I'm sure every parent of a high school senior feels pretty much the same way: where did all that time go? My little girl, who once could fit in the crook of my arm, is just about grown up. Last year, I was caught up with all that came with the adoption that I realized with a shock that this could be Janna's last year at home. Life as we know it is quickly coming to an end, whether she went to college or not. And so, this year, I have some goals that I feel are more important than academics. Janna has always been an excellent student, so I'm not that worried about her in that arena. The goals for her are going to involve helping her to transition into the real world outside of our homeschool. She has done her share of travel, service, and ministry. We have looked at our culture and discussed how to discern the worldviews and belief systems they represent. She has stepped out of her comfort zone in many ways. And yet, I know that there are some things that will still be a shock to her. Like getting married, having a baby, or adoption, you can only prepare so far. There are some things that just need to be dealt with as they come up.
With that understanding, we have several goals for our oldest this year:
We want her to grow a heart for people---not on her terms, but on theirs. It is easy to like people who like you or who are similar to you. But that is not the way the world works. Last year, Janna served as president of our homeschool group, a role she hopes to continue again this year. We'll see!
We want her to gain a stronger sense of her place in the Kingdom of God through continued service in established ministries and developing a ministry of her own, perhaps a way to use her photography skills.
We'd like to see her develop a business of her own to help raise funds for school. This may also be a ministry.
Academics will focus on knocking off some GE courses by taking CLEP and AP tests. Otherwise we are pretty much done with required high school coursework.
She will also be able to devote some time to take electives that she has been waiting to take!
We will be working on getting her driver's license!
Continue putting together her portfolio of artwork and samples.
As my first child, there are many things that I wish I had done differently, but we are learning that even with my "mistakes" God is able to work all these things out. For example, I wish we had taken more CLEP exams earlier. But when I think of it, with the adoption process taking up a lot of time during these high school years, I don't know if it would have happened. I am learning to give myself grace. There were other more important things our family was doing. And Janna knows that. Instead of beating myself up, I am choosing to trust that God has written my daughter's high school experience just the way He wanted it to be, even if it doesn't follow the "normal" course everyone else is taking.
What are we using?
- Bible and Worldview: Right now, she is finishing up Beauty in the Heart, the Bible study I reviewed last week. She is also reading Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks to deepen her inductive Bible study skills, and reading I'm Glad You Asked by Kenneth Boa and I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek (review here).
- AP tests: Succeeding on the AP Literature Exam with College-Level Analysis and Succeeding on the AP Language Exam with College-Level Analysis both from IEW, along with the AP test prep books. (Note: I wouldn't recommend the track we're taking; in fact, I'm not sure if we can take both in one year, but we're preparing so she can go either way.)
- CLEP exams, spaced through the year: Natural Science, American History part 1, English Literature (?) and Psychology. Yeah, taking tests is about all we're doing this year, along with the SAT in October.
- Electives: The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking, Fundamentals of Photography from the Great Courses; The Elements of Art and Composition from Artistic Pursuits (review here); Discovering Music (music appreciation); and Foundations in Personal Finance (Dave Ramsey).
- Business: Micro Business for Teens by Carol Topp (series).
- All in all, we are very proud and excited for what God is doing in Janna. Though I am a little sad about the changes to come, I also know that it is the beginning of another chapter of our lives.
What are you doing with your high schoolers?