I’m just coming off a week-long conference and excited to try new things! I love learning new ways to approach problems, tackle subjects and keep home education meaningful for my family.
These events always inspire me to be a better parent, a better teacher and a better guardian of the infinite possibilities of a home education. If you’ve never attended a homeschool conference or event before, I’d love you to consider one this year.
One of the things I shared with my audience was new to many people. I’ve heard quite a bit of feedback about it since my workshop, so I thought I’d share the concept with you, too.
It’s a new way of viewing the high school years.
I call it a new perspective.
Permission to look outside the 4-year model
When planning for high school, most of us look at high school as being 4 years. I know I did.
The 4-year model comes from the traditional model of American high school education (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior) and assumes students must move through 4 different grade levels (9th-12th) before receiving a diploma.
Which is fine, really, if you like the traditional model. Authors write books for it. Curriculum developers use it, too.
The 4-year model is neat and convenient, which I find very appealing about that framework. I was raised with it, and I grew up thinking that way, too. It certainly makes planning easy. Which, as a planner, gives me so much peace.
But this is home education, not school
Remember, home education isn’t school though. So, what if we saw homeschooling the high school years just a little bit differently?
I’m asking you to look at high school as ONE giant block of time in which to accomplish many things.
I’m wondering if you think there’s merit to raising your kids with the idea of high school being 48 MONTHS in which to be and do great things?
Follow me now.
Breaking free of the 1-year class
What I find, and try to instill in the families I speak to, is that high school can be anything we want it to be. By locking ourselves into a 4-year box, we limit ourselves to classes that last a year, curriculum that lasts a year, and experiences that begin and end in a year.
Is that really what home education is about?
If it is to you, then read no further. But no matter what you’ve been doing to this point, whether you’ve been following a yearly model or not, is that only what you want for your teen in high school?
In my mind, high school doesn’t have to be only that way. High school is an opportunity to craft an entirely unique experience for your student. They’re older, more capable, more independent. They’re ready to act, do, and go. Teens have ideas and plans of their own.
Why restrain teens who are ready to break free?
Why restrict teens to doing things that fit neatly only into a year-by-year framework?
What’s your child like?
What if your teen is doing something all the time? And that something takes, 2 years, or 2.5 years, or 4 years to complete? Or what if it’s never complete?
What if your teen does something every year, but it’s only during the summers or over winter break?
How about students with a hobby, a passion, or even just some habit that takes a little time, yet spans longer (or not as long) than a traditional school year?
See, thinking of high school as one enormous block of time lets us to see courses and credits differently. It opens the possibility for students to learn and do what may not fit into a typical 4-year plan. And, as parents, it gives us permission to seek out ways they can learn, without boxing them in to the same old grade-level routine.
Does it work?
I realize this may seem nutty to those planning year by year. Believe me, I didn’t come to this realization easy myself. I fully support and use a yearly plan, and I highly recommend using it as a framework for homeschooling the high school years.
But the perspective I bring to planning is a little different than what you’ve been told all these years. While planning is needed, and I recommend it, you can still view high school as one giant block of time. You don’t have to see high school as 4 separate grades, each with a definite beginning and end.
See if this perspective makes a difference when planning the high school years.
See if I’ve just given you permission to incorporate non-traditional and creatively scheduled experiences into your student’s high school plan.
And let me know if viewing high school as one huge block of time helps you and your student break free from the traditional mold of year-by-year high schooling, and inspires you to try a couple of new things.
To your success,
Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau is a college professor who traded in her tenure to become a homeschool mom 20+ years ago. A homeschooling pioneer and the founder of many groups and organizations, she works to advance home education, and is an outspoken supporter of education reform coast to coast. Her book, Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in Two Weeks, is industry-acclaimed as it illustrates how homeschooling can rescue children and families from the public school system, and how anyone can begin homeschooling within a limited time-frame, with no teaching background whatsoever. A writer, a homeschool leader, and a women’s life coach, Marie-Claire mentors in a variety of areas that impact health, education and lifestyle. A conference speaker, she has appeared at FPEA, H.E.R.I., HECOA, Start Homeschooling Summit, The Luminous Mind, Vintage Homeschool Moms, iHomeschool Network, and many other events. Her articles have appeared in and on Holistic Parenting, CONNECT,Homefires, Homemaking Cottage, Kiwi, Circle of Moms, and hundreds of sites and blogs nationwide. Marie-Claire can be reached at email@example.com.
Check out Marie-Claire’s new book for Florida home educators…you can find it HERE.