Sunday, June 8, 2014

The High School "Plan" - Part 2

Continued from Part 1 here.

How will we meet our family goals of a bachelor's degree by age 18 or 19 if we seem to be going backwards into Challenge A (where nothing seems to count?)

Actually, although it isn't highly publicized on CC, there are ways to stretch Challenge A for a 14 year and make some of those things "count".  And, as the homeschool mom, I have the authority to stretch, add, or count things as I see fit, and I plan to do that in a fair and accurate way that meets Michigan graduation requirements.  I'll get into that later.

But first, let's go into the heart of the program, and the heart of what I want for my child.

The "Heart" of the CC Challenge A program:

  • The theme for Challenge A is "ownership"

  • The Challenge programs develop skills for learning, which apply to any situation anywhere

  • Subjects are integrated.  So we're not just learning Latin.  We're wrapping history, science, math, religion, grammar, and morality into Latin.

  • Rhetoric.  Students are able to communicate ideas well through speech and written presentation.

  • Discussion.  Students learn to discuss subjects in an integrated way that develops "critical thinking"

  • "Critical thinking skills".  This is a HOT word in public education circles these days, and I'll use it here.  Wrestling with an old dead language, math laws, morality issues, and logic develops critical thinking skills.  These critical thinking skills will carry over into college, into the workforce, into problem solving, into parenthood...

  • Morality.  The Challenge programs are Christian in nature, but students are encouraged to consider different points of view, argue different sides, learn more about themselves and their beliefs through discussion and debate, and learn more from their parents about the stance their family takes, and why.  In Practicum this year, we learned that students that were allowed to wrestle with their beliefs in those formative middle and high school years, entered the college years much more grounded in their faith, and did not leave their church, during a time period when other young adults have a mass exodus from the church.

The "Heart" of what I want for my child:

  • I want her to own her education.  The learning is yours for the taking.  Take it!

  • I want her to have study skills and work ethic.  She should graduate homeschool knowing how to work hard and study hard to accomplish her goals.

  • I want her to have lifelong skills that prepare her for college, career, life, and beyond.

  • I want her to delve into subjects and see connections!

  • I want her to experience classroom discussions and be challenged in her thinking positively by her teachers and peers.

  • I want her to have the skills of problem solving in real life.  If two co-workers can't agree on anything, how will you solve it?  If the workplace has a major issue, how can we solve it?  If your family is struggling, how will we solve it?  There is much lip service in public school education about critical thinking and competition in the New Global Economy, but how does one get there?

  • I want her to be firm in her faith in Jesus Christ, walk with Him and serve Him, and to demonstrate that love to others.

  • I want her to understand other people's belief systems, and to love them in their differences and similarities

  • I want her to know what she believes and why.

Obviously, there is a lot of overlap in Challenge and in what I want for my child.  Those goals trump any system of counting credits and transcripts.  If I can earn 180 credit hours by sleeping through Biology, then the credit system may not be an accurate measure of the education I want for my high school student.  This doesn't mean that I can give out credits like candy (you know, because anything is better than sleeping through 180 hours of Biology instruction).  I DO have high goals for my high school student.

I see a lot of fearmongering in homeschool high school circles.  You must complete 4 years of math, including Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II.  You must have 2 years of foreign language.  You must have 3 credits of science, including Biology, and either Chemistry or Physics, and at least one of those courses must have Labs.  You must take the ACT or SAT and you must get a good score, or else you won't get into college.  If you practice, practice, practice the ACT or SAT and get a really great score, you'll get a full ride scholarship (and you MUST do this because otherwise you won't be able to afford college).  Phew!  This is only a sampling of the MUSTs, but can you see the fear welling up inside of the homeschool mom of an upcoming highschooler?

I don't know about you, but one of the reasons I began homeschooling was to break away from a system of checklists that I didn't believe helped my child succeed in their schooling.  I didn't see those checklists helping my child gain real skills or developing a love of learning.  It only creates fear.

There are many ways to get to college and career readiness (another HOT word in public education these days).  Not all of them include Transcripts or high ACT and SAT scores.

Next in the series, a word about some high school options...

Missed a post in this series?
The High School Plan:
Part 1 Background & Our Plan for Next Year
Part 2 The Heart of Our Goals & Why CC Fits
Part 3 A (ongoing) List of High School Options, for everyone
Part 4 How We Might Count Some Credits with ChA & Looking Ahead (College Plus?)

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