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Overwhelmed & under-prepared for 10th grade!

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I am homeschooling one of my four children. He is entering 10th grade. We homeschooled last year, but it was not planned & I hustled to put together some type of plan/curriculum through the year.

I am now attempting to organize for the upcoming school year, but am feeling panicked! I have searched since last year for a group in our area, but have not found one, so am on my own. Reading through some of the forums here, it seems clear you all have clear direction in your planning.


Please help me figure out how/where to begin.


Thank you so much for any suggestions!!

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What are his interests? Does he know what he wants to do when he's all grown up?


I suggest tailoring some classes to appeal to his interests.


Do you want something he can do independently or would you like to teach some?


What classes is he strongest in?


I would also suggest picking 1 or 2 subjects to concentrate on.

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I was in a similar situation a few years ago with my son. We had about 2 weeks to put something together and really didn't get a handle on it until last year. This forum has helped me more than anything, so I recommend that you become a regular visitor and not to be shy about putting your questions out here.


The first place to begin is to find out what your state requires for graduation. That will give you a sort of outline of what courses you should cover over the next few years. In addition, if your son is interested in a particular college or course of study after graduation, it would be good to look at those requirements.


The second thing is that you'll need a transcript. The reason I mention this second, is that it would be good to get the information together from last year while it's still fresh in your mind, in case you haven't done that yet. I found the book Setting The Records Straight by Lee Bintz to be very helpful. Not only did it teach me how to do a transcript and how many of your kids activities and interests can be included in that, but it also gave me a shot of confidence.


When you're looking at various materials keep in mind your sons learning style and his interests. Again, this is a really good place to ask others how something worked for them given a sort of child and a set of interests. Start with the core- Math, English, History and Science.


You might want to start your research with a thread that describes your son and ask given that, what courses other people suggest and on the flip side, recommend that you avoid. Because different curriculum work (or don't) for different kids.


And don't panic and just go with anything. A good match is important enough to delay starting school if you need to.








Edited by DebbS
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I would start by identifying here is stands in his high school education - and what he needs to accomplish in order to graduate (and go to college if that is your plan).

I would focus in the core subjects first:

Math: what did he do in 9th grade? There is some logical progression and you do the next thing

Science: what science is he interested in? You can begin with pretty much anything

English/History: are you comfortable following something as structured as WTM, or would you prefer a more laid back approach? What did your student do in 9th grade? What would he like to do? If you feel overwhelmed and behind, you can just start by giving him a reading list. You learn a LOT about literature by just reading good books.

I personally find it important to learn a foreign language, that would be our fifth area of focus. Anything else I consider electives - music, sports, any subject that is not strictly absolutely necessary. Here my kids get to choose completely what they want to do - and it is not worth stressing about it at this point.

So, I'd start identifying his level, selecting a strong math and science program, in a pinch improvising English, and not worrying about the rest.

Good luck.


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Just start with where ever he's at. There's no rule that you have to consider him to be 10th this year if he's behind in some of the core subjects. You can call this his freshman year and just start with a good solid 9th grade course plan. Especially for boys, it doesn't hurt if they're older when they graduate. Would definitely help to know what he's already done. When I first came on here a few months ago, it was an eye-opener on all the things we hadn't done that we should have. But we can't go back, and just have to work with where we are. The experienced high school moms will be able to give you awesome guidance with a bit more info. :)

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Thank you for your suggestions. I feel better just hearing others have figured it out!


My son is a science guy. We covered Earth Science last year, Algebra 1 (Saxon & LOF), and American History. We used Learning Language Arts Through Literature, Wordly Wise, plus vocab work and some writing elicited from his personal reading. (He is a big reader.) Spelling is not an issue, but he loathes writing. I am looking for a way to push his writing forward without battling about it constantly.


He wants to study Italian, which we have not begun. I would like him to have at least one year of Latin, after which he can choose whether or not to continue. He takes piano, and we would like to do some Music Theory-though not necessarily this year.


I am unsure whether to forge right into Algebra II, or get Geometry done this year. Math is NOT my strong suit, though I have a better grasp of Geometry than Algebra.


We have not tried any online courses, but would certainly do so if they were great and affordable. Generally speaking, I put together an outline of the work to accomplish each week, break it down into daily/weekly tasks, and work with him as needed. Some subjects (Science) he needs very little from me, others he needs quite a bit (Math).


