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Tea Time aka High School Planning

 Of course, at the heart of high school is the learning, whether this involves formal text books, zany unschooling adventures, or anything in between.  After two years of high school with my oldest, who is resigned to being our guinea pig, we have learned a few things about the designing the learning process.

First, we have a planning tea. Often this actually involves tea, but my next child says he will have coke instead.  Refreshments aside, this is a discussion and brainstorming session and I take notes. 

We tend to start with a question something like: what would you do if you had a whole week to do anything you liked?  We are hoping to get a list of passions and interests that may not be obvious in our everyday life.  Even though I live with my children, the answers are sometimes surprising.  So is the list of things that would absolutely not be done in that golden dream week.

Next comes a list of likes—things like music, sunsets, chocolate.  This list, too, often spawns a list of dislikes.

Then we discuss gifts, talents, and personality.  I raise topics that may be of interest and point out skills and characteristics I have observed in everyday life.  Usually we discuss what implications these could have for the future. Often this also leads to a brief discussion of the negative side of positive characteristics, and how to deal with them.

Once we have all this information, we look for trends, possibilities, options, things to learn about, and avenues to explore.  Perhaps some university direction needs discussing; perhaps we need information about preparing for a certain field of service; perhaps we need to try a new area of volunteering; or perhaps we need to adjust the day to day learning.  After the most recent tea, we realized we needed to do some formal guidance counselling and to look into getting university credits while in high school. 

And, of course, we need to continue studying. In the upper years, our children study Bible (including church history, world view, and theology), English (literature and writing), math (including some logic and hopefully computer programming), science, history/geography, French, and Dutch.  As well, high schools here usually require a credit or two in the arts, a credit of health and PE, half a credit of civics, half a credit of career studies, some electives including business, and 40 hours of community volunteer time.   

Our tea times and other discussions help determine how we meet our course requirements.  We structure our own courses in some subjects, or just follow rabbit trails and give them a course name at the end of the year.  For science we follow a textbook series; for math we follow several series, and for the rest, we use whatever needs and interests dictate.  Of course, that makes documentation and marking a real challenge, but our goal is to learn, not to assign marks. 

Many great resources are available to help in setting up a high school program, designing courses, and assigning marks.  I hope to discuss some of them on subsequent Thursdays, the Lord willing. 

See you on Tuesday for Tea Time with Annie Kate.

And please, if you notice something we should be addressing, let me know so we can learn from each other.  God bless you.


  1. 2boysmom says:

    I, too, have a highschool teen. We're in his sophomore year and have spent the last few months looking into the future. I spent much time researching College Plus, the christian guidance program that walks you through gaining credit for college – in highschool. If you go to their website, they have a downloadable book (free) that explains how the program works. In the end, we actually visited the local jr. college, where they offer the exact degree that he wants to obtain. Our conclusion was to graduate him early (next year) and start college one year early. Next year we will be using Switched on Schoolhouse GED Prep courses, which take the student through an overview of each course needed to pass the GED. Although we don't want our son to take the GED, we felt this would be a great way to make sure he is prepared, with a good overview of all the subjects.

    Come visit my blog sometime!

  2. AnnieKate says:

    Thank you for telling me about College Plus and for sharing what your son is doing. It sounds very exciting.

    Annie Kate

  3. 2boysmom says:

    Thanks for coming over to my blog. This is the way to leave comments (maybe on the latest entry) or you can go to someone's profile and there is a place where you can leave a message. Feel free to leave a comment anytime.

  4. LarabaK says:


    I enjoyed reading about your "tea time". I keep feeling fear about the future — how will we DO high school? Obviously different people will do it in different ways, but there is an answer for every child. God is good and He will guide us. And the wisdom of those who have gone on before me is much appreciated.


  5. AnnieKate says:

    Hi Laraba

    I hope our experiences will encourage you. I know I always benefit hugely when other moms share exactly how they go about something, even if I don't plan to do it that way myself.

    Being too unhealthy to go out and encourage other moms in person, I try to do it through this blog. I am glad you enjoy it.

    The biggest comfort is always: 'Jesus loves me(us), this I (we) know!'

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