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    by Published on 09-29-2015 08:25 AM
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    In June, my son Ian graduated from high school. He turned 15 five days later. As you might imagine, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from parents wanting to know the “end result.” Was it a good choice to radically accelerate? How did it work exactly? Do we have any regrets? Was it hard for him? Was it good? What will he do now? Will he finally have time to “just be a kid?”

    Radical acceleration is still such an alien concept, that these questions don’t surprise me, and in fact, don’t offend me either (though I will admit that last one can ruffle my feathers if I’m not in a particularly generous mood). And I would rather people ask me than to be afraid of asking “wrong” or insensitive questions. We can’t move forward with individualized education if we’re afraid. And I do so hope that we can move forward for all our children. So I’m going to answer these questions here, and more in the comments this week, so be sure to post your own!

    First of all, what is “radical acceleration”?

    According to the National Association of Gifted Children, “radical acceleration” is defined as “a range of procedures leading to school graduation 3 or more years earlier than usual.” Here’s a link for more info: Radical acceleration and early entry to college: A review of the research

    Was it a good choice to radically accelerate?

    For us, it was the only choice. When your kid is miserable in his age-based grade, and there aren’t any alternative school models available locally, you have to get creative. We tried keeping him in his age-based grade for his first two and half years of school. This was a horrible situation for him; he was bored and restless which led to great personal dissatisfaction and anxiety. My young boy, who was obsessed with learning in preschool, suddenly lost all joy in it. This wasn’t ok. So we accelerated him twice, and when that wasn’t enough, we jumped into our unique brand of hybrid education, in which he learned at home, online, with private tutors, and part-time in the public schools. He ended up jumping up a third grade later on, and could have actually done a fourth if he wanted to – he had the credits. But he felt connected to the peer group he was with, and stuck with the class of 2015.

    So was it a good choice? Yes. Because the best anyone can do for their kid is to try to meet their unique needs with love and consistency. And every choice we made we 1) made with him, 2) made with his particular needs and interests at the forefront, and 3) evaluated and changed if it didn’t work. Radical acceleration was a good choice for Ian, because it was made authentically.

    How did it work exactly?

    Ok: quick sum. Here’s how it all went down.

    • Normal preschool, kindergarten, and first grade.
    • In the middle of second grade he jumped up to fourth.
    • Did fifth grade still as a full-time public school student. None of this was working for him (he hated the worksheets, testing, desk-sitting, and slow pace).
    • Sixth grade, we switched to homeschooling. He still took band at the public school.
    • Seventh grade: homeschooled with band and Science Olympiad at the public school.
    • Eighth: same as seventh, but added a public school science course, which he dropped at the semester – it was still too slow. Started taking private music theory lessons at the local university.
    • Skipped ninth grade.
    • Tenth: band at the high school, math at the middle school, music theory at the university, science through an online class, and humanities at home.
    • Eleventh and Twelfth: full-time student at the public high school. Dropped music theory (his teacher moved away).

    Do we have any regrets?

    Of course one can’t see two end destinations of a crossroads. But gathering from Ian’s unhappiness in those early years, I imagine if we hadn’t grade-skipped and pulled him out of a traditional school setting, the rest of ...
    Published on 12-16-2014 01:57 PM
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    2. Curriculum,
    3. Homeschooling High School
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    American School has been a leader in high school distance education for more than a century, offering the accredited high school courses you need at a cost you can afford. In 2015, we’re taking steps to ensure we remain a leader for years to come.

    We know that students learn in different ways. Some prefer an entirely paper-based curriculum, which has been our primary course delivery method since our founding in 1897. Others, however, feel more comfortable learning online. That’s why we are proud to offer entirely online versions of our General High School Program and College Preparatory Program. Both diploma programs consist of 18 units of credit with ample room for electives. For more information about all of our online learning offerings, including our online diploma programs and online exams which are available for most of our paper-based courses, visit www.americanschool.org/online-learning.

