A Case Study: From Public School To Homeschooling High School

On January 1st, 2013, my 17 year old sister Danielle (Dani) joined our household.

Before joining us, Dani was a junior, well steeped in public school culture, active in competitive sports, with full social life.

But, during my New Year’s visit to Oregon, she decided to leave it all behind – taking a courageous leap of faith by packing a bag, hopping a plane, and moving to Texas.

She had planned to attend our local public school, not *at all* interested in homeschooling. But somewhere in the first two weeks, she changed her mind.

One day, she texted me “I think Kate has the right idea with this homeschooling thing.” And a few days later she came to me and asked what her options were.

When Dani and I sat down to discuss her homeschooling options for high school – virtual school, packaged curriculum, unschooling – she realized that she could finish up her last eight high school credits in just a few months time.

All of a sudden she went from a junior starting her 2nd semester to a high school senior. What was once was a distant year and half away, all of the sudden became now.

In January, I helped Dani uncover her choices, investigate her options, and facilitate the directions she is choosing.

After looking at her high school transcript and graduation requirements from her previous school, we figured out what credits she had left to complete before she could graduate:

For a motivated, self-paced homeschool student, 8 credits is not very much. And after seeing how Kgirl and J do their work, she was confident that she could adapt and work through her own high school credits with no problem.

So, I gave her choices on how she could go about fulfilling the credits needed for each subject. For example, for High School English, the choices were:

 

And for high school electives, her choices were:

For each of the subjects I gave her a similar list, so we could create a High School Graduation Plan. In some cases, I have existing curriculum or have opinions on best choices for curriculum for her circumstances – if she was open to it. And in most cases, we were able to customize her choices to fit within her personal goals and interests.

For example, for science, she chose to do the Great Courses Oceanography course with some additional lab work. And for Government/Civics, she’s using the course I recommended – Connect the Thoughts American Civics.

But for math, we put together a practical geometry course, using three different resources, to build on her natural talents in art, but still give her solid mathematical concepts that she’ll use in the real world.

I’m assigning credits just as I would for my other students, using the carnegie credit:

  • .5 credit = 60 hours or equivalent work/competency
  • 1.0 credit = 120+ hours or equivalent work/competency

Though, our focus is not on putting in the time, but on the learning or competency/skill mastered.

In our homeschool, grades are not assigned, as it’s the mastery/competency that matters instead. No or little demonstrated competency, no credit, no matter the time logged.

At this writing, we’re a month into this process and she’s making really good progress against the graduation plan we put together.

It’s been an interesting process to watch her go from a student who simply put in the time, attending classes because she had to, to an engaged, motivated young adult who is learning and building skill in what she is interested in. Not only is she engaged in her learning process but also she’s moving forward, making plans for what’s next.

It’s an exciting time, and I admire her courage to take huge leaps of faith and take action on her dreams and goals. What a privilege it is to have this time with her, and to be part of her journey.

 

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3 Responses to A Case Study: From Public School To Homeschooling High School

  1. Linda says:

    How wonderfully brave of her to make the choice to homeschool the last bit of her high school career. My daughter has been homeschooling for over six years, and I am just beginning to look at high school homeschooling. One of the places I’ve found on my journey so far is a great site called Lets Homeschool High School (http://www.letshomeschoolhighschool.com) which has great curriculum choices and even a forum for high school homeschoolers to share together. Perhaps this would be a site she might want to check out. It has parent forums as well, if you want to check it out. It seems to have a great amount of information. Hope this helps and all the best to her!

  2. Jackie says:

    How exciting for your sister! A little motivation like getting out early goes a long way with teens. She is so very fortunate to have you walking alongside her during this new journey.

    My daughter entered high school last year and it really did a number on me (intimidated me). We lean toward unschooling and the thought of a transcript was upsetting. We muddled through last year, but this year I am sighing a big sigh of relief. We are so excited about signing up for the new Time4Learning high school program. We used T4L in the lower grades and loved it, so I know we will be happy with the high school program, especially since my DD is a visual learner and they have lots of video lessons. Now I will have reports and records (they keep them) to use for the transcript. Whew! I am a happy homeschooling mom now. :)

    Joyfully,
    Jackie

  3. Jackie says:

    Oops! Forgot to leave the link for the new high school program if anyone else is interested in it.
    http://www.time4learning.com/newsletters/July2013_highschool_info.htm

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