Monday, October 23, 2006

Maryland Homeschool High School Story

I ran into an old friend today who homeschooled his second child during high school. Here's the story.

R (son) went to a public high school in Maryland. He had asked his parents a few times about private school and was clearly not doing well at the start of 10th. Near the end of the first semester, on a Friday, there was some incidents which confirmed the parents' suspicions that he was involved with drugs, perhaps dealing.

By Sunday night, the parents had made a decision to not send him back to school. They decided to start homeschooling him on Monday and would try to find a decent alternative school. They told M on Sunday night and he did not complain.

Monday morning, they took him to the office (he is an optician, she is the office manager) and father started to establish a program. They took him to the office daily and his father put together his educational program.

For math, he basically got the school text book and teacher guide (getting the teacher guide was a major pain) and starting work R through it.

In language arts, after having some discussions with R, his Dad decided that the major goal was to get his son to read. It seemed that he had never really read a book. He picked King Rat by James Clavell because it was the type of book that would appeal to his son, was meaty and would provide a sense of accomplishment, and he remembered it as gripping from page one.

The first week did not go well on this score. R was surley and while he spent the requisite one hour a day on it, he seemed to have covered less than half a dozen pages by the end of the week. Week 2, R started reading and over a few weeks, devoured the book. They talked about what to read next and R asked if Clavell had written anything else. This opened the floodgates.

On science and social studies, they discussed what courses to do when and basically followed the public school text books.

There was no socializing or other homeschool activities, there was just a daily focus on academics. In MD, there are meetings with public educators mandated to get reviewed and advised. Some meetings were very helpful, some were a waste of time, in one case, the reviewer was hostile. Overall, they had minimal impact or input.

They did look for schools for a few months but did not really pursue it. Over three years, he covered a good high school curriculum and graduated. He continued his very active athletic career during this period (he was a world class kayaker).

I found this a very interesting story. It shows how parents need to be responsive to their child's needs and to be both sense what problems they are having and help with leading them out of it. In this case, pretty successfully.

This homeschool case story sponsored by Time4Learning - online homeschool curriculum for gifted children, Special Needs Learning , aspergers, etc with math, language art, science and social studies.