As homeschool academic advisor, I’ve enjoyed looking back at various ways of combining credits for great high school experiences. Today I’d like to share how we created useful and inspirational combined credits for my youngest.
My youngest son is a musician. He has played guitar and drums on church worship teams for years. He is also a thinking musician, a philosopher at heart and, like many teens he asked questions. For instance, as a young homeschool high schooler, he wanted to know how and why his church practiced contemporary-style worship. (While the rest of this post will not focus on Human Development, I highly recommend that all teens do 7Sisters user-friendly Human Development from a Christian Worldview curriculum. This course helps teens understand WHY they ask these questions that can be deep and troubling to them and their parents. If they don’t understand that it is developmentally appropriate to ask questions, there can be a lot of unnecessary stress.)
My son was interested in really exploring his questions and seeing if he could find answers that made sense to him. In order to do this, we approached the topic from several angles:
- We shored up his anchoring in the faith through theology and history
- We broadened his experience with the faith in general through literature
- We delved into the theory and practice of contemporary Christian worship as Fine Arts credit
Spending a year of homeschool high school building a good foundation in Christian experience and the how’s-and-why’s of worship was a good use of his time. We ended up combining credits for his literature, history elective, and fine arts in a inspirational and meaningful way.
Combining Credits: Literature
7Sister Sabrina was teaching 7Sisters’ curriculum: Great Christian Writers in our homeschool group classes. My son and I were excited that he would have a chance to start his high school years with some really meaningful (and some of it downright fascinating) literature.
In his group classes (which he loved), they covered these writers (using Great Christian Writers Literature Study Guides Bundle, which included):
- The Practice of the Presence of God- Brother Lawrence
- Pilgrim’s Progress- John Bunyan
- God’s Smuggler- Brother Andrew
- Born Again- Chuck Colson
- Joni- Joni Eareckson Tada
- Something Beautiful For God (Mother Teresa)- Malcolm Muggeridge
- The Hiding Place- Corrie ten Boom
- Pilgrim’s Progress- John Bunyan
- Screwtape Letters- C.S. Lewis
- Hymns and Creeds- Sabrina Justison
My son was inspired by the Christlike characters portrayed in the books (and by the truly adventurous reading with Brother Andrew in God’s Smuggler. Check out the review he wrote).
Combining Credits: History Electives
To understand his church’s passion for contemporary worship, my son needed to understand the history of Christian worship. He started with learning about ancient Hebrew worship and worked his way through the birth of the church, up to the Middle Ages. (He stopped there for the year and finished the study in senior year.)
He used The Oxford History of Christian Worship, The Story of Christian Music and more. Then he wrote the 20-page research paper that our umbrella school required for Honors credit for Language Arts on the topic. (You can find a copy of the paper as a sample paper in 7Sisters APA Style Research Paper Writing Guide.)
He also earn an Apologetics credit to help secure the underpinnings of his faith. He was blessed to have Classics Professor Emeritus from University of Delaware, Dr. Gerald R. Culley, come to our homeschool group classes to teach his popular Apologetics course. (It helped that Dr. Culley is father to 7Sisters’ Sabrina and Allison.) Dr. Culley has given his course for 7SistersHomeschool.com to give FREE in voiceover Powerpoint format, simply download and follow this syllabus for a full credit.
Combining Credits: Fine Arts
To tie everything together, my son earned a fine arts credit in Church Worship Theory. He logged 68 hours in watching instructional videos by Paul Baloche and a number of others (even a fun “how-to write a worship song in 5 minutes” by Blimey Cow). He studied Music Theory for a solid foundation. He filled in the time he needed for his 135 hours for Carnegie credit with his practice time on the worship team.
By combining credits for literature, history elective, and fine arts, my son finished the year grounded in Christian experiences and solid foundation for the callings God has blessed him with. He feels comfortable with his irritations and appreciations for the type of music he leads in his church, knowing that music often changes with the times and the culture. In a developmentally appropriate way, he has come to a measure of wisdom about Christian worship leading…and built a fine transcript along the way.
We discuss my son’s combining credits experiment in this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast. Have a listen!
Also, combining credits is another way to describe integrated learning. If you would like a more in-depth discussion on how to create integrated learning experiences for your teens or homeschool co-op, check out this post.
In case you haven’t seen it: just for fun, here’s my vlog on the perfect transcript.