Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Planning for the first year of high school

Where have the years gone?
I already regret the amount of time I spent second guessing decisions, worrying if homeschool was going to work for my son, or if I was really capable.
We started this journey nearly 5 years ago, and I've used Montessori materials and philosophy for a lot of it.
Now that we are embarking on the high school years, our homeschool will look different. Not so many materials.
Mostly, I plan to unschool. It's something we've been doing more of each year, it seems. Fifth and sixth grade were almost entirely Montessori, but seventh and eighth were much more relaxed.
We will formally "begin" school on Sept. 11, though he and I are fully aware that we all learn every day, and that doing school just means doing it with a bit more intention.
This year, Sean will take the reigns completely for his education. I plan to only be there to guide. He said he wants to learn languages, so we've already signed up for a Russian online program that is self-paced. It's through Rocket Languages, and I don't have an opinion yet, because he hasn't started yet.
I'm also looking at Homeschool Spanish Academy. Again, I have no opinion, except to say I'm seriously looking at it because it provides a high school credit. That's appealing to me, because I do want him to have something to show for his work.
As we've begun to talk about the coming school year, Sean has given his insight and opinion on school, spending time in traditional school classrooms, and learning.
He said he believes that school should involve travel, even if it's just in your community. You should get to know people, learn what they do, and learn about life in that way. He believes that basic math and algebra are essential. But he believes the rest of what you learn should be what interests you. For him, spending hours in a chair in a classroom is torture.
He just spent two days at a day camp, and compared it to his time in a Montessori school. He said the time in the camp was difficult because he had to focus on the teacher for so long, whereas in a Montessori classroom there is so much freedom to move around, talk to others, do work, and collaborate. He has never spent time in a traditional classroom, so this experience has been enlightening for him.
To practice his Spanish, he will volunteer one day a week at an outdoor, Spanish immersion school as an assistant.
For his interest in science and medicine, we are scheduling at least one day for him to shadow a veterinarian. I'm going to do some more leg work to find other opportunities in medicine. If anyone reading this has any ideas, please leave a comment.
This year he wants to focus on skills for retaining large amounts of information, something he knows he will need if  he continues his education past high school, specifically if he goes to medical school.
As we move through this freshman (EEK!) year, I'm sure he will come up with other interests and plans.
I'm excited to partner with him this year to help him find ways to engage with his learning, and to feel successful.