View Full Version : Tell me it's not too late!

06-23-2009, 10:51 PM
Kaity will be going into 8th grade in the fall, which means high school is looming on the horizon. I would like to have a plan in place BEFORE next fall and had seriously thought about looking at Switched on Schoolhouse for her so she could do more independent work while I work with the younger ones.

And I have to make a confession here. I've not been consistent with doing FIAR for a long time now. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it, but allowed myself to get off on a tangent thinking I needed to give them more, do more, teach them more. I hate myself for that because I KNOW how wonderful and amazing FIAR is. That's where all our fun and happy homeschooling memories are from. That's where we ALL learned so much. My kids learned to think outside the box, to see things other kids might not. It opened up the whole world to them and introduced us to things we would have never learned any other way. Learning wasn't a chore, it was fun.

Yesterday Kaity got out our FIAR photo album I put together several years ago and we reminised about all the fun things we did with our FIAR studies. I got so sad, remembering all those fun times and realizing that Kaity is 13 now and too old for FIAR and that if I didn't get back on track soon Kristin wouldn't have those wonderful memories like Kaity does. Even the boys don't have as many memories as Kaity does and it just breaks my heart.

I thought I wanted something structured and already planned out for Kaity for high school. I thought it would be better for her and easier on me. But that's NOT what I want. That's not what she wants. You know what she told me yesterday? That she wants to do FIAR! And then the boys chimed in that they do too.

Tell me it's not too late. Please tell me we can still do FIAR and that there's a way to take this kind of learning on into the high school years. PLEASE! My babies are growing up and I've lost so many years already. I know Kristin is still young enough for FIAR, but all the books? She's already 7. And the boys? There are still plenty of FIAR books they haven't had the privilege of hearing and learning from. Do I just lose those opportunities and memories and move them into Beyond? What about Kaity? This is what she loves. This is the way she wants to learn. How can I do this for high school? Is there something out there that can assure me that she will learn the kind of science she needs to learn, the history, the writing, but still have lots of reading and learning from good books, but at the same time doesn't depend on me 100%, that will teach her some independence? Will something like that be good enough if she wants to go to college? I'm not capable of pulling lessons out of the classics like Jane has so amazingly done with children's books. Where can I find what we're looking for? And again, am I crazy for even thinking this way? Is Kaity going to get into 10th or 11th grade and then I'm going to freak out thinking that we're not doing enough?

Someone please help calm my fears and guide me in the right direction. Please.

06-24-2009, 01:46 AM
I'd probably recruit the olders to do some of the FIAR readings and maybe even a lesson or two each week. ;)

Rachel Jane
06-24-2009, 07:34 AM
Well, I don't think it is ever too late for FIAR, but it may be too late to call it her curricula.

If you turned each book into a independent study with 8th grade requirements, you could beef it WAAAAY up.

I wrote about how we do an independent study on this thread:


Or you could have her be responsible for doing FIAR with the youngers, doing the notebooking and research for/with them. She could write papers and do more difficult projects related to their interests.

06-24-2009, 07:58 AM
I'm sorry, Christy, but I do think that high school is too late for FIAR, because of the formality of record-keeping and the transcript. BUT, that doesn't mean she won't be exposed to it and be able to relive wonderful memories as her younger siblings row their books. What a blessing that is, to have everyone in the same house together and the older one shouting, "I remember when I did that!"

Your youngers aren't too old for FIAR or BY. I don't even begin FIAR until first grade, and for two of my dc, that's when they're about to turn 7 years old. By the time we get to Vol. 4, they're almost 10. It's not too late at all!

As for high school, there are curricula out there that aren't "all textbook." I know, because I've been looking at them! Math and science lend themselves to a textbook approach -- although you can do science in other ways. (I'm choosing textbook because I don't want to be very involved in science at the high school level, except to oversee it!) But history, English, and electives have many, many options. Beautiful Feet, Progeny Press, My Father's World, and many other publishers have more of an integrated, literature-based approach. It's not like you have to go with A Beka or Bob Jones or anything. ;)

I understand the anxiety you feel with an 8th grader! I'm in the same boat. I've been researching for about 6 months -- yes, probably way too early. :) But now that I've explored the options out there, I'm much LESS anxious and I know that we can find some non-textbook things that my ds will like, while also satisfying the record-keeping and transcript requirements for a college-bound (I think/hope) kid.

So while I don't think FIAR can be used for high school, I do think there are options you have that seem like natural extensions of this way of learning for a teenager.

