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My 7th grade daughter has 2 ex-homeschooled friends who are enrolled in IB programs. Now she is intrigued, and so am I. We have 3 public schools within driving distance that have embedded IB programs, but two are in less-than-desirable neighborhoods. The 3rd is about a 30-minute drive away. We are considering keeping her home through 8th grade, then sending her to one of the IB schools for high school.

 

The pros of IB as I see it, are: rigorous course of study, chance for academically and like-minded friends, opportunity for school extra-curriculars like marching band & drama, etc. Also, I've heard that many big-name universities are impressed with the IB diploma and many students that graduated from our local schools were given free rides at college. I like the fact that the pressure to figure out scholarships and other opportunities would be taken away from me. Another pro is that my son, who is not IB material, could go to the same school.

 

The cons: I was excited about homeschooling high school! With the schools being in the areas that they are in (2, specifically), I'm concerned about the kids my son would be lumped with (non-IB). The 3rd school is outside our district & they'd have to give permission for both my kids to attend. And, I'd be sad. :sad: I really want what's best long-term (my sadness has no bearing, really), and I don't want to mess up an opportunity.

 

If I homeschool high school, I expect my dd will take AP classes online, as well as community college classes in her junior & senior years.

 

FWIW, the IB ideology is not a major concern.

 

Thoughts? :confused1:

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I know very little about IB, but I have one piece of advice for you. Find out what percentage of the students in each school's IB program take the tests, and what their pass rate is. That will tell you a lot about them. If they will not give the the information, that will tell you a lot about them, too.

 

The same works for APs - it pays to ask the teacher about test/pass rates, too. Good AP (and IB) teachers pride themselves on their pass rates and strive continually to improve. I have met some phenomenal AP teachers!

 

Our county is rural with a small population, and only one high school. For years the school superintendent wrote our local newspaper every week (it was pub. only once a week) telling us all how wonderful the IB program was in our high school, blah blah blah. Then a new school board was elected and she was gone. We found out that her rhetoric was all lies - the IB students testing had a 15% pass rate. Our county stopped paying for the tests, which cost a $200K/year.

 

I hope all of the schools and programs you research have excellent results, but if they don't, you will be forewarned.

 

As far as AP goes, homeschoolers have had success studying for and taking the tests, both from online and co-op classes and self-study. I've heard very good things about online classes (others will be able to give you good info). As with all things, it will be what your dd makes of it.

 

Best wishes,

GardenMom

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I know that kids in ps can get some direction from the guidance dept on what scholarships might be available, but for the most part, I think the leg work in researching and applying for them is pretty much the same. Getting references from teachers would be easier though.

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I was just having a conversation with a college professor about these two options. She was not enthusiastic about either choice. She thinks that colleges are starting to turn away from giving college credit for AP credits. Her university has stopped accepting scores of 3 and sometimes 4s because the students were not prepared. She plans on using AP tests with her children sparingly and only in certain subjects, like math.

 

She said the problem with the IB programs is that they consume the children's lives not because the work is harder, but because the amount of work is piled on. They have many IB students who are burnt out by the time they get to college.

 

I have been considering what route to go with my son and I am leaning toward having him do an internship, challenging "out of the box" curriculum, and getting great SAT scores. I am still searching for other options too.

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I was just having a conversation with a college professor about these two options. She was not enthusiastic about either choice. She thinks that colleges are starting to turn away from giving college credit for AP credits. Her university has stopped accepting scores of 3 and sometimes 4s because the students were not prepared. She plans on using AP tests with her children sparingly and only in certain subjects, like math.

 

She said the problem with the IB programs is that they consume the children's lives not because the work is harder, but because the amount of work is piled on. They have many IB students who are burnt out by the time they get to college.

 

I have been considering what route to go with my son and I am leaning toward having him do an internship, challenging "out of the box" curriculum, and getting great SAT scores. I am still searching for other options too.

