Faith Troy Homeschool: High School Classes
My name is Sandy Kunkel and I have the privilege to teach at Faith’s H.O.M.E. program as a teacher of several different high school subjects: Spanish, literature and logic. This year, 2020, has brought with it many educational changes and challenges for parents throughout our country and our region. Parents are finding themselves in the driver’s seat, making many educational decisions for their children that in the past were easier to address, but now are laced with uncertainty. If you are casually considering homeschooling as an option for your child, especially a high schooler, I would like to introduce you to what we do at H.O.M.E., particularly from the eyes of a teacher and the mother of 4 grown sons who chose different schooling experiences for each of them, including homeschooling.
I have always toyed with the idea of writing a book on this subject, perhaps titled something like: You Can Do It One Subject at a Time: The Saga of One and Half Hours per Week. Not very catchy, but simply put, that’s what we do within H.O.M.E.’s high school classes. We tailor our classes to one and a half hours’ worth of instruction and group exercises one day a week, Fridays, and send home a week’s worth of assignments for the students to pursue on their own, at home. I know what you are thinking, how can this replace a daily dose of any particular subject typically taught 5 times per week? Most of us teachers have been doing this for years. We have developed our own curriculum, jam-packed with interesting, classic and deep knowledge. We are constantly working to improve our curriculum, drawing from many sources to make what we teach valuable, current, and ethical. Also, I ask you to consider that each child is a unique intellectual entity. Whereas one child may find math concepts come easily and quickly to them, not needing a long time to grasp new materials, another may find that reading and writing are a snap. With our format, students can tailor their time to their strengths and weaknesses, not being constrained by the traditional classroom setting. It is typical that when the students leave my room at the end of each class they are responsible for about 4-5 days’ worth of assignments which can be accomplished in about 30 minutes-1 hour a day.
This format does require supervision. Don’t be fooled moms and dads, your high schooler needs to have his/her feet held to the fire at times. Most high schoolers are not independently motivated academically. If you have one that is thank the Lord! View yourself as critical here to train your child for their future in college or the work force. This does NOT mean you need to look over their shoulders 5 days a week, 6 hours a day, but it does require you to check on progress, assist with finding materials, encourage, and to contribute your knowledge and expertise to the subjects taught. You should also know that at H.O.M.E. we love to help out our students in need. We are always open to phone calls, private tutoring sessions, and emails if you student requires help. Our philosophy is this: you are the principals of your homeschool; we are the teachers. I found that making my sons keep an assignment book with weekly and, sometimes, daily updates added really helped keep them organized, motivated and feeling accomplished. We assist at H.O.M.E. by sending weekly emails, usually after class, to the students and parents outlining the homework assigned for that week.
You may be considering the popular virtual option in teaching your children this year. If that option seems daunting and isolating to you and your child, consider what we offer at H.O.M.E. as a supplement to that virtual learning. Consider it as a place where your high schooler can meet and interact with other students and adults while being educated away from the computer screen. Our classes are small, usually between 10-20 students. Discussions and group activities are lively and positive.
What we do at H.O.M.E., I feel, offers the best of many “worlds”. I have seen the students over the years bind with each other in lasting friendships. There are myriad opportunities for social interaction from movie nights (which Mrs. Guidry and I host), to field trips, dances, etc. Because of the freedom in which I teach at H.O.M.E., I have the time to chat before and after class with students who need extra help (whom I NEVER turn down), and students who just want to discuss the books we read, current events, and especially spiritual issues. I have had many discussions with students over the years, many whom felt free to voice an opinion different from my own. These students were confident that they could do this, and the joy of these opportunities is a treasure to me.
As I write I am saying a prayer for you, the parent, as you face this difficult time. Now my sons are adults; two are fathers themselves. I see the fruits of the educational choices we made for them. Though, I remember how as a parent I never felt that we did enough or sometimes made wrong choices in regards to their education. I want to assure you that at H.O.M.E. we view ourselves as coming alongside you as the primary influence in your child’s life. We are here to help! If you would like to attempt this adventure, but have questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” ― G.K. Chesterton