Welcome to Day One of the 5 Days of Back to (Home)School Encouragement! Blog Hop! I'm getting a late start, as I had a long weekend. I plan to post a bit about THAT on Thursday.
Today, though, the topic is motivation, and sometimes it really is hard to find any of that, especially for high school. This seemed like a perfect time to share about something that really did change our schooling.
The history:A few years back, probably eight years, this household was gearing up to be starting high school. That was a scary time, as somehow it all seemed so much more real and important than everything we had done before. It is and it isn't. But that isn't the point of this post.
|A comment by William about learning modern history led to a return to Sonlight!
One thing I really felt I needed to do was to get some sort of high school plan into place. Connor's input was important to me, but every time I tried to have a conversation with him about high school, I'd have a younger sibling interrupting. Out of total frustration, and a quick, "God, help me make this conversation happen!" I announced that the following weekend, Connor & I were going grocery shopping ALONE and that we'd be going to Starbucks as well, to sit and have a discussion about high school. Dale could hold down the fort without us.
That was the most brilliant high school homeschool decision I ever made.
|Richard really wanted this.. and we'll be joining CAP as a result
I thought I was just doing a one-time thing, having a conversation with my teen away from everyone.
Instead, I was beginning a tradition.
Since then, generally twice a year (January and sometime over the summer), it is Student-Teacher Conference time. We pick somewhere to go and get some food or a drink, and I typically go from oldest to youngest, doing one-on-one time with each high school student, or soon-to-be high school student (mid-8th grade is really the "official" start). We've been to Starbucks, Subway, the Rush Cafe, Cold Stone Creamery, Village Inn, Dickie's Barbecue... and I'm sure I've forgotten some.
|"Architecture would be interesting." SchoolhouseTeachers to the rescue!
The biggest thing is we talk electives. And I hear things like, "I'd love an apologetics class." Or, "Could I get some serious audiobooks?" Or "I really would love some animation and film courses." Or, "I want to study aviation."
What do my kids think?
|Thomas wants to go into film. That meant I jumped at this course!
When I asked them about Student-Teacher Conferences and their thoughts, every single one of them (both graduates, both high school students, and the 7th grader) was enthusiastic. I heard words like productive and beneficial. I heard helpful from almost everyone. They all said it is something we have to continue to do.
I start with my junior or senior so that we can hammer out a schedule for him. What does he need in the next one or two years? Then I do this with my sophomore or freshman. What courses is he taking with his big brother? What else do we need to figure out? On the years I have an eighth grader, I start doing this with him (next year, it will be with HER). That one tends to be a lot more big picture, plus a lot of ideas for electives.
Why did I choose this as a post for Motivation Monday? Three things, I think:
- These Student-Teacher Conferences inspire me tremendously.
- My kids getting serious input into school motivates them a lot too.
- Maybe this isn't what your homeschool needs, but you can stumble into something that is a game-changer for you.
Go check out some of the other posts in this hop! There is a linky at the bottom, and here are a few of the folks who planned to be posting:
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama
Marla @ Jump Into Genius
Meredith @ Powerline Productions: Being World Changers/Raising World Changers
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Missica @ Through The Open Window
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling