This is the best curriculum we have found since starting homeschooling.  All 5 kids said in one way or another, 'wow, this is really making me think!'  I love that it is doing exactly that.  - C.L.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Here you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Connect The Thoughts™ .  If you have questions that are not answered here, you may send your questions directly to our founder: click here .

 
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
80060

Long Term Planning

Janet asks all the right and hard questions. Here's the latest:

"Ok, I'm a long term planner. What happens next if my boys start the lower school courses at age 9 and finish at age 16? or 15? or even 14?"

ANSWER:

The Lower School Curriculum is not intended to go any longer than two years, whether the student completes the Lower School materials or not. Lower School materials are principally preparatory for Upper School , though they do educate, and expertly so.

If someone were to do ALL of the curriculum, they would do Lower School from say age 9-10. WHEN THEIR READING SKILLS ARRIVED AT A POINT WHERE THEY WERE ABLE TO READ AND EXECUTE UPPER SCHOOL MATERIALS, they would IMMEDIATELY move up.  This might not happen before the student was age 11 or so - but it can and has happened sooner than that with some students.

The determining factors are LITERACY and MATURITY.

When a student is sufficiently literate, we'd like him to move into Upper School, and quickly. TO THIS END, THERE'S A LITERACY TEST FOR UPPER SCHOOL. Our "reading tests" consists of sample lesson plans from the level the student is considering moving up to.  If the student can handle these well, then he/she probably is literate enough, and has the maturity, to deal with the materials of that level of study.

To use our free Lower School Reading Test, composed of sample lessons from the level, to determine if this level is correct for your student, click here.

To look at Lower School courses, free samples of each course, and free videos explaining every part of Lower School, click here.

To look at our Lower School Semester I buindle, the least-expensive way to get started, click here.

Upper School probably cannot be done in its entirety much faster than 4 years. This would include completing at least the following:

  • ALL BASICS COURSES, INCLUDING US HOW TO DO RESEARCH
  • US HISTORY I-XI
  • US SCIENCE I-VIII
  • CREATIVE WRITING I-V
  • YOUR AMBITIONS AND PLANS, and MANNERS
  • AS MANY CURRENT EVENTS (WORLD PROBLEMS) COURSES AS POSSIBLE

The student might also do a Writing Master's Course, as these go a long way towards providing a professional skill. These are very involved and take time, I would think AT LEAST 1 year per course, unless the student is very dedicated. I used to teach at U.S.C., in their professional writers program, and these Master's Courses are FAR more complete and involved than that university's program. These courses have the intention of helping to create a professional writer.

To look at the free Upper School reading test, composed of lessons from this level, to determine if Upper School is the right level for your student, click here.

To look at Upper School courses, free samples of each course, and free videos explaining each part of Upper School, click here.

To look at our Upper School Creative Writing Prrogram, click here.

Also, I'm a big fan of students doing arts electives. As you know, we offer acting, animation, and music. The acting programs will take a student 2 semesters. Music, however, is probably a good 2 years, animation, as long as three years.

So, what's the answer? Well let's break the question into parts.

PART ONE: HOW LONG WILL UPPER SCHOOL TAKE?

Upper School, given the student should be studying math, history, science, basics courses, creative writing, electives, and doing some sort of P.E. should take ABOUT 4-5 years, maybe even six years depending on the student.

My son (very bright and diligent) completed Upper School after around 5 years, at age 16. That said, long before he completed, his essays and creative writings were frighteningly brilliant. His vocabulary is and was intimidating to most adults, and his general subject of conversation incomprehensible to anyone without a very good education in many areas.

I believe if a student does their studies honestly, vigorously, and diligently, without any "glibness", but with the intent to truly and actually learn, Upper School is AT LEAST 4 years, more likely 5-6. Then again, Upper School studies replace both High School and Middle School (or Junior High)...and provides an education far more complete and intensive than schools offer, as a rule.

