Summer is a-comin’ in, but more and more homeschoolers are saying they’re not going to break for summer; instead, they’re going to “keep on keepin’ on”.
Their reasons are usually about the advantage of keeping the routine, about keeping material fresh instead of having to review in the Fall, and some of those in the Deep South say it’s too darn hot to be outside anyway, so they might as well stay indoors and get some work done.
Let me tell you—I’ve always thought these people were crazy!
The “now” is the high school years, and my reasons fall into two categories: the first is the lure of dual-enrollment, and the second is underperformance.
What do you know about Dual Enrollment?
I have shared with you in the past that I moved from the UK educational system in 2016, and one of the first major shifts in thinking was the way teens can gather credits in high school that will count toward their college credit hours.
It’s called “dual enrollment” and usually works by registering for courses at the local community college. As far as I can tell, you can’t take just any ol’ course with them, but the basics like foreign language, science, math, and social studies. These are the areas that almost every university requires its first- and second-years to have some exposure to, so the ones that are most likely to give you a boost toward graduation.
Choosing “not break” with dual enrollment
Once a teen is taking dual enrollment, then it’s easy to study each term including summer. After all, each term of study equates to a high school credit, so they’re a fast way to achieve the credits needed to complete a high school diploma (check your state for its requirements).
The courses over the summer are usually more intense, but their duration may be only 5 or 6 weeks, *so a lot of students see them*as a quick way to add, not just a credit for high school, but simultaneously, 3 hours toward their university degree, too.
Last summer, my daughter took a US History 1 course via an online format, and this led to a similar short-course with the same prof in the Autumn for US History 2. After all, she had bought the book for both courses in a single volume already, knew the format, the way of testing, the expectations of the term paper, and was confident she could achieve a good grade in just a matter of six or so weeks.
Look at the math: 11 weeks = 2 US history credits for high school and 6 hours of university credits, all for the cost of a $32 book.*
There’s a good reason to give up some of your summer!
Choosing “not break” with underperformance
So far, you get the idea that my eldest is achievement oriented and seeing summer school in practical terms, but then there’s my 15-year-old son. He’s bright but doesn’t apply himself, and still can’t get it in his head that 9th grade over here is high school (in the UK, Year 9 equates to 8th grade).
He spent his first ten weeks of the year doing about as much work as a margarita maker in Mauritania. (I just made this up—Mauritania is an alcohol-free country, so I’m guessing there aren’t very many margarita makers there).
After I took stock of both the subjects he was doing for me and those from outsourced courses (whether online with Dreaming Spires or our local co-op), he was carrying a 25% out of 100.
(insert shocked emoji here ― or insert shocked gif ― or an exploding head…get my drift??)
His answer was sort of like, “Ohhhhh … I didn’t realize this year really counted.”
(insert face-palm here)
So, guess what? This year is not counting. As homeschoolers in Texas, we have the choice to count courses or not count them as we see fit, so to my mind, a 25% in English means, that’s right, four more years of English are going to be needed!
Will he take an extra year of high school to do it? That’s an option.
Will we use dual enrollment so that two semesters of college equates to two years of high school? That’s another option.
In the meantime, he is going to work this summer on the subjects he bottled this year and, if not gain a credit for them, at least gain enough mastery that future dual enrollment will be a chance to garner good grades, not just credit hours.
With our teens, we’re probably not going to have them at home that much longer, but keeping them busy with their studies over the summer can often be a very logical, practical decision…
– Dr. Kat Patrick
But what about your summer?
I have always loved my summers, so this is going to be hard on me; yet, knowing it was inevitable after my son’s slow start, I went ahead and picked up some summer employment as an examiner for the UK’s English Composition exams, meaning that my son and I can sit side-by-side at our*desks and beaver away until the end of July.
Finally, August will come, and we can down tools. We’ll celebrate in our own ways: a mission trip for my daughter, youth camp for my son, and an overnight on the USS Lexington with the Trail
Life troop for me.
With our teens, we’re probably not going to have them at home that much longer, but keeping them busy with their studies over the summer can often be a very logical, practical decision, or it can be a necessity.
As homeschoolers, we don’t have to do what everyone else is doing, or not doing, if we have a good reason for doing it.
*At the time of writing, our community college does not charge tuition for dual enrollment.
Kat has degrees in English from both the US and the UK, and taught in UK secondary schools. Fun fact: secondary school teachers have to teach classes of ALL the grades each year, so instead of having 4 or 5 sets of 6th graders, they have one set in each of the 7 years. More evidence of British inefficiency!!! Kat now uses this vast experience and expertise to teach online courses in English for high school homeschoolers all over the world. You can read more of her work on her family blog at boyschooling.blogspot.com.