Mothering Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,681 Posts
<p>Hi Debra, I don't have the exact experience you're interested in, but it's close. We were with SelfDesign for a number years at the elementary ages. Recently we've been affiliated with our local school district and have helped them create a SelfDesign-like DL program for a small number of local unschoolers in an attempt to keep our funding local. My eldest two are 14 and 17, so high school aged. My 17-year-old has been making some use of classes at the local bricks-and-mortar school, so she's in a situation that's like having a SelfDesign centre in town. My ds14 has not been availing himself of anything offered by the school, so his situation is more like yours. Next year (Grade 12) my 17-year-old will be back to doing all her learning outside the walls of the school. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>The big question is really whether you want to buy into a diploma-track plan for high school. My dd has opted to do so, so the DL program works with her to turn her learning into subject-area credits. They've been wonderful in doing so. They've done stuff like give her dual credit for two courses based on mastery of the higher level course, given her credit for her violin studies, her choral singing, international travel, part-time work, creative writing and such. She's had to jump through some hoops with the required math and social studies courses, "planning" and "grad transitions" projects, provincial exams and such. That's been tolerable, though it has felt like a lot of busy work at times. For the last year or two it has felt like she's only 50% unschooling, getting that hoop-jumping over with. As of next Monday she's finished with most of that. She'll have only three courses to do over the next year and a half and they're easier ones for her: cut and dried stuff. The net result is that she has a robust transcript that looks quite conventional and will be viewed by any university as more than adequate. Her plan is to attend McGill in 2012. (She's just turned 17 this week, so is technically still in Grade 11.) She has the kind of grades she needs in her Grade 12 courses; she wants to do music performance and is a strong enough audition candidate that her admission is virtually assured according to head of the strings department. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>My ds who is 14 is considered Grade 9, so he still has some time to decide whether to go with a diploma-track approach. He'll have four Grade 10 level courses under his belt this year so he'll have a bit in the bank already if he wants to hedge his bets and not really commit one way or the other until the fall of 2012. I'm not sure if he'll go the diploma route or not. I know a number of kids who have gone to Canadian universities out of an unschooling background with no diploma, but it adds a bit of complexity and fuzziness to the application process. He's a young 14, both chronologically and developmentally, and I don't really have a sense of where his future ambitions might take him, whether that will involve university or not. If he decides in another year or two that he likely doesn't want to go to university, I don't think it would make any sense for him to continue within the constraints of the credit system. He's passionate about computers, and he could probably use his demonstrated programming prowess to open doors for himself directly into the industry.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>The way high school works for my kids is that they have some courses designed for them according to their interests, where the requirements for documenting learning are worked out with their liaison teachers and evaluated based on those. So for Orchestra 10 my ds has to log hours spent rehearsing and practicing and submit videos of rehearsals and performances. For InfoTech 11 he has to submit two minor and one major projects, blogging on an ongoing basis about his programming processes and revisions. For Writing 12 my dd attends the school's writing workshop once a week, where they do a bunch of creative and collaborative writing exercises. She submits these, plus two portfolios of at least 7 other writing pieces, in order to earn her credit. Then there are also courses that are "canned," provided through LearnNowBC or whatever and they come with hard-copy or on-line textbooks. The liaison teacher expects them to write tests to show their mastery of the material. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>All in all it's quite flexible, considering that it's all slotted into credits and subjects. There are some interest-based custom-design unschooling credits, and some school-designed canned courses to satisfy the Dogwood requirements. I don't see it as really totally unschooling, since those Dogwood courses get in the way a bit. But it's definitely flexible, effective at opening doors to university, and supporting the kids' interests and aptitudes.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Miranda</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,681 Posts
<p>As you're probably aware, funding for Grade 10-12 students is on a course-by-course basis now in BC. That makes things tricky when you're a Grade 7, 8 or 9 student (whose funding is still per capita, in one big block to your enrolled school district) and you want to take a Grade 10 course out of district. That other district/school will not receive funding for you to take that course. The only ways I know to make it happen are to (a) enroll a year or two "ahead" of your age-grade so that you're considered Grade 10 before you are (my eldest dd did this), or else (b) to take those advanced courses in the *same* school program that you are enrolled in, which is what my ds did. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I will say that the LearnNowBC courses are not exactly exciting enough IMO to make them the optimal form of accelerated enrichment. If there's another way to get the same content (say, through a SelfDesign course covering the same material, if your dd were enrolled with SD) then I would tend to go that route. My eldest just finished mopping up her Grade 10 Socials course (she'd been putting it off for two years) and the course was deadly ... 60-some-odd assignments, with very little learning involved. Something that might have been a 15-minute small-group discussion in a classroom-based course was turned into some sort of 2-page touchy-feely assignment. It was content my dd had covered in the past, but there was so much busy-work. Math and science have been better courses from LearnNowBC. Humanities stuff (including the 2nd language courses)? Not so much. <img alt="shake.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/shake.gif"></p>
<p> </p>
<p>Miranda</p>
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top