06-24-2009, 11:00 AM
Well, I'm of the opinion that anything is possible. ;)

FIAR might not be able to be used as is for high school but I'm sure someone with a lot of time and creativity could extend the lessons to a high school level. Even Steve and Jane say that you could use the idea of FIAR to the college level and that college professors have use children's picture books as a jumping off point for a lecture.

Now, could I do it for high school? No. I love the idea of it but I know I wouldn't be very good with the actual implementation. What I might do is have my high school student help plan and carry out a younger student's lessons as an elective (child development or children's literature study) or as an extracurricular activity and call it mentoring or tutoring. Imagine how much they would learn trying to find lesson ideas for a young sibling? I know I've filled many gaps in my education in that way. ;)

I don't think she's too old at all to enjoy FIAR, even if she just sits in on the stories and projects, but I think it would be a lot of work to make it her main curriculum. I think it would be better as an extracurricular activity. Perhaps it will inspire her to be a teacher of some kind...or a children's librarian...volunteer to read to children as an adult....or maybe will write her own literature based lessons....;)

06-24-2009, 11:15 AM
Maybe I should clarify (now that I've had a little bit of sleep since I originally posted).

I do realize that I can't use FIAR for Kaity now or for high school. I guess I was asking if I still have enough time to start using it again, soley (except for math and spelling, etc.) with the rest of the kids. I realize today that I absolutely can do that.

So I guess my REAL question is, what's out there for high school that is more literature based? I would rather stay away from teaching Science myself, but history, writing, lots of classics reading... that type of thing. Is this even possible? While this is what I want to do, I would need serious help with lessons/layout/planning.

06-24-2009, 11:20 AM
Hi Christy,

I am staring high school in the face in a couple weeks and ya know what? It doesn't have to be so intimidating! Yes, I have wrestled with it! Yes, I have worried and Yes I have wondered how in the world I would manage high school!!

Through prayer, reading books on home schooling high school and time, God has really brought me to the place of "I don't have to FREAK out about high school".

So it has been a process but at this point I am really feeling strongly that we just keep going, keep doing what we have been doing. Which is the FIAR idea and loving life and loving learning! Just have to work record keeping into the mix.

For that part I have gleaned many ideas from Barb Shelton's book Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La. Now warning, this book has been discussed on here before...sometimes people just want to throw the book, ]okay that was me, but now it is really speaking to me and hitting me just where I am at.

She uses many different fonts, she writes like she would be talking and interjects many little "diddy things". But I am getting good ideas and information and leaving what I don't need or don't care for.

The reason I really recommend the book is because it is the best book I have seen that falls in line with the FIAR-ish approach to learning. She will not give you a curriculum to follow but good ideas of how to take life learning and turn it into a class. Or how to set up your own American History course with good books etc. (I am planning to use book lists like TruthQuest History, Sonlight catalog, and Beautiful feet to pull out books I want her to read for the Am. History credit.)

I too don't want to give up the FIAR years just because we are hitting High school now, I want our relationship to be key and just keep doing the wonderful things we have done. Not just hit the books now and make it hard, boring and something we are both going to dread each day!

Just remember if you get the book, yes it's a lot to wade through, but there is good stuff in there! I have also heard that Mary Schofield's The High School Handbook is very good but I have not seen that yet.

For us I feel that FIAR is a way/style of homeschooling and just because one gets beyond the curriculum we can still FIAR :D
I am really looking forward to high school now! :)

Rachel Jane
06-24-2009, 11:57 AM
For us I feel that FIAR is a way/style of homeschooling and just because one gets beyond the curriculum we can still FIAR :D
I am really looking forward to high school now! :)
:clap: :clap:

I have used the High school Form -U -La to write out what I expect for a credit and how it will be graded. I am presently writing a sailing course :) and have used a great picture book for beginning sailors called Sarah's Boat.

06-24-2009, 12:20 PM
I PMed you Christy!

Nancy Ann
06-24-2009, 01:12 PM
Hi Christy,

Yes, FIAR with your youngers will be great!!

As for highschool I really recommend Tapestry of Grace. It is a solid program and I think there will be some great bonding moments for you and your older child with this program. Once or maybe twice a week you sit down with your child and talk about what it is they are learning and there are lots of discussion questions and ideas the author of this program leads you through with your child. Just like FIAR gives us such great memories with our young kids, I believe Tapestry does the same but at a more mature level for our older kids. This curricula has lots of great reading, the writing program is very good. It covers all but Math, science and any formal language arts you want. The history is chronological through books not textbooks, it has great geography and mapping, fine arts and literature selections, the bible is also very strong with Tapestry. The best is there are also great hands on fun.

