Ideas for high school

A reader asked on my post about A. graduating from high school early what are some of the things we've done that haven't been exclusively text book based. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but here are some of the 'classes' my various high schoolers have done.

B. received a credit for Apiology (that would be bee keeping). He reads dozens of books and magazine, took a class offered by a local bee keeper's group, and built and kept his own hive.

All of my high schoolers have earned at least one credit in Sound Technology. That would be the live, hands-on working of how to run a sound board, do recordings, and run live sound for an event. It is a lot of practical experience learning from an adult who knows what they are doing. None of them have listened to things the same since having this experience.

We have made use of many of the Great Courses CD's to supplement various classes. M. did linguistics and B. did quite a few economics lectures. These would be the courses aimed at adults and not their high school classes. In my opinion, the courses aimed at adults are far more interesting because they have to be... adults don't have to listen to them.

Often we'll go the route of using a variety of books for one subject, just not a textbook. This is what P. is doing for her Japanese History and Culture Class and what A. is doing for History of Police Work. I also created a class like this on the Gold Rush for B. I will then add some written assignments to go along with the reading. Pretty much it is what happens in many college classes.

For B.'s World War II class, I really didn't have to do anything. He was avidly reading about this era and probably I could have given him three credits based on the amount of reading and study he did. At some point, though, it starts to look a bit ridiculous and you want the college to believe you, so we kept it to one.

Sometimes I've gone the easy route and used an already assembled list of resources. For B.'s History of the 20th Century class I did this using the outline on Ambleside Online.

And, of course, for some things we do use textbooks, usually for math and science. It's not that textbooks are evil or bad, it's just that if that's your only way of learning things, they can become a bit tedious and dull. Sometimes we will use them, but as a reference.

Learning is happening all the time and in so many different ways, it's really just a matter of being aware of what you child is doing and helping to add in enough resources to fulfill those Carnegie hours so you can call it a class and create a transcript. By doing it this way, you are putting the focus on learning and not coursework, which is as it should be. We want to create learners and not grade-mongers, right?

My older children continue to learn. B.'s love of all things growing and all things farming continues. He learned so much working for my brother last summer and I know he wants to continue that. M. has lists of things she wants to learn... glass blowing and welding currently being towards the top of her list.

Life is so interesting and there is so much out there. Model learning for your children. Be interested in things. Learn new things all the time. Your children will see this and they will be interested in things as well.
I had another article published that I think I forgot to mention here. Adopting a Child with a Facial Difference


Amy said…
Thanks for doing this blog post! It is very helpful and gave me some good ideas for my oldest when he enters high school.

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