Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Home School in My House This Week

I was texting a young acquaintance last night, and she wanted to know what my son was studying. So, I sent her the following list:

World History
British Literature
SAT Test Prep
martial arts

She was impressed, but I'm not sure why. That list seems to be a pretty normal high school schedule to me. Do public school students not think the home schooled students study too? *shrugs*

Anyway, I thought I would give credit where credit is due. My son does most of the work. He is the one who makes home schooling work, not me. I assign readings, quiz him on what he's read, ask him if he's finished his vocabulary words/chapter outline/end of chapter questions, and proctor his tests. Pretty much, his education is between him and the (secular) textbook publisher.

I do actually "teach" British Literature. I do this because a) I love literature and b) my son does not love literature. Knowing that he loves people and also that reading British Literature out loud increases comprehension, I opened our study of Brit Lit to other home schooled teens. This is working out well for all concerned, as far as I can tell. My son has the added pressure of wanting to not look stupid in front of his peers, and I have the wonderful joy of truly interested students (also his peers) to keep me motivated to teach. I love it!

Also I will here confess that his World History tests are open book. However he must answer questions thoroughly and use complete sentences. In other words, he can't answer a question like, "What events led up to the War of 1812?" with a cop-out answer like, "The British were sore losers." At the very least, cite the text, come on. I don't feel bad about having open book tests, because I know he's learning. Tests are to gauge how well you as a teacher are getting through to your students, and figure out who needs extra help. I can figure out those things with an open book test just as well in this home setting.

Now, biology, since he wants to do something in the medical field, is a no-slack course. But then, he understands the importance of knowing how life works, so he has no objections to stricter testing protocols in biology.

And some days, like Mondays when he has speech club, we only get one subject done. This is the very first semester in my fourteen years of home schooling that the Prime Subject was not math. It's biology. I occasionally have little bouts of panic that we are not doing math everyday, but he is slated to take Pre-Calculus at community college next semester. Since he has already tested into that class, I let him out of taking it here at home. But I still worry about it sometimes.

Also, I gotta confess, Test Prep is freaking me out. We spent all the late elementary/early middle school years doing Wordly Wise workbooks, and completed three different SAT vocabulary cartoon books in middle school and early high school, and he apparently does still not understand a lot of the words he previously "learned". Yikes! Do I blame that on my teaching, or video games?

I vote "video games". Yeah, right.

The martial arts I do nothing to teach. I only give rides and write checks. He has added kick-boxing to the Tae Kwan Do, which I think is cool. If he passes his Spanish CLEP in April, I might buy him Rosetta Stone Korean for next year. (After four years of Spanish, he missed CLEPing out by five points!! So frustrating!)

So there you have it. I better go get him up and get started. Peace and good will to all who read here, SS

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