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High School Information (in advance)

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Even though I've been on wtm for many years now, this is my first in visiting and posting on the h.s. forum.


My dd will be in high school a year from this fall. While it is a bit in advance, I'm hoping y'all can share your insights to help make our transition smooth.


When did you start to keep/track credits? DD is finishing 7th grade this spring and I've heard to start tracking for credits in 8th grade to get the experience. How is it done? I understand there is a program - if so, which do you prefer and why?


What does your 9th and 10th grade schedule look like? How many hours do you invest yourself in teaching.....per day? Per subject? Is your h'schooler pretty much independently working at this point? Do you test in each subject?


Writing - what program do you use?


What curricula do you use at least in 9/10 grades?


Share your insight, please. THANKS!

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Wow -- that's about 4 or 5 threads worth of questions all in one (I've noticed that I do actually get more specific information and more responses overall the more specific I make my thread question over here on the high school board). :) But I'll do my best to answer your specific questions:

Record Keeping/Tracking Hours
We live in a state that does not require tracking of hours, and is more flexible about homeschooling, which has allowed me considerable freedom in how I organize. I did not start record keeping and transcripts until we were into 9th grade, just using the schedules and book lists I'd already been making each year anyways for help in creating the transcript, so it wasn't a difficult transition.

For courses using standard textbooks (Math, Science, etc.), we did not track hours; just finished the textbook (sometimes earlier, but sometimes taking more than 1 school year). For creating our own coursework (History, Literature, Fine Arts, etc.) I laid out an amount of work in advance (books, resources assignments, projects, etc.) that I felt would cover the subject, and would *roughly* take 4 to 5 hours/week (for a 1 year/1 credit course).

Records I keep in a box, and sort later into a representative handful into a binder. Specific items I keep: quizzes, tests, written papers, timeline work, list of books/materials used for a course, photos of larger projects, programs of performances attended (or participated in), certificates of participation (for outside-the-home things).

I have always done better with paper & pencil rather than software for tracking the schedule and hours -- just my personal style/preference. I have always made my own schedule (a weekly one), with a small check box for each subject for each day of the week for DSs to check off when completed. I just modified these to fit our high school needs.

What Did Your 9th/10th Grade Schedules Look Like
Pretty similar to grade 7 and 8 -- just a little longer day (solid 5.5 hours for 9th grade; 6 hours for 10th gr.+; an additional 1 hour in the day for lunch break). About 2 Fridays per month, we would take off half a day (sometimes most of a day) for participation in our homeschool group's Student Council and youth social activities or community service, or for field trips. Our PE hours were logged after school or on weekends. Extracurricular activities were all in the afternoons or evenings after school. We never did homework in the evenings or weekends, although we often would read aloud from the Literature or History in the evenings, as well as during the day.

While I did ramp up the expectations and work load some for high school, I also kept it manageable for what each DS could do. I think of all the years of high school as a transition, always moving towards more complex and difficult work. So, for example, what DSs could do in grade 12 for the 1 credit English was a lot heavier than what they could do for grade 9.

We also did a lighter load in grade 9 -- about 5 to 5.5 credits of work -- and then did heavier loads in grades 10 and 11 -- 6 to 7 credits -- and then a lighter load (5 credits) again in grade 12 (to allow time for dual enrollment at the community college; part time work; lots of extracurriculars; test prep (ACT, SAT); college and scholarship searches/applications; senior project; graduation prep; etc.).

How many hours do you invest yourself... Is your highschooler pretty independent
The answer to both questions varies widely on the individual student; on your choice of material; and how involved you WANT to be. For us: both our DSs are "late-bloomers" and younger DS has mild learning disabilities. So I was heavily "there" for older in 8th grade and 9th grades, just there for instruction in 10th grade, and he was mostly independent by 11th grade (except for the History and Literature, which, by our choice, we all 3 did together in order to discuss as we went).

What I found is that in the early grades, you do the bulk of your time teaching, reading aloud, and grading. In high school, you do little teaching. You do a lot of reading on your own (full work, or a Cliff's Note's or teach manual summary) so that you can *discuss* together -- loads of time spent discussing, here. And overseeing experiments. You still do a lot of grading. But now you spend far more time driving (extracurriculars, outside classes, etc.); researching (curriculum, support material, online classes, colleges, scholarships); and administrative things (creating transcripts and recordkeeping; signing up for tests; liaison for online courses, sports, extracurriculars, etc.)

Do you test in each subject?
I, personally, have never been big on testing -- either DSs know the material, or we go over it until they do. However, in high school I tended to compromise so that DSs get more used to testing, and to have additional records of work done for credits. We did do end-of-chapter tests in math and science, and quizzes for some other courses. We also annual testing: the IOWA in grades 9 and 10; the PSAT in grade 11, and the SAT and ACT in grade 12.

Writing - what program do you use? What curricula do you use at least in 9/10 grades?
Again, you'll get a different answer from each family here! :) It really depends on your student's needs and learning style, your teaching style, and what life circumstances may dictate.

I'd suggest doing searches for past threads on what people have used for 9th grade, what their 9th grade schedules looked like, or for information on specific subjects. (For example, this past thread: Would you share your high school plans.) Or, start a new thread asking for input on each subject -- something like "What to use for 9th grade ______, and why did it work for you?" Specifically for suggestions for writing in high school, check out this thread: Resources for Teaching Writing in High School; a lot of good discussion in this recent thread on writing, too: Writing Program: need to find ONE that will get the job done.

