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Questions about high school classes

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Good morning!! I have a few questions, I hope I'm coming to the right place. This forum has been a HUGE help to me over the last two years, and all I do is read other threads!


I've been homeschooling for two years, my 13 yr old has wanted to be a dentist since he was 5. We're just starting 8th grade, and for this school year we're good to go - he loves dry big school texts, so we're using Prentice Hall for social studies, literature, and science. It's a great fit. He eats right through Saxon math, he loves it and literally asks to do math first every morning. He's a smart kid, and I don't want to hold him back in high school. I'm still a newbie homeschooling as far as I'm concerned! I have no clue how to justify calling a class "honors", or what the benefit is of finding an AP class to enroll him in (other than having AP on his transcripts). A few friends have finally explained "dual enrollment" to me, which seems to be the answer to my question of how I would ever set up a chem lab in my house for high school chemistry! I live in GA so the bar is set pretty low for graduation requirements, and he really wants me to push him. I am adding a vocabulary class for 8th grade, as well as an SAT prep class. We of course read every day, he chooses a book then I do, we go back and forth. He is almost done with Latina Christiana 1, and adores it but some days says it's too easy. We also use Easy Grammar 6 still, because he didn't know what a verb was when he left public school in 5th grade. My mom does an art program with him, she's a graphic designer so he gets lots of art projects.


Am I missing anything major? Can someone help me understand the honors label and the AP classes? I know once 9th grade hits I have to label classes more, no "social studies" but instead "world history" for example. I already write course descriptions of each class, the materials used, final grades, hours spent in each class, and take photos of all of our science experiments and keep examples of his work for each course. I don't plan to go the accreditation route for high school.


Thanks for any help you can offer, and if I have posted in the wrong area please tell me!!!

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The first thing I'd suggest doing is looking at some of the colleges he might be interested in going to down the road, and see what their requirements are. Then you can create a rough four year plan to give yourself a roadmap and ensure that you're meeting his college prep goals.


When we first started, I took the requirements of the most rigorous school that my daughter might be interested in, and broke those down over four years to give us a plan for tackling high school.


As far as honors classes go, I don't label anything on my homeschool transcript as "honors." I don't want college admissions folks to think that I'm padding my transcripts, and frankly, my thinking is that everything we do is probably honors compared to our local PS. Dual enrollment (community college) classes are flagged as such on my homeschool transcript.


AP classes also carry a note on the transcript of where the class was taken, because you can't use the AP designation on a transcript without having your syllabus approved by the College Board. Some homeschoolers do that, but I don't bother, and instead I outsource AP classes.


But really the first thing is to figure out what your son needs to take in order to get into college. State graduation requirements are significantly lower than college prep requirements.


Regarding "social studies," you'll probably find that your son needs at least three years of social science credits to get into college. There's a lot of variety in how you choose to meet those requirements. For example, my daughter's social science credits are:

9th grade: World History

10th grade: US History

11th grade: Human Geography (sem 1), Microeconomics (sem 2) - both dual enrollment classes

12th grade: US Politics (sem 1) dual enrollment... not sure about sem 2 yet!


Hopefully, that helps a bit!

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I added a tag for advanced placement. There have been several good threads on this over the last few months.


The gist that I think they can be boiled down to is this:


Anyone can take an AP exam. There is no requirement that one have completed an officially recognized AP course. You can to online prep or self study.


Schools administer AP exams once a year following a schedule set by the College Board (which owns the rights to the AP name). If you want to have your son test, start calling schools in the fall to determine what their registration process/timeline is for non-enrolled students (my local schools allow registration for about 2 weeks in Feb and then close the registration). Expect to pay for the cost of the exam, even if there is no cost to local enrolled students.


If you want to call the course AP on the transcript, you will have to do the course audit (a review of the syllabus) through College Board. Several moms here have done so. Or you can label the course something like Honors Physics with AP exam and list the score.


Advantages of AP include:

Is a quantitative measure of course difficulty that can be useful when applying to college

Can be used to validate a course at college (this will vary by college and major)

Can be used to meet a prerequisite requirement for access to a higher level course or a specialty course (for example to a smaller honors biology or to an astronomy course that requires already having a physics course).


Also, registration for courses is typically done by seniority, with rising seniors going first, down to new freshmen. Enough AP courses might give a student advanced standing and a leg up on registration. Even a semester's worth of priority might mean the difference between being wait listed and getting into a course.



Seems like there are mixed opinions on honors designations. Some use them because they are the best descriptor of the difficulty of their courses. Others don't bother because honors needs to be relative to something else to have meaning.


One other thing you might look at are SAT2 subject tests. These test high school level mastery of material. They have a similar quantifying benefit to APs, but don't generally give college credit. Some colleges/majors require SAT2 for all applicants or for homeschoolers.

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One thing with AP is that you can still take the test without listing the course on the transcript as an AP course. So you could do all the prep work for the AP exam and have your child take it (for the college credit)with out being in an official AP class. Now if I was doing that I would call it an honors class since there would be extra work involved.

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  • 4 months later...
Guest sbal0909

A career in dentistry is very math and science intensive. Typically, AP coursework should be highly considered for a reputable pre-med/undergraduate science program. Taking Calculus 1 and all essential Chemistry, Biology, and Physics need to be done. I would also consider incorporating lab work would be essential.


This website offers detailed explanation regarding pre-college course work:




The website in general offer great advice please consult for further details.

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Good for you for checking on these requirements early. It will make your life so much easier!


In Georgia, I would suggest if you are considering dual enrollment that you look at the dual enrollment requirements pretty early on. Unlike a lot of places some schools in Georgia have quite a few requirements for dual enrollment and may have limited slots on a first come first served basis. Here's an example: http://www.kennesaw.edu/dehp/ Here's the application homeschoolers who aren't affiliated with a program need to fill out: http://www.kennesaw.edu/admissions/pdfs/JEHP%20Homeschool%20Portfolio.pdf


I would also suggest that you look at the requirements for any colleges he may be considering. Here's an example of what Georgia Tech expects: http://www.admission.gatech.edu/apply/freshman-application/home-school For students who are not working through regionally accredited programs they have some very specific requirements and it'll be easiest if you know about these early in high school.


Here's an article from my site about pre-med studies. Much of this will also apply to pre-dental students. http://homeschoolsuccess.com/pre-med-major/

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