Homeschool Highschool Carnival

This month’s Homeschool Highschool Carnival is the inaugural month for the carnival. The topic?

The big picture .ImageHomeschool Highschool Carnival

How does my family’s “big picture” affect what our highschool homeschooler does, on a daily or weekly basis?

It occurred to me that the best way to show this big picture was to show a week in brief. This week, in fact.

Monday, I arrive home after morning work  to a pot of freshly made tea, and after picking up the extra boy, a friend, who homeschools with us. Tea made by my last homeschooler/unschooler, Anthony, newly seventeen. I know that he will have tidied the kitchen, begun laundry, practiced piano and done some reading and Facebooking by now. How do I know? Past experience. And how does this fit our big picture? We value self direction and self regulation. We value independence. And I don’t believe in micro managing the life of a teen. Here is where our years of doing chores together and learning together and spending time blossoms into a teen who can be trusted to make wise decisions on his own.

And the even bigger picture is that it is fine to try new things, make mistakes, fall, pick yourself up, especially now in the teen unschooling years , in the safety and support of family.

Anthony and his friend are joined by another homeschooling friend and they spend the day playing role playing games, reflecting our philosophy of everything counts as learning and learning happens all the time. And the day closes with mass together after my evening work and Anthony choosing to review some work for his New Testament Greek class, which he attends through the Catholic Adult Education Centre. Faith as a priority and interest lead learning.

Tuesday we met at the local library after my morning work. Living books have been our core unschooling curriculum and libraries are hang out places for us. An older university aged son and I tutor young twins at the library and Anthony and friends read and research and borrow books. That vision of self motivated learners again. We have morning tea with a friar. We look up recipes for the feast day. I drop off Anthony to his part time job as a Kumon Education Assistant on my way to work… we value earning your own money and working as a team and experiences in the community. We attend mass in the evening again, Anthony as altar server. Living books and living faith.

Wednesday we discuss Anthony’s course through Open University. He has just completed first year Spanish and is now studying The Archaeology of Ancient Israel. History and languages are big interests for Anthony. Our goal has been to expose and strew and to allow children to pick and choose and try many activities and areas and experiences. That’s the generalisation part. The specialisation then seems to arise naturally over time, in the teen years. In between my work, I teach Catechism at the state school, Anthony and his friends and I talk about many things, we do housework, they play games and listen to music and read, I do my university assignment. Having passions and interests as a mother, being a learning role model, has also been part of the vision and has helped me practice what Charlotte Mason calls masterly inactivity, simply because I have been busy with my own passions, too busy to be a “hover” parent.

Drama class and baking a cake for the feast day and watching and discussing science fiction rounds the day and the learning…yes, that interest lead, social life is important, faith is a priority and everything counts philosophy again.

Thursday brings friend and Anthony planning their day – games in the morning and more formal work after lunch they decide. Anthony’s formal work? Study for his NT Greek class and reading for his uni and reading more of Jane Austen, his current reading craze. NT Greek class is skipped, however, for a Beach Boys concert with his university student older three brothers still living at home. Family time and building strong sibling ties was one of the reasons we chose to homeschool, its part of the vision of strong family and childhood memories that I have held dear, since  my childhood reading of books such as Little House on the Prairies and Vanload to Venice and Ballet Shoes and I Capture the Castle.

Friday? Pride and Prejudice on DVD with our extra homeschooler  friend ( those living books again). Food technology – cooking Spaghetti Bolognese for lunch. Games. Piano lessons and taking public transport there and back while mum and brothers at work. Attend a Holy Hour (okay, with work and picking up brothers, its more of a Holy Half Hour!). Youth group at our parish. Dinner and talking and then gaming with brothers and their friend. Family and faith  and independence yet again.

The big picture in the teen years? Building on the memories and experience and strewing of the earlier years. Experimenting with more and more self regulation in the warmth of home. Branching out with work and interests in the community and with following interests, in preparation for future study and work and for joy right now. Emphasising family and faith and friends.


11 thoughts on “Homeschool Highschool Carnival”

  1. hmmm. Vanload to Venice. Of ALL the interesting and thought-provoking things you wrote, the ONE thing I notice more than anything else, is the title of a book I’ve never heard of before. I like the variety of your days, and that you can see self-regulation happening. I’m afraid it’s not happening much here…the self-regulation part, due to the intense draw of FB and skype , with my one at home.

    1. It’s o of those family books of madcap fun families that inspire…like Meet the Bells by Noel Streatfield and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It’s by Verily Anderson. And self regulation? One of mine had to go through overload first before he came to self regulation. The son I am thinking about spent a year or so doing a lot of computer and video games and a little bit of rewarding, volunteer work, chores, altar serving. One day, after about 18 months of this, he asked me if I thought he was wasting his time by mostly speaking his life gaming. I said yes because it was honestly what I felt. He looked shocked, went away, thought about and within a week was enrolling in an Open Univerisity course . He now is studying full time at uni, has a part time job and tutors students, runs clubs at uni and self regulates. I’ve always felt he needed that year and a half of gaming overload to come to self regulation. Fwiw!

      1. Do you know, is Open University like our Community Colleges?

        Vanload is pretty hard to find, I’m finding.
        Now to look for Meet the Bells.
        I read I Capture the Castle some years ago.
        Another road trip book which I liked is by Leonard Wibberley, Voyage By Bus: Seeing America by Land Yacht. He wrote a lot of historic fiction (USA), and The Mouse That Roared series. Two of his kids became screen writers – they wrote the story for the very popular National Treasure movies

      2. Es – I’ve read Wibberley’s Flint’s Island and we all liked that. I am not sure if there is an equivalent to Open University in the US, here is a link. http://www.open.edu.au/

        Jackie, I think your daughter is already getting to the place that son number six came to…feeling the need for more structure and adding in structure. They all seem to come to this place in different times and if we give them space, and example, at least in my experience with my seven sons! lol!

  2. Love hearing about Anthony’s days Leonie. It’s so great to see how your children have grown and developed with your special unschooly style, it’s so right for your family and such a joy to see it all unfold, so glad you joined the carnival 🙂 Many blessings, Meredith

  3. Wow! I thought your post was good, but your response to Es, in particular the part about your son asking if you thought he was wasting his time, gave me such a good feeling!

    My daughter spends huge amounts of time on her “hobby”, anime. It isn’t all for naught, she does get lots of educational moments out of it. Just to name a few are history, writing, and technology skills, but I worry about whether or not I should clamp down more and do a little less unschooling???

    All the posts I’ve read today, yours included, really speak about giving the highschooler more freedom. I think I am afraid of what it might be doing, but then I read your post comment and a peaceful feeling came over me. God must have wanted me to stop by here today! 🙂 Maybe freedom is just the ticket. She has dreams and wants to go to college, and she is more motivated this year than ever before. As I type this, I think I am just a homeschool mom who worries too much.

    I am glad I found your blog because it can be tough to find kindred high school homeschoolers. That is one reason I love the LetsHomeschoolHighschool.com community…they offer forums, articles, and encouragement in an area that is so foreign to me.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom.


  4. Jackie, I think your daughter is already getting to the place that son number six came to…feeling the need for more structure and adding in structure. They all seem to come to this place in different times and if we give them space, and example, at least in my experience with my seven sons! lol!

  5. leonieaw, I think you hit the nail on the head. I am seeing this transformation in other areas of her life as well, I just needed to read a post like yours in order to grasp it all. Sometimes seeing something in print makes all the difference for me.

    Thanks again!

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