Connect The Thoughts
is intended to completely replace "school", with homeschool that will actually challenge, educate, and prepare a student for a creative, productive, interesting life that he/she has control over.

PART TWO: WHAT NEXT?

So, your student finishes Upper School at age 16. Or he/she is a wunderkind and completes at 15, or maybe 14...unlikely, but then, it's a big world.  Where to?

Let me offer you an OPINION. This is only my opinion, it is not any more than an opinion. It's based on having taught and lectured at many universities and colleges and schools, and having taught for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and for private schools for over 10 years. AGAIN, THE FOLLOWING IS OPINION .

I generally don't like schools. What they are today and how they function (and this includes almost all school, including private schools) reminds me either of prison, or mass baby-sitting. I don't like the fact that schools are forced to shy away from subjects which are not "PC", such as religion, politics, social behavior, etc.  I don't like that students are not at all safe in school.  I don't like a school taking over a student's life and their decision-making process as they develop.

I only went through High School, myself, in Los Angeles. I never went to college, not for one day. By the time I finished High School, I was working professionally as a writer-director-performer, and had won an Emmy Award. All the teaching I've done (and we're talking many thousands of hours of classroom time) has happened because I invested massive amounts of time and effort to master something that I loved to do...theater. I decided at a very early age that writing was the thing I most wanted to do, and that writing theater in particular was for me. I studied very hard, particularly from age 11, and on my own. I read about 3 plays a day, for 10 years, no joke. (I read very quickly.) I directed over 5 productions a year and ran my own theater company from age 14. I taught myself to read music, play piano, to sing, to write orchestrations, and to choreograph, so I could do anything and everything a musical might demand of me.  I also started teaching acting workshops at age 15. All true, if a bit bizarre. (Fortunately, I had no one around telling me it couldn't be done.)

It is my opinion that a person knows what he wants to do at a very young age. I believe that some people follow up on their young dreams, and many do not, and for many reasons. One reason many people fail to go after their dream is that THEY ARE STOPPED, often by well-meaning parents, friends, and relatives who "know best" what their child (or friend) ought to do with his/her life. All too often,  the person is stopped by "educators" who "know best" what is right for the child.  In the end, however, only the child will know best what is right for him.  It's his life.

A person's dreams can be murdered at a very young age, with just one sour look from someone respected and beloved, one doubtful word, when the child mentions casually "I want to paint", or "I want to help people", or "I'm going to be an astronaut".

Further, it is my opinion that a child...and by this I mean nearly any and every child...has the capacity to do exactly as they dream. Those of you homeschooling bright children know what I mean! But even a child who is "challenged" (I hate that word and the silly idea behind it) will learn things that he/she wants to learn, and I've found this to be a nearly inviolable law. The capacity is almost always there, and usually, at a remarkably young age.

So what, besides a sour look or misspoken word, stops a person from learning???

Let me tell you a quick story. I COULD NOT READ UNTIL 1ST GRADE. True. Why? NO ONE TAUGHT ME. My mother was busy raising two sons alone, and dependent upon a silly school district to handle her kids. They didn't. As a matter of fact, my kindergarten teacher spoke not a word of English. My stepfather refused to believe this until he went to "open house" and met her. Not able to speak any Korean, he found that he and my teacher were unable to communicate.

Then, I lucked out. My first grade teacher, whose blessed name was Mrs. Schick, but she re-married and became Mrs. Miller, looked at me one day, and came up with an odd idea, one she only did with me. She asked me to start reading through Webster's Dictionary from page one, with her. We did this every day (at lunch, etc...) NO PHONICS, NO ANYTHING but learning to identify the whole written word (combination of written squiggles) with the sound of the word, with the meaning of the word.

Page by page, word by word. I became better and faster at this as we went. Much faster. I was tested at the end of the school year, and they found that I was able to read over 1,000 words a minute with 100% comprehension. (Wish I'd learned to spell better, however...)  (And for those of you shouting "See - public education works", that was in 1963, almost no teacher would take that approach today, nor would they be allowed to with Common Core and other National Educational standards mandated from above.  Sorry - schools are not what they were...if they ever were.)

