The Secret to Scholé in High School

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This week I discussed festina lente or make haste slowly. I know what you’re thinking, this is all well and good, but what about high school! We can’t take it slowly. Our kids have to be ready for college! This is no time for scholé.

Actually, this is the best time in the world to do just that. Take a deep breath, smell the roses, and plan to enjoy the high school journey with your kids.

The goal of high school and scholé is not to get our kids into the best and most elite college. It’s to prepare them for adulthood, which may include attending the best and most elite college or not. Preparing our kids for adulthood doesn’t include keeping their noses to the grindstone 12 hours a day.

Credit Hours

To graduate high school you need at least 19 for regular high school and 24 for college prep. That’s 5-6 credits a year. Credit is usually determined by either the number of hours in class (135 or more) or by completing a high school level textbook. Half credits are given for one semester studies or half the work completed.

Usually, most schools want 4 credits of English, 3-4 credits of math, 3-4 credits of science, 3-4 credits of social studies, 2 credits of foreign language, 1 credit of fine art, 1 credit of physical education, plus electives.

Be certain to check with the schools your child may be interested in applying to and double-check their requirements as you plan high school. Avoid those unpleasant surprises senior year!

You’ll find a high school credit planner you can download at the bottom of this post.

Scholé in High School and English

Scholé in High School

The goal of classical education is to teach children the beauty of language, give them a background in some of the great works, and develop an appreciation for literature. In scholé we’re looking at restful learning and enjoying the process of teaching our kids. Colleges want our children to be able to write well and be reasonably well-read.

These aren’t mutually exclusive!

Reading, reciting, and discussing poetry is part of studying English. Reading, discussing, and writing about great works of literature is English. And reading books aloud is English. Listening to literature on audiobooks is English. Writing novels is English. Writing papers about the literature you read is English.

There’s no need to stress.

Choose good books to read, discuss, and write about. Take your time with literature. It’s better to read a handful of books well than to race through 36 books and learn nothing. Adapt your English classes to meet your child’s needs and your interests, and don’t measure yourself against someone else.

Scholé and Math

Math can be awesome or it can be a challenge. Some kids love math and others detest it. Some kids excel, others don’t. All this to say, some kids will reach calculus or higher in high school. Other kids will struggle to master algebra 2.

My strongest advice with math is to make haste slowly. Keep studying math all four years.

If you have a child who’s great at math, do math all four years. There’s a good chance they may decide to go into a math-related field in college. Advancing as far as they can go in high school is an advantage for future studies. Don’t stop.

On the other hand, if you have a child who’s struggling in math, don’t stress about getting your child into calculus. Instead, concentrate on mastering math at their current level and keep progressing. Many degrees don’t require more than college algebra.

You’re not failing your child is they don’t complete pre-calculus or calculus, but again, keep doing math all four years. Get as far as you can before graduation.

Keep moving forward in math as long as your child is in high school.

Scholé and Science

Science can be another tricky subject for scholé in high school. Remember the goal is restful learning and developing a sense of wonder. The easiest method for me is to find a good high school textbook to use as our base. You can add an experiment book or look for a curriculum that includes experiments.

Systematically work through the textbook and do the experiments. However add nature study to your science studies, and encourage kids to notebook about what they’re learning in science.

Read biographies of scientists and some of the great works they wrote. Take field trips and see the knowledge being applied in the real world.

Do your best to augment the science studies so kids develop a sense of wonder and awe about the subject.

Scholé and Social Studies

In my homeschool, we stay on our history rotation all four years through Tapestry of Grace. This means over the course of all four years, we cover the whole of human history. However you can’t study every single person or event that occurs in history, so don’t stress trying to do it all.

Instead strive to show your children how humanity has grown and changed over the years, how what happened in the past affects what’s going on today.

You can join your literature and history studies together covering great books as they’re written. Study biographies and discuss what makes people great. Compare and contrast people and events you’re studying.

Keep a timeline and encourage kids to notebook their way through history. Every week set the table with tea and cookies, and spend an hour or two discussing your history studies. Keep your studies consistent but relaxed.

Scholé and Foreign Languages

Latin and classical education go hand in hand. The goal is to have our kids able to read great works in the original Latin, but we may not make the goal. It doesn’t matter, just keep plugging and chugging on the way.

Not all schools accept Latin, so double-check any schools your child is interested in to see what languages they accept for the foreign language credit.

If possible learn modern language together. Chat together, read together, and write together. Demonstrate good study habits as you learn together.

Remember that you need 2 credits. You don’t need to complete one credit a year. You can spread the credit over two years if needed and move slowly. After all, it’s better to make haste slowly and master the language.

