalling 2 credits by the end of high school, and then add in other language-related things.  Kieron's doing Gaelic right now, Clare did German, Brendan did German, Liam did Koine Greek.  I would like to do some ASL in our homeschool this year. 

Fine/Performing Arts is another one that is often better in our house if broken up into half credits or quarter credits.    It can be integrated into history in the form of Picture Study; or the kid can make a movie; or play a part in a movie or play with friends or community; or do a calligraphy mini-unit.  Or keeping a nature notebook or a Century Book can become an art project.  Lots of possibilities!  

Language Arts is usually literature tied into whatever time period we are studying, along with divergences according to the child's interests.  We usually have a composition "focus" or more than one going on, as well.   Last year Kieron took 2 Logic classes (totalling 1 credit) and also did story writing to meet CA composition standards.    This year so far he is learning about Argument, and also doing impromptu research projects.    He wants to keep up the story-writing course, but I have to go look at standards and composition sites and figure out some approaches for this year.    Here are some links -- still a work in progress!  Kieron is into movies, so we use movie analysis as a way to cover literary analysis concepts casually.

I have also search online for high school and community college syllabi to look for ideas to use. There is a lot out there.   Here's just one example

Conversation is a must.    Basically, wherever the kid and I can find common conversational ground, there is where we start.   This has meant that I have become educated in science fiction, theoretical physics, dendrology, football, video games, and feminine modesty issues, among multiple other things.    And my kids inevitably hear a lot about literature, philosophy and theology, since those are favorite topics of mine. 

 Health and PE aren't requirements for college prep, but they are requirements for high school graduation in our state.  I usually have them keep a log of physical activity and read some health-related books.

Even though we do things in a non-standardized way for the most part, I find the kids usually cover more than they do in public high school.  Perhaps they memorize less information, especially in science, than they would in school.    Their writing curriculum is quite different from the school one, but generally covers an equivalent ground.   

Some Resource Books for the high school adventure

We have this book Homeschool High School and Beyond that we use as a groundwork for getting the kids thinking about how to get the high school education they want.    It presents several different ways to design a course.  

I also liked this book by Alison McKee, From Homeschool to College and Work, as an unschooly resource that also helps fit non-standardized learning into preparation for college and future.

There are probably more recent ones out there that would be helpful.   If you have found a great resource, please let me know in the comment box.

1 comment:

  1. Willa,
    That was a helpful and great post for seeing how you map out homeschooling high school. I appreciate the suggestion of resources you listed at the end which help the mom "translate" a non-standard education into a "standard" transcript! Your chart was a good idea/starting point, too. I have something similar I've started, but the layout you present is quite nice and gives me some good ideas! It was all very, very helpful! Thanks!


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!