 

That's interesting. I was kind of wondering about the workload, although I read opinions from some people that while there was a lot of work in IB, it wasn't busy work, but the helpful, thinking, kind. I do know that by senior year they suggest no job & limited extra-curricular.

 

I can believe that the colleges are beginning to think less of AP - but I haven't heard what they think about IB (as far as acceptance). Sigh. I want to do the best thing for my dd, but I don't know what the best thing IS.

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I know that kids in ps can get some direction from the guidance dept on what scholarships might be available' date=' but for the most part, I think the leg work in researching and applying for them is pretty much the same.[/quote']

:iagree:

Unless your child attends a school with an absolutely outstanding guidance staff with plenty of time to help him or her, it's likely you will be doing the scholarship process anyway. From what I've heard, guidance staffs are being cut due to financial issues.

 

The guidance counselor job was one that no one told me about when I first started homeschooling. It has, by far, been the toughest, most time consuming part of teaching my children. I agree that it's a lot of pressure!

 

GardenMom

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:iagree:

Unless your child attends a school with an absolutely outstanding guidance staff with plenty of time to help him or her, it's likely you will be doing the scholarship process anyway. From what I've heard, guidance staffs are being cut due to financial issues.

 

The guidance counselor job was one that no one told me about when I first started homeschooling. It has, by far, been the toughest, most time consuming part of teaching my children. I agree that it's a lot of pressure!

 

GardenMom

 

Well, pooh! I was hoping the guidance counsellors would take that load off my shoulders. Hmmmm. Right now the one remaining benefit is the interest by the universities themselves. The school my friend's dd here in Phoenix attends had several representatives come to the school from Yale, Cornell, and that ilk, and they were talking with and interviewing students. As a homeschool parent, how do I make something like that happen?

 

I wish I'd never heard of IB.... :tongue_smilie:

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When they know some schools that they're interested in, and they're getting good scores on the standardized tests - SAT/ACT - then send them to those schools. That should bring in tons of mail from them, from what I've heard. And if they stand out enough academically, I would imagine that they'd be interested in recruiting them - no different than if they were attending the school. But maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part. :tongue_smilie:

 

If you're able, visit the schools that are of top interest, and others that are nearby for comparisons. You'll get to know people in admissions, and your student can stay in touch with them and ask questions as they come up.

 

Thinking back to my hs days, I got no direction from the guidance dept. I did my own school searching, etc.. I really think it's mostly work on the part of the student and the parents that's needed whether at a school, or at home.

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Cornell, etc. did that at my mediocre high school, too, and at my oldest's good public school (no IB there). I know the schedule for their coming was posted on the website of my oldest's school and I'm sure my homeschooled middle one would have been welcome to sit in on the presentations and interviews if we had wanted. The guidance councilors at both ps's were very, very busy. They interviewed each senior, suggested a few colleges they could apply to, showed them the books/search software so they could look for more, and asked if they had any idea what they wanted as a career. Then when you had applied, they sent off the transcript and school info. You were left to find your recommendations and scholarships yourself. All they did was point you at the search information. The ps English teachers all had the seniors write a college app essay at the beginning of senior year. That part was helpful. We felt like the councilor was just trying to have everyone apply someplace that might work, not necessarily looking for the best fit for each student, not that I blame her, considering the number of students involved. And this was a very small high school where at least the councilor knew all the children's names. We felt like the school in general wanted to be able to say that this percent were going on to some sort of further education, for statistical purposes. It was more work for me to send my middle one to college but only because I had to pay attention to what colleges wanted, make sure he was taught that, make sure he had someone to recommend him, and do the transcript, school profile, and guidance councilor profile myself.

 

The community college where my middle one took classes had much, much better councilors. They are set up to transfer students, so they have a few college days where colleges come and make presentations and do interviews. They are much better about helping you find a way to pay for it, since many of their students are independent.

