How We Highschool

I wanted to piggy back off my post from earlier last week and share a couple more things in regards to not lesson planning. But this time I wanted to spend some time talking about how this works for our high schooler and how we manage to keep enough time in our days for chasing interests or spending more time to fully understand concepts we're covering.

Like most other years when we started back to school we sat down and chatted about goals, things she wanted to learn, and how our days would be structured. We also talked about graduation requirements for our state.

Once we narrowed down the topics she wanted to tackle this year I got to work finding resources that we could use for each of things on her list.

She tends to prefer working independently so I try hard to find resources that she can work her way through on her own and at her own pace. Often I will try to find a few options and then she'll choose which ones she feels are best. From there I'll find a list of additional supplemental resources and hands on activities that she can choose from when she needs or wants to dive a little deeper or spend a little more time working on a certain topic.

She found and uses Notion to keep herself organized. She set it up and customized it all to her liking.

Each morning usually while I'm having my coffee I get on to her notion site and I type up a very basic to do list in her calendar. I reference the resources I have found and have a basic list of each of the subjects she's focusing on to use as my anchors. I'm able to easily link to other pages and resources. For instance if I've found a great article for her to read or game for her to play I can drop the link right in her to do list.

This has been such a great tool for us. Last year I wrote assignments on a dry erase calendar every morning and at the end of the month I would jot down what we'd worked on during that month but this makes it so much easier for me to track what she is up to so that when it comes time to write transcripts I'll have everything I need right there in one spot!

So while I might not sit down and plan our week(s) out in advance I have a broad idea of what her goals are, what we're currently working on, and a bunch of resources at my fingertips.

As I mentioned she's grown into a very independent learner so I try to find as many resources as I can that she can work through without me having to walk her through each and every thing. We still work together on some subjects and projects. But a good amount of her work she is able to tackle on her own.

She prefers having a to do list as a jumping off point. So I strive to keep her lists challenging enough to keep her engaged but light enough to allow space for other interests, passions, and work (more on that later). And if she doesn't get to something on this list because we needed to spend a longer time working through a topic or she's got inspiration she's chasing for a project then that's what we do!

Because we're learning in a one on one environment we have the ability to spend a little longer working on things until the concept is completely grasped. Instead of pushing through just so we can make sure to complete the task so she can move on to the next thing. Sometimes that means vocabulary gets pushed off until tomorrow. And to me fully understanding and grasping a concept is way more important than any grade on any test.

I have found that over the years I personally much prefer this approach. Early on in the beginning of her elementary days I would sit down and carefully plan out the week or the month but because we were starting to chase interests or spend longer trying to work on a certain topic often my pretty lesson plans would go untouched. I also found myself fighting off guilt for not getting to what I had spent so much time planning and would feel behind even though all that we were doing was so full of rich learning experiences. I would sometimes feel the need to keep pushing through just so we could stick to the initial plan. It took me a while to give myself permission to do it differently but once I did it was like a weight was lifted and things really started to flow.

I'm fully aware that this isn't what the standard approach to high school looks like and I'm ok with that. My goal is not to try to replicate freshman year at a traditional high school. I'm here to disrupt the way things have always been done and approach things from a whole different angle with the intent being ample time to explore her interests, find her passions, and learn in a way that is tailored to her learning style.

I can say confidentiality that as parents I believe the majority of us are all doing what we believe is best for our kids and that might mean that what we do and what you do might look different and that's ok! We're not all meant to be the same. This is just a glimpse of how we choose to do it.

While we've made a few adjustments this year it's not been a huge leap from how we approached things last year. So all that worry that I used to have about homeschooling a high schooler has mostly faded away.

Don't get me wrong as a homeschooler I think I'll always have that worry trying to creep up on me and that negative little voice trying to tell me we're not doing enough or that I'm totally screwing our kids up but we've made it this far and I think we're doing alright! :)