Scholé and Fine Arts

Make time in the school day for fine arts. You can’t enjoy scholé in high school while ignoring the beauty of the fine arts.

There are several ways to do this. You can take music lessons, go to symphonies, work through a music appreciation curriculum. The easiest is to simply work through the great composers in chronological order and listen to their music. Discuss your thoughts after listening to the music.

Don’t forget art appreciation. Continue with picture study through high school. Make time to visit museums. Look at architecture in books and your local cities. Pull out art supplies such as chalk pastels, oil paints, or watercolors and encourage the kids to create art.

As you work through history, read about the history of the fine arts in the same time period. Discuss how historical events and people affect the fine arts of the period.

Don’t rush or stress about adding the fine arts. Simply make time in your weekly schedule all four years and enjoy your studies.

Scholé in High School and Physical Education

As we’re discussing classical education, we often forget that we’re training the body as well as the mind and soul. Encourage your kids to find a sport or activity they enjoy. Let them try tennis, volleyball, racket ball, fencing, or swimming.

Continue to take regular nature walks as well. Get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and observe nature as you hike. Monitor the change of seasons as you walk.

What’s important is to get out, move, and find physical activities your teenager enjoys.

Scholé and Electives

Part of bringing our high school teens from childhood to adulthood is giving them time to develop passions. Sometimes these passions will coincide with other studies such as English, history, or science. Other times they won’t.

Encourage your teens to spend time developing hobbies and passions. They may enjoy cooking, photography, or programming. Track the hours your kids spend on these hobbies and include them on the transcript as electives. Track the hours your kid

In my own children, I’ve seen how these passions help guide my teens into fields they’re interested in pursuing.

The secret to keeping scholé in high school is to relax. Don’t rush. Find ways to study the needed subjects in a restful environment, encourage your children’s interest, and bring beauty and wonder to your homeschool.

How do you bring scholé to your homeschool?

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  1. “There’s no need to stress.” Ha! I think parents are more stressed about teaching high school because they want their kids to be able to be prepared for anything in the future. It’s hard for parents not to be stressed about this, since most high school textbooks require a full hour a day to complete. The days are actually a lot longer than elementary school days. I like your description of relaxing while trying to fit everything in.

    1. There’s no doubt high school is much longer than elementary school or even middle school. However if you limit the number of textbooks, concentrate on quality over quantity, and make an effort to include time for beauty and wonderful within the homeschool, it creates a restful atmosphere. Trying to cram 12 hours of academics into the homeschool day is just plain stressful.

  2. This is WONDERFUL! I love how you gave specific tips for ways to teach each subject in a restful way. You’re SO RIGHT that we shouldn’t stress about it. When we create a frenetic learning environment for our kids, we need to ask ourselves how much of the information they’ll even retain. And will they fall in LOVE with learning?!? Doubtful. Thanks so much for sharing such practical advice. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Michelle! Falling in love with learning is so important. We’re not trying to cram everything a person needs to know into 12 years of schooling, but rather developing lifelong learners. We’re creating adults who can go out, research, and learn what they need to know, and have the curiosity and sense of wonder needed to do so! 🙂

  3. Homeschooling high school is something I have no knowledge about =) Thanks for sharing and breaking it down subject by subject!

    1. My pleasure, Amy! Having graduated one high school teen last year, graduating my second this year, and my third starting her junior year of high school, I’m much more confident about homeschooling high school than I was 6 years ago. 🙂

  4. What a blessing finding your site has been to me already this summer as I plan for our 2nd year of homeschooling…jumping in the deep end of homeschooling in high school with no prior experience homeschooling at all. We learned much the first year about what worked, what didn’t, what to keep and what to toss. However, finding your page has very much lowered my anxiety and blood pressure and I KNOW that this in turn will relieve my overachieving teenage daughters stress level because I know she can feel it on me. This was remarkable advice and I LOVED how you not only broke it down by subject but also how you reminded me that they just need “x” amount of credits by the end of high school not that we have to finish everything at the end of each year i.e. getting 2 years of foreign language within 4 years not 1 completed per year for two years. I also love the idea of combining subjects within experiences and counting things they are naturally doing and are passionate about for credit. God gave me a great and meaningful gift in finding your words and insight.

    1. Thank you, Chelle! It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of high school and push kids through the material. We forget that mastery of the subject remains more important that the speed we complete the subject. It’s been a hard lesson for me to learn over the past several years of homeschooling high school as my family’s navigated the turbulent waters of high school. 🙂

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