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 expertly so.
If someone were to do
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.
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 probably cannot be done in its entirety much
faster than 4 years. This would include completing at least
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
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. Music, however,
is probably a good 2 years, animation, as long as three
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 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
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
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
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
that word and the silly idea behind it) will learn things
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/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
, when the student starts to know what they want to learn
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
and not "schooling", which are two entirely
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
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
) 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
demand stock answers to stock questions, regurgitated
neatly on cue. That is
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
I think we should educate, and listen to our children when
"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.
Connect The Thoughts