Long Term Planning, Education, Schooling, College, and Connect The Thoughts
Janet asks all the right and
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?"
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
, though they do educate, and intensely so. If someone were
of the curriculum (which NO ONE has yet done, by the way),
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, but probably not much before age 11, as
these are largely based on University-level materials.
The key is LITERACY. When a student is sufficiently
literate, we'd like him to move into Upper School, and
quickly. TO THIS END, I WILL CREATE A LITERACY TEST FOR
UPPER SCHOOL AND PLACE IT ON THE CTT SITE THIS WEEK. (We
used to have one, but when we moved over to the new site, it
was mysteriously lost. Ah, computers...)
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.
look at Lower School courses, free samples of each course,
and free videos explaining every part of Lower School, click
look at our Lower School Semester I buindle, the
least-expensive way to get started, click here.
Upper School cannot (and probably should not) be done in its
entirety any faster than 4 years. This would include
completing at least the following, currently:
ALL BASICS COURSES, INCLUDING US HOW TO DO RESEARCH
US HISTORY I-XI
US SCIENCE I-VIII
CREATIVE WRITING I-V (MINIMALLY!)
YOUR AMBITIONS AND PLANS, and MANNERS
AS MANY CURRENT EVENTS (WORLD PROBLEMS) COURSES AS POSSIBLE
Ideally, however, the student would also do a Writing
Master's Course, as these go a very long way towards
providing a salable 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
program. They have the intention of helping create a
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.
look at Upper School courses, free samples of each course,
and free videos explaining each part of Upper School, click
look at our Upper School Creative Writing Prrogram, click
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, currently. Music,
however, is probably a good 2 years, animation, as long as
three. I'll be adding to these course line-ups this year.
So, what's the answer? Well let's break the question into
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 AT LEAST
4 years. My son (VERY bright and diligent) is on his 5th
year, is 16 years old, and will complete sometime this year.
He will have studied Upper School nearly 6 years. That
said, his essays and creative writings are frighteningly
brilliant. His vocabulary is intimidating to most adults,
and his general subject of conversation incomprehensible to
anyone without a very good background in many areas. Me
personally, 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, it replaces 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 REPLACE completely "school", with home
school that will actually challenge, educate, and work.
PART TWO: WHAT NEXT?
So, your student finishes Upper School at age 16. Or he/she
is a wunderkind and completes at 15 (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 certain subjects which are not "PC",
such as religion, politics, social behavior, etc.
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...theatre. I decided at a very early age that
writing was the thing I most wanted to do, and that writing
theatre in particular was for me. I studied 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 theatre
company from age 14. I 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 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. But of course, only YOU know what
YOU dream of and believe in and want to do. A person's
dreams can be murdered at a very young age, with just one
sour look from someone respected and beloved, when the child
mentions casually "I want to paint", or "help people", or
"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 home schooling bright children
know what I mean! But even a child who is "challenged"
(HATE that word and the silly idea behind it) WILL learn
things he/she WANTS to learn, and I've found this to be a
nearly inviolable law. The CAPACITY is there, and usually,
at a 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 the school system to handle us. They didn't.
As a matter of fact, my kindergarten teacher SPOKE NO
ENGLISH. My stepfather refused to believe this until he
went to "open house" and met her. Not able to speak any
Korean, they 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 written word
(combination of written squiggles) with the sound of the
word, with the definition and 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...)
Mrs. Miller saved my life, simply by both challenging me,
and providing me THE ACTUAL INFORMATION WITHOUT ADORNMENT I
needed to learn, and then expecting me to master the
materials. And YES, this was a GOOD result from my
connection with a school...however her method was utterly
NON standard, and she did this with no other student I knew
of. Why me? Don't know. Someone was certainly looking out
for me, though. END OF STORY.
So your student does all the
Connect The Thoughts
materials...many of which are University Level AND THEN
SOME. 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. His current hero
is Carl Sagan, something that developed out of his studies.)
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 VERY
TRUSTED INDIVIDUALS. I know MANY successful artists, and
very few have degrees.
If college is the game, you will need to have your home
school student take any state-required tests to graduate
high school. These tests, structured for the public
schools, are VERY EASY to a bright home school 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 great university or college. But for
myself, I discourage the idea generally of college.
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 cover the first year
or two in college, before one is allowed to specialize. I
say (my OPINION) start specializing YOUNG, when you know
what you 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
WILL study. But if they're in love with what they're
planning to do, THEY WILL FIND WAYS TO LEARN ALL ABOUT IT,
including real world experience. I did. Millions of others
Finally, we come to
THE PURPOSE OF EDUCATION
. Education is
a means unto itself! It is
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. I think most parents
would agree on this, and possibly many educators. Education
can 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 education was occurring, problems that will crop
up in later years and resolve with cool and intelligent
application of information and skills.
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 doing this, 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. It should
demand of the student that he/she think and delve and
comprehend and form opinions. It SHOULD NOT demand stock
answers to stock questions, regurgitated neatly on cue.
That IS schooling and at EVERY level and in nearly every
institution, including universities.
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 answer to the wonderful
question Janet asked, by the way.
Connect The Thoughts