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Is there such a thing?

 

A friend of my folks was visiting this weekend and she's been all over the world and she was raving about the how the outsourcing of jobs in America to India is really a great thing for young adult Indians. They're getting hired right out of high school for these jobs getting a good salary, American culture & English experience, and how they work these jobs until they are in 20-22 and then move on to bigger and better things.

 

Huh. My unique perspective: my husband's job is being outsourced. They're hiring folks in India with a high school degree to the jobs here in the US require a baccalaureate?! Financial stuff aside, what does this say about our American educational system, and what does this mean to for our homeschooling. Perhaps those average achievement test scores that my kids received this year aren't comforting after all.

 

So I've been talking with sis who's a college professor and very positive about alternative schooling (homeschooling, charter schools, unschooling, etc) And she pointed me in the direction of IB.

 

OK, so that's as far as I've gotten in the time I have. International Baccalaureate and evidently there's a college in MI that offers a k-12 IB programme-- Hillsdale?

 

Anyone else spend time thinking about this or exploring this?

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No, you can't home school IB. ... I think IB is a good alternative to traditional public high school options. (Before high school, I think any advantage of IB over another decent school is highly debatable.) But one's experience is only going to be as good as the individual teachers and the individual school. I attended an IB high school back when few American schools used the program. There were good things about it -- but it's not revolutionary or anything. It doesn't bother me in the least that my kids won't have an IB diploma and will have to stick to AP and college courses during high school and things like that instead.

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No, you can't home school IB. ... I think IB is a good alternative to traditional public high school options. (Before high school, I think any advantage of IB over another decent school is highly debatable.) But one's experience is only going to be as good as the individual teachers and the individual school. I attended an IB high school back when few American schools used the program. There were good things about it -- but it's not revolutionary or anything. It doesn't bother me in the least that my kids won't have an IB diploma and will have to stick to AP and college courses during high school and things like that instead.

 

I was encouraged when I saw the curriculm outline for Hillsdale Academy in MI that many of the required books were books I have and/or am scheduling for my kids. I think the biggest difference was their choice of Abeka grammar. I use Rod & Staff.

 

Why do you say it can't be homeschooled? Other than not obtaining the IB diploma the educational content could be similar.

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We have an IB school in Pensacola - I've read quite a bit online about the program.

I can see them doing a "virtual school" through the high school - but no actual homeschool due to the fact that the schools have to go through a rigorous certification process in order for the school to qualify. First - the people in charge would never bother, second, there would be no way to reproduce the requirements in a homeschool environment.

We've talked about our son going IB, but I'm just not sure - the IB here is tacked on to one of the worst high schools in the area (lots of crime, metal detectors, stabbings right off the school grounds) in an attempt to keep that HS afloat. I just don't think it is worth it....

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Why do you say it can't be homeschooled? Other than not obtaining the IB diploma the educational content could be similar.

 

Well, there's no prescribed IB curriculum in the younger grades. For instance, it's not "IB" to use Abeka or any other particular grammar or math or geography or history or anything else. If you like what you see a particular school doing (IB or otherwise), of course you can take cues from that and that's great...

 

The real "IB" part is in high school (technically the last two years). And again, sure, you can look at what is covered in the courses in those years (there are some standards, some options for various tracks, and some electives), and do similar things along the way. You could require your kids to study more foreign language than is typically required in an American school, study logic, focus more strongly on world history and literature (as opposed to mostly Anglo-American), have them spend a certain number of hours doing community service, and work on a longer thesis-type essay during their senior year. But you can't call it IB, you can't submit work to be evaluated by IB, can't take IB exams, can't give an IB diploma, and colleges won't give you credit for doing IB work. That's what I mean by "not doing IB". You can do AP at home. But not IB...

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...the IB here is tacked on to one of the worst high schools in the area (lots of crime, metal detectors, stabbings right off the school grounds) in an attempt to keep that HS afloat. I just don't think it is worth it....

I would never, ever do that. As I said, I went to an IB school and my experience was basically positive. If I were going to send my kids to traditional high school and IB were available at the *best* of the schools I was considering, that would be nice. If it were offered at one of two otherwise *entirely* equal schools (if that were ever possible), IB might sway me in favor of that school. But I would never, ever consider a sub-par school just because IB was offered. It's the same teachers. It's the same administrators...