Mrs. Miller saved my life, simply by challenging me, while providing me THE ACTUAL INFORMATION WITHOUT ADORNMENT that I needed to learn, and then expecting me to master the materials. END OF STORY.

So back to CTT.

Your student does all the Connect The Thoughts courses...many of which are university Level and then some in Upper School. He/she finishes at age 16. What to do? College? Well, my opinion , college/University is great for having a social life, and is necessary if you plan to do something which requires a degree, such as being a doctor or lawyer or, as my son has expressed some interest in...an "Astro-Botanist". (He is also a professional actor and a brilliant writer, however, so we shall see.)

But I can't imagine why anyone would go to college for any other reason. And a warning (one shared by my dear, departed wife, who had a Masters in music and voice from Texas University)...I believe that sending a student to a college or university to learn the arts is simply a mistake and deadly. Nearly every artist I know who has experienced any success simply started in their teens or earlier, and continued to create and study on their own, or with highly trusted individuals. I know many successful artists, and very few have degrees.  And the ones who do essentially survived college, as they would tell you.

If college is the game, you will need to have your homeschool student take any state-required tests to graduate high school. These tests, structured for public school students, are all too simple and somewhat moronic to a bright homeschool student, though I advise you make certain your student knows his/her math.

You may also want to do the SAT tests, if you wish to place a student into a well-reputed university or college.

But for myself, I discourage the idea generally of college. Besides, frankly, Connect The Thoughts is designed to teach most of the general educational requirements a student would do in college (and more), and at a much younger age. General Ed can and usually does cover the first year or two in college, before one is allowed to specialize. I say (my opinion) start specializing young , when the student starts to know what they want to learn and do!

I believe that, by age 16, most people have formed a very real idea of what they want to do, and are ready to go after it. If it requires study (as my career did and does), they'll study. But if they're in love with what they're planning to do, nothing will be able to stop them, and they will find a way to learn about it, including hands-on real world experience. I did. Millions of others have.

Finally, we come to THE PURPOSE OF EDUCATION .

Education is not a means unto itself! It is not a career, except for the professional teacher. It should be on-going for a life time, as there is no shortage of amazing things to learn, but now we're talking about education and not "schooling", which are two entirely separate things!

The purpose of education, it seems to me, should have a lot to do with preparing a child (or adult) to live a happy, successful, useful life doing the very things they want to do.

I think many parents would agree with me on this, and possibly even some educators who haven't forgotten that education is for the student, and not for the educator. 

Education should provide skills and insights which will serve the student throughout his/her life. Education should open the eyes and mind of the student to the wonders of life, and the uncountable options available at every moment. It should open the door to endless solutions to problems undreamed of at the time that the education was occurring, problems that will crop up in later years and resolve with cool and intelligent application of information and skills acquired during that education.

Our job as parents and educators includes (my opinion ) the true and thorough preparation of our young to lead, to make wise decisions based on good information and clear thought and clean hearts.

In accomplishing this sort of education, completely foreign to most schools and teachers I'm afraid, we best guarantee the survival of our young, our civilization, and our planet. Education should open the student's awareness to possibilities, and to their own ideas and beliefs, those deeply held truths unique to that unique person.Education  should demand of the student that he/she think and delve and comprehend and form opinions. It should never demand stock answers to stock questions, regurgitated neatly on cue. That is schooling and at every level and in nearly every institution, including universities.  And it is a miserable, disastrous failure that millions of people pay for every day.

I think we should educate, and listen to our children when they tell us "what next", based on the fact that they're awake, informed and interested.

And when they tell us "what next", we should do everything in our power to help them to their dream.

That  is my full answer to the wonderful question Janet asked, by the way.

     Steven Horwich
     Connect The Thoughts

 
 


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