Saturday, January 01, 2005

High School

Homeschooling used to be considered rather radical, but it is becoming more commonplace these days. Many people respond to our admission that we homeschool with their list of people that they know that homeschool, followed by their reasons they themselves do not. Some of them then throw in a compliment of sorts. "I don't know how you do it. I'd go crazy." This generally is a polite way of telling me that I'm the crazy one.

As the girls get older, I am asked more frequently "how long do you plan to do this?" High school seems to be the general concern. Socialization was the issue in the younger years, and I am concerned about it. We do need to cut back. It is hard to get any real school work done. But lately, the concern is how my girls are going to be prepared to go to college.

Not too long ago, I met with two dear friends from college. Both, like me, graduated from college with an engineering degree. Neither one would, nor would I, again go to engineering school if sent back in time. High school, for us, seemed to be geared toward getting into college, and into a program that would procure a high paying, secure job on exit. It did that. They didn't lie about that part. We all did well after college. But, high school years, and later college, didn't really explore who we were, what we really wanted out of life, and how we wanted to live it.

I've been doing some research on what I would like high school to be like for my kids, and I will be writing some about what I have found. I've looked at some home high school curricula, and so far, found it rather dry. Surprisingly, the first thing I have found that has lit my light bulb is a public school, which is unfortunately in Rhode Island. Perhaps some of the ideas will be adapted to our home high school.

The Met School, run by Dennis Littky, requires the students to do a lot of hands on work, work study and portfolios. There are no tests, no grades. It has no required classes. "I believe that there is not one set of subject matter that all human beings need to know," Littky said. "There is so much knowledge out there. The key is loving to learn, finding knowledge and then applying that knowledge." Founder of the Met School and co-director of the Big Picture Company, they are building a network of small schools with a similar philosophy. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have considered tapping the homeschool community so far. Most of Met students go on to college.

On whatkidscando.org, there is a list of the expectations of each grade level that I thought I might be able to work into our homeschool. I think designing such a home high school may be a challenge, but in the end, I hope that high school will be a time of learning for my kids not of facts, but of who they are and what they want to do with their lives.

Links:
Information on the Met

Learning Goals and Expectations at the Met

LA Times
To to this website, sign in (register), search for "Littky" and see article entitled "Tests are History at This High School"




1 comment:

gr8daneluvr said...

I admit it... I was one of those people that used to think I'd go crazy if I had to stay home with my kids all day (assuming I ever had any human children), and wondered what kind of dis-service home-school parents were doing to their kids by denying them socialization skills. But, considering what kids seem to be learning from their peers in school these days, and the seemingly lack of control and discipline that teachers have (or don't have) in the classroom, I now must admit, that the home-schoolers are probably on the right track. Not only that, but you're probably building a better relationship and closer bond with your kids than what most parents have with their children.

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