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Actually - they have entirely seperate classes and teachers at this high school. The only classes they take with the other kids are the electives like Art and Music, etc.

My dh still thinks we should consider it because of how it looks on a diploma - but I don't want him going there.

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Actually - they have entirely seperate classes and teachers at this high school. The only classes they take with the other kids are the electives like Art and Music, etc.

My dh still thinks we should consider it because of how it looks on a diploma - but I don't want him going there.

 

They don't offer IB Music and Art? And, yes, I would assume the classes would be separate, but are the teachers really different? Or did they just take the better teachers at a weak school and put them through IB training?

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As has been mentioned before, if you are looking at IB schools, you need to see what their results are, not just that they are using the IB structure. FWIW the school that my boys will be attending averages 32 points per student who takes the IB diploma. According to the UK university common entrance standards, that is the equivalent of three US Group A AP exams level 5 plus one at level 3.

 

Laura

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Actually - they have entirely seperate classes and teachers at this high school. The only classes they take with the other kids are the electives like Art and Music, etc.

My dh still thinks we should consider it because of how it looks on a diploma - but I don't want him going there.

 

We are in Pensacola too, and have ruled out IB for the same reasons you cite. No way would I send mine into that environment. You are correct about the separate classes and teachers, though. It's like a completely different school within the larger school. The IB graduates do get great scholarships and a seemingly open door into the more elite colleges.

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Our local high school has an IB program and though it was once ranked in top 100 high schools nationally, is now ranked 12oth (still nothing to sneeze at). We have a friend with a son in the program and he definitely finds it challenging... he gave up competitive hockey because it was too much with IB.

It certainly is an option for us down the line.

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However, just like AP, you cannot call it IB on your transcript or diploma without their blessing.

 

Right. But with AP, you *can* meet those requirements as a home schooler. You can submit your syllabus for approval and put "AP" on your transcript *and* your kids can take the AP exam. ... Home schoolers can't do either of those things with IB.

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This discussion has been enlightening and fascinating. I have a friend whose son was in an IB high School here in Va - the academics were fine, the environment was not. And her comment to me was that if I thought the stuff we read about in the newspaper about the school was bad, it was nothing compared to what didn't get in the newspaper (drugs, assault, etc).

 

Her son is now in a private Blue Ribbon High School - the same school that is actually dh's and my first choice for our children.....if they don't test into TJ (see list).

 

Here is the link to US News and World Report (I think) top high schools in the country - color coded as to whether or not they are IB or not.

 

http://www.usnews.com/articles/education/high-schools/2009/12/09/americas-best-high-schools-gold-medal-list.html?PageNr=1

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This discussion has been enlightening and fascinating. I have a friend whose son was in an IB high School here in Va - the academics were fine, the environment was not. And her comment to me was that if I thought the stuff we read about in the newspaper about the school was bad, it was nothing compared to what didn't get in the newspaper (drugs, assault, etc).

 

Her son is now in a private Blue Ribbon High School - the same school that is actually dh's and my first choice for our children.....if they don't test into TJ (see list).

 

Here is the link to US News and World Report (I think) top high schools in the country - color coded as to whether or not they are IB or not.

 

http://www.usnews.com/articles/education/high-schools/2009/12/09/americas-best-high-schools-gold-medal-list.html?PageNr=1

 

Personally, I don't think this list is a very accurate indicator of school quality because one of the primary measures is how many AP classes are offered and how many tests students at the school take.

 

There are certain districts near us that push everyone to register for AP classes and take the tests, but the pass rate is very low somewhere in the 20-40% range. They score as a "Gold Medal" schools because the students take tons of tests, never mind that most kids failed them.

 

Meanwhile, my alma mater high school, where the top 10-25% of the class goes Ivy League every year, is only a Silver Medal school because not as many AP classes are offered and not nearly as many students overall take AP tests. However, the pass rate for AP tests taken is somewhere in the 85-90% range.

 

I do think that IB is a good program, but AP is strong as well, and there need to be a variety of factors that go into determing school quality and strength of schedule.

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Personally, I don't think this list is a very accurate indicator of school quality because one of the primary measures is how many AP classes are offered and how many tests students at the school take.

