Spring is almost here and for me, that doesn't mean gardening or Spring Cleaning......that means it's time to start thinking about planning for the next school year!
Every year, between March and May, I start selling anything we have finished, and start planning my curriculum choices for the Fall. It's usually the equivalent of Christmas for me, as far as excitement goes!
But, I'm at one of those pivotal moments in homeschooling; one that needs to be given much more thought than "what will we use for spelling next year?".
I'm about to start planning high school for my last little student. This is scary on several levels!
First - I poured so much into record keeping for Ted, that it consumed me for several years. It's been nice to have a break from that craziness!
Second - Planning high school requires much thought of the next four years, not just one year at a time. You have to plan with the end in mind. You have to have a basic skeleton plan of what your graduation requirements are and how you're going to get your student to the end of that plan. Oh, the pressure!
Third - You have to be realistic about what all you have time for! The problem with home education is that our eyes are much bigger than reality! With all the great choices for the basic courses, added to all the great choices of extra opportunities for learning, we tend to get over zealous in our planning!
We buy more than we need, schedule too much, buy some more, and the next thing you know, we feel guilty because we've run out of time, due to life getting in the way! Or should I say, the "real world" is taking up too much of our well-planned-out-day!
High School planning is much different than Kinder thru 8th grade. Planning for the last 4 years of your child's education, comes with a much more serious tone and it ushers in this urgency that you didn't have before.
All of a sudden, when it's time for high school, you feel like you're in this vice and the sides are closing in on you and you have to teach everything left to teach, before the sides close in and it's "too late"!
But, I've come to believe that we are viewing these last 4 years with an incorrect perspective.
Learning is a journey and it can't be crammed into 4 years! And, why does it have to be?
I mean think about it! What all do you remember from your 12 years of school? You probably remember some basic knowledge about this or that, but most of what you know NOW is knowledge you have gained since graduation.
I know for me, I've learned more since teaching my kids, than I EVER did in school!
So, instead of looking at the next 4 years as the last chance to teach my son anything, I think I'll take a different route.
We'll cover the basics, so he won't be an ignorant baboon, but we'll leave much more room for reality and things that truly matter.
Instead of focusing so much on what to do to pass the SAT, we'll focus on how to fund a higher education without going into massive debt that will saddle a family for years to come.
Instead of reading "classics" by morally depraved men, we'll read about great men of God.
Instead of learning about boring scientific non-sense, we'll study more of Creation and the One who put the stars in place.
Rather than waste time on arbitrary scientific experiments, we'll focus on cooking nutritious meals and how food affects the body and brain.
Instead of reading about physics, we'll let Dad teach about how engines work and how to fix one that's broken. He can also hold a "class" on why water flows this way or that and how to fix a leak when you own your own home.
Instead of learning the "value" of never-used-again math, we'll learn to use money wisely, balance a checkbook and budget, and plan for the future while being a good steward of God's resources.
Instead of wasting valuable time diagramming sentences, we'll actually read good books and write from our hearts with the mind that God gave us.
And, instead of forcing my child to memorize boring facts and dates about other places and events, so he can pass a test, we'll go to museums and study men in history that made a difference in this world. We'll talk about events that shaped America and events that shaped the world and compare those events to what's going on in the world today.
If these last four years are so valuable and pivotal in a child's life, wouldn't I and shouldn't I spend them teaching about how to succeed in real life? How to be a godly man? How to make wise choices? How to work on your own things so you're not relying on others to survive?
These are things that are going to actually be helpful in the "real world".
How could I teach anything other than what's actually valuable and feel good about that?
True education is not filling in a bubble on a piece of paper.
True education is learning how to use resources, work hard, and be all that God created you to be. And, that doesn't come from random facts, in random books. It comes from real life and hands on experiences.
Don't waste your child's last 4 years!