Lions, tigers, and bears… oh my!

27 Apr

This week, my lions, tigers, and bears have been in the form of high school curriculums, course credits, and transcripts.   Three days ago, I thought they were going to drive me insane before we even get to the bulk of the learning/teaching later this summer.  I’m still not entirely convinced that my first thought was correct, and I’m only 2 worksheets closer to figuring out what I want to do than I was at the beginning of the week.

For many home school parents – myself included, Texas is a great state to home school in. There is no governmental oversight or restrictions put up on us.  We don’t track attendance hours, we don’t have to deal with standardized testing, and we are only accountable to ourselves and our children for the most part.  The only thing we have to do is be able to show, if asked, that our schooling is “conducted in a bona fide manner, using a written curriculum consisting of reading, spelling, grammar, math and a course in good citizenship.”  No other requirements apply.

However, when you factor in the need for an ADD parent to teach an ADD child, the lack of requirements only bring potential dilemmas.

In my case, that would be those pesky things like the must-have-for-graduation required classes (that we don’t have), the credits that go along with those required classes, and the means of logically reporting them to any prospective colleges 3-4 years down the road.

Because there are no formal/legal courses that must be taught for graduation purposes, there are no formal recommendations on what we should teach.  While my public school senior will graduate with the recommended 26 courses, my homeschooled son may graduate with 18 or 30; we don’t know now.

So we start with what we know.   We plan to teach a well-rounded curriculum, delving deeply into subjects he enjoys and not so deep in ones he doesn’t care for.  We plan to teach so he does well on his SAT/ACT test, so he’ll be completely in the game when it comes time to prepare for college admissions.  We plan to teach what the colleges that he would like to go to will look for.

Ooops, found another potential problem with our plan.

None of the potential colleges need the same high school courses.  None of the potential colleges need the same documentation on the transcriptions, beyond a need for course name, date taken, and credit given.  None of the potential colleges even use the same transcript template to document on, not even for home school.  I am thankful though that many colleges do include areas for home school students on their admissions pages, because this helped me to confirm that none of the not-even-a-consideration colleges still don’t have any consistency whatsoever.

Thank you, whomever you are, that decided transcripts and Carnegie credits were the best way to document college readiness in a fair and logical fashion.  I can’t speak to how logical transcripts are, but I’m convinced they are the stuff of a Texas homeschooling parent’s nightmares.

Yesterday, I pleaded with my best friend of 24 years for her help.  She is a home school expert IMO, since she’s done this for 10+ years and has 2 high schoolers and I KNOW she tracks credits b/c we’ve discussed course names in the past.  I’m so blessed to have her knowledge to lean on because she said she’d gather her thoughts and get back to me on it.  YAY!

I still haven’t decided on any particular high school curriculum other than math (Life of Fred series) and science (Paradigm). I thought I had my world history picked out, only to look for US history and stumble across something else that I had never seen before that might be the best way to go.  I still need to check scopes and book lists though to see how much of the recommended literature is available from the library.  Or cheap on e-bay; that would work too.

But I have figured out that switching to a quarterly planner w/ a daily checklist will be better use of my planning purposes and less hassle to add new curriculum to as time goes on, and won’t need constant updating if we fall behind.

It’s a small win for the week, but it’s better than no win at all.

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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Homeschooling


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