Sunday, June 05, 2005

homeschooling high school

I have an amazing daughter. She is sweet, extremely smart, and motivated. She has the ability and potential to go anywhere. Really. And she wants to homeschool. So the pressure is really on Mom to do this right. The last thing I want is to mess this up.

Here's the plan (keep in mind I have yet to discuss this with modgirl):
She has already done 9th grade in public school, so I only have 3 years to deal with.
I figure the most important things to focus on are the things that will get her into the college of her choice, whatever that ends up being. Right now she says Duke. That may change, but it is good to have a goal to shoot for. Keeps you focused.

What are those things that will get her into a good college?
1. Excellent SAT or ACT scores, plus 3 really good SAT II's.
2. A rigorous course of study with a high GPA (currently hers is over a 4.0)
3. Excellent references.
4. A well-written entrance essay.
5. Something to set her apart from the crowd and make her application stand out.

So my thoughts are to focus on those subjects for which she will be tested (Lang arts, math up to trig, and whatever subject tests she decides to take (most likely biology, literature, and American History). Those we need to do in a very rigorous, systematic way.
We also need to do lots of writing with courses in both composition and creative writing.
We need to get in at least one more lab course, if not more. This is not a problem as our family loves science.
Test prep course.

The rest of her subjects we can do in more relaxed, non-traditional ways. I have found through my research lots of materials that would be excellent alternatives to textbooks. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that Chemistry COULD be a real hoot if we do it the way I have it envisioned. This goes for other subjects as well. Then the trick is just finding a way to document her learning. That shouldn't be too hard.

Great, you say, so whats the problem?
Well, here is where it gets a little weird. Modgirl is so totally entrenched in the public school way of doing things, that she really WANTS to do things in a traditional public school way (polar opposite of Superboy, who cringes at the sight of a workbook). When I suggested once that we didn't really need to do tests or grades, she flipped. She wants those nubers on her paper. Makes her feel good. It is a system that she knows well and has mastered. To step outside that system is to step outside her comfort zone.
I am going to have to take it slow with her. Perhaps over the summer she will relax a little and I can show her the benefits of using real books rather than textbooks. Perhaps I can ease her mind about grades. I dont know. But the truth is...it is HER education and when we get right down to it, the decision is hers as to how it will be done. All I can do is offer up my humble opinion and then support her choices.
I look forward to seeing how all this plays out.

2 comments:

barb said...

Theresa,

Sounds like you've got some great ideas.

You are correct about the SAT's and such. My daughter was offered a full scholarship to the Honor's College at our local university based on her SAT/ACT scores and her GPA. She homeschooled for her last two years of high school after attending a local catholic girl's school as an honor student. She also did grades etc when homeschooling and then decided to get her diploma through Clonlara. She took 3 years off after graduation to travel and then decided to settle down and attend college. For high school I ended up being the resource/discussion personnel etc as she is wayyyy smarter than her mom lol. Some of her favorite resources were her Philosophy, Psychology and American History courses we bought from The Teaching Company. They were very pricey but well worth it for her. One was video while the other two were audio courses. These are taught by college professors and I can't say enough good things about them.

I responded to your post on my blog. Thanks for visiting.

I've bookmarked your blog to visit often :)

Good luck.

Theresa said...

I'm going to have to check out the Teaching Company. I keep hearing good things about them. Thanks for the reminder!