High School Credits Are Not Found or Earned, They Are Built

If there’s one thing I see causing moms entirely unnecessary stress about homeschooling high school, it is the perception that there are fully constructed credits out there that they have to hunt down and secure. ⁣

But you don’t have to “find” credits.⁣

Credits are BUILT. ⁣

Work is done to *earn* them but not as a prize already constructed and needing to be obtained. ⁣

ALL work that a student does, throughout their high school career, is combined and constructed into the credits that they need. ⁣

Nothing is wasted. ⁣

Yes, there are courses and resources that have already built the credits for you, but you can follow the exact same process to build them yourself… ⁣

And if you’re pursuing any measure of communal, living, varied, rich high school education, you’re going to want to ensure that you know how. ⁣

Credits (Carnegie Units), are built of “hours”, which are not precisely 60 minute units of time. ⁣

Credit Hours Are Made Up of a Variety of Things: ⁣

1 Textbook (no matter how long it takes to complete)⁣

Experiences (Field Trips, Research, Projects, Internships, Interviews, Documentaries, etc) ⁣

16 Books (no matter how long they take to read) ⁣

One Semester of College Level Course Work⁣

Online or Local Classes (with books OR hours logged) ⁣

ANY combination of these can be used to build credit. ⁣

πŸ’‘If a child completes an 80 hour internship spread across their 9th and 10th grade years, and then reads 9 books on a similar topic in their 12th grade year, they’ve earned a credit. ⁣

πŸ’‘If a child completes about 3/4 of a writing textbook (no matter what grade) and also conducts an interview and writes a follow up report with the professional that they interned with, they’ve earned a Writing Credit… ⁣

πŸ’‘If over 4 years they watch and discuss documentaries on a topic for around 100 hours (including discussion) and also write a final report on that topic, they’ve earned a credit. ⁣

Credits are built… ⁣
out of EVERYTHING a student does. ⁣

I teach this process in my CM High School Workshop… ⁣

but I also teach it in depth in my Peaceful Planning Course, which also provides needed High School Record Keeping Forms.


Theological Security Comes From Being Okay with the Discomfort of the "Messy Middle"

Recently, I spent 3 hours teaching an overview of Soteriology, giving an extensive coverage of Calvinism and Arminianism. (For Session 7 of my Love With Your Mind Theology Course) ⁣

An underlying theme of this session was Theological Security.⁣

Sometimes the “Middle Place” is a place between a place you’ve been and a place that you’re working towards and the things you simply don’t yet know or understand in between. ⁣

Sometimes the “Middle Place” is a place between a secondary position that you confidently hold and the value of someone else’s position that you curiously (and graciously) maintain as a valid possibility. ⁣

Sometimes the “Middle Place” is a place between two views or positions that you see as equally meritorious and have little interest in forming a strong stance on either way. ⁣

Sometimes the “Middle Place” is a place somewhere towards the center, albeit leaning to one side, of a tension that Scripture itself creates and that we aren’t actually intended to solve, such as with the Soteriologal tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. ⁣

Theological Security in any of these Middle Places isn’t rooted in either unsettledness nor in immovability. ⁣

Security isn’t frantic and fearful, but neither is it unteachable and incurious. ⁣

Confidence isn’t found in the “comfort” of no longer having any questions or of having solved every mystery. ⁣

We can’t find security in the belief that to find a position is to nullify the validity of other positions. ⁣

Security is found in being both settled and also peacefully searching. ⁣

This requires: ⁣

1️⃣ Humility ⁣

In everything secondary to the gospel itself, we have much to learn from each other and there should always be space to change our minds. ⁣

2️⃣ Investment ⁣

When we know that we’ve worked hard to be students of the heart of God (theologians), we can rest confidently not in having the answers but in God’s faithfulness to make use of our efforts. ⁣

3️⃣ Rest ⁣

We do the work of theologians but we also know that we are finite and that the One who is infinite has every answer and will perfect every one His plans, completing the good work He has begun in us.⁣

Philosophy Isn't Curriculum, Curriculum Isn't Philosophy

When it comes to the discussion of curriculum in the homeschooling world, particularly the Charlotte Mason corner of it, there are often two cognitively dissonant ideas attempting to work in tandem. ⁣

The first is: ⁣
“Your curriculum isn’t your philosophy; read Mason’s work for yourself.” ⁣

The second is: ⁣
“Some curriculum labels itself as ‘Charlotte Mason’ inspired but really isn’t rooted in her principles.” ⁣

Now, used in their proper form and context, I would endorse each of these statements and would also say that they are not opposing ideas. ⁣

So, what makes them so dissonant and problematic? ⁣

1️⃣ What is so often being implied in the first statement is that no curriculum itself is one’s educational philosophy but that if you read Mason’s work that HER philosophy can be your own. Which, isn’t possible because philosophy must be personally crafted. (See previous posts) ⁣

2️⃣ When coupled with that underlying implication of the first statement, the second one is meant to direct you right back to the curriculum that “isn’t your philosophy” but that (obviously) is the only correct interpretation of said philosophy. ⁣

