I have shared about my goals for my life in 2016 here. And though they are my overarching goals I have to also set specific goals for each area of my life, or our family life. When it comes to homeschooling I only have one student this year, Daniel, and he is in year 11/12. My goal for our homeschooling is to end well. I want Daniel to end well prepared for his next stage of life, and I want me to be focused and intentional as our homeschooling journey comes to an end.
It is very different homeschooling only one student – especially since most of our homeschooling journey I have had more. I have very intentionally mentioned ‘ending well’ because the longer you homeschool (or do anything really) the more competent you become, but also the more haphazard you become – resting on your laurels knowing you know what to do. As a homeschool mum I can’t afford to do that. I have never homeschooled Daniel – this particular student – before at this level. I must resist the temptation to drop the bundle and instead, stay focused, and finish the whole race well.
Homeschool Goals, for Highschool:
I like to set goals for my students for their whole being – and to that end I use this scope and sequence to set goals and direction for our year of learning.
Out of respect to Daniels personal journey as a older teen I won’t be sharing our goals for Relationships and Intrapersonal (emotional intelligence). These are to do with his inner growth and to be honest, though I’m involved, at this age they are mostly his goals – or they need to be if he is to grow.
I will say though that at this age we continue to work on understanding character based responses though we are not doing this as much as a formal study as we did with the other children – this is mainly because it seems more like lecturing when you have one student and a discussion when you have more. We will raise the issue of character learning in our family discussions.
Daniel has been doing household chores for many years and this continues in highschool.
The areas we will be focusing on for growth this year are:
- The ability to work outside for an extended period of time
- Money management – in particular online banking
- Digital calendar and reminders
Gifts / Talents – These areas are covered in his electives (Writing, Photography, and woodwork) though we are constantly exposing him to new ideas and new things he could explore. We are also working on the idea that God has given him these gifts to be responsible (earn an income), to be an expression of the creative side God has created in him, as well as to be a blessing to others.
Daniel is studying Bible, Math, Writing/Literature, History as his core subjects, he is completing his Cert II in Pre-Construction at TAFE (tertiary college) – which will also include a week or two of work experience in different building industry situations. His electives are story writing, photography and woodwork and we hope coding.
Resources for year 11/12
Daniel is an independent learner using various books and online courses for his lessons.
Bible: We will do several short courses – mostly on DVD and will be a adult level resource. I will choose different topics as he completes each unit.
Math: Daniel has chosen to resume Math-U-See after a living math approach last year.
Writing: Daniel enjoys writing stories. We will choose a variety of resources as we go through the year, making sure we have a variety of content and format in the lessons. Initially he’ll use exercises from Jump In by Sharon Watson. Most of Daniel’s writing will be in the form of responding to reading assignments.
Literature: Daniel will read for 45minutes a day – choosing classic titles along side of other highly recommended authors for his age. Once again we will choose books as we go through the year ensuring he is interested in the book (there is a balance between him being interested in a book, and me knowing it will be a good book for him to read!). He will have a writing assignment given to him at the end of each book.
History: Daniel will be using Diana Waring’s What in the World as his guide for history studies. He will aim to read 1 book per month and conclude with a writing assignment. I would also like for him to maintain a digital timeline though we haven’t worked out how to do this just yet.
Electives: Writing, Photography, Woodwork, Driving. These will be a balance of learning skills and practising those skills. We will use self-help books from the library as well as courses from Khan Academy and Udemy (and various other online learning options) to continue growing his interest and skills.
Routine for year 11/12 homeschool
For those who are interested this is what Daniel’s day generally looks like. I have found that it is best to keep highschool students fairly consistent and to be very selective with what lifestyle opportunities you let interrupt their study programme.
Monday – Tuesday – Wednesday
8.00 Discipline studies – Reviewing goals, Math, Writing, Literature
10.00 Bible study with Mum (Monday) or History (Tuesday/Wednesday)
2.00 Productive projects
3.30 Finished for the day
Thursday: TAFE (8am-2pm and then young men’s Bible study)
Friday: Work for pay – Yard and Property Maintenance
Monday and Tuesday evenings will be sport nights for him as he is signed up for Touch Football and Ultimate Frisbee – he also intends to cycle for daily exercise.
Changes from last year:
The main change that we are making this year is that we (Daniel and myself) will do a Bible study together once a week and I’ll be setting him time based assignments where he’ll have to use his personal time to complete if he doesn’t complete them in his regular study time. This is to create a sense of urgency and purpose in some of his studies.
Daniel is considering his future – especially an apprenticeship. We don’t want to push him into a decision and yet we want him to be aware of the responsibilities of growing up and the opportunities that get offered to him.
We are very aware that homeschooling the youngest can be like homeschooling an only child. We are particularly concerned that the collaborative learning that happened when there were more kids in the house is not happening for Daniel, neither is the discussion based learning. This is one reason we are picking up Bible study together. The other way we intend to address this to be very aware of Daniel’s contributions to family conversations around the dinner table.
Other things we are considering:
- Duke of Edinburgh Award (a great opportunity for homeschoolers to pursue in highschool years.)
- Coding club / Chess club – neither of these have started in town yet, but are a possibility
- House maintenance – as we continue to update our house there will be several projects that Daniel will undertake – these will fall into either his electives and/or productive project times.
- Blogging – Daniel has been blogging on and off, and would like to create and maintain a photography blog
Homeschooling highschool is very different from homeschooling primary school. The students are more self-directed and study independently. This frees my time considerably though I am still needed to ensure that he is managing his time wisely and to be a sounding board when he has a struggle.
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