The following is a post from contributing writer Roan from Joyful Always.
Recently, I dropped off my oldest child at college (well, I actually did not drop her off; I stayed in the area for two weeks to help her get settled and to make sure she would be able to survive without her mother). While I was there, she attended freshman orientation and began her college classes. After she went to her classes several times and we discussed her syllabi and her professors’ expectations, it became evident to me that I could have done a few things differently to prepare my child for college.
Thankfully, these are not major items, but small things that I never thought about. I am not second guessing the academic content of our homeschool curriculum, rather I am looking for ways to improve our high school experience.
Here are some examples of things I would have done differently:
My children need to read and discuss both state and national current events. My college-aged daughter and her sister skim our daily newspaper, but mostly they read human interest stories only, like “Cook of the Week.” We do not have cable TV, so my children rarely watch television news. I realize that both my children and I need to increase our knowledge of local, state, and national events.
Two curricula that I use, IEW (Institute For Excellence in Writing) and Sonlight, schedule current events writing assignments on a weekly basis. However, in the past I have chosen not to require my children to write them. I do not have a valid reason why I have skipped these current events assignments, I just have. But recently I made a change in our homeschool. I am reading more national and world news articles myself, and I have assigned weekly written summaries of a news article to my 11th grader. I plan to encourage my 9th grader to start reading our daily newspaper, and will be assigning him weekly written summaries beginning next year.
I am guilty of micro-managing my children’s time. I print out detailed daily schedules for us to follow, and I also schedule my children’s daily schoolwork in specific increments. I realize that this is necessary for younger students, but as my children work through high school, I need to give them broader goals and allow them to manage the day-to-day details of meeting that goal.
For example, instead of assigning my child a specific number of pages to read in a particular book each day, I now tell them when the entire chapter should be completed, and allow them to divide up the pages however they like. I am hoping that giving my children more control over the daily workload will prevent them from being so overwhelmed the first time they view a college course syllabus.
Composition and Presentations
I plan to assign and teach more demanding writing assignments. Again, I have the curriculum that provides this instruction, I just need to utilize it and maintain a high expectation level. I also need to grade their writing more critically.
Another area that I need to plan and implement involves presentations. My 9th grader has been assigned the task of creating a power point presentation of my daughter’s college campus. I took numerous pictures while we were there, and he will conduct research to include with the photos. He will present his final product to some of our close friends who homeschool their children. I have yet to assign a presentation type project to my 11th grader, but I am brainstorming for ideas.
As homeschooling parents, we never stop learning. There is always room for improvement, and thankfully our children are resilient.
Roan is the homeschooling mother of five children, one who recently graduated from their homeschool. She is currently homeschooling her remaining children who are 7, 9, 14, and 16 years old. Roan blogs regularly at her personal blog, Joyful Always, about marathon training, homeschooling, homemaking, and missing her daughter who is away at college.
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