big questions

high school


Big changes coming in our homeschooling.  High School.

How?  What? How much? Grading? Credit units?

Big questions swirling around. Turns out I can’t sleep when my brain is popping and fizzing, so I’m not getting as much sleep as I’d like.  Writing down my ideas rather than letting them swirl yesterday did seem to make a difference in how well I slept last night.  That’s a good sign.


In Manitoba, a student needs to have a minimum of 30 credit units to graduate.  There are 17 required credits including math, LA,  and Phys Ed in all 4 grades.  A credit is roughly 110 hours of course work.

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.  A little  like the gentle pace of deep, slow education has got to change.  I don’t want to have a hurried and superficial approach, yet I’m unclear how to make a transcript that includes ‘time for lots of thought and personal space’.


But the things I’ve learned about calculating credits have actually inspired me and given me a feeling of possibilities.  For instance, we can read books like What Color is Your Parachute, College Without High School, and 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens and call it “Career Exploration”.  It’ll be a half-credit.  Work Study credits mean that Sandra could get a part-time job and earn credit.  Independent reading courses mean that reading ecology books and writing about them can be a credit.  Dance can be a fine art course.  Soccer and running can be Phys Ed.  We’ve even found courses that teach literary analysis through Tolkien and through classic films.

It turns out that brainstorming within the paradigm of credits might make us more creative.


Still feel a little flutter of apprehension about all this, though.  We’ve always chosen to do less rather than more and let things sink deeper.  We’ve chosen space for thinking over jumping through workbook facts.

Any thoughts from those of you who are citizens in the Land of High School?


11 thoughts on “big questions

  1. elizabeth says:

    I unfortunately don’t have anything helpful to offer – but I do want to say that I am really interested to hear more about how you explore and approach this challenge, particularly in the Canadian context.

  2. Sue says:

    My oldest son started high school this year. I was just thinking recently that it took us about 6 months to truly get into the swing of it, for exactly the reason you gave: It’s not very relaxed. I had to finally accept that we have to move faster than we prefer through the material. Sometimes it’s a bummer. Maybe you’ll find a better way!

  3. hopewellmomschoolagain says:

    Look at “Harmony Art Mom”s blog–lots of great stuff on high school. Many curriculum [curriculi??] tell you have to figure credits. Tapestry of Grace is a good example. You can also search “Carnegie Credit Units” or similar phrase and find more. It’s overwhelming at first, but there’s lots of help out there. I don’t know how Canada is with dual high school/college credit, but that can be an option too. The other is highschool course + CLEP test for college credit.

    Here are my plans for Grade 10–Geography

    And the rest of Grade 10

    Don’t know if they’re helpful or more overwhelming, but there you go! Another good suggestion is to ask to review your public school’s textbooks, syllabi etc to see what all they do. You don’t have to replicate it–but it can show you that you are already doing just fine! 🙂

  4. Julia says:

    Please post more about high school. My son starts next year and we are very laid back, plus he has some learning disabilities which mean we have to go slower. I’m a little stressed about the transition.

    Is that curriculum that uses movies something you found or just an idea you had?

    Thanks for all your time. I really enjoy your blog.

  5. JoVE says:

    I’m just entering this phase, too. As I understand it, in Ontario only schools approved by the Ministry can give diplomas. The important thing for me/us is demonstrating that our kids have the necessary skills/knowledge to get into post-secondary education of whatever type. This may not involve calculating credits.

    There is a good blog by Sarah Rainsburger with lots of information about this in the Canadian context:

    My own approach is that the reason F isn’t going to school is because the school program doesn’t offer the education she wants. So we’re focused more on what she wants to learn, with an eye to general knowledge I think she should have (breadth is important to me). For some things I’m thinking of using provincial Independent Learning Centre courses (which follow prov curriculum) mostly because I’m too lazy to invent everything from scratch. For other things we’ll use the local university’s Head Start program (which enables kids 16+ to do university courses concurrently with high school). For others we’ll do other online stuff, or home-created stuff or whatever.

    Looking forward to taking this journey with you.

  6. Ginger Leigh says:

    We are in a similar situation. I am leaning towards k12 – they are certified in the state I live in (VA) and still very flexible. I have also debated having my daughter take classes at the local community college and then get her GED.

    I’m still trying to figure it all out though and would love to hear more about this from your point of view. – G.

  7. Diane says:

    We still have two more years before we are in the Land of High School. But it still goes through my mind constantly, what to do. I think for us the most important lessons will be how to keep her world view in the crazy world we live in and to live independently and be able to function in the adult world, more than making sure we are checking off a list of classes to finish. Our daughter is not even sure at this point if she wants to go to college. The creative and performing arts are more her thing. We are a relaxed learning home. We only need 24 credits to graduate. Looking forward to seeing what all you have planned.

  8. Lynn says:

    YOU CAN DO THIS. I have two graduating private high school this year and a freshman home schooler. I suggest two things: 1) Set big picture goals of what a student needs in order to be successful in college or career (for us, that is write a great essay and pass college algebra). 2) Little details: a credit unit is 120 hours. That is for the year. Take it one semester at a time. So, each subject is 0.5 credits. Which is 60 hours in 18 weeks or 200 minutes a week. You can do a subject for 50 minutes, 4 times a week. See, pick 6 subjects each semester and at the end of the year you have 6 credits. In Oklahoma we need 23 credits. You could add a subject or a day or time in the summer. GOOD NEWS – thinking and discussing a topic counts as minutes in a subject. So you don’t have to give up your deep sinking methods all together.

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