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Where to start? Which resources, etc.?


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Ummm...I need to learn everything -- what kinds of things we need to make sure to include in our high school experience, how to find and choose colleges that are a great fit, dates that we can't miss (testing, but what else?), etc., etc. -- basically how to be a high school counselor. I'm still trying to understand whether we should do dual credit, CLEP, or AP! So far, I've gathered that test scores are so, very important, so we definitely need test prep, and I'm keeping records for a transcript. That's about the extent of it.


Are there resources for helping my dd figure out what she wants to major in?


I feel like I don't know enough to ask questions yet. Where should I begin? My own background is that I was accepted into the honors program with a full scholarship to the local university, and I took it -- didn't have help, but met dh there, so I guess it worked out!

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I think that there are so many paths to productive adulthood that it's really hard to say which is the right one. :)


In my oldest daughter's case, she wanted to be sure to cover bases so she could apply to certain colleges she was interested in. We began looking at their websites when she was a sophomore, determined their requirements for homeschoolers, and went about trying to fit those things into her life. (Like certain SATIIs, raising her SAT Scores, AP Exams, etc.) She also has work and interning experience, and other outside interests that made her attractive to those colleges, but she was doing those things anyway. My other two children won't necessarily have those types of things on their resume because that's not where their interests lie (as of yet). They are not so concerned about making themselves "attractive" to top colleges, either, and that's OK with me. Maybe they never will be. They're on their own paths, and will be successful in their own way.


My evolving thoughts on the matter are "balance in all things." The test scores are important but prepping for them is probably not the thing that will set your kid afire. Do you have any family friends in careers that interest your daughter at all? Could she shadow them and see what their days look like? Maybe that would help her see a path that she'd like to explore. I have recently found that adults in our life are happy to spend at least an hour or two (if not more!) showing and telling about what they do, and my kids have sometimes been surprised seeing what it is adults do with their days. It's a mystery to them, mostly... because what they see on a regular basis is me in my jeans doing school with them!


One thing we do when we can is go to lectures at the local universities. Sometimes we have to dig a little to find them.... but they are usually about things we didn't even know existed, which is cool. Last year we went to one about crowd sourced brain mapping.


Good luck! It is a very exciting time.

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Welcome to planning for high school and college! :) Below I linked lots of resources to get you started in answer to your first questions. BEST of luck as you embark on your homeschool high school journey! Warmest regards, Lori D.



re: I need to learn everything... Where should I begin?

Actually, you might want to FIRST repost this question on the high school board, as you are looking for information that is largely about how to do *high school* in a manner that will then make *college* possible. As you move into your high school years, you then start looking ahead to colleges and learning what you need to do to make college happen.


To learn what you need to know for asking questions, I suggest you read a book or two on homeschooling high school that also includes information about college. You local library may have some of them:

- Homeschooling the Teen Years: Your Complete Guide (Cafi Cohen) -- info on all those high school topics you listed and more

- The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens (Debra Bell) -- high school prep; areas to cover in high school

- Home Learning Year by Year (Rebecca Rupp) -- subject areas to cover, and how to do so

- Homeschoolers' College Admissions Handbook (Cafi Cohen) -- info on all the getting into college topics

- College Prep Homeschooling (David & Chandra Beyer)

- Homeschooling High School: Planning Ahead for College Admission (Jeanne Gowen Dennis)

- Setting the Record Straight (Lee Binz) -- the documents needed for college admissions

- Homeschooler's Guide to Portfolios and Transcripts (Loretta Heurer) -- the documents needed for college admissions (this book is older -- copyright 2000)


You may also find some past threads on getting started, and planning for high school helpful:

- My son is starting high school (linked resources, tips, and gentle steps from posters on getting started)

- High school curriculum -- where do I start (how to decide what credits to do, and then how to select curriculum)

- Homeschooling high school... where to begin? (links to lots of threads on specific topics: getting started, curriculum, credits, transcripts, etc.)

