Friday, April 2, 2010

High School Documentation...One thought

These sharings are from the Learning Adventures blog, but I'm sure you could tweak them to fit what you are currently doing in your own schooling efforts.

Using Learning Adventures for High School:
You can easily make the adjustments and use LA as a "spine." You will just have to toss out any ideas that your high-schooler doesn't want to do. College-bound students should do something like the following:

First - get a high school/home school plan book so you know what you are doing and will know what is required, how to do transcripts, etc. They explain what is required for college-bound and non-college-bound students. We use Home School, High School, and Beyond by Beverly Adams-Gordon. There are two basic ways of gaining credits - the first is to complete a
year-long-grade-level text in a year and it counts as 1 credit. The second is to count hours that pretty much amount to 50 minutes to an hour per subject per day for 180 days. We count an hour each day in each subject that we do this. (Schools account for extra homework time in that amount - so I think requiring our son, Ryan, to work an hour per day is an easier way than making him do separate "homework" beyond a typical 50 minute class period.) But, that's just how we do it.

Now for using LA with a high schooler - here's what I'd do in each subject:

Do with the rest of family. This is not a required school subject so any time spent together is just "icing" in terms of family bonding and spiritual growth.

Literature - Do read-alouds with rest of family for discussion and family bonding. These are all family books, so they aren't going to seem "babyish" - and the fundamentals and elements of literature that we cover are good, solid concepts that high schoolers would be covering anyway. IN ADDITION to this, though - I would assign an extra higher level book (use some of the ones I suggest in the beginning of the units) - Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, and The King's Fifth are all good choices for the Explorers Unit, for example - Ben Hur, The Robe, Quo Vadis are good for the Roman Unit, etc. If you can find Progeny Press literature guides to go with some of
these extra literature readings once in awhile - it would be good, to help in following along with what is happening, etc. since these collateral books will be read independently. (I list LOTS of higher level stuff in Book Two, so you will have plenty to choose from there as well.) Have your
high schooler count the hours spent on reading (including the family read aloud and discussion time) and list alphabetically all of the books he/she has read (in bibliographic format, like I list all of the regular suggested books in AWOA). This would go in his/her English folder. The literature times are very bonding for families. The collateral reading is important because there are books that every high schooler "should" read by the time he/she is finished with 12th grade. Many of these I will list in the extended sections of the curriculum - but you will need to be on the lookout for classics, etc. and keep your high schooler reading, reading, and reading.

Grammar/Vocab./Writing - Skip the grammar and spelling in LA - For a high schooler you will need to get a formal grammar program, and get Vocabulary from Classical Roots - this series will last you through all four years of high school, and for writing, stay with the LA lessons - especially for the first two years of high school - only you will have to lengthen them
considerably, requiring a page instead of a paragraph, and stuff like that. The fundamentals in LA are all pretty much the same as any high schooler or even college student would have anyway - if you think about it - we do summaries, reaction papers, contrast and comparison, biographical sketches, we just do them on a very manageable level that doesn't seem too intimidating - see what I mean? PLUS, you should assign at least one research paper a year. They don't have to be super long, though. Buy a book that tells you how to do this if necessary. I have seen lots of them at my library - check there first. He/she should be able to learn this pretty much on his own - it's not hard.

For all the language arts elements of literature, vocab, grammar, and writing - I call them ENGLISH 9 - depending on the grade, and then I include the number of hours spent on all of these things combined. If your high schooler works on all of the suggestions I have made here, he/she will go WAYYYYYY over the required time - and that's good - because he will be
challenged in a very important area.

Formal program of your choice - complete a graded text in a year - OR count 180 hours of math work.

Formal program of your choice - although I can't recommend Apologia highly enough - we LOVE it and the student can work independently on it. Complete a text in a year and gain a credit.

History - follow the format of LA and have your high schooler read histories and biographies according to the period studied. PLUS - a separate unit for each unit would be good. An explorers notebook is already a part of AWOA, and in Book Two there will be the World, Presidents, Native Americans and State notebooks, so even a high schooler would be fairly well
covered automatically if you stick with LA. That means, an Egypt Notebook, a Greece Notebook, a Roman Notebook, a Middle Ages Notebook, and a Renaissance Notebook would be good supplements for a high schooler - just to help wrap all the information up as a unit is covered. We will also be doing more report writing in Book Two, and these can be added to the notebooks. I might add two additional notebooks to Book Two - "Colonial Notebook" which would cover the period and customs from Jamestown up to the War, and "American Revolution and Beyond Notebook" which would cover the specifics of the War and the Constitution. Remember - the notebooks aren't ONLY written reports, but information researched and printed from the
internet - maps and charts, battles and photos of battlefields, copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, etc. This is an EXTREMELY effective way for high schoolers to learn - and they actually sort of enjoy it if they can surf the net to do it. Count all of of these
hours and keep track of a COMBINED total for history and geography and call it SOCIAL STUDIES 9 - or use the appropriate grade as you move through high school.

