Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"She's got to get her priorities straight"

    Read that title in your best Ron Weasley voice. ;) Weighing difficult priorities is easier than trying to teach this to a kid. Dude.

    Our kids get a strong voice when it comes to choosing their subjects and curriculum. Even in high school. We compare colleges incoming freshman requirements, strengths/weaknesses, and their interests. I've built courses from scratch, because curriculum providers don't make Inspiration of Tolkien with a heavy leaning on medieval mythology. (The audacity.)

    The difficulty here is not in finding suitable curriculum. Joy's current wishlist for her 2015-2016 year, tenth grade, has NINE credits. Nine.

  •    English: homegrown British literature, The Elements of Style, They Say I Say (persuasive essays), and she'll use topics she's studying in other subjects for essays
  •    Algebra 2. She's currently trying to decide between the more difficult Art of Problem Solving, or Lial's Intermediate Algebra. She is absolutely a strong enough math student to handle Art of Problem Solving, but I think she's torn between doing math as strongly as she is able, or letting this subject be good enough. 
  •    Science: Spectrum Chemistry (weekly labs)
  •    World Geography from Oak Meadow, not as rigorous as this year's American history, but enjoyable and effective. She likes the more creative projects they use instead of answering a bunch of dull questions.
  •    World history, lecture/book driven
  •     Latin 2 (continue in Latin Alive)
  •     Spanish 1 (Breaking the Spanish Barrier or local public school)
  •     Novel writing with One Year Adventure Novel
  •     Beginner Piano 1 & 2 at local public school
    Those are all solid credits. No lightweights. There's no way she's going to give up her competitive swimming, scouts, and volunteering. Time turners are not available for muggles. Something has to give. 

    My first suggestion was to knock World History down, since not doubling up on social studies doesn't seem like a valid option to her. That history plan would have resembled this year's American history. Oak Meadow has a well-recommended World History that is more than adequate. She likes this idea.

    Then I suggested she think hard about where she's going with Latin. She really does enjoy it, but does she see herself getting far enough to read whole texts? Spanish would be very, very useful in our corner of the world. In pretty much any profession. She knows that first-hand from her volunteering. (MhoncaiDad and I have considered making Spanish a family focus next year, forcing all of us to use it as much as we can.)  She did come around to perhaps Spanish should be her primary language, and Latin can be a back burner language, just getting the credit whenever she finishes the book.

    I think it boils down to deciding which ones she will enjoy pouring larger amounts of time and energy into. Math and novel writing are dear to her. Languages are getting a higher importance. At this point she doesn't have a specific career in mind, so we don't have that target to help her steer. She knows she absolutely wants to be a homeschool mother someday. Maybe a firefighter until then. Perhaps some basic business classes for future use. Since she is obviously going to get all those pesky incoming freshman boxes ticked on her own, that leaves us with, which of these topics are most important to her. She likes them all.

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