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One of the things I enjoy most about schooling at home is the opportunity to reinvent the way you learn.  Not everyone learns the same way and not everyone wants to learn in the same way all the time. It is great fun to mix things up.

Keeping it fresh, that’s how you truly develop a love of learning.

With both boys at “high school” level work, that opens up a world of possibilities. High school should prepare you for higher education and life outside of the home. Things need to change.

We decided this year to work on the “semester” or “term” system to get a taste of college life. Before college, most students study a lot of classes for an entire school year. At college, you study fewer subjects for half a year. Then you change and study different things for the other half of your school year.

Which can be a whole lot of fun!

Another aspect of college vs lower education is the amount of homework. I remember the world religions class I took at High Point University. It was a Monday class and the teacher assigned us to read Exodus by the next class on Wednesday. Yes, the whole book of Exodus.

I don’t know if you’ve taken a look at Exodus ever, but that’s one long book in the Bible. Even worse, there’s a whole lot of chapters that pretty much go along the lines of “23 cubits by 72 cubits by 39 cubits by 22 cubits by 12 cubits by the amount of cubits it takes to bludgeon yourself in the head.” I’m pretty sure that last bit is totally in my scriptures.

That’s just how they roll at college. Go and read 150 pages from the textbook, that’s doable!  Five times over. Right.

Hopefully you better select the order you take your classes at college, with the chance to fit classes into a theme of interest for you as you close in on your major.

What we decided to do was to try this out, and focus our semester on complimentary subjects. This fall, our theme is America. Officially our classes are: US History, American Lit, and American Government.

But Lady O, what does that mean to those of us entrenched in normal school? You homeschooler’s are so hard to understand!

In the Commonwealth of Virginia that translates to: 11th grade History, 11th grade English, and 12th grade Government (A total of 3 credits).  All three required for graduation. In University terms: US History 1 & 2, American Literature, US Government, and Civil War and Reconstruction (a total of 18 credits).

Who thinks we might just have that Civil War and Reconstruction in the bag?

Everything is more fun with friends, so we decided to team up with some good friends. Yay! We are now one week down in our roughly 10-12 week plan. Here is how our adventure worked for this first week:

Assignment: Read “The History of US” by Joy Hakim, book 1. This covered the early Native Americans, the Vikings, and the very start of The New World exploration. With roughly 40 chapters, we assigned the kids ten chapters a day.

Presentations: We assigned each of our four “high school” students a group of chapters to summarize. They then presented something they learned and enjoyed to the others. We printed and shared these with each student.  This helps to reinforce the readings, work on writing and presentation skills, and on public speaking.

Class Day: Once a week gathers seemed the way to go, and so that’s what we did yesterday. We worked on maps, timeline figures, gave the presentations, and left the day open for any possible field trips.

Hopefully we can work in the American Lit portion soon. Figuring out GOOD American Literature is not so easy. Especially for the time period we currently find ourselves in. Yes, I’m taking recommendations.

I plan to mesh “The 5,000 Year Leap” by Cleon Skousen, for Government. *Note, I know that certain people on Faux News recommends this book, please do not let that deter you from an excellent read. While a conservative, the author just explains things in ways that makes sense. Your high school government student might score a little higher on exams if they read this book.* Obviously, we will also read the Founding Documents. Need I remind you of the last time we read those?

Oh, I thought the Founding Fathers just had bad editors. –Caramon

*SIGH* Only a home school kid would attempt to correct 200-year-old grammar. (*Note, he didn’t understand the plural/singular mix up used in the “olden days”. According to usage today, he was correct. So glad 4th grade was at home and not public school! Could you imagine the “Your son is an anarchist” phone calls?*)

–Lady O