Friends, I have had my head completely stuck in my computer for a few weeks, but my computer interaction hasn’t included even a single cat video. No memes either for the most part.
Nope, I’ve been working through a scope and sequence for junior high and high school home educators who are meeting in an in-person community every week with a focus on dialectic discussions.
There’s a void in the home education world for something like this. I’m completely terrified that what I am creating is subpar… but I also can’t find anything else for comparison! There are some amazing online options like True North Homeschool Academy that I would readily recommend for an online experience, but when it comes to a classroom setting on a weekly basis… there’s only one strong option and it requires that the curriculum be used in a licensed community and costs a whole lot more than I prefer to spend.
What I’ve discovered in my research is that there are many curriculums that are excellent in existence, but there is a missing link in the “guide” to pull it all together, to guide a student through the week. I think a part of this is that traditionally many home educating families send their children to a traditional school setting when they reach the older years.
Well, let me tell you something. My dear husband is a coach at our local high school and my kids play competitive sports for our community club team. I’ve seen the village. I don’t want it raising my children.
So many of the reasons we initially began to home educate are even more powerful motivators right now:
We wanted our children to have a robust education that allowed us to search out God in everything we do.
We wanted our children to be able to think critically and have conversations that put them in the stream of the significant thinkers of all time.
We also decided to homeschool based on a few things we didn’t want:
We didn’t want our children to be bullied, or fear for their lives due to school violence.
We didn’t want them to be overtly sexualized or consumed by a fake social media lifestyle.
I wanted to like the kids.
Yes, accept that they are little punks, especially when the hormones are rearing their ugly heads, but also just genuinely decent humans who are able to have rich conversations that expose new perspectives.
With that in mind, junior high and high school are not the time to abandon ship!
They are the time to stock up on chocolate and coffee. And blood pressure medication.
But not to abandon ship.
Statistics are sobering for our teens. Depression, self-harm, destructive relationships, drug use, the impact of social media… all of these are things that either didn’t exist when I was in school or that I never saw as a student myself. However, my personal experience through observation of the teens in our child’s circles tells me these aren’t just occasional experiences for them… it’s a daily onslaught that is never escaped because of those little pieces of technology we carry in our hands and sneak under the covers at night.
OK, enough of the negativity.
The reality is that I want a better option. We have a fantastic community that has been educating together since before our kids had molar teeth, and I don’t want to give them up. Last summer we reorganized ourselves into a locally operated 501c3 and now we just need to stay the course.
But we’re having a hard time finding things that will allow us to do this!
Never one to be daunted by big ideas, I started researching. I pulled together curriculum paths from several organizations I respect. Researched the comment threads of a mind-numbing number of Facebook posts about curriculum (did you know that homeschoolers have strong opinions?! I now have nooooo doubt!!!).
And then I started compiling.
This past year we offered three levels of guidance, 7th, 8th, and 10th.
And it worked!
It wasn’t perfect, there were typos and some things we would change about the sequencing, but I’m super excited that the things that needed tweaking can be tweaked and the kids have had a great experience! They meet weekly to discuss the work they’ve done in the traditional classical subjects of Mathematics, Language, Science, Philosophy, Literature, and History. The students have an adult parent in the classroom with them to pose questions and guide the discussion through learning, and they haven’t lost their ability to have a scholarly community!
The goal I’ve been working on these past weeks is to add the additional three levels to the curricula path… and I think I’m pretty close to done!
So, that’s all. I haven’t been very vocal on this blog and now you know why! I’m looking forward to sharing this plan with you in the future!