Geography - I have seen lots of geography programs and I think what we do in LA is better because it is meaningful when we study the geography at the same time we study the country and culture. Keep doing that, but if you want to go through a really good map-reading series - look into Modern Curriculum Press - they have a series called MAPS-CHARTS-GRAPHS that is
excellent. They are like what we do in LA only MORE. Of course they won't relate to the study - but these are the same kinds of questions they always ask on standardized tests and they even include stuff like how to read and understand political cartoons. I'm telling you - they are excellent. I think they are pretty much considered elementary to junior high - and they come in levels A-H. But in my opinion, levels E,F,G, and H are worth having a high schooler do. Ryan loved these - he even did some of them for "fun" when he was stuck and "bored" at a home school conference a few years ago. Another great game to get and have your high schooler master all the levels of is Where in the World - and the rest of the family could play it too. The combination of learning all the details of the game, studying LA in a meaningful way, and the MCP maps books - will be a good plan of action. And boy, oh boy will your kids impress the relatives if they learn the stuff in Where in the World! I've seen people's mouths drop open when Ryan could rattle off places and facts from the game! Smile Who says learning can't be fun - right!!! Smile Even in high school! Smile

College-bound students should have two years of a language - most colleges want to see this. If you complete a graded text in a year it counts as a credit

Usually two years are required and we count hours that Ryan does ANYTHING athletic - but he has more than enough just from soccer practice and games to add up to a credit per year. Count hours and keep track.

So, you see how you can work things around LA and still keep your high schooler involved with the unit study and the rest of the family. The high school plan book will help give you ideas about what you might want to do. The above are not really "professional recommendations" as much as they are what works for us and what my opinions are of what a college-bound high
school student should accomplish. But I'm kind of hard on our son, Ryan, so everyone wouldn't necessarily have exactly the same ideas as me on this.

The above suggestions would be the highest level of achievement, in my opinion. You can cut down from there in terms of what your high schooler's future plans are and what your state requires.


and Documenting High School:
Here are ideas from other homeschoolers....
I have Barb's Book and it is great!!! A big one for sure. I have read one book by the Author of Home School High School and Beyond and she is a very good writier and easy to follow. I highly recommend Barb Shelton's book (and anything by Cafi Cohen). It will put perspective on highschool and also give lots of ideas on how to use forms she has to help you out. It has given me a spring board to think of of ways to help my dd with her education.

I have Barb Shelton's book "Senior High-A Home Designed Form-U-la" and it is awesome! I haven't finished it yet, but it is so refreshing to know someone else out there thinks like I do. I am not into doing "school" for school's sake. I am preparing eternal beings to take their place in the world, according to what God has designed for them to do and be. I highly recommend her book!

Well, thanks for listening. I am looking forward to gleaning from everyone's wisdom, and perhaps dropping a "nugget" in here and there myself.

First, I got a copy of "Senior High: A Home Designed Form-U-la" by Barbara Shelton. I would highly recommend this if you would like to continue doing unit study type work for high school. I think it will work great in implementing LA into high school credits.

This is what I have come up with for our oldest daughter to cover in high school: (1 credit is one full year of a class) (This is also based on the minimum credits for Texas - non college bound.)

English (4 credits): Easy Grammar, Easy Writing, Learning Adventures (also 1/2 credit of speech is included) - main emphasis will be in the writing from LA, just expecting more and better quality.

Math (3 credits): Business/Consumer Math - Ray's Arithmetics and Teaching Our Daughters to Be Keepers At Home (TODKAH); Algebra; Geometry (have not decided yet what we will be using).

History (3 credits): US History (1), World History/Geography (1), Government (1/2), and Economics (1/2) - all covered in LA

Science (2 credits): Biology, Physics/Chemistry - "Science Scope" and the science covered in LA and TODKAH placed under these 2 categories.

Health (1/2 credit): TODKAH (and whatever is in LA)

Computer Science (1 credit): computer programs - ie learning to use a word processing program, writing projects from LA.