I am going to look into the transcript information suggested. It's something I know I need to do, but haven't quite figured out yet!!


Again, thank you so much!!:001_smile:

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You've done great! It sounds to me like he's right on target for starting 10th. :)


How did he do with the Saxon? If he did well, there's no reason he'd have to do a separate geometry course and can go right into algebra II. If he's able to read the lessons himself and learn that way - great. But if he needs a lot of help from you and you'd like something more, there's DIVE or Saxon Teacher DVD's to help. If he didn't do well with Saxon, you might want to try a different math program, and then would probably need a separate geometry course.


For science, you can do Biology, but just check your state requirements, if there are any, to make sure you get the minimums required. If science is his thing, that should be no problem, but you don't want to get to senior year and find out that physical science, or something, was required.


I think you did an awesome job, and others will be able to suggest specific programs for writing and all. :)

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I am unsure whether to forge right into Algebra II, or get Geometry done this year.


I would try to find out whether the algebra 2 course you are planning to use includes trigonometry. If it does, geometry should come first, otherwise trig makes no sense. If trigonometry is not included, then either way is fine and I'd let him choose whether he wants to keep going with algebra or wants a break from it and do geometry first.


For writing: could you incorporate writing in his science (which he is interested in) - rather than having separate writing?

Just a suggestion.


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Is there any area in which he is deficient? Reluctant writing doesn't not mean that he needs remedial work!


I'd probably consider a World History program this year for history, unless you didn't cover modern American History last year.


I'd encourage you to plan on two years of ONE foreign language rather than one year of Latin and one year of Italian.


Is your son more of a natural science guy (bio, anatomy, etc.) or more a physical science guy (chem, physics, etc.). If his a natural science guy, I'd do biology this year and anat/physiology next year and use a rigorous program (not Apologia). I'd save chem for his senior year.


If he's more of a physical science guy, I'd go to chem this year and physics next year. In his senior year, I would do a second year of either chem or physics or do an astronomy program, if that's more his speed.


It sounds like he is very interest in science, so he'll need math every single year of high school.

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Wow--I feel much better! It seems more linear and sensible when you all say it! He is not deficient in any area, so I am lucky in that regard.


Not sure about Saxon. He understood a lot of it, but I felt when we ran into anything that needed further explanation, or a different approach, I was scrambling to find supplemental material. We incorporated some LOF to break up the monotony of Saxon. I was not aware of the teachers' DVDs, and am going to look into that! I really appreciate the heads-up about the Algebra II possibly integrating Trig and requiring Geometry first. Had not even considered it!


He loves physical sciences, but we are required to do at least one Biology class. I don't know how the heck to handle the lab portion of that if I do it this year, or what courses to look at. I am going to investigate and see if we can do something else this year to keep him interested, and tackle Biology next year. I just don't know if he will be back in PS next year, and if all the kids have done Biology, he'll have a problem.


I agree he needs 2 years of one foreign language. That will probably be Italian. I just want him to add a basic knowledge of Latin, particularly since it will help him if he does pursue any sciences in college.


Using Science in writing is a great idea, but I need to figure out how to structure that. As soon as he hears "write", he stresses out & will stare at the paper, or the laptop, till he turns to stone. The strange thing about it is that when he does write, he is a great writer. This has always been an issue.


So glad to have found this forum. I ordered the WTM book this morning, and am breathing a sigh of relief that I just may pull this off. Thank you again.

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If he's interested in science I'd have him do biology this yr, that'll leave chem for 11th and possibly physics for 12th or an AP bio or chem. I'd aim for rigorous science if that's his interest.


The DIVE CDs that do math also do science. All the labs are videotaped step by step and there are quality lab sheets included. There are also lectures on the DIVE CD that correlate with BJU and Apologia.


Hometrainingtools sells the DIVE Biology lab kit.


Science is expensive, and most colleges want to see 2 yrs of serious lab science.


If you don't mind secular science I think Biology Exploring Life is excellent.

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So glad you're feeling better about the year! :) Saxon Algebra II does not require geometry or anything else first since it's meant to follow their Algebra I course and incorporates geometry. By doing their algebra I, II and first half of Advanced Math, he'll have completed a year of geometry. I haven't seen either the DIVEs or the Saxon Teacher, but I've heard good things about the DIVE. There are some threads here about the differences between the two. I think the main difference is that Saxon Teacher follows the lessons and the problems in the book exactly. So if he likes to see problems in the book worked out on a DVD, then that might be a good way to go.

