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High School Unit Studies Prepare Students for Adulthood Interaction

By Jessics Hulcy
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #9, 1995.

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Jessica Hulcy

Eighth grade is the doorway to high school. It’s also when we Hulcys finish our lessons in basics such as English grammar, and when we gear up for four years of practice in discernment and communication skills.

In ninth through eleventh grades the focus in our English class moves from grammar to composition and analysis.

Discernment and communication are necessary for everyday life. Both these skills are developed by analyzing literature. Our children read and analyze seven to nine books a year. I look at a list of books that “every educated person is supposed to have read before he goes to college,” but in reality most educated adults have not read a tenth of after they graduate from college, and choose the books I deem best for each child. I mix books from the “every educated person” list with my own selections such as The Bronze Bow, The Screwtape Letters, and I Heard the Owl Call My Name.

Our children sharpen their communication skills by writing papers about these works and by helping us publish the KONOS newsletter.

9th–12th Grades: “Let’s Talk About It”

In 9th–11th grade we use the three-year program KONOS History of the World. This curriculum is activity- and research-based and involves students in a lot of discussions with adults. Dialogue is important for all children, but it is extremely important for high schoolers as they move from childhood to adulthood. Instead of allowing teenagers to bounce ideas off other teenagers, in KONOS History of the World students record their opinions and answers to heavy questions in a journal and then talk with parents about their answers.

For twelfth grade we choose Summit Ministry’s Understanding the Times curriculum, the “Ideas and Idols” video program, and Michael Farris’ Constitutional Law to stimulate dialogue on philosophical topics.

In order to develop a mature thought process and worldview, teens need to compare and contrast ideas, as well as learn to project the consequences of certain ideas. Talking issues through with parents helps teens form their own ideas based on knowledge rather than peer pressure, as well as build lasting relationships long after discussion ends.

One might ask, “Why so much history and philosophy?” I am convinced that the liberal agenda is destroying America. This ideology is able to flourish only because several generations do not know history. The ideas of the 18th-century “Enlightenment” today are materializing in the form of the GATT treaty and other stepping stones to one-world government.

Youth need to see the connection beetween old ideas and new agendas. That is why I teach a Current Events class which requires students to research working agendas such as OBE, Planned Parenthood, America 2000, social security, agriculture subsidies, etc. Here they learn to chase down information on both sides of each issue. I include current books such as Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong and None Dare Call It Treason.

If you think these topics are too depressing, you can always substitute others. Most important is the measurement of current agendas against Scripture. Hence, we study the Bible daily.

Secular Texts Offer Uncluttered, Efficient Approach

Some would be aghast that I use secular textbooks. For biology my reasons are simple. I want my teens to know what the masses are being fed and be prepared to meet every argument for evolution. Christian supplements provide them with accurate scientific argument to combat evolution. We select math and science texts not because they are sprinkled with Bible verses or because a biography of an obscure Christian scientist appears in the margin, but because math formulas and scientific laws, by being constant and orderly themselves, point the way to the orderly, constant God who created them. Uncluttered secular texts that teach basics and applied basics offer a complete, efficient approach to English grammar, math, and science.

12th Grade: “Do As I Do”

Modeling behavior to our children is so important. How can we obey the Scriptures that tell us to teach our children when we walk, talk, and sit with them if they are not with us?

We have personally chosen to involve our children in as many adult functions as possible. Our oldest son spent his senior year apprenticing in the KONOS business. Not only did he learn how to run a small business, but he witnessed customer service, communication skills, and wise decision-making policy at his father’s elbow. The next two boys attend all kinds of political functions with me, from lobbying to working on campaigns.

As I attempt to better the world we live in, I show my children how to get involved. Though the activities we participate in are worthwhile, the most important part is that our children learn adult behavior and build good relationships with us.

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