Friday, September 28, 2012

What a Life (Class)

One of the most memorable classes I ever taught at a homeschool co-op was a life management class for high school students. It was named “Life”, appropriately.  It was a research and hands on class with most of the work done at home during the week.  We had about 18-20 students. To be honest, I cannot remember how many without going back and looking at the class sign-up sheet.  This was seven or eight years ago.  My memory of last week is fuzzy, so several years ago is all a blur.

Each student was asked to select a career before the co-op session began.  As the careers were chosen, my co-teacher (Deb) and I began creating assignments based on their chosen profession.  Actually, they not only chose a career, but they each filled out a “Profile Sheet” simulating an age and life situation.  We gave them no limits or boundaries, simply asked them to choose an adult age, a career, a marital status and whether they had children.  Most simulated they were young adults.  About half had children. We didn't pair them up as married couples or make them carry babies around.  They were simply given scenarios based on their profiles.
Each week, they were given 4 days’ worth of assignments taken from about 10 categories.  The categories ranged from their careers to childcare responsibilities to insurance issues.  There was also a category pertaining to health issues and one on household management.

Here is an example of two assignments out of four given to our “Astronomer”:

q  Life Navigation:

It is time for your car to have a tune-up.  Research the cost of tune-ups from various mechanics versus you or someone in your family doing it.  What is involved in giving a car a tune-up?  Record this info and file it under Community Living

q  Career:  Community Interaction

Nicole, a writer and friend since childhood, is writing a children’s novel about a young girl whose hobby is stargazing.  In order to capture her character’s emotions, Nicole will have to do some stargazing for herself, but she doesn’t own a telescope.  She is willing to purchase one, but she doesn’t know where to start.  As an astronomer, you should be able to make some recommendations.  Make a list of several types of telescopes and their costs. What type of telescope would you tell her to purchase and why? 

And two assignments for our “Writer":

q  Time Organization:
Think about what a typical day in the life of a writer and mom would be like.  Make a schedule to describe your day.  Begin with what time you wake up and end with bedtime. Include time to write and a play date for your daughter. This can be in the form of a day calendar or as a journal.  (Examples shown in class)
*Call Hayley for haircut appointment 392-7446.
q  Physical Health:
Since your daughter was born, you really have to watch your weight and health.  Your daughter keeps you very active and because you have to find time to work on your latest novel, you sometimes neglect to eat healthily.  You don’t seem to have much energy and you have become underweight.  It’s time to evaluate your diet. 
Keep a food journal for 2 days of all the food and drink you consume.  After the 2 days, look at your journal and think about what changes you need to make.  What healthy foods do you need to add?  What junk food should you eliminate?  Are you eating your meals on a regular time schedule, or do you sometimes skip meals?

 You will notice that we had a “Cosmetologist “also.  Part of her assignment that week was to receive phone calls and set up a schedule for haircuts. No, we didn't allow her to really cut hair.  But she did do a makeover!

Looking back, I cannot believe how much work Deb and I put into that class.  Not one of them shared the same occupation or family situation; each week all of the assignments were quite different.  The only thing they had in common were two out of the four weekly assignments.  Those usually covered a topic introduced in class. We introduced health insurance plan options and asked them to take the information home and choose a plan. Another week, we introduced lease agreements and had them bring leases home to study and decide if they would sign it. Thankfully, I realized that the work was worth saving.  It is all on disk, ready to be taught again by me or anyone who would like to use it.

If I ever taught the class again, or gave the lesson plans to anyone, the only thing I would change would be for the students to be given a simulation to choose from instead of choosing.  With 18-20 possibilities, there should be something for everyone.  That way, no new material will have to be written.  The assignments may have to be updated, but the bulk of the work is done. Maybe someday I will rewrite it all as a unit study.  For now, I will hold onto it and the memories.

Contact me if you want to know more. fourelevenrox at gmail (dot) com

As far as the students: our “writer” is now happily married and finishing college.  She is taking accounting courses.  Oh, and she has a beautiful baby daughter.

Our “cosmetologist” is a nurse.    

 Not sure what our astronomer is up to, but I will find out. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could track them all down and find out where they are in life. I think I’ll do that….


  1. I remember a ballet dancer, and singer, and an FBI agent. What a great class that was.

  2. Yes, and a marine biologist and a computer technician. Couldn't have done it without you!

  3. That class is what made me realize I didn't want to do my first career choice..