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It looks like you have a good handle on this home schooling thing! If you are planning (or think you might plan) to put him back into ps, I would go to the school and find out what they'll need to transfer in his home school credits. Some ps's work with home schoolers and some make them jump through hoops. Private schools are often more open to accepting homeschoolers.

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I would just caution you that if college is his goal, they're looking for a minimum of 2 years of the *same* language. DD was not admitted to the State U because she didn't have enough of one language. Luckily, art school didn't care.


If you have the funds, you might consider an online writing class or coach. I think this would help my kids tremendously, if I coudl just find the $$ for it. My ds is a "stare at the page forever" kind of writer, too. All day, one paragraph, maybe.


He will do two years of one language, probably Italian, and an additional year of Latin. Just not sure which will start this year. I will look into online writing classes. I just worry I will spend $$ I don't have to obtain work he won't do!


Will be looking into more science and science-related courses by searching through all the info already on the forums. We are doing secular coursework, so I appreciate the recommendation. Our district is not homeschool friendly at all, and if he goes back to PS, they will test him in to his courses and make decisions about what they will credit based upon that.


Thanks so much to all! I will try to search around for answers so I don't post 10,000 questions that have been asked & answered.:blush:

Edited by bzymom
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It might be easier to keep him at home for the duration. Jumping through hoops to satisfy the ps at this point in high school will be a pain.


Is there a college nearby? He could take his sciences at a college and relieve you of that burden. This would be nice for a science-happy kids. And colleges don't expect high school kids to have already taken a science class before they are admitted. You could consider taking the science classes at a CC and then having him retake them at a 4-year college later. I know, it sounds like he will be repeating the same class, but he won't. There is NO comparison between the depth of a CC chem class, for example, and a university chem class.


From my experience as a chem prof, it someone takes a CC chem class, we offer them non-majors chemistry credit. I have had not once single student come from CC and start in the 2nd year of chem and succeed. Not one in 20 years.


For my own kid, I'm having him take the non-majors chem course as an excellent prep for college chem. And I'm thrilled not to have to teach him chem at home!!!


The beauty of doing science at a college is that he will get the full lab experience and a good background in the subject, and you can still direct his studies in areas he is weaker in or less fond of! Just my thoughts this afternoon!!

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I would LOVE to have him take Science courses at our local cc, and I think he would find it exciting. I don't have any idea what the process would be to take courses as a high school student. I have looked at the website, but cannot find anything. Would I just contact admissions, or another administrative department? Sorry if this is a silly question.


I really appreciate your input and help.

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Call the admissions office! In our state, high school juniors and seniors can take college classes and the state pays for them (and the books, too!!).


It is not unusual for a high school student to be partially enrolled in a CC or a college. The Admissions Office will know the routine. Good luck to you!

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I haven't seen Latin to be any help in a science major. If he wants to do Italian instead, let him do Italian. There are some colleges that would prefer a modern language anyway.


Although there are a lot of Latin names in biology, the field doesn't require any knowledge of Latin whatsoever. You just learn the names as you need them. When I was working on my PhD in biology, I only knew one student who considered learning Latin. He was a taxonomist, and I really think he only wanted to learn Latin out of interest. He never got around to it though, and he got his PhD and a job just fine.


The best language to learn for science is English.


Since getting my PhD, I've been working on Latin on my own, out of interest. Honestly, it hasn't improved my understanding of biology one bit. And I can't see that Latin would be of any help in any other science I can think of.

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Would I just contact admissions, or another administrative department? Sorry if this is a silly question.


I really appreciate your input and help.


Yes, they should be very willing to work with you. My 16 will be attending community college full-time for the last two years of high school (starting two weeks from today! Gah!). All they required is a placement test (which everyone has to take--not just dual enrollment or early admit students) and a check.


As for Latin being helpful for science, I would look into a root based vocabulary instead. That way you get the necessary benefit and he can go ahead and get started on Italian. Unless you have experience with Italian yourself, definitely see what the community college has to offer there. I plan on my son taking French next semester and hopefully get his two years in that way. (He would be a high school junior this year.)

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