Music (1 credit): violin, piano, vocal, theory, music appreciation

Foreign Language (2 credits): Spanish, Greek, sign language (?) computer programs etc.

Home Ec (1 credit - at least): TODKAH

Bible (2 credits): Polished Cornerstones, TODKAH, LA

Arts & Crafts (1 credit): TODKAH, LA

In Form-U-la, she shows you how to implement what you study into credits. Mainly, you would just want to make sure that you not just read little kids books. Form-U-la is a fairly expensive book to buy, it is well worth it. But I would suggest that you do an interlibrary loan ($1). Also, the latest edition is 1999, only a few libraries nationally have it, and it is not available for interlibrary loan. But there were close to 100 of the 1996 edition available nationwide. In fact that is the one that I own. This would be a great way for you to read the book to see if you would like to purchase it.

Also, Dorian suggests "Home School, High School, and Beyond" by Beverly Adams-Gordon. I did get the latest edition through interlibrary loan, and I think that Form-U-la would work the best
with LA!!!

I am going to check into making forms to use with LA to cover History mainly. I am going to check with Barbara Shelton to make sure I am not infinging on copyrights. I will be designing my own.

I plan on using as much of LA as I can to fit into these subjects. As you will notice, I do not have any textbooks (I guess Easy Grammar & Writing sort of are, I just happen to own them, but they are as a supplement/guide) listed in my classes. I plan on using "ALL" real books, library or purchased.

This makes a very inexpensive high school curriculum, as well as enjoyable. I am currently making games to cover math in K-8th so I am looking into ways to continue this in high school as well. I hope this gives you some ideas.

Ok........if you use LA units for 5 years....there will be allot of credits there you are NOT seeing.
The main thrust of a unit study is to look at where you can get credits. And at times,you might have to adjust the name.......ok? There will be Ancient hx.,there will be Geography in all units,there is the American hx,in LA #2-you can add your 1/2 credit for your state hx. there,
and depending on your state-you can get other credits for whichever kinds of hx. they need.
Government in there as well. With 9th grade and up,I would skip the science in LA units and add another program. The science in LA is more general science/earth/life type. They need more than that in high school. The recipes in the book can be added to with more home type books and there is your HomeEc credit. PE-well,if your child is into sports already-use that as part of credit. If your child is not-let them use an exercise aerobic tape. Then add health type stuff. There is a study on the body in LA #1.Use that in that unit. And you can add biographies on sports people. Or you can gives essays on various health topics of your choice. You can do this for ever how many years PE is required in your state for those credits.
Fine Arts.....another credit. There are studies in LA #1 on composers and artists. There are projects to do as well. You can add more reading literature books and get more credits in things like Communication or speech. This will allow the child to share verbally with the family, friends, church, neighbors what they are learning. Also,your Bible will be given as credits as well. Let's see...... how many credits here???? And you have to add in Literature/grammar credits. The Literature part of that has already been done in LA readings. Vocab already with LA Greek/Latin roots And your math.....whichever you need for graduation. You can add any needed extra credits on anything else you might need. Such as foreign language. If you want to add art course if you need any more credits. Shop,if your child works with Dad in building things.
Remember though,find out what you need from your state with requirements. Go from there.
And,you do not need to do a full year of any 1 elective. Let say your son starts woodworking with a neighbor and that man moves mid stream. You can assign 1/2 credit there. Give the credits where appropriate.

Keepers Of The Faith has wonderful books on all subjects. There you might get ideas. If your child is interested in computers-buy him a Computers for Dummies book. Ah-la........give a credit as elective for him completing that book. Just make sure you get in all the main credits like Math,Lit.. That will be the focus. And sciences, It will also depend on if your child is going to college. There will be different courses to add to that as well. And remember,Abeka and BJ has videos of the higher maths and sciences that you can get if these subjects scare you. There is also Alpha Omega out there as well. If you need a credit or help in science or math. They have several different 1/2 credits as well.

The Texas info I got online at (ours is listed under curriculum, then there is requirements for high school graduation). I think you could probably put your states two letter abreviation in place of "tx".