You might also find it helpful to do some reading on homeschooling high school from books at the local library. Is there a homeschool group in your area? Talk to some local homeschoolers about how they are doing high school and what the transition into high school was like -- maybe find a homeschool mom "mentor" who has older children and schools in a similar way as you for especially helpful advice. Or, for more from this Board, in this past post, I linked to a number of past threads on various high school topics.


Welcome to high school, Sheryl! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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When did you start to keep/track credits? DD is finishing 7th grade this spring and I've heard to start tracking for credits in 8th grade to get the experience. How is it done? I understand there is a program - if so, which do you prefer and why?


I didn't really bother with credits until each kid starting doing high-school level work. We determine credits in a couple of different ways:


1. When enough work has been done to be comparable to a traditional high school course. This can be because the student completes a high school or college text or because they take an outside course. One other approach I've taken is to research syllabi and course descrptions online and then write my own that is comparable. Completing that would also be credit worthy by our standards.

2. For certain subjects that are not as easily defined, we sometimes determing credit by counting hours devoted to that subject. Music and theatre both fall into this category, as well as some other arts pursuits.


In either case, I don't use any kind of package, service or program. I just keep notes on my computer of what the student does as things get done. At the end of the year, I organize all of the information into a syllabus and write a course description, then enter the credit on the transcript form we use.


What does your 9th and 10th grade schedule look like? How many hours do you invest yourself in teaching.....per day? Per subject? Is your h'schooler pretty much independently working at this point? Do you test in each subject?


It varies with different kids and different subjects. Both of my kids have taken/are taking a few classes online, and I have very little involvement with those. Mostly, I'm here for emotional support and to maintain a routine. My son requires more babysitting than my daughter did, but he still does the majority of his actual learning on his own.


For both kids, my primary involvement is in English/literature and history. Those are the subjects with which I'm most comfortable and the ones in which I am most interested. These days, I would say I work directly with my son for an hour or two a day, including reading and discussing literature, editing writing assignments, helping with some math and setting guidelines for less defined subjects.


My daughter's ninth grade class list looked like this:


American History

Anthropology 1: Intro to Archeology

Art History: 19th & 20th Centuries

Biology 1 W/Lab

English 1

Geometry *

Latin 1

Music: Choir **

Music Appreciation

Theater Arts 1: Theater Survey **


Her 10th was:


Algebra II / Honors *

American Government / Honors *

Art History: Ancient Civilizations


English 2

Music: Choir **

Conversational German

History of the Ancient World

Latin 2

Theater Arts 2: Origins of Theater **

World Religions


The courses marked with * were taken through Florida Virtual School. The ones marked ** were courses for which we assigned credit by counting hours.


My son is doing "ninth" (although he comes into this year with a few credits and plans to graduate early) this year. His current course list is:


English 1

Topics in Discrete Math: Counting and Probability

Topics in Discrete Math: Statistics and Cryptology

Science in Popular Culture (w/lab)

World History and Cultures

Spanish 1 *

Music: Choir **

Music: Vocal Performance **

Introduction to Performing Arts **


Writing - what program do you use?


What curricula do you use at least in 9/10 grades?


Share your insight, please. THANKS!


We've mostly studied writing and grammar at this level in the context of just writing. I assign writing projects, they turn them in, I go over their work with them to point out mistakes and explain how to fix them, they make the corrections. Lather, rinse, repeat until each assignment is done.


My daughter did work through and find useful Wordsmith Craftsman. And my son is using one of the Imitation in Writing books this year, mostly because it aligns with his literature studies and I though he'd think it was fun. But, in both cases, we did more than the basics in those curricula.


I've used different curricula with each kid, and I don't use a lot of packaged stuff most of the time. Mostly, I research materials, find books I think will be a good fit, and then write my own lesson plans using those materials. We've used and liked some Florida Virtual School courses (and strongly disliked others), as well as free online courses and materials from www.learner.org, www.khanacademy.org and www.ucopenaccess.org . Occasionally, we have found a textbook we really like, too, but there doesn't seem to be any definable pattern.


I realize that I've mostly said "it depends" in answer to most of your questions. But, in our case, it just kind of is that way. I think one of the best things about homeschooling is that we are free to forge our own paths and design an education that is right for each individual student. I enjoy taking full advantage of that freedom!

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We had to start giving grades in 7th grade, per our umbrella school rules. However, we didn't count "credits" until DD started doing high school level work. This can be in 8th grade, like for Algebra I. We send the grades/credits to our umbrella school but don't use a software program to track them.


We don't track hours except for P.E. DD needs 150 hours of exercise/sports for 1 P.E. credit. She will probably take 2 years to accomplish this. We won't list it on the transcript until she has completed it.


For the other courses, I develop a syllabus (for 0.5 credits or 1 credit) and DD must complete all the work to get the credit. It doesn't matter to me if it takes her 4 months or 14 months, 100 hours or 200 hours. For textbook courses (like math), the syllabus is essentially finishing the entire text. For courses I put together from various sources (U.S. Gov't, economics, etc), I must make a judgement call on the amount of work I'm asking her to complete. I err a bit on the "too much" side as I can always find a few other resources that look good to add.


DD is working very independently, but she's been homeschooling since first grade and it has been a gradual transition to independence. I hand her the books and the syllabus, check occasionally on progress, but that's about it.


I invest much more time in researching curriculum, other resources, and developing the course syllabi.


We test in most subjects.


We are currently using Jensen's Format Writing and plan to use Wordsmith Craftsman. I'm seriously considering one of those online writing tutor programs just to give DD outside feedback on her writing.


We are aiming at about 7 credits per year but we school year-round and subjects roll from one year to the next. It's "messy" in real life but will be neatened up on the transcript. :glare:


I could list all the programs we are using for 9th and plan for 10th. Do you really want that?



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