 

I know nothing at all about your IB school. Maybe they have great councilors. There are many other good reasons to do an IB program. I have heard good things about them. However, if you just want them for the councilor, and (important and here) your CC is the same as mine, you might be better off at the CC. Something to investigate, anyway. My middle one's CC prof's wrote very nice recommendation letters, and his CC guidance councilor wrote a very nice guidance councilor letter of recommendation for him. There was a Sat. when you could take all your tax forms in and they helped you fill out your FAFSA forms. They have very nice career councilling. They were much more helpful than the high school. As I said, though, your high school and your community college (if you have one) might be different.

 

-Nan

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When they know some schools that they're interested in' date=' and they're getting good scores on the standardized tests - SAT/ACT - then send them to those schools. That should bring in tons of mail from them, from what I've heard. And if they stand out enough academically, I would imagine that they'd be interested in recruiting them - no different than if they were attending the school. But maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part. :tongue_smilie:

 

If you're able, visit the schools that are of top interest, and others that are nearby for comparisons. You'll get to know people in admissions, and your student can stay in touch with them and ask questions as they come up.

 

Thinking back to my hs days, I got no direction from the guidance dept. I did my own school searching, etc.. I really think it's mostly work on the part of the student and the parents that's needed whether at a school, or at home.[/quote']

 

I'll join your wishful thinking and we can send happy thoughts to each other... :D

 

High school seems scary the closer I get to it. And I always thought I'd sail right along, no problem, keep on keepin' on, all that stuff. And as far as *school* goes, I still feel that way. It's more the organization, paperwork, research, ways to impress & draw colleges, finding scholarships, etc. that freaks me out.

 

I want to school my dd, and then, suddenly, colleges find out about us (through nothing I've done) and they knock on our door, stand in awe, and offer my dd a full ride. :lol:

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I'll join your wishful thinking and we can send happy thoughts to each other... :D

 

High school seems scary the closer I get to it. And I always thought I'd sail right along, no problem, keep on keepin' on, all that stuff. And as far as *school* goes, I still feel that way. It's more the organization, paperwork, research, ways to impress & draw colleges, finding scholarships, etc. that freaks me out.

 

I want to school my dd, and then, suddenly, colleges find out about us (through nothing I've done) and they knock on our door, stand in awe, and offer my dd a full ride. :lol:

 

:lol: Me too!!!!

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I was an I.B. fine arts teacher (through 1997). The type of students that enroll in I.B. programs are top-notch. They are good kids from good families; I found students bright and eager to learn. I.B. is a very stressful program; by the end of the Jr. year, I saw many students folding under the stress and work load. It is a very rigorous and demanding program that gives the student hours and hours of homework every night. I frequently heard my 11th graders saying that they rarely finished their work before midnight-1am! One of the positives of I.B. is the college credit students can earn in high school. Many students began college as a 2nd semester Sophmore.

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I was an I.B. fine arts teacher (through 1997). The type of students that enroll in I.B. programs are top-notch. They are good kids from good families; I found students bright and eager to learn. I.B. is a very stressful program; by the end of the Jr. year, I saw many students folding under the stress and work load. It is a very rigorous and demanding program that gives the student hours and hours of homework every night. I frequently heard my 11th graders saying that they rarely finished their work before midnight-1am! One of the positives of I.B. is the college credit students can earn in high school. Many students began college as a 2nd semester Sophmore.

 

Wow, that's a lot of credits! After taking everything said here under consideration, and researching other opinions as well, I think we're going to go ahead & keep her home through 8th grade, and then apply. I did read on another forum that a parent can't be the one who wants it - the child will have so much work to do that they must be driven & dedicated or they'll burn out (and usually, drop out of IB). So far, my daughter has the brains to do it, but I can't say for sure if she'll have the desire.

 

Thanks for your input - it really helps to hear from people who have taught it (or gone through it).

 

Diane

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Wow, that's a lot of credits! After taking everything said here under consideration, and researching other opinions as well, I think we're going to go ahead & keep her home through 8th grade, and then apply. I did read on another forum that a parent can't be the one who wants it - the child will have so much work to do that they must be driven & dedicated or they'll burn out (and usually, drop out of IB). So far, my daughter has the brains to do it, but I can't say for sure if she'll have the desire.

