When a lot of homeschooling parents think about continuing through the high school years, they can get overwhelmed very easily. The prospect of college looms on the horizon and parents get nervous about their abilities to prepare their teens. What can be even more daunting is wondering if college admission offices will take your teen seriously since, after all, they have a transcript prepared by mom and/or dad! What I can tell you is that putting together great classes for your teen that will be taken seriously by colleges and ones that are enjoyable for your teen is completely possible. First you need to let go of the teacher, curriculum, transcript trap.
So what do I mean about the "trap"? It's too easy to look at college admission requirements then go backwards to figuring out how you are going to plan to cover those credits. You automatically think of things like English 101, Geography and other pretty stale, nondescript class titles. While some people are perfectly content with buying courses or having their teen take them through a local community college, there is another way. That way is by creating a custom curriculum. The best way I can describe how to do this is to give you a couple of examples.
Last year, I was concerned that my sixteen year old wasn't reading a lot of traditional books like he used to. He had no interest in the few I gave him and after giving them a try, he put them down. I am an avid reader and writer so I completely believe in only reading what interests you. If you read the first chapter of a book and just can't get through it, it's either poorly written or just doesn't click with you. There are so many books to choose from so why be forced to read what you don't enjoy. While I firmly believe this, I was still seeing current suggested book lists for high schoolers and it got me a little nervous. My son's main source of reading this past year was the graphic novels found in the Teen section of our local library. (A good library pulls out the Mature ones and be warned, they are rated Mature for a reason; just as the Teen ones are rated for a reason as well!) When I went to look at how many books he read, I discovered he had read almost FORTY! Those were in addition to the more classic ones he did read. While I had originally told him that I couldn't count them as toward his transcript credit, seeing the number he read made me think twice. So I did a little digging...
After a quick internet search I found course descriptions for Graphic Novel classes not only from Phillips Academy, but also from a number of Ivy League colleges! Reading through the requirements of the courses as well as the syllabuses made me realize that not only could I form what he did into a course but it was one he was going to complete and have fun doing! I grabbed suggestions for a few books for him to read so that he can further understand the genre as well as a couple of other suggested graphic novels that are written a little differently than what he had been reading. He now has a complete course under his belt!
Another example of creating a custom course is how I am covering United States history this year. I have an extensive background in history from college and have maintained of love of it since then. One thing I love to do is watch a historical movie or documentary and see how accurate it is. After finally getting around to seeing the HBO John Adams series this year, I decided that I could make a fun class for the kids and their friends out of doing that; especially since my sixteen year old loves history as much as I do!
It did take some work but I sat down and came up with twenty six historical dramas that will be fun to watch that are PG13 and below. The kids will do research on their own during the week to look into the validity of what they watched then we will talk about it before our next movie each week. (I keep getting requests to share my list but I decided that it wouldn't serve people very well without being a complete class. I hope to find the time as we go during the year to put together an affordable package with complete historical notes. If you do decide to try this yourself, please be aware that even documentaries have mistakes in them! I was even recently advised that the Teach With Movies service has mistakes all over it.)
These are just two examples of how you can create your own custom courses. The more you can create that center around your teen's interests and learning style, the better. They will connect with the information more and it will be much more tangible to them. They will not only meet the transcript requirements that college admission offices look for but they will stand out as being unique, interesting individuals.
As a Parent Coach and Mentor, my passion lies in empowering parents to make the best decisions they can for their children and their families as a whole. As a well-trained coach, I can be your facilitator and accountability partner for long-lasting, meaningful change that has a permanent, positive impact for your family. By focusing on the values that you hold most important in your life, I can help you create and maintain the type of parenting relationship you want to have with your children, now and into their adulthood.
I am a homeschooling mom of four children in Massachusetts. I am also the author of a book called The Herbal Beverage Book, which can be found on amazon or directly on my website. When not coaching, writing or spending time with the family, I enjoy Hayao Miyazaki films, new and classic Dr. Who episodes, anything related to American history and a great glass of mead.
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This blog is a collection of thoughts, articles and perspectives I have at any one time. While I am pretty consistent in my beliefs, life changes and evolves along with experiences. You may feel a connection with me through my writing yet I never want any of my readers to misunderstand that the connection you feel is with a perspective I have shared and not me as a person. I am continually humbled that I am able to connect with my readers, and I hope to continue to be able to for many years to come, but it doesn't make us connected in any way beyond this. If you connect with what I write and know me as an acquaintance, this in no way reflects that I have any knowledge of you, your situation in life or that I am writing with you in mind. It is merely that I have shared a human experience that most likely very many others have had has well. This also goes for anything I post on my Twitter account, Facebook Page and Facebook personal page. I wanted to make this disclaimer as clear as possible so you know that any misunderstanding you choose to have is not my responsibility.