 

There are certain districts near us that push everyone to register for AP classes and take the tests, but the pass rate is very low somewhere in the 20-40% range. They score as a "Gold Medal" schools because the students take tons of tests, never mind that most kids failed them.

 

Meanwhile, my alma mater high school, where the top 10-25% of the class goes Ivy League every year, is only a Silver Medal school because not as many AP classes are offered and not nearly as many students overall take AP tests. However, the pass rate for AP tests taken is somewhere in the 85-90% range.

 

I do think that IB is a good program, but AP is strong as well, and there need to be a variety of factors that go into determing school quality and strength of schedule.

 

Thanks for commenting -- I just want to make it clear that I was merely providing the list - not endorsing it or agreeing with it. Your points are well made. And, I think that your last paragraph (sentence) sums it all up quite succintly. My DD30 went to an excellent high school - but without participation in service projects or service organizations (which we had told her she would need in addition to AP courses) she was not accepted into her first choice school (an Ivy League school). There is certainly much more to look at here than rankings.

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  • 1 month later...

We have IB here, but only 11th and 12th. You have to ps through 9th and 10th in the city highschool first and then you "might" get in. You can't just choose to go IB, you have to be selected. One reason we chose the private highschool and friends chose to keep homeschooling.

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Are you just talking about following the IB curriculum? I have no idea if that's available to people outside the official program, but I kinda doubt it. Worth checking on, but all you could say was that you based your curriculum off the IB curriculum; you couldn't claim that your child was IN an IB program at home, kwim? Your child wouldn't be eligible for the certificate or diploma that is issued by the IB organization.

 

Our local high school offers the IB program, as well as AP. Some classes qualify as both, and it is NOT a separate school-within-a-school here. Actually IB/AP classes don't begin until junior year but the pre-reqs start the minute you enter the building. So to be in the IB program you have to have done "Pre-IB" Freshman & Sophomore English, Advanced Physical Science, Geometry as a freshman, etc. At our school the advanced freshman classes are open to everyone (not like when I was in school and you had to apply to be in honors and only the top 20 were selected). My daughter is a freshman and is taking the pre-IB classes as are most of her friends. As she continues in school she can decide whether to go for the entire IB diploma (meeting all of the requirements) or if she wants to test for IB certification in certain subject areas.

 

Both high schools in our district do IB, as well as several other in the larger metro area. The highest-performing district in the state (and the most affluent) does NOT offer IB, just AP. I like that IB gets the kids planning early in their high school careers, and helps separate the kids who are working hard from the slackers.

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Are you just talking about following the IB curriculum? I have no idea if that's available to people outside the official program, but I kinda doubt it. Worth checking on, but all you could say was that you based your curriculum off the IB curriculum; you couldn't claim that your child was IN an IB program at home, kwim? Your child wouldn't be eligible for the certificate or diploma that is issued by the IB organization.

True. It's what's taught and how it's being taught that's got me most interested. In my opinion from what I've briefly seen from one IB school's curriculum guide that this is similar to the classical homeschooling. I realize my perspective and opinion are coming from a rather limited sampling :001_smile: Perhaps I'll have more time in another season of life. For now I'm reassured that the quality of education my children are getting is good.

 

 

Our local high school offers the IB program, as well as AP. Some classes qualify as both, and it is NOT a separate school-within-a-school here. Actually IB/AP classes don't begin until junior year but the pre-reqs start the minute you enter the building. So to be in the IB program you have to have done "Pre-IB" Freshman & Sophomore English, Advanced Physical Science, Geometry as a freshman, etc. At our school the advanced freshman classes are open to everyone (not like when I was in school and you had to apply to be in honors and only the top 20 were selected). My daughter is a freshman and is taking the pre-IB classes as are most of her friends. As she continues in school she can decide whether to go for the entire IB diploma (meeting all of the requirements) or if she wants to test for IB certification in certain subject areas.

 

Both high schools in our district do IB, as well as several other in the larger metro area. The highest-performing district in the state (and the most affluent) does NOT offer IB, just AP. I like that IB gets the kids planning early in their high school careers, and helps separate the kids who are working hard from the slackers.