 

Thanks for your input - it really helps to hear from people who have taught it (or gone through it).

 

Diane

 

Keep in mind that it's been 13 years since I was involoved with IB; it could be a bit different now.

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I have a cousin in an incredible IB program in Austin. He is doing an exceptional job!

 

I also have a friend whose ds is attending a suburban IB program in North Dallas and to be honest... I am shocked by her experience. I saw her final paper for IB credit and it was less than acceptable. She did not pass the IB tests for college credit. No college counselors helped her out. She is an above average kid who could have gotten scholarships for college -- but missed out on the opportunity -- and now is not considering college due to being overlooked and little ambition. You have to be PROACTIVE with guidance counselors, IMO. Both schools here in TX are IB only for the 11th & 12th grades, BTW.

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As we've discussed, there is a requirement for sport/art/volunteering in order to pass the IB.

 

I used to think this was something special, but now that I see that it is 50 hours of each over 2 years, it is a requirement easily fulfilled and normally overfulfilled in the US.

 

I believe it was instigated due to the European emphasis on just grades in order to give some idea of other aspects of life to the European program.

 

The IB started here in Geneva at the local international school.

 

50 hours of volunteer work can be done in a couple of weeks over the summer easily. A senior here volunteered as a camp counselor for 2 weeks.

 

50 hours of sports over 2 years - again, not hard if you have any interest.

 

50 hours of creative activities - can be done with classes, drama, etc.

 

To get into good US schools, you normally have to have done more than this I have heard.

 

I would look at schools that you think your dc are interested in and see what they say about IB credits and skipping the Freshman year.

 

I'm quite curious about how that happens as they only do 6 subjects - 3 at a higher level and 3 at a lower (standard) level....Those 3 higher level subjects could be worth uni credit, but the standard level ones?

 

Over here, the IB is not so highly regarded in Swiss universities (even though it started right down the street). Eg at the University of Geneva, they make you have a much higher grade than the "passing" grade for the IB and the higher level courses have to be in certain areas. So I've met IB "graduates" who could not attend - 1 due to only 1 point lower that the acceptable for UNIGE and another who took higher level courses in the wrong subjects. And at EPFL, you have to take a year of prep classes, the same as if you had a high school diploma and APs. (ETA - I've just checked this again as things keep changing here. Now have to take the prep classes if passed the IB but you didn't do the right subjects and/or if you didn't get a high enough score. To pass the IB you need 24/42. To get into Uni Geneva you need 32/42. To get into EPFL without the prep classes you need 38/42. Vast difference from passing the IB.)

 

From the other side,

Joan

Edited by Joan in Geneva
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My older two are not in IB schools or programs, but I do have some friends around the country with IB students.

 

The 9th and 10th grade years are "pre-IB" during which students take pre-requisites for the higher level IB courses. Those years also serve to weed out the students who decide they aren't ready academically OR do not wish to face the pressure/stress of the 11th and 12th grade years. OP, I would ask the schools for data on the number of students who begin 9th grade in the program, the number who continue, the number who graduate with the IB diploma (after successfully completing the writing senior year), in addition to scores and such.

 

For college counseling, ask if the schools subscribe to Naviance. Naviance is a fabulous online tool that can be used to compare your student's grades and scores to other students from the high school, in terms of college acceptance. A scattergram (GPA plotted vs SAT/ACT) will show your student's position relative to every other student who applied to a particular college, denoting acceptances, rejections, and waitlists with different graphics. Because all high schools grade differently, it can be difficult to ascertain your student's chances at acceptance just from reading college's middle 50% data. This is especially important for more competitive high schools (or programs such as IB within in traditional high school) with grade deflation.