I believe they have a free trial you can print off and see if you and your daughter like it.

Here is their link and on the front page they mention free samples.

You will also be able to use this for your other children when they get older and you are finished with FIAR. It is actually a K-12 program but I tried it when my son was younger and I didn't care for it. FIAR is much better for these younger years. But starting JR. High I think this is the way to go. They have lots of helps with organizing and I like how this curricula gives you more flexibility than some others. You can pick and choose what sort of things you want to do and when you want to do them. Sort of like FIAR you make your own schedule with all the stuff she gives you. So it does take some planning but after awhile it becomes easier to plan for the week.

06-24-2009, 01:47 PM
I used Beyond with my son when he was in the eigth grade. I have no regrets. I venture to say you CAN use FIAR for eigth grade. She can help "teach" it to her siblings and she could take each book as an independent study. The books are limitless. I always figured if I learned something from each book, my kids would be okay. I think she can re-visit, while bringing your little ones along for the FIAR chance of a life time.

06-24-2009, 03:42 PM
I agree with allowing her to help teach the youngers their FIAR lessons, or have her be the one to read the story to them each day. Then she will continue to make FIAR memories with them.

As for her own studies, there are a lot of great unit study type things on the market. Amanda Bennett has unit studies which are great. We will be using the American Government one next year. We've used Further Up and Further In (http://www.cadroncreek.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=Narnia) which is a unit study with the Narnia books. It was fantastic! There is also one for Anne of Green Gables. (http://www.cadroncreek.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=Victorian)

We've also used the Beautiful Feet Guides which are fabulous for history, science, and geography. They include notebooking so there's plenty of writing and you read great literature of course.

8th grade is a good time to look ahead to high school and make plans. I make a general 4 year plan as a guide, but it's always open to change as we go along.

Don't be afraid to dig in there and start looking. You will gain confidence as you search and consider. I also have Barb Shelton's book from which I have gained lots of insight. Yes, it is a weird read- her writing style is hard to follow, but it has been very helpful in how to create my own classes and give credit.

I created an ecology class for my dds where we watched all the Planet Earth DVDs (from the library). They came with teacher resources as well which were wonderful- ideas for topic research, vocabulary, experiments, and essay questions. It wasn't literature-based but it made a great science course. For my 10th grade dd next year I'm creating a chemistry course using TOPS science and adding in a few literature titles. I will have her learn about the experiment topics from her own research using textbooks and other sources. I think it will be fun! I've also created a personal fitness course using an Arnold Schwartneger (sp?) book.

One last thing, involve your dd in the planning. They love having a voice in their education.

Denise H
06-24-2009, 03:58 PM
I'm feeling the same way, Kristy. My oldest is going into 8th grade. I have loved our time learning with FIAR, and I'm enjoying going through it again with my littles.

I'm thinking about using My Father's World (http://www.mfwbooks.com) next year with my oldest 2. I like the looks of the high school plan, and I think I might try it next year to see how we like it. For my 6th and 8th grader, it would cover our Bible, literature, history/geography, science, music appreciation, art, and character development. I'm looking for science to add for ds13, since they recommend additional science for a 7th or 8th grader. In high school, MFW covers Bible, history, and English.

06-24-2009, 04:26 PM
Here's a twist - my oldest is doing FIAR vol. 3 next year with my 7yo. It will count as an elective on her transcript - "Teacher's Assistant" - just like many high schools offer.

06-26-2009, 11:29 AM
Thank you to everyone who gave me suggestions for what's out there. I am enjoying looking over each one and am so glad to know we don't have to give up the style of learning we have all come to love so much just because we're in high school.

If anyone has any other suggestions, I would love to look at those as well.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my mommy-heart. :kiss:

06-28-2009, 11:22 PM
I came across this at a used curriculum sale and bought 2 study guides w/ the books for future use. I haven't had a chance to really look through it, but it kinda has a FIAR feel to it in a way. It's called TOTAL LANGUAGE PLUS.

Heather (WI)
06-30-2009, 12:34 AM
:hi: Christy,

Have you considered doing "Above and Beyond FIAR" for your oldest next year? That way you would get more FIAR in with her, and it is written to be more independent.

Dee in NY
06-30-2009, 04:59 PM
For high school we have been using Switched on Schoolhouse and Life pacs. My kids use a variety of those, I give them a choice.

laurie in ok
07-03-2009, 04:56 PM
I highly recommend the book A Thomas Jefferson Education. I think you would find it very helpful in planning your upper grade years.