I had not intended to homeschool high school (or homeschool at all!). I hadn't thought about high school last year (7th grade!) until my daughter was approached by a soccer coach last winter...she received a verbal offer to attend a private high school, 1 year early for 9th grade with a special math program designed for her, a full 4-year scholarship plus a 4-year scholarship to a college of her choice...by the soccer coach/math teacher. He wanted her to play soccer. Wow! High school and college solved.
But, after thinking about it for 2 weeks, she said, "no thank you." She didn't want the structure, didn't want to live away from home (yet) and couldn't play soccer at her level ALL YEAR LONG. LOL.
So, all of a sudden, homeschooling her throughout high school was looming ahead for me. It is working out so far. Another soccer coach, from another private high school, approached her 2 weeks ago. There are 3 girls on her soccer team who are homeschooled. I love it, she loves it.
I just signed her up for 2 AP tests. There is no way I could teach her Calculus and I absolutely hate science. She has always taught herself the material. I especially love "not teaching." (Why You SHOULDN'T Teach Your Homeschoolers! )
I have tried teaching her brother when he was having trouble with math tables when we first started homeschooling in 5th grade. I couldn't take it, so to avoid the constant battles, I found him an on-line program that held him accountable and I backed it up with rewards (or not)...I later found out he is a "visual-spatial learner" and that was why he could not learn at school or from me. He is 12, just completed high school Algebra and is half way through high school geometry that he started 2 weeks ago! And, he will still tell you that he does not like math! And, I will tell you, he is NOT motivated. But, he is thriving at home. What a difference from when he was asked not to return to Catholic school 3 years ago because he was "annoying every single day, at best." He is now excelling and learning. He loves it, I love it.
My 2 kids were adopted from Russia 7 years ago having lived in an orphanage for 3 years, they had no formal schooling and did not speak English! They were 5 and almot 7 coming here. We tried public, Catholic and private schools...none worked for them. What joy they have brought us. And, the best is since they are now homeschooled, not only do I get to spend more time with them, but I don't get those annoying phone calls from school every week, and they get to have their family at the apex of their world rather than an institution.
I read your blog this morning about analyzing literature, or not! (Do Great Homeschools Really Need Socratic Dialog?) HaHaHa, all I remember from middle/high school are my teachers ruining every book we read by analyzing them to death. And, I was feeling badly about not having my kids analyze each book, too...I will feel badly no more. My son loves to read, and read and read! And, I will enjoy that he does. Because I am very sneaky, I have found ways to test his knowledge of the books he reads that don't interfere with his enjoyment.
You have given me the courage to homeschool high school and know that my kids will be able to attend college and be way ahead of their peers. Keep up your good work. I am already adapting a transcript (Total Transcript Solution) for my son's Sea Cadet program that wants a report card for him. His CO is encouraging him to go to the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
~ Nancy in Connecticut
Thanks for posting all the great practical and encouraging info! When I tried to get my son signed up for Renzulli, however, it kept asking for a school code and said the teacher would know! Is there a home school code number out there you used? It also wasn't accepting the local school code. Thanks for any help!
Hi, this is Nancy. Lee asked me to post again, so you would know I was a real person. Ha Ha.
After the first 6 months of homeschooling I had been able to duplicate the school's curriculum all on my own. I was so proud of myself: worksheets and workbooks galore, daily assignments, quizzes and tests! My daughter put up with it, but my son and I were fighting constantly. He was having the same problems he did at school. I was devastated. He was angry. I almost stopped homeschooling. My husband was very encouraging and kept telling me he was still learning more than he ever did or would at school. So I decided it was time for a change.
I tried the leftover subscription my daughter had used for a while to Aleks.com. And, my son has been using it ever since. He actually seems to like it. I don't have to get involved in explaining, correcting tests or anything else so we don't fight. After we set some daily goals and assessment timing, he is in control of what he does. If he knows the material, the program lets him move along quickly. What also works well for him is that he doesn't have to show his work, just type in an answer.
My secret, sneaky weapon for accountability and sharing his reading is his father. Whenever they are together (doing errands, driving around to activities, whatever) I assign Lee (my husband) the task of casually discussing the books our son is reading. They both love literature and history and Lee is able to pull all sorts of amazing information out of him and add to it. Plus they get lots of extra bonding time.
My only other method of holding him accountable for reading, and I hate to admit it, is on-line CRIB notes. They are free to print out. So, if my son is reading a book that I think is advanced for him, I just print out an "analytic section" for him to read (not too long) and highlight words I think he doesn't know (usually he surprises me and knows them). This has become a game with us now. Then I make sure I have my husband discuss the book with him.
The best learning investment I've made is a program called RenzulliLearning.com, which came out last year for families. My son filled out a questionnaire on his learning style and interests, and the program picked out all sorts of websites for him to visit, based on what he likes. There are times when he begs to keep doing Renzulli...and that's after a year!
Thanks for sharing. I would love for her to share the ways she tests her son's knowledge of the books he reads without interfering with his enjoyment.
I must tell you that your posts are always so encouraging to me.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your calmness
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