Issue 06 | May 11, 2012 | Setting Self-Designed Objectives

Newsletters Archive

You may have asked the question, "If Self-Designed courses have a tendency to change as they go, how can I set objectives ahead of time?  We have an answer for you!  Also in this issue, we will introduce you to two incredible young musicians.

Featured Students:  Jessica (17) and Katelyn (14) Lyons

Jessica and Katelyn LyonsThese sisters loved music from early-on.  In her private music studio at home, their mother, Jennifer, began teaching Jessica the violin when the girl was four years old. Katelyn, then two, insisted on playing a violin as well.   The passion has never stopped. 

Two years ago, both girls began home schooling in order to have more time to practice (3-5 hours a day) They also need time for the car trips to the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. which they take sometimes up to 6 times per week, 1.5 hours one way.

They refer to their variety of education as "car-schooling."

Currently they are taking 3 college classes that will prepare them for admission into a music school or conservatory in the future, music theory, ear training and sight-singing.

As we talked about their futures, they named three schools they are shooting for: the New England conservatory in Boston, Julliard conservatory in New York, or Brigham Young University School of Music in Utah. 

While talking with these two vibrant young ladies, it did not take long to realize how dedicated they are to polishing their talent.  So I had to ask them why they love it so much.   I heard from them that they love playing in nursing homes and lifting the spirits of the residents.  They regard music as a language that can reach across cultural and language barriers communicating with others powerfully emotional messages.

Do I think they will be admitted to their schools of choice?  Without a doubt.

 How can you fit stated objectives with the always-changing nature of the Self-Designed course?

These great tips come from a seasoned home schooling mom:

 With self designed courses I find that while we are working on them we often adjust a little, we learn as we go, we see we have a lack or a weakness and work on that area a bit more, we get excited about some things and go in depth, we get disappointed about something and change course a little bit. That is the fun of self designed courses.  Of course you need to stay in certain perimeters, but as you are learning you discover what is really important.  Of course this cannot work for a course like Algebra 2, but for Health, Art, PE, and Professional Studies it certainly can.  Also a subject like English is very broad, and we like to decide a bit as we go.  Sometimes after a study we find we learned a lot in an area we were not even considering before the study.

 For instance: We plan an apprenticeship for my daughter; she will work at a local flower store. We will count this for our Professional Technical Studies credit.  Our objective is to learn about how a flower store is run: she will learn about the layout of a store and reasons behind it, about advertising, about working with clients.  We have set our objectives.  After the course is done we evaluate with the store owner: the owner writes an evaluation, my daughter does and I do by going back to our objectives.  However, I realize that she learned a lot of German during her weeks of working there and so I decide to count some of that as hours for her German culture credit.  She has also really enjoyed making bouquets and the owner has given her lots of opportunity in this area since he sees she is gifted in this.  Now I would like to use some of the hours also for our Fine Arts credit.

 Have fun with your self-designed courses.   If a LOT changes in course content, update your advisor.  

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