Monday, March 22, 2010

You're sending them to school for high school, right?

If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that...

I think one thing that has changed since we first decided to homeschool (a decision that was made the first time fifteen years ago) is that most people no longer question a parent's ability to teach elementary subject matter.  They may question socialization, they may question areas like PE or music, but there are far fewer questions about whether "just" a mom can possibly teach first grade math.

But change that to middle and high school, and all those questions resurface.  How are you going to teach chemistry?  How are you going to teach trigonometry?  How are you going to teach British Lit?  How are you going to teach French?  (Never mind that most of the kids I graduated with never took any of those classes.  And I only had two of them.)

Of course, I have a snippy answer.  If my chemistry instruction in high school was so poor that I can't work through a high school textbook with my children, then obviously I can't do any worse than my school did.

But I do have a serious answer too.  And that answer is:  Yes.  This concerns me.  I'm not sure that I do have what it takes to teach high school (I feel pretty okay about middle school though).

But the thing is, I have a student taking high school courses right now. And so far, we are doing okay.  Let's talk about those a bit, and maybe some of you will feel better about your abilities, or about mine.

Algebra I:  Connor used VideoText Algebra (among other things) and clearly mastered the material.  So sometimes the answer might be to purchase a program that makes it really easy for the student and the teacher.

Geometry:  Connor is using Math U See, and doing fantastic.  Again, this is a video-based learning program that pretty much does the teaching for me.  In both cases, however, we're talking about material I know reasonably well and feel confident about.  

Financial Accounting:  Connor started taking a course from Professor in a Box.  We put it on hold, and he will return to it later.  Again, I'm purchasing expertise in an area I know fairly well, and it just makes my life easier.

Biology:  Connor is in an online co-op for this.  He's pulling about a 98% average so far, so clearly he is understanding the material.   Online coursework makes so many things possible.

Like Latin.  He's taking high school Latin (and struggling a bit) online as well.  Someone else does the lesson planning and the grading.  I don't have to know the difference between a declension and a derivative.

History.  We're studying Ancient History this year, and Connor is using a variety of resources.  This includes college level lectures on CD from the library.  That includes college level lectures on DVD from the library.  That includes high school and college level podcasts.  That includes jr. high and high school level books that we own.  

So how am I getting through high school?  I'm looking for resources that provide more of the teaching directly, leaving me to correct papers or discuss concepts.  I'm choosing some online classes.  I'm choosing some web-based courses (that's part of my other resources for math mostly).  I'm finding lectures from the library.  And in some cases, I'm actually learning alongside my kid.

Will this work all the way through high school?  I don't know.  It works now.  And I've already investigated taking online courses at the community college so that I don't have to relearn calculus.  But if push comes to shove, I'm positive that with a decent textbook I could learn it again, and teach it.  I just hope to not have to.

The TOS Crew Blog is sponsoring a question of the week every Tuesday. How Do You teach advanced subjects? is planned for 3/23. I plan to participate as often as possible.
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Heidi said...

I keep getting asked that question now that my oldest is nearing high school. It is starting to drive me batty!

We are using a lot of the same resources. There is so much available out there for homeschooling high schoolers.

Jodi said...

I like your ideas! And, I think the "thought" of homeschooling through these years might actually be scarier than what it will actually be like. Like you said, you're already teaching high school level courses now. I think you answered this question well, I liked both the snippy and the serious answer!

Annie Kate said...

It sounds as though you're well on your way to doing a great job of high school!

Go for it! You're proving that you can do it. :)


Annie Kate

Bibi @ Bibi's Culinary Journey said...

I never home schooled, but I am considering the idea to home school through high school out of necessity.

Your post gives me hope that it is in fact doable.

Debra said...

Ms. Bibi -- oh, your comment makes me happy! :) I don't believe that homeschooling is the only way to go, but I sure hate for people who do think it is the right thing for them to be without hope. It is doable. There is so much great stuff out there, and just so many ways to make it work. And I am learning so very much... :) (So are the kids!)