Saturday, June 2, 2007

Dorian Holt's Thoughts

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:

BIBLE
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.

LANGUAGE ARTS
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.

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

SCIENCE
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.

SOCIAL STUDIES
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

FOREIGN LANGUAGE
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

PE
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.

Dorian

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