College prep unschooling/relaxed schooling for high school?

Discuss unschooling, eclectic, the unit study approach, or any other "unusual" homeschooling method.

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College prep unschooling/relaxed schooling for high school?

Postby LisaMKH » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:10 pm

When I was a teen, a couple times I skipped school and took the city bus to the main city library to sit and read books all day. I still vividly remember thinking how silly it was that I spent my days shut in a classroom when I feel like I learned more and retained more from those books. In hindsight, I look back and can still remember some of the things I read about but recall very little about high school that was academic.

Then by the time I had my own children, I guess I got in to the in-the-box mindset that you just send your children to school when they turn 5. Eventually, I did turn to homeschooling. I was a little relaxed. Things went great. My children learned so much. Then for high school, some reason, I got in to my head that my children needed to earn credits, following some preset set of things that my children must learn. This means 4 yrs of social studies (world geo, world hist, US hist, econ and gov't), 4 years of science (bio, chem, physics and 1 AP course), 4 years of English, 3-4 yrs of foreign language, and 5 yrs of math (through AP math as schools count algebra as a credit too even when taken before high school).

OK, so we are following that path this year with our 2 oldest and I am starting to wonder if we should not be doing this. The kids are bored. Much of the material, they already know. There is a reason some people call us geeks and we don't mind. Our idea of a great vacation is visiting some historical site or geographical area. We actually do have old used physics books on the shelves because the kids have fun reading them. In fact, we have several book shelves full of books about just about anything. My 8 yr old routinely falls asleep with a book in his hands.

So why am I routinely telling my 15 yr old to put down that physics book or the book he is working out of now to learn computer programming, so that he can read the world geography textbook and answer the questions in the workbook? Or telling my daughter to stop reading about Bach and Mozart so that she can read her biology textbook and answer the questions in her workbook. It is true that she is reading a lot of facts in this book that she might not otherwise read. But fact is, and she even says this, they seem to be just a collection of many many facts that don't really go together that she must memorize to take a test on. I remember when she was obsessed with Meerkats. She was so obsessed with everything about Meerkats that she ended up reading on everything related to them too. Or when it was DNA she wanted to learn more about. Get the idea?

SO...I am considering just setting up a set of rules and letting the children, for the most part, follow their own studies. The exception would be that they must still follow the math course, must still work on basic skills type topics like writing and math, and must take 2 yrs foreign language minimum-language of their choice. I also want them to study something of their choice so in depth that they can take and pass the AP exams in 3-5 areas (or more if they wish).

SO..would that be nuts? Should I drop the accredited school program we are doing right now and go this route? Would I be nuts? Or does this sound like the better way for kids like mine?

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Postby Jill » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:58 am

If your children are self motivated to study things like physics, Mozart, meerkats and DNA on their own in depth, I'd say you have done your job well! 8)
Do you know about unit studies? Your kids may love them. In fact, it sounds like your older ones may be desiging their own already.
I think keeping the math, writing and language requirements is wise, especially if they are college bound. It sounds like they will probably cover the rest on their own given the opportunity. You can begin to work all this independent study into a standard transcript format (for your high school age kids), and have them fill in any "gaps" they see for minimum college admissions requirements if that's their goal.
Congratulations on a job well done! :wink:

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Postby Theodore » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:41 pm

Hmm. Some subjects can be done in a more relaxed style, like anything that just involves a lot of background reading (history, for instance). Other subjects, at least at the high school and college level, are definitely not best done through unschooling (math, sciences, etc.) Personally, I wouldn't try unschooling through high school for the most part, there's simply too much information and too little allowance for holes than there is in grade school.

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College Material?

Postby fairfarmhand » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:39 pm

Can they pursue dual enrollment at a local community college? If they have already learned much of their high school material, many students do this. They will learn college level material will still getting their official "high school credits" They may be able to do this online. Also, many colleges have free classes online; you can listen to the lectures and such for no charge. Look for online learning on a google search.
Been doing this for 7 years. 4 kids; 12yrs, 8yrs, 4yrs, and 2yrs

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