 

I would also ask about the college process at the school and to view a copy of whatever handouts the high school gives its students. At my son's school, we received a handbook freshman year explaining what happens each year, describing Naviance's features, and giving us our Naviance log-in information. At the start of his junior year, we received a handbook detailing the steps in college decision-making and admissions process, what the counselor does, what the student must do and what the parents should do.

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My older two are not in IB schools or programs, but I do have some friends around the country with IB students.

 

The 9th and 10th grade years are "pre-IB" during which students take pre-requisites for the higher level IB courses. Those years also serve to weed out the students who decide they aren't ready academically OR do not wish to face the pressure/stress of the 11th and 12th grade years. OP, I would ask the schools for data on the number of students who begin 9th grade in the program, the number who continue, the number who graduate with the IB diploma (after successfully completing the writing senior year), in addition to scores and such.

 

For college counseling, ask if the schools subscribe to Naviance. Naviance is a fabulous online tool that can be used to compare your student's grades and scores to other students from the high school, in terms of college acceptance. A scattergram (GPA plotted vs SAT/ACT) will show your student's position relative to every other student who applied to a particular college, denoting acceptances, rejections, and waitlists with different graphics. Because all high schools grade differently, it can be difficult to ascertain your student's chances at acceptance just from reading college's middle 50% data. This is especially important for more competitive high schools (or programs such as IB within in traditional high school) with grade deflation.

 

I would also ask about the college process at the school and to view a copy of whatever handouts the high school gives its students. At my son's school, we received a handbook freshman year explaining what happens each year, describing Naviance's features, and giving us our Naviance log-in information. At the start of his junior year, we received a handbook detailing the steps in college decision-making and admissions process, what the counselor does, what the student must do and what the parents should do.

 

Great tips, thanks. I'm making a list of questions to ask the two schools we would be interested in (if we do it). I'm still on the fence; taking the junior high years to think about and research it. Other than the big essay, I feel confident that we can homeschool throughout high school & give her a very rigorous & challenging education (through home, AP classes & community college). The big question will be whether or not my dd *wants* it.

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Over here, the IB is not so highly regarded in Swiss universities (even though it started right down the street). Eg at the University of Geneva, they make you have a much higher grade than the "passing" grade for the IB and the higher level courses have to be in certain areas. So I've met IB "graduates" who could not attend - 1 due to only 1 point lower that the acceptable for UNIGE and another who took higher level courses in the wrong subjects. And at EPFL, you have to take a year of prep classes, the same as if you had a high school diploma and APs.

 

From the other side,

Joan

 

Hmmm, interesting. I'm just starting to figure all this out, but perhaps, like most educational fads, it begins, rises to a crescendo, then slowly tapers down to one-of-many programs to achieve the same goal (i.e., acceptance to quality universities, financial aid, personal challenges & growth, etc.).

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50 hours of volunteer work can be done in a couple of weeks over the summer easily. A senior here volunteered as a camp counselor for 2 weeks.

 

50 hours of sports over 2 years - again, not hard if you have any interest.

 

50 hours of creative activities - can be done with classes, drama, etc.

 

To get into good US schools, you normally have to have done more than this I have heard.

UK universities are also now expecting extracurricular experience, whether you do the IB or not. From a UK perspective, the difference with the IB is that you can't get the diploma without having it - it's not an extra.

 

(snip)

 

I'm quite curious about how that happens as they only do 6 subjects - 3 at a higher level and 3 at a lower (standard) level....Those 3 higher level subjects could be worth uni credit, but the standard level ones?

 

In the UK you first do GCSEs, which are roughly the equivalent of SAT subject tests. That means that, even before you start the IB, you have a lot of breadth in your high school curriculum and to a fairly high level. So, for example, a student might have GCSEs in maths, English language, English Lit, French, music, history, geography, biology, physics and chemistry before going on to do the IB in English, French, history, physics and music.

 

(snip)

 

Over here, the IB is not so highly regarded in Swiss universities (even though it started right down the street). Eg at the University of Geneva, they make you have a much higher grade than the "passing" grade for the IB and the higher level courses have to be in certain areas.

