Thursday, September 16, 2010

What I'd Like for Older Son's High School Education

To feel a bit more grounded I complied this list of what I would like my older son's high school education to be like. (I discussed this with my husband but he was really tired after a seventeen hour day. He agreed but didn't say much. We have plans to attend three local private high school open houses in the next five weeks to have something to compare our homeschool plans against.)

My plan is to compare this list of objectives against future activities I am tempted to enroll my son to do, whether they are one-off homeschool events, homeschool co-op's, class learning in the community, considering traditional school enrollment, and extra-curricular activities. This will also serve to help with the decision about whether he will enroll into traditional high school.

Main goal: Prepare son for the career of his choosing. Since at this point it is engineering that means college attendance with certain pre-requisites. This is the top priority in my son's teenage years.

1. Tailor academic studies and content focusing on the college pre-requisites.

2. Have time for studying and doing some other things of his choosing, things that interest him above and beyond the college pre-requisites.

3. Have time to do one sport or at least some independent physical exercise for general fitness and health reasons.

4. Continue Boy Scouting to meet his goal of achieving Eagle rank.

5. Have time to see friends, not be alone or feel lonely due to being too busy all the time with #1, 2, and 3. If #4 and 5 are not enough social time, have time left for "just" social time with friends.

6. Have enough time alone to recharge. This son would probably use some of it in creative pursuits alone at home. He has always needed some time alone daily and thrives with open expanses of free time.

7. Have some good role model teachers that he looks up to and respects, a face to face relationship not just having teachers teach via the Internet.

8. Have one or two men worthy of being a mentor in his life, perhaps a teacher, coach, Scoutmaster or someone who knows him in person.

Method of Studies

1. Ideally learn in a way that is most in alignment with learning styles and other individual traits, or at least be able to adapt studying with study methods that work best for him so content is mastered.

2. Have freedom to learn in a way that is flexible due to his learning disabilities (such as with homeschooling). A goal is to learn to adapt to the learning situation with what he as the student can control. I don't mean asking for special accommodations from the teacher or school. He must learn to take information in one way and to use various study skills to master the content. He may have to do more studying than some other students, whatever it takes, he needs to learn to do and to take control of his himself and be responsible for it.

3. Not do an educational method that causes problems and creates negative situations that wouldn't exist if he were homeschooled. I mean, if the same end goal can be achieved by homeschooling which is effective, to not enroll him into a traditional school if he'd learn less or fare worse there.

4. Studies will be thorough enough to meet college requirements and be similar to American high school (not weaker or worse). In fact, if the studies could go deeper or be more meaningful it would be best.

5. Class content will prepare him for taking various standardized tests as per requirements of the college application process.

6. If necessary, dedicate extra study time and specific effort to practice test-taking skills, etc. to prepare for standardized tests.

7. Have great teachers that teach effectively and don't waste time with busywork.

8. Be able to perform work typical in a high school classroom setting and in college (textbook learning, studying for tests, homework completion, time management skills, etc.).

9. Be able to function in a classroom setting regarding etiquette and exhibiting appropriate behavior.


Kim said...

History at Our House has a specific high school curriculum. I just heard someone I referred rave about it. Specifically, the teaching of note-taking was a skill that was unexpected and necessary along with the very rigorous class work.

practicalpages said...

This is a difficult phase, but all your thoughts and points will help clarify your choices. One thing I know is that there is no "perfect" school/ system. I trust that the Lord will lead you all and that you will have peace. said...

It looks like you have set some very reasonable expectations. I think it's a great idea to start any school year with clear expectations.