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Excuse Me While I Stick A Fork In My Eye

Some things make me a little crazy. They do. I wish I were more unflappable but I'm not. Nope, I am one flappable gal. When I get this way it takes every ounce of my strength not to put gum in my hair or stick a fork in my eye and run down the street.

Someone was told today in a discussion that they should not in good faith count mowing the grass as a PE credit for high school.

This launched into a broad discussion of what "counts" for high school credit. (Flapped again - pausing to vomit in my mouth a little bit.)

Many well meaning moms shared the rigorous requirements (with great pride) that they exercise before they allow their children to count anything for credit. Not the least of which was a minimum of 120 hours of recorded schoolwork in the subject.

Let me start by saying, I do not agree with or submit to the idea that we have to emulate the public school methods for determining credit in any way. This may seem radical (it's really not) but what drives me batty is when homeschool moms look over the fence at how the public school system calculates credits as if it's some beautiful green shire and then look back at their own home as Lord of the Flies and nothing counts.

The hours to "count" imply that students who sit languishing in classrooms all year are actually doing 120 hours of work. Being in a space while breathing in and out is NOT working. Well, it actually is if you are in the public school system or the prison system. Do the time, get released.

This is ridiculous in my opinion and experience. Students at home accomplish much more in less time. A LOT LESS TIME. The suggestion would be that they must clock the same mindless wasted hours as their schooled counterparts to measure up and have their efforts count. They do not.

Students do not need 5000 hours of clocked schoolwork to meet these requirements and frankly I do not understand why we are so quick to incorporate and accept the standards of a system we have rejected flatly?

What happens to homeschool moms when they reach high school with their kids? The same women who boldly withdrew their kids from the system, or who refused to ever send them suddenly become shrinking violets in the face of creating a transcript and giving their child credit for the work. Don't do that, think this through.

If a child moves quickly through their work do you punish them by slowing them down to make the hours work for "credit"? If they grasp a concept quickly should they me made to do repetitive busy work like schooled children? This is the scale you want to use?

I say absolutely not.

Mastery Matters. Efficiency Matters. Operate outside the scope and sequence of the school system and children will thrive. They will actually achieve infinitely more than the fairly low standards I find with state minimum requirements. They blow past them.

In 5000 hours of high school a child can accomplish SO MUCH MORE than the State Minimum.

Do you realize a degree in engineering requires about 128 hours of classroom time? But a high school diploma requires 5000 hours? No.

And I've got two up, out, graduated, married, with kids. Scholarships, great ACT scores and anything else you might use to measure them (that I don't find all that impressive - lol) I speak to this from experience. I speak to this from working with moms for a decade doing this.

All the time counts. Not just bookwork. Not just studying. All the efforts count. All the activities count.

You MUST think out of the box.

Mowing the grass IS a PE credit. Well they don't mow grass at the local high school! No they don't. What a shame. Kids might actually learn something useful instead of learning to play croquet for 4 weeks. They don't mow because parents would complain and sue. Kids wouldn't do it. They don't mow because it's manual labor which the school system rejects as second class work to a college degree. But mostly they don't mow because they haven't thought of it.

I promise you if the local high school invested in a lawn and landscaping course and equipment and developed a curriculum and testing. The community would actually RAVE about it. They would see the genius in it --- if the school system did it. Ya know, officially. Why there would be news stories and FB videos of the innovative, earth-friendly new program being launched at whatever school.

But give a homeschool student credit for it and it's lame? (pass the fork) Mowing is aerobic. It's walking, it's resistance. They are sweating and using all their muscle groups. Why is this even a discussion? My son got credit for baling hay. Hundreds and hundreds of bales. The only people who would argue that baling hay isn't a PE credit have never baled, or slung, or put up hay a day in their life.

You are the teacher. You decide what counts. Exercise integrity always, but do not substitute your good judgment for the school systems failing methods of measuring a students worthiness. If for nothing else, do this for me? Forks hurt.

Blessings, Robin

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