 

The question of which subjects to take is the same (in the UK) whether you take the IB or not. There are some subjects that the best universities just don't consider to be serious. And yes, just getting the IB isn't enough for entrance to a great university - you have to get high marks in it. But again, that's the same whether you do the IB or whether you do A levels (UK system) or transcript/SAT (US system).

 

I don't think the IB is perfect, but I do appreciate its international ties and insistence on a range of subjects - many UK students drop maths/science (if they are arts oriented) or essay-based subjects (if they are interested in science) when they are sixteen. I think that this is a bad move for the individual and for society.

 

From the other side,

Joan

 

Laura

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Thanks Laura.

 

You got me to try to compare the IB and UK system a bit, but I don't have GCSE books in all the subjects...I only had math higher level handy but it's an older book (2000). It looked like the level of end Alg 2/Trig book ds just finished without as much trig. Then I got out an IGCSE book which seemed to have a lot more practical type problems than the other. So that could be the Math level 1 SAT II but not Math level 2. But it all doesn't make sense. If the GCSE's are equivalent to SAT II, then my impression of the standard level IB subjects is that they are SAT II level as well. Then it would not be working any higher to do the IB standard level coursework. Is this incorrect? When I look at the acceptance level of credits at some of the better US unis, they are not all accepting standard level coursework for college credits. It seems like they are accepting higher level subjects with a certain grade.

 

This site shows some of the diversity of acceptance of IB credits for uni credits. And you can get more schools with digging on the IB site itself.

 

This site has some IB courses online. Someone mentioned that this was starting but I hadn't realized it had already started. Last year they started other courses.

 

The thing I appreciate about the UK system (from afar) is the emphasis on verbal skills. It seems like the Brits I run into are verbally skillful.

 

Joan

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I really don't know.

 

My comparison of GCSEs to SAT-IIs is from this site. They say (from experience of putting students through both) that the SAT subject tests tend to be wider but the GCSEs are deeper. Perhaps the standard level at IB is wider than GCSEs and therefore more like the SATs? The GCSEs can be pretty narrow.

 

FWIW I asked Stan Schmidt, author of the Life of Fred books which volumes we would need to cover to encompass the IGCSE maths syllabus. His findings seem similar to yours:

 

It looks like the Life of Fred series (from the first book on fractions to the calculus and statistics books) pretty much fit the material for the exam.

There is more in the Life of Fred Calculus and in LOF: Statistics than will be needed for this exam, but there is material in each of those books that will be needed.

 

So the IGCSE (according to him) covers Algebra I and II, geometry, trigonometry and bits of calculus and statistics.

 

I just listened to the beginning of the sample SAT subject test for Chinese on the College Board site - as Calvin is in the middle of taking GCSE Chinese I can make a good comparison. I think the SAT test is harder: the vocabulary is more colloquial and the speaking speed is a bit faster. So I think you may be right and the school website is underestimating the difficulty of (at least some) of the SAT tests.

 

Best wishes

 

Laura

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I attended an IB high school and took both IB and AP classes. It's been 15 years now, but I would not be particularly impressed by the IB claim. If the school were otherwise *fantastic* and the teachers were top notch and it offered the very best extra curriculars, etc, etc, then IB would be a nice little bit of icing on that cake. But the IB program within a school can only be as good as the teachers (and to an extent the students and administrators) within the school. A great many schools are more enamored of the *idea* of having an IB program and the marketing opportunities that presents them than they are committed to providing kids with a really stellar education.

 

As someone else said, ask a lot of questions. How many kids from the school attempted the IB diploma in each of the last five years? How many received the full diploma? (This requires courses, tests, an extended essay project, community service...) How many other students took courses and exams without attempting the full diploma? What was the pass rate for those students? Ask for average grades on the exams and then call up your child's top three university choices (for now -- obviously those could change a jillion times in the next five years) and ask if they give credit for IB courses/exams *without* the IB diploma and what scores they require to do that.