- Whine!! I didn't sign up to be a guidance counselor! (lots of wisdom and linked resources for LATER in your high school journey, as you approach college)


Other website resources:

- HSLDA has a series of articles on specific homeschooling high school topics

- Donna Young's website has helpful articles and especially free downloadable forms for recordkeeping, transcripts, etc.

- Home Scholarwebsite by Lee Binz has specific free articles and video tutorials on recordkeeping and transcripts, plus information about her for-a-fee service, and her book, Setting the Record Straight


And see if you can talk to some local homeschoolers who have graduated students to college, or are further along the road in homeschooling high school and learn about your local options (dual enrollment, AP tests, etc.).




re: dual credit, CLEP, or AP

For information, pros and cons, and past experience about the various tests (AP, CLEP, SAT, etc.), about dual enrollment, and so on, I've compiled a huge list of linked threads in this "stickied" thread:

Outsourcing, Online Classes, Tutors, Dual Enrollment, Tests, etc. I have grouped the threads by subject



re: time table

- WTM tread: High school time table-- very detailed of gr. 8 and 4 years of high school, with contributions from numerous BTDT WTM moms

- Donna Young: Homeschooling High School: First List and Timetable -- short overview list of the 4 years of high school

- College Board website -- sign up for the FREE monthly email newsletter, which also alerts you to deadlines throughout high school (especially for tests); also allows you to sign up for the "SAT Question of the Day" for a daily quick test practice/prep



re: resources to help my daughter decide what to major in

That would probably fall under the heading of "career exploration". Lots of fun things you can do with that. I'd suggest planning on setting aside one Friday afternoon a month, or every two months, and do some kind of fun career exploration with your daughter.


The book What Color is Your Parachute for Teens is one starting point. Or read/discuss books about various college majors and careers; here's a list of books at Amazon.


Taking a career assessment is lots of fun -- it is a test that matches up your interests and preferred ways of working with specific occupations. The California Career Zoneand New York Career Zone websites are great websites for taking a little assessment, and then exploring lots of occupations. For $5 (plus shipping), the Kuder Career Search assessment is quite worthwhile.


A great hands-on way of looking at careers is to shadow a professional at work for a morning or a day.


See if you can attend a high school job fair or career day -- sometimes it is a city-wide event, sometimes hosted by just one large high school; often they let homeschoolers "tag along". They have tables set up and people from many professions at the tables you can ask questions, receive handouts, etc.


Our homeschool group puts on an annual "careers day" type of event in which we invite about 2 dozen speakers from various occupations to come in and speak in one of 6 time slots about what they do and how to get into that field, and the students (homeschoolers in grades 6-12 and parents) get to choose at each time slot which speaker to go and see. You could set up something smaller and more informal -- once a month get together with other homeschoolers and invite 1 or 2 people to come present about their professions.


Past threads that have lots of links, resources and ideas:

- Choosing a career book suggestion?

- Career aptitude test?

- Going out of my mind trying to pick a major





In looking at this post of mine, I realize just how incredibly overwhelming it is. So, I want to encourage you that was NOT my intention; I just wanted to give you a resource list you could keep coming back to as needed. DON'T try and do all of this at once!


- Moving from middle school into high school is a *process* that takes 1-2 years.

- Learning what works for YOU for record-keeping and transcripts is another different *process*.

- Figuring out what each student needs/doesn't need to do of all the many high school options is a *process* -- and it may CHANGE during the high school years -- and it WILL be a different journey for each child.

- Doing career exploration is yet a whole 'nother huge area that is a process...

- Moving from high school to college is yet another *process* that usually takes doing different parts of the transition throughout the last 2 years of high school.



So, to figure out what questions to even ask, check one book out of the library and get an overview of all the things to consider about high school. Jot down things that are the most immediate or pressing questions for YOU, and either see if some of the past threads linked above help answer those questions; if not post your specific questions and get some good, current input. Once you have enough information to make a decision on those topics that were most pressing, then move to the next homeschooling high school topics you have questions about.


Baby steps, and before you know it, you're in a groove that's working well for you and your family! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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