Monday, November 05, 2012

How Homeschooling High School is Flexible

Since my older son dropped three online classes I am making up new curriculum and revising his plans. My son asked to see a list to see the big picture. I figured a transcript listing would suffice. He can cross off each course as it is completed this year, and of course, cross off what he did last year.

This is a combination of Texas state graduation requirements, engineering degree prerequisites and personal choices.

I shared it on Facebook. I only have real life friends and family on my Facebook account. I don't share a lot of details about homeschooling on Facebook.

In a discussion with acquaintences there I was surprised at some negative feedback and what I perceived as rigidity shown by two homeschool moms. One's oldest is in grade nine. The other recently enrolled her children in school for grade 6 and 9. One reaction was that my son's transcript looks like any public high school kid's transcript. I took this to mean that homeschooling is no different than school. However maybe I misread it and she meant something else I didn't get at all.

Here is my reply:

Just because the summary transcript list looks like school kid's transcripts does not mean that what is done is not sometimes out of the box, different, more creative, or flexible in various ways.

Like doubling up on math.

Like picking a curriculum that works for the kid rather than being handed one option.

Like making up lost time due to illness by working double time.

Or by getting healthy by taking some time off or taking some subjects more slowly when sick.

All those are still ways that homeschooling is not at all a carbon copy of public school. But in the end colleges force us to create paperwork reports that makes the homeschoolers look just like the school kids.

It is the colleges who usually want the standard transcript format, who want to see a quick summary, and who want the same courseload done as public schooled kids. We homeschoolers have to conform to society's requirements if we choose apply to do traditional things like apply to college. Not all colleges want to see some creative type of transcript. Most colleges will not let a student do extreme alternative activities in lieu of things like taking four years of English, being able to do a certain level of math, or skipping history, so forth and so on.

If a person wants to carve their own path in life, to be an entrepreneur or something, they can shirk the traditional high school path, they can choose some alternative homeschool plan, and they can choose to skip the college path.

Examples of people who went to school but skipped college and found great success are Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. However most Americans do not do those things, and people like Jobs and Gates are few and far between; their uniqueness and their success are rare in the grand scheme of things. And many others who try to become an entrepreneur, to invent something, or even to run a small business (such as a restaurant) actually fail.

If your student's goal is to do a job that requires a certain college degree, then they have no choice but to step in line and go the traditional route for college. And to get into college you need to do certain prerequisites. Period. If you choose to homeschool high school, a large part of the courseload will be standard fare, but how you get there, and the process that you use still allows some flexibility.


Mary said...

Awesome- I love this post! The transcript just tells the story for colleges, and it is what they want. You are right on.

Ahermitt said...

The transcript looks very solid and appropriate for an engineer student. When deciding my kids' high school plans, I looked at what the colleges they were considering required, and so we took that approach. When we decided to have the 2nd child's transcript accredited, we only had to add a few things.

The joy is in picking the curriculum. For Chemistry, my daughter did a college course using the Free MIT online course "college chemistry". She learned all about chemical reactions, and it was yummy. She is studying for a CLEP exam for her 12 grade English credit. On top of that both kids had as many electives as they had core. This is where the transcript gets unique. ... in choosing an area and running with it.

So glad he is taking charge of his education and asking questions. Once we got to this point, it was smooth sailing with my kiddies.

ChristineMM said...

AHermitt, Thank you for so many helpful comments lately.

Everyone, thanks for commenting.

I am super busy with homeschooling and life and just dont't thank everyone who comments but do d appreciate it.

Xa Lynn said...

That's an excellent transcript. My oldest daughter's will look similar. My youngest will have more foreign language, and less math. You are right about the transcript simply being the info that the colleges want. Transcripts say nothing about how the info was actually taught/learned - which is what makes homeschooling what it is. I have no problems with transcripts that accurately reflect a student's knowledge base. I do have a problem with people thinking that being able to cook without a recipe constitutes a credit' worth of chemistry...