 

Does the school also offer AP classes (which in some cases may overlap with IB classes)? Ask the same questions: what percentage of students in the classes attempt the exams and what percentage of those students receive a 4 or a 5 on the exam? Both numbers should be very high.

 

My own experience with IB was that it depends almost entirely on the teacher. I had a couple of great IB classes. I had some really, truly pitiful ones. I was offered a scholarship in my junior year, so I went straight to college and didn't hand around to attempt the IB diploma. All of my friends were in the IB program (it was almost like being in a separate school within the larger school), and some of them completed the diploma, others did not... I think we all had, overall, relatively good public school educations, in part because of IB. But I also think that's not very high praise. Overall the program was *not* as good or as rigorous as the private school I attended in 9th grade (and where other friends continued on), even though they offered fewer AP classes and no IB program.

 

The IB program as a whole does have more oversight than AP. ... Oh, that reminds me of another series of questions. You want to know where your local school is in the process of being certified by IB. Some schools call themselves IB while they are still in the process of becoming IB schools (it takes several years) and may not have met the requirements along the way...

 

I guess my point here is, Don't be taken in by hype. IB can be pretty good. If your child goes through the whole diploma process, she'll likely have a pretty good education. But the school is no better than it is. If it's a fantastic school with fantastic teachers, then IB is nice. If it's a mediocre school with a mix of teachers, it'll still be a mediocre school with a mix of teachers if it has the IB designation.

 

I *don't* think the work is necessarily all that much. The only times my friends and I really had overwhelming amounts of homework were when we'd procrastinated (which was often). And as a group, we were doing okay by IB standards. Yeah, sometimes we stayed up all night to finish our work -- but that was generally a result of poor planning, not overwhelmingly high standards. We were all reasonably well-prepared for good colleges (kids in my circles went to W&M, Duke, Georgetown, UVa, SoCal, Williams, and others). But we hadn't worked all that hard in high school, and I'm always a little skeptical when I hear people talk about "how much work" AP and IB courses are. I think a lot of the time it comes down to poor study skills and a lack of time management -- and those are certainly issues to address...

 

Take a look at the school. Apply if it seems like the right place for your dd. But go into it with your eyes open. Ask to see students' work. Talk to the teachers. Speak to older students (recent graduates, if you can). Ask which departments are strongest? (In my school, English and math were very strong.) Which are the weakest? (Social studies and science ought to have been an embarrassment to our principal...)

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Thanks so much, great feedback. My list of questions for the school is growing, as well as my own questions about school vs. homeschool. I feel confident I can homeschool my dd throughout, and provide a program that is rigorous, challenging, and stimulating. My dd is quite social, and that may be part of the draw for her - most of her homeschool friends are returning to school (one by one) or moving away, so her friendships are dwindling & she is beginning to look around at the school world and see what kinds of programs/opportunities are offered.

 

We also have a classical charter school near by that is considered quite meaty, and that has possibilities. IB was recently drawn to our attention by 2 friends attending (one local, one not), and it seems like something that may satisfy both my dd's academic goals & her social ones. But I can see I have my work cut out for me, and lots of questions to ask. Thanks again.

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As someone else said, ask a lot of questions. How many kids from the school attempted the IB diploma in each of the last five years? How many received the full diploma? (This requires courses, tests, an extended essay project, community service...) How many other students took courses and exams without attempting the full diploma? What was the pass rate for those students? Ask for average grades on the exams and then call up your child's top three university choices (for now -- obviously those could change a jillion times in the next five years) and ask if they give credit for IB courses/exams *without* the IB diploma and what scores they require to do that.

 

 

FWIW the school that the boys will be going to published these as their results for last year - all the pupils do the IB: pass rate 92.5% (worldwide average 79%); ten students out of the forty-nine that passed got 38 or more points, enough to meet basic requirements for Oxford or Cambridge; average number of points was 33, compared to 30 worldwide. The previous year, one student got full marks, which is extremely rare.

 

Laura

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