I went to school in Switzerland for one year and I remember the "sorting" that was to be going on in a couple years with kids going to the lycee or not if they didn't get the right grade on THE test. I was only 9 and I remember feeling relieved that I wasn't sticking around because. I did go to college, but I'm not sure I would ever have qualified under the Swiss school system /B]

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No, you can't home school IB. ... I think IB is a good alternative to traditional public high school options. (Before high school, I think any advantage of IB over another decent school is highly debatable.) But one's experience is only going to be as good as the individual teachers and the individual school. I attended an IB high school back when few American schools used the program. There were good things about it -- but it's not revolutionary or anything. It doesn't bother me in the least that my kids won't have an IB diploma and will have to stick to AP and college courses during high school and things like that instead.

 

:iagree:

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That's sad! In our school, the students self-select whether they want to take the advanced classes or not. Most of my daughter's friends signed up for them so as to leave the IB option open and not close any doors, kwim? The kids who didn't want the extra challenge didn't sign themselves up, so they aren't dragging the class down (and I'm talking more about behavior issues than academic ones).

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Why do you say it can't be homeschooled? Other than not obtaining the IB diploma the educational content could be similar.

The reason it can't be done is the fact IF a student earns the IB diploma, they also earn enough credit (via the IB association) to be a college sophomore. Unless they allow homeschoolers, it would be a waste of time doing courses (MOM style and unaccredited) that colleges would not accept since you are unaccredited. Might as well just do the dual credit at a local cc IMO or take the AP exam.

 

ETA: I have a friend whose dd went to an IB school for her 11th/12th grades (they are hard to find) and she is very bright. She had to turn in results from the DUKE TIP (SAT) in 7th grade to qualify for IB.

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Bumping this up to add a link. OUP publishes some IB course companions. I have not seen these in person or used them, but there are samples available online.

Thank you so much for posting this link, Paula! Amazon has most of these books in the US, along with the Cambridge versions. I didn't realize that the IB program included an epistemology course ("Theory of Knowledge")! :w00t: I just ordered the OUP Course Companion and two other books for this, I'm so excited to find high school level resources for this topic rather than having to cobble something together myself. I also pre-ordered OUP's IB Geography book for next year; I like the emphasis on global connections rather than just looking at the population/flag/exports/GNP/etc. like most US HS texts seem to do.

 

Thank you!!!

Jackie

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The IB here is tacked on to one of the worst high schools in the area (lots of crime, metal detectors, stabbings right off the school grounds) in an attempt to keep that HS afloat. I just don't think it is worth it....

 

I just read in my paper today that the worst school in our area has an IB program. I'd never heard of it before, but seeing as there are only 16 kids in the current senior class in the program, I probably am not the only clueless one.

 

My BIL left a good Christian school to goto the above school once he hit high school so he could be with friends from church, take AP classes, have more opportunities for sports, drama, etc. He ended up graduating as a salutatorian, so academically he did end up doing well. Yet, the trade off wasn't worth it in my mind. He ended up an alcoholic at 17 and made some other pretty terrible life choices. I think I would rather have my child have less "academic and extra curricular opportunity" than end up ruining his life for the next 5+ years (he has straightened out now after going abroad for a year doing mission work in an effort to get his life back on track). Not saying this is what would happen in all cases, but I've seen it happen well over half the time in the kids I know that have gone to this school.

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My son is an IB candidate (once you are a junior they call you this). There is a lot more writing than AP. Like AP end of course exams are shipped elsewhere for scoring. Unlike AP you have to do more than take tests to complete the full diploma. One can achieve an AP certification on the the diploma with just taking a certain number of exams. With IB some exams must be 1 year end of course exams and some must be 2 year end of course exams. The students must study and get passing scores on exams across the curriculum. With AP a student could just take advanced courses in math and sciences and not push himself in English, History or Foreign languages. Then, there are requirements that go beyond the courses for IB. Students have to log hours for community services, creativity, and athletics(I think that's what it's called). They also have to write "reflections" on these hours they logged. Finally, there is a 4,000 word essay they must complete that is unrelated to the requirements of any course they are in. The essay is also graded by a group outside the school. All the requirements must be completed after the start of 11th (a student cannot accumulate service hours the summer before). IB people also come into the school to check up on teachers and look at samples of work from IB courses.

