Ben is starting the 10th grade. I cannot believe it! Although we are still finishing up some of his 9th grade material, we have tentatively finalized his 10th grade plans.
Goal for the Year
This summer Ben, his dad and I finally agreed on a customized high school plan. Ben has decided that he will not be attending college. Instead he plans to attend a vocational school or apprenticeship program. Which means spending four years of preparation for college does not make sense. We would like to prepare our son for his adult life, why frustrate him with four years of intellectual pursuits? So, we will be slightly unschooling for high school.
Learn more about what “unschooling” means.
He is still required to meet (at minimum) the state academic standards in math and English. The rest of his learning time (science, history, fine arts) will be more about learning for his own curiosity and less about getting a “credit”. Once formal learning is done, his days will be spent pursuing his interest in aviation, welding, medieval weaponry, karate and driving. He wants to learn Japanese. He’d like to build his own gas forge. He wants to obtain his pilot’s license and driver’s license. He’d like to learn archery, hunting and basic handy skills. He wants to spend 6 weeks in Japan. (But not until he’s at least 17!) We feel that God has provided the opportunity for our son to pursue his dreams. It may not be the “American” dream, but honestly, is that REALLY what’s important?
Our son won’t start his adult life with student loans. He will have a marketable job skill. He will have a pilot’s license. He will have actual working experience. (He’s working on starting a small business right now). He will have a wealth of cultural experience.
He will have the opportunity a majority of us dream about: to pursue what he wants.
That’s the best any parent can wish for!
Chosen Learning Resources
After hours of research, we have settled with completing Algebra 2 before Geometry. Ben chose Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2. He will use Khan Academy as an additional resource. Since Ben is a hands-on learner, he will complete a few activities of his choice from the Algebra Lab.
This is the year of writing. Ben detests writing. We are starting with a review of Write Shop I and hopefully reaching into Write Shop II. Our goal is to have him writing an essay weekly. If we accomplish this then next year we can tackle the formal research paper. Writing is an essential skill for any adult, I want my son to master the skill. Even if he doesn’t go to college, being able to write and read well are skills that will only make his life better.
Public speaking I believe is another essential skill that every person should at least be acquainted with. We are using Art of Eloquence Say What You Mean: A Creative Speech Course. This will be a weekly lesson. Speeches will be in front of our family (at first), with the final speech being in front of a small group made up of family and friends. I would also like him to be acquainted with important speeches throughout history. These will be taken from I Have a Dream: Inspiring Words and Thoughts from History’s Greatest Leaders by Terry Breverton and Speeches That Changed the World from Quercus History.
Vocational school will require study skills. This year all three kids will be completing Honing Your Study Skills by In the Hands of a Child. Cost: $15.00
All three kids will be learning how to take notes using Note Taking Made Easy!: Strategies & Scaffolded Lessons for Helping All Students Take Effective Notes, Summarize & Learn the Content They Need to Know by Scholastic.
Ben will continue an in-depth look of history using Beautiful Feet Books Medieval History Through Literature for Senior High. We used a textbook curriculum last year and his request was that he be allowed to use living books for history. This will be tweaked a little so as to not overload him with writing.
We will be doing a combination of science for this year. We are going to finish up Biology. We started with Apologia, but it was too much for all of us. Since my son responds best to “real books” (Charlotte Mason refers to them as living books), I wanted to find a way for this subject to be more palatable. I found this awesome site by Jamie McMillin. YAY! Combined reading with nature studies and his own explorations using the microscope, I think we will have sufficient credit to finish up Biology by the end of 2013. Then we will begin a study of integrated Physics and Chemistry. I am also hoping to introduce him to some engineering. I will share more as we go through the year.
Do you know about this amazing resource for high school learning? Schoolhouse Teachers.com offers many courses that are on our list of ideas.
- Career Exploration: Course taught by Carol Topp, this is an eight-week lesson on career exploration! The goal of career exploration is to learn a process of discovery and research to make a decision on a career path or a college major to pursue.
- Hands-On Hebrew: This is something that our family has decided to pursue. I’m not sure how much we will cover, but we are hoping to learn some Hebrew giving us a greater insight into the world that Jesus lived in.
- Media Socialization: This course looks interesting. A 17-week course on current culture and the use of Social Media. Ben and I will probably take this course together.
There are many more of course. Writing, Science, Literature. For grades K-12. Sign up for a year ($139) or monthly ($3 first month, $12.95 after).
Of course, the focus for my son is to learn how to make this out of metal: In particular he wants to forge Damascus Steel Knives. Using the instructions in Forging Damascus Steel Knives for Beginners’ target=_blank>this book he will be building his own gas forge. Pretty exciting stuff!
Ben will continue learning Japanese using Rosetta Stone. We hope to find him a tutor this year so that he can begin to gain fluency. When he is 16 he will take 2 years of Japanese from the local community college.
That’s it for now. You know how it goes…
This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.com, Currclick and Schoolhouse Teachers.com.