This year is a big one for Raven. She turns 13 here in just a couple of months, which means she “officially” gets to join the world of social media. The two she has been looking forward to the most are Facebook and DeviantArt.
She also enters into Jr. High as far as our homeschool goes. (It will always be Jr. High to me – not Middle School)
We’ve been talking a lot lately about her goals and what she wants to get out of these next few years. We all agree that we won’t have to have that pre-college “crunch time” if we start working now on figuring out what she likes doing and keeping track of all her learning.
And she does want to go to college – for certain things. We’re supporting her whatever direction she decides to go, but a couple of her interests include getting a degree in a specific field.
How unschoolers make plans
So, I thought I would share how we made up a plan for Raven for her 7th grade year – using her own goals and interests.
First let me make a couple of things clear.
Yes – we are still unschooling. This isn’t a curriculum list. We’ve talked about this a lot as a family and what works best for Raven is a method somewhat how a Democratic school would work. She sets the goals and interests, we work together to find the best resources, and then she is free to work from there.
For planning and record-keeping, we are working with these main tools:
- Homeschool Transcript presentation – I recently attended this online seminar that Jimmie hosted. I learned so much! And Lee answered my question about keeping track of delight-directed learning.
- The Master Planner – I got this for free in some bundle (don’t remember exactly where) but the downloadable files are only $6 and you get a TON of useful forms.
- College Without High School by Blake Boles
- Senior High – A Home-designed Form+U+La
Basically, we are going to use the “sticky note method” that Lee recommended to me. I’ll take notes on all the reading and projects that Raven is doing, and then when there is enough of one topic it will become a unit study.
A unit study will include two things: input and output. Raven will take information in through reading, videos, lectures, podcasts, etc. Then, in order to demonstrate her learning and growth, she will create some sort of output – a report, notebooking page, demonstration, real life experience, etc.
When we have 3-4 unit studies that go together, that then becomes a course which we can record on her Jr. High transcript.
Pretty ingenious – no?
So – here are our tentative plans for 7th grade. Plans change in unschooling, but we feel confident that most of her projects and interests are going to lie somewhere in these courses.
For each subject, I’ve written the name of Raven’s individualized course in parenthesis.
English/Literature – “Writing and Research”
Raven wants to focus on her writing skills as well as doing some research for her science and history topics.
- NaNoWriMo in November – this will be her 3rd year participating!
- Writer badge on DIY.org
- Write Source 2000 – I had this book and Write For College when I was in high school and they helped me immensely!
Science – “Animal Science and Behavior”
One of the goals that Raven wants to work towards is gaining a knowledge-base in order to work with animals. She is looking at becoming a vet-tech, and that requires a lot of information about domestic animals.
- Study various animals – their breeds, behavior, anatomy, and diet (she has already read 3 adult books on this topic so far)
- Write a research paper about cats, and one about dogs
History – “Art History – Western Civilization”
Raven’s other main interest is art, so she decided to specialize her history as a “history through art”.
- Smarthistory course
- Art history books
- Artist studies
Math – “Pre-algebra”
We’re calling this pre-algebra, but Raven wanted to go over some concepts again so we’ll see where she thinks she needs to be later in the year.
- Khan Academy
- Life of Fred – Fractions, Decimals and Percents, possibly more
Foreign Language – “Beginner Korean”
Since we are living in Korea, it only makes sense to learn as much of the language we can in order to enjoy the culture.
- Korean tutoring from italki.com
- Yes you can speak Korean! – with tutor
- Talk to me in Korean podcasts
Humanities – “Social Structure and Culture of South Korea”
There is no doubt that our tour here is a hands-on culture and humanities course. And we have been documenting it through our photos and video, providing a very nice portfolio.
Fine Arts – “Illustration and Drawing”
Raven will continue working on her drawing skills using books, videos, and with critique from Dad.
Philosophy – “Ideas Through Fiction”
We’ll use our family philosophy discussions, along with some other books and videos to explore philosophical ideas through fiction stories.
7th Grade Transcript
Why are we creating a 7th grade transcript? Well, there is a very real possibility that Raven will take community college courses when we get back to Kansas. She also wants to graduate “early” and spend some time working in the fields she is passionate about so she can decide whether she wants to pursue further education in those areas.
This is what Raven’s transcript will look like at the end of the year (if we stay with the interests we have planned):
English: Writing and Research (1)
Animal Science (1)
Art History: Western Civilization (.5 – 1)
Beginner Korean (1)
South Korean Culture (.5 – 1)
Illustration and Drawing (1)
Philosophy Ideas (1)
Total Credits 7-8