 

I think the school district must pay a hefty fee to be involved. From what I can tell IB does a lot more monitoring of courses than AP.

 

It is also a different thinking perspective than typical school programs. World viewpoints are emphasized. There is no US History course. My ds has to take a state exam on US history to graduate--he has to prepare for that on his own. In French the focus is on current events in the French speaking world--not just France, but Africa, the Caribbean, anywhere French is spoken.

 

IB was started for children of diplomats and representatives of foreign companies, could complete a program that would be accepted for admission by European universities. I'm sure that's why they monitor the program quite a bit.

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A friend here went to a school with an IB program and she didn't participate in it. She said the bulk of the kids she DID know who were taking a full IB courseload were also taking speed or something similar and getting very little sleep because the work load was SO heavy - the academics combined with the other requirements made it very difficult for many students to keep up.

 

I mention this as something to watch for if any of you end up enrolling your children in an IB program. IMO it doesn't matter how fabulous the academics are: if my child has to take speed/no doze/caffeine constantly in order to get the work done, something has to change. There are people who treat academics the way other treat athletics (the "play thru the pain" kinds of people who are grooming their children for MLB at 7), and I don't want to be one of them.

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A friend here went to a school with an IB program and she didn't participate in it. She said the bulk of the kids she DID know who were taking a full IB courseload were also taking speed or something similar and getting very little sleep because the work load was SO heavy - the academics combined with the other requirements made it very difficult for many students to keep up.

 

I mention this as something to watch for if any of you end up enrolling your children in an IB program. IMO it doesn't matter how fabulous the academics are: if my child has to take speed/no doze/caffeine constantly in order to get the work done, something has to change. There are people who treat academics the way other treat athletics (the "play thru the pain" kinds of people who are grooming their children for MLB at 7), and I don't want to be one of them.

You may have a point.

I have the friend (see my previous post) whose dd was in an IB school in a local district. I also have a cousin whose son (he is brilliant -- his dad, my cuz, was a National Merit Scholar now a VP of a microprocessor company -- his 3 brothers were all NM Scholars. Scary brilliant people. LOL) is enrolled in an IB down in Austin.

 

My friend's dd did not do well in the IB program for many reasons. She is bright and like my cousin's kid, her SAT scores in 7th grade were impressive. I think she was ill advised for what lay ahead of her in the IB program. It was highly competitive and cutthroat at times. Many of the IB students are alike, bright, and homogeneous -- all vanilla and no flavor from an individuality POV. This friend's dd was a bit of a rebel and stood out. She was liked but disliked many things about the IB program. She complained of not having enough time to study. Her dad (a single parent who lost his job) made her get a p/t job and that cut into the hours she needed to study. Her extended essay (4,000 words) was graded from an outside committee as a "C" and along with other things she did not graduate with the IB diploma. She was 2 points short of 24 points.

 

My cousin's kid OTOH, excels in the IB program. He loves it. And is doing quite well in his Senior year. He is in the performing arts/drama -- not following his dad's footsteps into math/science/engineering or his grandfather's (surgery) or aunts/uncles (all NM brainiacs and in the medical or science fields). He is following his dreams with acting. But doing very well in the IB program. Go figure.

Edited by tex-mex
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My friend's dd did not do well in the IB program for many reasons. She is bright and like my cousin's kid, her SAT scores in 7th grade were impressive. I think she was ill advised for what lay ahead of her in the IB program. It was highly competitive and cutthroat at times. Many of the IB students are alike, bright, and homogeneous -- all vanilla and no flavor from an individuality POV. This friend's dd was a bit of a rebel and stood out. She was liked but disliked many things about the IB program. She complained of not having enough time to study. Her dad made her get a p/t job and that cut into the hours she needed to study. Her extended essay (4,000 words) was graded from an outside committee as a "C" and along with other things she did not graduate with the IB diploma. She was 2 points short of 24 points.

 

My cousin's kid OTOH, excels in the IB program. He loves it. And is doing quite well in his Senior year. He is in the performing arts/drama -- not following his dad's footsteps into math/science/engineering or his grandfather's (surgery) or aunts/uncles (all NM brainiacs and in the medical or science fields). He is following his dreams with acting. But doing very well in the IB program. Go figure.