College Bound:
English - 4 years
Math - 3 (or 4) years (Algebra 1 & 2, and Geometry)
Science - 3 (or 4) years (Biology, Chemistry & Physics)
History - 4 years (World History, World Geography, US
History, US Govt - 1/2, & Economics - 1/2)
Physical Education - 1 1/2 years
Foreign Language - 2 to 3 years (same language)
Health - 1/2 year
Computer - 1 year
Fine Arts - 1 year
Electives to equal 24 credits (1 year = 1 credit)

Math and Science requirements are only 3 years, but you may want to add the 4th. Pretty much, my plan for my daughter will be college level too. We would just have to change a couple of hours (which we will probably be covering anyways).

I am also going to have her start working on high school credits (slowly) next year - 8th grade. This will lesson her hours a little. But also, we would be covering more of her world history in
volume 1. (Which of course, will be repeated in her senior year.)

If you take a look at my Pace Determiner Worksheet, you will see how much time needs to be spent each day in each subject. You could either spend that amount of time each day (for a four year plan, it comes to 4 hours). Or only do the class on certain days. This plan also shows that unlike conventional school, the 1/2 credit of health for example, does not need to be covered in 1/2 year. You could spread it across 4 years (ie 5 min a day). This lets us use what is in LA to cover these subjects. At the end of the year, you would figure out how many hours were completed, then subtract from total need to graduate. Then this would be the amount needed to cover in the following years. When you do finish a subject, then you do not "need" to count that subject any longer. But I do plan on counting these as "extra credits".

What you do to receive credit with unit studies is to add up your hours. When you are reading history books you have your child time herself. Use a timer if necessary. Plan an hour for history or what ever time you go with. An hour for highschool classes is good to go with because they total up to 180 hours durring the year. This will give a whole credit. Some choose as low as 150 hours others choose as much as 270 hours. (This is rare) You would do this with all the subjects unless you use a text. The compleation of a text will count as a credit itself.

If your child spends 2 hours reading about history and the book being read is something like Tempest, then you would be able to split the credit, by giving 1 hour to history and 1 hour to literature. You have plenty time to digest this, don't let let it get you down. Once you get the hang of it, it is easy, and well worth the effort.

You can grade on class participation, essay grades, and test, so on. What ever you choose, or all of them. You must require your dd to learn the material as well as enjoy the hands on things. That is important. If she chooses to not learn you may want to take away the hands on till you see an improvement in her learning. (This is if she is doing it purposely, it would be another story if she has a learning disibility.)

Now as far as a diploma or a GED, most colleges aren't worried about either. It may be different where you are. You would need to call the college that you plan to send your daughter to and ask what they require. Most colleges want test scores. For a transcript I would suggest that you get the progam Transcript Pro or some other program that will walk you through the steps. It is not too hard but I can't explaine it. Maybe someone else here can do that.

We have text books for math and science, sometimes grammar as it is not necessary to have grammar every year. These we do not have to calculate hours for. We time ourselves for history, literature (when not using a set program), Bible, and basic living skills (home ec or shop) this would include cooking, sewing, changing oil, building a bird house, and so on.

I hope this helps in some way, as I am not the best person in the world to answer your questions. I recenly went to go see Inge Cannon, who is wonderful at explaining all of this. If you ever get a chance you may want to attend one of her conferences. Here is her website:

Colleges want homeschoolers because they have learned to study and to think. These students often know what they want to do and why they are going there; they know what they are trying to accomplish and have goals in mind. This is rare, and makes homeschooling the success that it is. It is not due to regulating and structuring the homeschool according to any particular pattern of 'school'. We've learned there is a difference between homeschooling and "school at home". Homeschooling is whole life or "natural learning", as Susie explained. . Homeschoolers score well on tests whether they have been used to a school setting or not, if they have studied and learned the subject material and developed the ability to think. Learning this has helped me a lot in letting go of the "academic" biases and prejudice that "structured" or "institutional" learning set in place for me. So often if everything is done "for" you, then you lack confidence in yourself to do what otherwise you would know that you can do, having to learn by experience. Some of us are only being allowed, in letting ourselves learn, to think freely now for the first time in our lives. Thinking is much that way.

When asked to explain what homeschooling means to them, most students after a few highschool years of learning in an even somewhat flexible environment, can explain that it is that flexibility (or time) that gave them the opportunity to discover their own particular abilities, strengths and weaknesses and how to improve themselves. Such is what Education truly means, and the colleges that we are interested in having our young people attend have that understanding as well. There are some colleges now that are moving beyond the "structured" approach also in their instruction and finding that such a close-knit environment for learning, such as a family working together and having resources to share by many at various levels, is the ideal one for excellence, invention, and genius. Taking time to think is a wonderful thing to do at such a time as this.

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