    If you are planning on going to community college or directly into the workforce after graduation, consider enrolling in our General High School Program. Students complete 11-13 required courses and may consider taking Business, Career and Technical Education courses as their electives.

    If you are planning on attending college after graduation, consider enrolling in our College Preparatory Program. Students complete 12-15 required courses and may consider taking Fine Arts or World Languages courses as their electives. In order to give our students a wider variety of online World Languages courses, we partnered with Rosetta Stone and are happy to have ten of their most popular courses in our curriculum, including Arabic, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese, all of which are becoming more valuable in the global marketplace, as well as English as a Second Language.

    In its 118-year history, American School has educated more than three million students from across the country and around the world. Many of them, such as bestselling author Christopher Paolini and actress Jessica Alba, have gone on to become famous, but all of our students enjoy the benefits of what we call our Four C’scurriculum, caring student service, credibility and cost.

    Students work entirely at their own pace, but they are never alone. American School tries to make distance learning as personal as possible. For example, our instructors write personalized, handwritten comments when they grade exams in paper-based courses and offer similar feedback when grading exams online. Our staff is available during normal business hours to answer ...
    Published on 01-08-2014 05:05 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Curriculum,
    3. Homeschooling with Technology,
    4. Homeschooling High School
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    by Chris Yust of Homeschool Programming

    The Myth of Outsourcing
    “Is there any future in computer programming? Aren’t all those jobs overseas now?” I smiled as an earnest young mother asked us this question at a recent convention. I’ve heard this question many times over the last few years and my answer is always a resounding “No!” Despite what most people believe, outsourcing has not killed the computer job market. Oh sure, some companies use overseas help in different areas, but a great many computer programming jobs are still around locally. It’s simply too difficult for most companies to manage the complex process of software creation over long distances.

    As a full-time software engineer, I have observed a lack of quality candidates at my own employer. Jobs often go unfilled for long periods of time because we simply can’t interview enough people who qualify. I get calls every month from recruiters who still have my 10-year old resume in their database from the last time I was looking for a job. Anecdotes aside, the statistics show that roughly 50% of all software outsourcing projects are failures, and those that do succeed offer only modest 25% cost savings. That’s a huge risk for minimal return!

    The Recession-Proof Job
    In this age of recession and a downturned economy, one of the booming job sectors is the computer industry! Where other companies are cutting staff or shrinking salaries, computer jobs have seen steady growth and salary increases. Is this trend expected to continue? You bet! ...
    Published on 08-18-2013 02:40 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Curriculum,
    3. Homeschooling Styles,
    4. Homeschooling High School
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    by Sancha de Burca of The Graphic Design Project

    Something that is trending right now is Design Thinking. Not only is this very overt in the creative and design industries themselves but it is also favoured in business, education and any other sector where innovation and new ideas are required. Put simply design thinking is enabling the skills and processes normally used within regular design to help generate and develop ideas across any field where there are users and a need to “solve” a problem. This could be applied to starting a business, designing a hospital or to developing an educational curriculum. I’d describe it as the ability to deal with a problem with logic but also with divergent “out of the box” thinking, finding a creative solution that helps the end users.

    Relevant for homeschoolers and their families is that understanding how to go about a design process properly can build up a whole range of transferable design thinking skills that are really useful for learning and also for anything from cooking the dinner to inventing a new clean fuel to save the planet.

    I’d recommend that all learners undertake at least a couple of design projects during their education because what I have witnessed over the years as a design tutor is that doing design helps, even obliges, people to approach things with a professional attitude and systematic process that enables inquiring exploration and flourishing creativity.
    So, in what ways is graphic design so good for your learning? What does it involve that’ll help a learner to be a better learner? While my list here is linear, the design process is actually very organic and intertwined so each skill feeds the other skills too.

    1. Motivation. Yes, it is fun, it’s contemporary and cool, which motivates people to get involved. The range of graphic design, illustration and photography that is out there waiting to be explored is inspiring, helping learners
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