Some of you have listened to my musings about homeschooling high school in previous posts. It can be overwhelming to look at high schools, and many mothers I have spoken with, no matter what methodology or pedagogy they use to homeschool, feel overwhelmed.
It is almost like being back as a parent of a preschooler when all the options for schooling and building up family traditions and dealing with childhood behavior seem overwhelming, but back during those early years most people had time to get together for playdates and to support each other. Trying to figure out how to homeschool high school is like this, only there are no supportive play dates. Sometimes not many people are homeschooling high school in a local area, so there is no one around the learn from, and then on top of that, no one has time. There may multiple children involved in multiple things, and no one seems to have time to get together to discuss high school. No more supportive playdates!
I am very lucky because my county has a BIG contingent of people homeschooling high school. The time factor is still very real, but at least I know there are people to reach out to.
Waldorf homeschoolers, have another issue and challenge though, that few traditional homeschoolers understand: there are hardly any resources for homeschooling high school in relation to doing the traditional blocks mentioned on the AWNSA chart or Waldorf high school websites. There may be paragraphs here and there, for example, about ninth grade living chemistry, but just a few. Other blocks have even less then that! There are samples of main lesson book pages for high school, but I find this is mainly for ninth grade and not much for tenth grade and up.
The curriculum can also be more fluid as well and difficult to pin down. as some parts of it are traditional and seen in every grade and other subjects seem to vary by region or school. There are curriculum layouts from most Waldorf high schools on the Internet, and some schools have published more specific things… The Chicago Waldorf School has done a terrific job publicly sharing some of their Main Lesson Block topics and assignments and it offers a tantalizing glimpse into the high school world. One of the Waldorf High Schools in Hawaii has published some great main lesson book pages from tenth grade. However, this takes a lot of time to sift through different websites and articles. (Although I am grateful for anything that is out there!)
Then these is the fact that we are not only sifting through Waldorf resources, but also mainstream resources. If a credit is around 150 – 180 hours and we know how many credits our high schooler needs to graduate, we need to know if our homeschooler is interested in college what those credits need to be in. Some colleges list very specific things such as “3 credits Social Studies – 1 American History, 1 World History, 1 American Government and Civics” for example, – and then YOU as the parent really need to know WHAT these credits entail so you can match what you do in blocks to fulfilling credit hours.
For example, in eighth grade, I realized we had an Asian History block, an Oceanography Block, a Meteorology Block, and a World Geography Review and deepening that I was planning to run all year twice a week as a review from all that geography from fifth grade onward. When I looked at a mainstream geography book and syllabus and realized all of these areas were included in high school Geography, I knew between all of this, our hours doing Main Lesson book work, plus performing music related to time periods, our hands-on projects, use of badges from historical sites from our National Park Services, our reading lists and reading reports, would certainly give us more than 150 hours in this area. So there is a high school credit in eighth grade!
Sometimes what you will be doing will span more than one year due to the block system of Waldorf homeschooling. So you may be doing a lot of American history in eighth grade and that combined with the blocks you are doing in ninth grade, may count for a whole credit of American history completed in ninth grade. Transcripts can be created that say when you “completed” a course, so it could theoretically cover more than a year but end in the year where a traditional American school may place it. Examples of this might especially include the sciences, where transcripts normally place biology, chemistry, physics in separate years in that order but Waldorf puts them together every year.
You may need to run a subject not only as blocks, but as a “track” as well, where you meet several times a week all year on top of one or two blocks. So, the important thing is to look ahead and see how you want to divide things, what you want to run as track classes (like perhaps you run math as a year long course ON TOP OF the math blocks or run biology for a whole year ON TOP OF the blocks you will do that covers life sciences). You can keep careful track of your experiential learning and reading lists as well as part of your homeschooling for high school credit.