Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Challenge A: Homeschooling through Middle School & Beyond

One of the questions we often get asked when folks find out we homeschool is, "Will you homeschool through high school?"  For many years, our answer was that we didn't know.  We planned on doing school at home through middle school but beyond that, we weren't sure.  It seemed like SO far away. And, as the main homeschooling parent, a bit daunting even though I knew my husband could help with the higher maths and sciences if needed.

Our plan for a long time was to just see how it went.  We are blessed to have a good, Christian private school nearby and figured that if our kids really expressed interest and could make a very good case for going AND if we felt peace about the idea, it was something we might pursue for high school.

Fast forward a number of years and we found ourselves in a different place.  Homeschooling into middle school and beyond didn't seem so intimidating because each year, we were doing it- taking on the higher subjects and enjoying them.  While it is still nice to know there is a private school option available, their tuition is impressive and we didn't want to be that financially stretched.  Also, our oldest was not asking (ever) to go to "big" school.

There is a thriving homeschool community in our area with many options for co-ops and activities.  We participate in some but mostly center our days around life at home.  I knew that as our kids got older, there were different resources out there for them but time snuck up on me and I kept thinking I had time to look into them.  Enter in the providence of God.  At a birthday party, I enjoyed catching up with a friend whose older children participated in the Classical Conversations Challenge Program- a supplement to homeschooling middle and high schoolers.  If Sam was going to join the program, he should start the very next fall- talk about timing!

Excited about the possibility, I went home, scoured the website, discussed it with Sam and my husband, visited a community day (with Sam) and filled out the application.  Sam was excited.  I was excited.  It seemed like the perfect fit/transition/supplement to our middle school homeschool experience.  Knowing it carries a child through high school was an added bonus.

In a nutshell, the program goes like this:  

~ The parent is still the teacher- the one responsible for the child's education, for grading and setting assignment expectations.
~ One day a week, the student attends community day in which they are taught six subjects by a trained tutor in a class of up to 12 students at a similar grade/age level.
~ At community day, they receive their assignments for the week to complete at home.
~ The cost was slightly higher than what we were already spending on curriculum through Sonlight.

We were all a little nervous about starting even though we felt good about the decision.  For those of you who are interested, I'll share more on this and how it's going so far in my next post on the topic.
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  1. It's funny, I just pulled out of CC this year because I am not planning on doing the higher grades with my daughter! The program seems to be a fantastic program though! I hope it goes well for you and that you enjoy it. Something that I've heard everyone say that has started their kids in the higher level first, is that their kids wish they had the foundation that the younger program provides. So that's something to consider for your younger kids!

    1. Hi, Tammy! We enjoy Sonlight so much that I want my younger kids to go through the same Cores that Sam did. The friend I was talking to at the party had her kids start CC at the challenge level, too (they also used Sonlight prior). It's such a privilege to have so many good options for our kids!

  2. Yes, you're fortunate to have so many good options for your kids, but it's evident that because of your and your husband's conscientious involvement in your kids' education (and lives), the best choices are being made for all concerned! I think it's so important to remain "open" to all options while maintaining your own family beliefs and values. (Guess that applies to everything in life, doesn't it?) :o]

  3. I homeschooled both of my daughters through high school. We allowed them to enroll part time in our local public school in classes like choir, debate, etc. As I look back I realize I have no regrets. As I watch my now grown daughters make decisions and interact with other people I am sure we did the right thing. I also used a classical model, Latin, real books etc.CC was not available to us in our area or I would have seriously considered using that program.


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