Monday, August 24, 2015

Homeschooling a high schooler in Taiwan

This coming school year will be Zosia's final official year of homeschooling. She will be graduating from high school! Time flies, it seems like not so long ago we have started our homeschooling adventure with her and now this journey is coming to an end. 

Many people ask us how does the high school years of learning at home look like. Let me try to describe it to you a bit.
In Taiwan middle school graduates can apply for homeschooling at high school level directly to the Bureau of Education. When applying students can choose if they want to cooperate with a high school of their choice or not. When they choose to cooperate with the school they need to write up a cooperation plan which has to be negotiated with the school. In the plan they can write that they will be taking some classes at school or they will be taking tests and exams with other students.

In Zosia's case, we applied to the Bureau of Education without high school cooperation. Before the start of the first year of high school, we've submitted a very long proposal for all three years of high school. In the proposal we outlined all the areas of interest and explained how Zosia is going to progress in these areas. 

Zosia's main areas of interest include (in no particular order):
  • film making
  • film editing
  • skiing and snowboarding
  • voice acting
  • acting on stage
  • modeling
  • animation
Every year Zosia needs to prepare a status report on what she has been doing during the past two semesters. She also has to present some of her works in front of the Homeschool Review Board.
At the end of her high school homeschooling she will receive a Certificate of Completion from the Bureau of Education. With that she will be able to take exams or to apply to the university either in Taiwan or abroad.

Now that Zosia is older (17) and has many different jobs and interests her homeschooling has become more self-directed than ever. There are weeks that she comes home only to sleep as during the day she is busy filming, modeling, voice acting, giving lectures or attending classes at the university. On those days it's impossible to do any "schooling" at home.

On the days that she is at home we do literature, history and math together. For literature and math we use Polish high school textbooks and for history a few different books in English. 
Zosia is also using Khan Academy and Coursera for different on-line courses. Her Coursera lectures vary in topics from film and media, human anatomy to linguistics. The last course was entitled "Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics". 




Zosia has also taken a couple of courses at the university in the past few years. She has got to know how the college lectures look like. She was surprised and disappointed with the level of interest of other students. Most of them were either sleeping or playing on the phones during the classes and they never asked the professors any questions.


Zosia's notes from one of the classes.

Will Zosia go to college next year?
As of now Zosia does not think she will be going full time to the university next year. She would like to be able to choose the classes according to her interest and not spending four years studying subjects that are completely irrelevant to her works. 

Zosia spends hours editing her own films
as well as films for other people.

In the past months Zosia has taken a few courses in the subjects that interest her. 
She has spent many hours learning how to be a better ... model - she took classes on how to walk, present, even open the door :-) (I know it sounds funny, but it was hard work). 
Over the summer she took an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) course and now she is a certified EMT. 
She also took classes from Broadway performers, during which she has learned a lot about performing in musicals. 
Now she is in New Zealand, where she will be taking courses for Level II Ski Instructor and Level I Snowboard Instructor. (I would like to point out that she is sponsoring herself, no financial help from her parents).


Although sometimes I wish Zosia would spend more time studying at home, I am still very proud of her and of what she has so far accomplished.

2 comments:

  1. Brawa dla panny Zofii! Umie ona o wiele więcej niż przeciętny uczeń high school. Albo i student w college'u.

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