Friday, August 30, 2013

Our Tentative Plan for High School

I live in New Jersey, where there is no regulation on home education.  We don't submit curriculum plans or attendance records, we don't have to submit to standardized testing...we are left to our own devices.

I have stopped thinking about my girls as being in certain grades.  I just think of them as being Allie and Piper, ages 13 and 11. I think of their many interests, their many gifts, their struggles, their personalities...but I have stopped thinking in terms of grade levels.  We just keep working, pursuing our interests and making academic progress.  So, when other homeschool bloggers started talking about plans for high school, it through me for a loop.  My plan was to just keep going as we have been.  The girls enjoy history, reading and writing; Jason feels being familiar with at least two languages is important and although the girls don't like math, I think they need to keep working at it.  They spend the rest of their time on things that interest them: writing ebooks on small pet selection and care or making doll furniture or writing and illustrating children's books or sewing handbags or making videos....the list really goes on and on and on...

Our education plan has been to just keep working as we have been and at some point, when we think they are ready, they will take classes at the community college.  They can do this at age 15 in New Jersey, BUT we would make the decision when we feel they are 16, 17, 18....  We resist the idea that 18 is some magic number that equates to graduation and going to college.  We trust that we will know when they are ready, it may be before 18 or it may be after.

Since we began homeschooling, I have had a rough idea in my mind of what I wanted to cover with them and as I talk to people and research curriculum, I have come up with a tentative sort of plan that I feel would prepare them for the next step.  I can see where having a diploma would be a rite of passage or a milestone, signaling to them and the world that they have completed something and are ready for the next phase of their lives to begin.  So, I sat down and figured it out and my girls would probably far exceed the required number of "credits" on a transcript.

Note: New Jersey measures high school credits differently than some other states, each full year class is 5 credits and each half year class is 2.5.  Students need 120 credits to graduate in New Jersey.

Our Tentative Plan:
  • 4 or 20 credits Language Arts - Susan Wise Bauer's Writing with Skill/Writing with Style/Writing Outline for High School + Reading and discussing several books each year (not sure which yet).
  • 4 or 20 credits Math - Teaching Textbooks Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Calculus
  • 4 or 20 credits History - History of the World by Susan Wise Bauer + essays, papers on some topics
  • 4 or 20 credits World Languages - Rosetta Stone (I looked into it and upper levels do fill high school requirement)
  • 4 or 20 credits Science - This is the one area where we don't have a plan yet, but at some point the girls will take a lab science or two at Community College.
  • 4 or 20 credits Art - the girls will continue their Art and Pottery classes as they have every year.
  • Interest-led Areas - I am sure we can come up with several credits if we add up the hours spent on interest led areas and come up with clever names for them as courses ;-)
  • Co-op/e-Cubed - I am sure we can also come up with credits for these activities.  If they participate every year 3 hours per week...this will easily be 20 more credits!
  • Additional Electives - The Grapes of Wrath and 24 More Videos, I would also like them to take a class or two at the Community college in areas that interest them.
  • Health & PE - public school kids get 3.75 credits for this per year or 15 credits total, my girls do yoga, bike ride, walk, do gymnastics and play tennis on a regular basis, we could easily add up the hours for this in a matter of a few months if we feel having a PE credit on a transcript is necessary.
  • NJ has a Consumer, Family and Life Skills requirement which I think is great, but as homeschoolers it's just what we do all day.  My kids don't need special classes in this.  Allie cooks and bakes all the time, both of my girls have jobs and budget their money and put half in savings, they do their own shopping. Although we may do the Dave Ramsey Personal Finance Program and I could count that!
So, after looking at what we do on a regular basis and what we plan to girls will have more than enough credits to graduate high school.  Whew!

It's funny, I remember my own high school days and not that I had trouble getting enough credits, but I remember being so excited for college to be able to START doing things that interested me and taking classes in areas I found girls have had that opportunity for a few years now and will continue that through high school.