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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Tagged with "homeschool co-op"
Homeschooling High School: Still Learning Tags: homeschool high school homeschool high school transcript homeschool co-op dual enrollment

Where We’re At:  My oldest is graduating in May with an AA degree, and is transferring to a 4-year in the fall. My second oldest is graduating high school and will start community college in the fall. I also have a child in middle school and one in elementary. These are just some experiences we’ve had with “getting it all in,” especially in the high school years.

Building A Strong Foundation

From the beginning of our homeschool journey, I wanted to make sure that my children would have strong foundational skills in reading, writing and math, and that we would follow somewhat of a schedule, not necessarily rigid, but with some structure to our day.

How we do this varies, from traditional book-work and drill-type learning, to playing games, doing projects, and taking field trips. I do follow a plan, but not so closely that it precludes any alterations or adaptations I feel I want to make. I do also make sure my children are learning what they are “supposed“  to be learning at each grade level because I don’t want to have problems later with big gaps in their knowledge or the need to catch up in certain basic subject areas because they were never taught.

Along with the subjects, I also want to teach my children to think critically, to be able to communicate their ideas coherently, to be able to work independently, and to learn how to manage their own time. I’ve gradually expected more from them in these areas as they get older. (These are skills not only good for college, but for life in general).

While this has by no means ensured a “perfect” homeschool  learning experience (we’ve hit rough patches, and had our bad days and problem areas), I still think laying good groundwork in the early years (line upon line, precept upon precept) really helps later on when they need to handle the more complex high-school and college-level work. I also think a somewhat structured approach early on helps to build the discipline that enables them to take over their own learning in the higher grades.

Even with a plan, we still have plenty of flexibility and time to participate in other activities, which gives the kids exposure to other teachers who are knowledgeable in a wide variety of areas. This brings me to my next help for getting it all in.

Broadening With Co-ops.

Co-ops and other outside classes can be a marvelous way to:

  • outsource high school subjects that may not be your forte
  • get in some high school electives that are conducive to a group setting (eg. public speaking and debate; literature discussion; foreign language; etc.)
  • provide teens with the opportunity to explore what interests them

It hasn’t always been easy to find co-ops with activities and classes for the high school ages. Depending on the subject, it often requires a more specialized knowledge, and sometimes, equipment that we don’t always have access to. In some cases, we have been fortunate enough to have co-op parents with particular skills or knowledge who have lead classes, or public school teachers who have been willing to volunteer their time. We’ve also had business people in the community come out to help us teach certain subjects. For example, the editor of the local newspaper came and helped kids in our journalism class put together their own newsletter.  At another time, members of a local Toastmasters  group came out and taught public speaking classes. We’ve also done some activities through 4-H. Junior Achievement is another organization that works with homeschoolers. They have activities and curriculum that focuses on personal finance and entrepreneurship.  It can be a real effort to find these types of homeschool programs (or start them yourself, if there are none already up and running in your area), but they can give a real boost to the high school transcript.

Transitioning With Dual Enrollment     

Dual enrollment has been a great way for my children to gradually be exposed to college level work, as well as the pace, which, I think, can be less overwhelming than going straight from a homeschool high school environment to college away from home. It’s also been a way for me to off-load some higher-level courses, and given another boost to their high school transcripts. Through college coursework, my teens have been challenged to further hone their writing, critical analysis, and communications skills, and have gotten practice with making PowerPoints and presentations, and with participating in discussions in online classes.

In a nutshell, I suppose what has been working for us is to build a good foundation, and to allow flexibility to meet the needs of each child.

Homeschool Co-ops: For Socialization, For Fun, For Getting Some Help With Those High School Electives Tags: homeschool co-op ideas homeschooliing information

Co-ops provide a great outlet for homeschool parents and children to socialize: meet and encourage each other, ask questions and bounce ideas off each other. But they’re also a great way to supplement our teaching with subjects that lend themselves more to a group setting (like public speaking); and with subjects that may be difficult to do by ourselves at home (some science labs). A co-op class can also breathe new life into subjects that tend to be dry (history, geography), by providing a venue to present the information in a more creative way.

Here’s a short list of the types of classes homeschool co-ops are offering:

Brainstormers Co-op,  NJ

Create, Pretend & Build
Ages: 3 - 8
In this child led, hands on class we will have four stations that will vary from week to week... Some ideas for stations: play dough, painting, creating from various materials/recyclables, pretend play with puppets, building with various materials like blocks and magnets, deconstructing something electronic (possibly a vcr) and then using the pieces to make collages, making geo boards, larger scale marble paintings, etc.

Civics & Current Events
Ages: 11

A look at current events through articles from Time Magazine and others.
Students will be expected to read 1 or 2 articles before class and be prepared to discuss; we will explore all sides of each issue; discuss what and what might happen next. This semester we will begin learning more about Civics and Government.

EAGLE (Education, Art, Games, Learning, Excellence), Nevada

American Heroes

Each week we will explore the life of an American hero - people like Daniel Boone, George Washington, and newer heroes like our present-day soldiers and firemen. We will read about them and do an activity to go along with learning about that person.

Engineering Bridges and Models

A Professional Engineer, will be teaching this engineering class geared for high school and exceptional middle school students. There will be math (formulas and such) as well as basic statics. Mastery is not expected, just a willingness to learn a bit about what goes into the design of a bridge. This class will cover the design, building and testing of bridges made out of various materials (popsicle sticks, etc.) (Appropriate for advanced 8th graders)

 First Class Co-op, Washington

 A Bug’s Life grade 1 - 3

This class is designed to open our eyes and see the world of beautiful and remarkable creatures living right in our back yards. We will learn about the behavior, food-gathering, defenses, anatomy and many other interesting habits these little creatures.

Basic Auto Maintenance ages 15+

This class will be hands-on instruction in maintenance and minor repairs. You will learn to change tires, filters, oil, and other auto fluids, use jumper cables, chains and construct an emergency kit. You will need "grubby clothes" for this class!!

Career Class 7th - 12th

This class will be visiting area professions, learning about the business they are in, how they decided what was the career for them and the education it took to achieve their goals. We will tour doctor's offices, the hospital, veterinary clinics. 

Science Fiction Science ages 12-14

Students will learn about the science that inspired their favorite books, tv shows, and movies. They will also learn about the science involved in the science fiction material presented and truths or fallacies behind them.

 WAVE Co-op, Inc., Delaware

 First Aid and Medication Safety Grade Level: 12th, 11th, 10th, 9th, 8th, 7th, 6th,

Does your student know how to remove a tick? Clean and bandage a wound or burn? What would your child do if you were choking? How should they react if they believe a child in their care swallowed a poison? In this class we will cover a wide range of first aid topics using "The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook" as our text.  The students will need to read information from this book outside of class.  Class time will include role playing, demonstration of skills, and reinforecement of information.

 Journey through the USA-FULL Grade Level: 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd

Join us on a fun and exciting learning adventure as we make our way across the USA!  We will be making several stops at different states along the way.  We will learn interesting facts, geography and history through the use of literature, activities and games.  We will also experience foods each week that are native to each state.  Students will complete a notebook to bring home at the end of the session.  So, pack your bags and let's go!

Citizenship Class- How to be a good citizen. How to make a difference in your community and state. Roles kids can take including in church, politics and volunteering. The importance of patriotism and respect for those in authority. Hands on volunteer or community service projects included. During an election year you could take a political proccess focus and even volunteer for a campaign.

* Here's a link on Pros and Cons of Homeschool Coops


 

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