Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Giving Your Kids The Credit They Are Due

fresh home canned beans
I am currently homeschooling three highschoolers and, as if the high level courses weren't enough to keep up with, I am spending a significant amount of time putting together transcripts for my two college-bound sons. One of the most exciting dicoveries I've made through this process is that many public highschools have their course descriptions posted online. It's exciting because I've come to see how many of the things my children are learning outside of their normal studies are being taught for credit in the classrooms of these highschools.

Now, let me clarify that I am not one of those mothers who tries to count every normal childhood experience as a "learning experience." I do believe that they are learning experiences, but I'm not writing them all down on their transcripts. But if students in the public schools are earning credit for classes in agricultural science, carpentry, and food prep, I think it is fair for my children to also get credit if they are doing the same work.

onions drying on the sidewalk

My children have planted and cared for two HUGE gardens in the past two years. And, due to pregnancies and births, I haven't been able to give them much help. They have learned about insect pests, plant diseases, and how to improve the soil. And they have also done quite a bit of canning, freezing, and drying. They have all been helping with meal preparation from a young age and are accomplished bakers and cooks.

My husband grew up in a family that hunted and raised their own meat and he has passed this knowledge on to his children. They have all participated in the butchering and processing of deer, cows, and pigs. They've hunted and skinned small game, and cooked things that I was too squeemish to prepare. They have butchered chickens for our own family and they have helped friends butcher for their commercial enterprises. They have seen calves being birthed, they have bottle fed goats, and they have helped castrate calves and pigs. The older boys even researched tanning and attempted to produce their own leather.

My husband is a trim carpenter by trade (one of the best!) and he has also passed those skills on to his children. The older ones have helped him with various projects and know more about wood, stain, and joinery than some adults who make their living in construction. They've completed projects which were far more complex than what is taught in a highschool shop class, and they've had a wider variety of experiences than could be offered in a classroom.

In researching how to transfer this experience to their transcripts, I came across a simple formula for determining how much credit to award. (I wish I could credit a source, but I've lost track of where I saw it.)

1 credit= approximately 120-180 hours of work

Lab science courses are usually closer to 180 hours, while English and history classes average 150 hours for a year-long class. 120 hours is usually considered sufficient for an elective class (art, music, sewing, carpentry, web page design, etc.)
I would also recommend that in planning "classes" for your child, you mix hands on learning with research (assign books or articles to read) and at least one written project to demonstrate mastery of the material covered.

Edited 2/6/12 to add: Cindy Downes of Oaklaholma Homeschool also has some good information on  transcripts and giving credit for extracurricular activities.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Thanks for the comment on my blog. Yes, I'm blogging again...off & on. My daughter is in a private school this year, and we are praying fervently about next year. She wants to come back home for school! But, I need peace about our decision.

    As far as the credits for your children... wow!!! It is amazing all they have learned! And, it sounds like you are doing your research!

    I guess I need to blog about it, but we bought a ranch one year ago in January. We now have almost 400 acres and 49 mama cows...and are getting ready to make it 100! We had our first 'round up' in November, and it was an incredible learning experience. We will all be learning a lot as we become ranchers!


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