 

 

The range of students my ds interacts with in the IB program is huge. That may be a reflection of where you live. IB emphasizes broad perspective and varying viewpoints. The kids in my ds's classes are multiracial and represent many religions.

 

The other thing is that student must be self motivated to do it. It cannot be something mom or dad says the kid will do or something that student attempts because his friends are doing. It is too difficult to complete based on external motivations. As for the use of stimulants, I have work experience with adolescence who have drug problems I know what stimulant abuse can look like. I haven't seen this in the kids I know from my son's program. Honestly, if this were a student's approach to getting all the work done I think they would physically break down before they got near completing the diploma.

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The IB was started here in Geneva and my ds1 followed it for 3 years. The International School has my favorite used book shop so I continue to get lots of exposure to their books and what is happening. Too bad postage is so expensive as I love to connect people and books and they sell the books mentioned above for just $2 a piece, used.

 

Anyway, they have the IB program for the lower grades, primary and middle, but those classes just prepare for the higher grades...I think it is just so that there aren't "holes" in the education. They do the mixed science and math approach, so if you are coming from a typical US system school (I know there are exceptions there too, just generally speaking), then you might end up missing out on important math or science topics.

 

They were toying around with the idea several years ago, of offering it for homeschool (a friend works in the program), but I don't think that has really gone anywhere.

 

You can search and find serious dissension to the IB program. (ETA as well as to AP exams)

 

Different universities offer different amounts of credit if the grade is high enough and if it is in certain subjects. I think it can be a bit misleading saying that you can skip the freshman year with the IB. It is possible, but you have to get quite good grades (ie, not just the IB diploma itself) and it might be that you have to do more higher level subjects (normally you do 3 higher and 3 standard) for certain schools. And many schools don't allow you to go into the second year straight away.

 

This page has college recognition by state, where you can see the schools in each state and if they allow skipping or not.

 

An example for PA, only 1/5 would give 2nd year status if you had met the grading criteria.

 

(there is no one policy, just like for the AP). If you are going the IB route, you need to be well informed and very well prepared if the purpose is to skip a year of university (and know which schools will allow it).

 

Here's the thread from June on the high school board. There are other important points to consider. Eg. University of Geneva would not accept a student who had passed her IB, but her higher level courses were not in subjects that they required.

 

One problem that can make it difficult in some states is that the state hangs on to their "state graduation requirements", which means that their IB needs to include more work eg. American Government, US History, State History, Health, etc, which are not part of the IB program as it is international - ie not meeting any state's requirements. Then the student is faced with the extra crush of requirements if they are not previously prepared. I don't know if that holds true in all states, just from a friend who moved to the state of Washington.

 

I agree with all the voices that say it depends on the school and the teachers.

 

We do the AP tests as dc can get an International AP Diploma and there are many resources available to the public (on the college board site and from the hive!) and I find it more versatile. Besides being very expensive here, the IB has been 'demystified' seeing it up close and there are other ways of doing the same thing (or better).

 

Here's a recent BBC broadcast about IB vs A levels.

(Haven't listened to it myself - just posting for the UKers)..

 

Joan

Edited by Joan in Geneva
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IMO it doesn't matter how fabulous the academics are: if my child has to take speed/no doze/caffeine constantly in order to get the work done, something has to change. There are people who treat academics the way other treat athletics (the "play thru the pain" kinds of people who are grooming their children for MLB at 7), and I don't want to be one of them.

 

Everyone at my boys' school (it's mildly but not very academically selective) takes the IB. It is very hard work but I haven't heard of any substance abuse problems. It's doable, but you might not have an enormous social life during it - perhaps the pupils you heard about were trying to do that on top.

 

Laura

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We're considering sending DD to the local IB high school if we're still in the area. I think it would be a good program for her, and it's so close to where DH's office is that transportation would be easy. I see no reason to send her earlier, though-as far as I can tell, there's no difference between what the feeder schools for that high school do and what the other elementary/middle schools do.

 

There is a private international school that does IB as well that we seriously considered for elementary, due to it's multiple language immersion program-but at almost 30K a year, it was simply out of our price range.

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