(Side Note: This is a tactic utilized in every successful cult- take that for what you will.) ⁣

3️⃣ When used in the way that they often are, both statements display a gross and fundamental misunderstanding of Philosophy, Principles, Practices, and Methods. (I have a post and a workshop covering the difference.) ⁣

It is true that curriculum isn’t Philosophy.⁣

What is also true is that your Philosophy isn’t your curriculum. ⁣

This means that your curriculum choices are *informed* by your Philosophy but are not *dictated* or even *limited* by it. ⁣

Curriculum and resources often help you articulate and crystallize your philosophy and are always a framework and a set of tools for implementing practices and methods that carry out your philosophy. ⁣

Many tools not inspired by CM at all make better tools for implementing philosophies that are than many resources that claim her name. ⁣

When you truly understand philosophy, and have crafted your own, you can use (nearly) any curriculum or tool in a way that fits within it.

Lesson Planning Week


This is what my desk looks like during Lesson Planning Week… revolving stacks of books and resources piled up, planned and prepared, put away and replaced with the next stack… over and over until all 52 lessons currently in our homeschooling schedule are thoroughly planned. ⁣

I do this once every 6 weeks, and there is a moment each time that I look around at the piles around me and am presented with the choice of viewing these hours that I’m investing as a) overwhelming and needlessly challenging or as b) stewardship of the monumental task of facilitating the education of human beings. ⁣

I’ve continued to include dozens of lessons in our schedule and to plan every single one intentionally for a decade now, so obviously I choose the latter. ⁣

I SEE it as stewardship because it IS stewardship. ⁣

I’ve continued to lesson plan in this way through pregnancy and a newborn, through moves, through a 5 year court battle, through deaths and losses, through different seasons of ministry and working, through every age and stage and grade, through my own chronic illness, and through so much more of life. ⁣

And, I’m certainly not saying that everyone should do so- life, and homeschool, comes in seasons, and seasonal shifts are wise and should be individually determined. ⁣

But, homeschooling in the way that I do requires a hefty investment of planning and preparation and for ME personally, that has never been a wise or reasonable seasonal shift. ⁣

To homeschool with Communal Learning and Variety as nonnegotiable priorities means that I am using (literally) hundreds of books and resources at any given time. ⁣

Any given lesson on our schedule could be constructed of little bits of up to a dozen books and videos and articles and notebooks. ⁣

And, even for the subjects which I’m using a single resource or I’m largely using as written, I still open it to every page that we will utilizing over 6 weeks and put my eyes, hands, and heart upon it before writing it in my Lesson Plans. ⁣

Why? ⁣
Because it is stewardship. ⁣
It is intentionality. ⁣
It is investment. ⁣

It *could* be simpler and it *could* be easier, but that just simply isn’t my aim.

More Modern Authors for Your TBR


⁣⁣⁣πŸ“šWe are living in a golden age of fiction, and I implore every reader not to miss it.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
πŸ“šHere are a few more Modern Authors in several genres that I think are worth reading (for adults). ⁣
(See my other 3 posts in this series for additional authors) ⁣⁣⁣
πŸ“ Barbara Kingsolver ⁣⁣
Writes: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Literary Fiction⁣
Read For: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Absolutely perfect voicing and characterization displayed in stories you’ll never forget⁣
πŸ“ Margarita Engle ⁣⁣
Writes: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Middle Grade/YA Verse⁣
Read For: ⁣⁣⁣⁣
Stories and poetry that will both break your heart and restore your hope⁣
πŸ“ Erica Bauermeister⁣⁣
Writes: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Contemporary Fiction⁣
Read For: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Deceptively readable (and quotable) writing that will provoke many thoughts and conversations⁣
πŸ“ Anna Quindlen ⁣⁣
Writes: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Literary Fiction/Nonfiction⁣
Read For: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Writing that effortlessly captures the mundanity and beauty of every day life and lovely, complex, imperfect people ⁣
πŸ“ Anne Patchett ⁣
Writes: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Literary Fiction/Essays⁣
Read For: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Exposure to one of America’s finest writers and a snapshot of the rare phenomenon of perfectly constructed sentences in immersive stories with unforgettable characters. ⁣
πŸ“ Dennis Lehane⁣
Writes: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Read For: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Smart writing, immersive atmosphere, and several novels that have also been adapted into great movies⁣
πŸ“ Toshikazu Kawaguchi ⁣
Writes: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
Magical Realism⁣
Read For: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
The best kind of emotional damage 😘 - but also, deceptively simple writing and a really clever use of an overused plot device⁣
πŸ“ Nikki Grimes ⁣
Writes: ⁣⁣⁣
Poetry/Novels in Verse/Middle Grade/One of the Best Memoirs Ever Written⁣
Read For: ⁣⁣⁣
Because, she’s an actual treasure and you’ll never be the same⁣

πŸ“ Annie Ernaux ⁣

Writes: ⁣
Memoirs ⁣

Read For: ⁣
The most intimate writing you’ll ever read that forces you to dig deeper into your thoughts, memories, identity, and emotions than you bargained for but will never regret⁣