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Starting over again - homeschooling in 8th - 12 grade questions?

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I'm basically new to homeschooling for all intents and purposes. However, I'm not totally a novice. I did extensive research and reading when homeschooling my kids a couple years ago (I homeschooled for about 2.5 years then put them back into public school, but that's a whole 'nother post!). 

Anyway, we'll be deciding to pull my 12 yr old out of PS to homeschool for 8th-12 grade. We really feel its best for him due to a variety of reasons. He also has ADHD which causes difficult in a busy classroom. He does better one-on-one, etc etc

So a couple quick questions to get me started...while we do plan on finishing out this current school year, I'd like to use the time to really plan and prepare. 
Sources on what typical minimum standards are per grade level that they should learn/know? 
And how long do you typically spend with schoolwork for one child in these upper levels?
Any other sources to get me started on reading and planning?


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If you want a general view of what kids in your area public schools are learning, there should be a Program of Study on your county/school district's website for each grade. It's what they are tested on, if your area has state testing.


I only homeschooled one for high school, so consider this a bump...lol


I kinda worked from the assumption that my boy would want to go to college, and I knew that college prep was typically

4 years each of "core" classes, 4 years (or 3 minimum) of language, a couple of fine arts credits, and some filler.


So I planned:


Bio, Chem, Environmental, Astronomy, Physical Geography. My boy was weak in math, so no physics for us


I wanted Great Books and a good writing course, so I did Omnibus (lots of hand holding) for 2 years, Sonlight for a year, and my own thing for the last year (1 semester short stories, one semester Early Mods at that point). I struggled to find a writing program. We hooked lit to history.


Lit-based, Great books with textbook support for us (Spielvogel)


I wanted the typical Algebra, Geo, Algebra 2, Trig/Precalc that was for kids not very mathy. For a more typical kid, I'd do Alg in 8th and go from there.

Foreign Lang:

Most colleges want 3 years of one lang, or 4 years of two and two. Most competitive would want 4 years of same. My kid was not strong in FL, so he did 1 year of Latin, one of Spanish and 2 of French (we were trying to find one that worked).

Fine Arts/electives; He did music with his dad for a year, and some music history.

He also took Psychology at CC,  4 years of bible/theology/comparative religion, and I can't remember how else we filled his transcript.


Anyway, my main advice is consider the future and work backwards.


Read the high school boards for a ton of great advice.


Oh, and we worked about 9am-til 3ish, with him having the flexibility to do schoolwork at night, too. It was a lot of reading. We didn't do projects, just discussion and papers--in public school, projects lessen as they get older.  Dad handled math after the first year and typically that was after dinner.

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Agree with Chris.  


Also, you have a child that is coming out of school with possible foundational gaps.  Maybe figuring out which curriculum you are interested in using then giving assessments tests, starting a couple of levels back, to see where those gaps might be could be very beneficial.  You could even start working on those more foundational skills now or maybe over the summer.


The flip side of that coin, though, is that most kids need a detox period when they start homeschooling.  They have to walk away mentally from a very different educational environment than the one they will be in and it takes time to adjust.  I would start slowly.  Implement just a couple of core subjects and then give the child a lot of interest led instruction in areas that speak to them.  Get them fired up about being in a position to control some of what they are learning.  Add in more along the way.


Does the child have any strong outside interests/hobbies?  Plan to give plenty of time/resources for mastery in those.  Get outside instruction or provide the materials they will need to really take off with this.  You may be able to tie some of the core instruction to this as well.  If the child is engaged they are far more likely to learn and to be enthusiastic about learning.  Having something that matters to them be respected and encouraged may very well give them the impetus to work hard in other subjects as well.


Do you have strong homeschooling groups in your area?  You might see if there are any quality classes being taught for homeschoolers.  Outsourcing at least one thing might be good for both of you.  


With the ADHD situation, being able to sit and read all the materials required for High School may be problematic.  If your child does well with auditory input, and you don't already have one, you might look into getting a Kindle Fire and putting a lot of books on there.  The book can read to them while they work with their hands on something or even just walking around, getting that movement in.  And when they want to switch back to reading the text they can.  It is all synced up.  FWIW, my DS learns better with auditory input and he needs to move so he carries his Kindle around sometimes just listening while he does other things (he has headsets) and other times he is reading while the book also reads to him.  If he suddenly needs to get up and move he can do so easily without the material being interrupted.  It gives him freedom from me which he also desires at times.  It works very well.  

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Books you might look at:


Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner by Kathy Kuhl 

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens by Debra Bell

Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau


And definitely check with your state to see what the requirements are for homeschooling/high school diplomas.  


Also, if you think your child will need accommodations for standardized testing, check to see what will be required to get those accommodations.


Finally, if you have specific questions about any learning challenges you might hop over to the Learning Challenges board for some additional advice.


Best wishes.


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I agree with wapiti, x-post to the high school board. As the mom of two high schoolers, there is a shift in thinking that occurs there. Instead of "minimum standards are per grade level", you are now looking at 4 years lumped together. In some subjects, such as history, there is no preferred order for studying and nothing that needs to be learned in 8th grade, 9th grade, etc.


In general, you have two approaches to choose from. You can design high school around high school graduation requirements. In most states, homeschoolers get to create their own, but you can google your state and high school graduation requirements to find out what public school students around you are doing. The second approach is to look at college entrance requirements and create your high school graduation requirements based on what colleges want for admissions. To do this, look at a few schools that might be of interest to your child. Will they be likely to go to a State University? I private LAC? A highly selective or Ivy? Look at several colleges that are within their goal range and make a plan. Remember, that colleges list their minimums, not what most students that go their actually have, so aim to surpass the minimum requirements. 


So based on that, for us high school looked like:


Science (we start with Biology, but that isn't the only choice)

Social Studies/History 

English (should include writing and literature)

Math (Needs to be Algebra 1 or above)





Social Studies/History




You can see dd's 10th grade year in my sig for an example of where she is.




Social Studies/History



Foreign Language 2 semesters dual enrollment





Social Studies/History



Foreign Language 2 semesters dual enrollment - optional


You can see ds's 12th grade year in my sig for where he has ended up.


I would work backwards to 8th grade. Is he taking pre-algebra or higher? Science, Physical science that offers a strong introduction to Physics and Chemistry is a popular choice for 8th grade, but it depends on what he has already had and where he is going. History, if there is something he wants to study, now is the time. Pick 4 courses for high school, whether it is a 4 year cycle from Ancients to modern history, a traditional run through American, World, Geography, and Government/Economics or some other mix. Once you've got that chosen, then make 8th something he is weak in, or won't do again for awhile or something he is interested in, but won't get a shot at in high school. English, 8th grade is the time to start ramping up the level of books he is reading and to make sure his writing is solid. This is the time to work on those as skills so he can use those skills next year.


Ok, that was really long. Make a general plan, then as you start trying to figure out individual subjects, start asking more questions! 


Welcome to homeschooling!

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I like this chart for what you need to study:




You can pick first column for your child's strengths, third column for "subjects we just want to check the minimum box", second column for anything else that's left, and come up with a reasonable four-year plan.



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Pull out the Well-Trained Mind and buy a few SWB podcasts for a good framework.


For me, the framework for high school is fairly well laid out. 120hours = 1 credit. My state (& state universities) are pretty clear on what they want to see on a final transcript for a child going to college. 


Working backwards from that, I look to the SKILLS that my child needs to be prepared to do high school level work well. IMO, Jr. High is a chance to make sure those foundational skills of critical thinking, academic writing, and reading complex material are in place. I also do the standard jr. high science set up of earth/life/physical science and the standard jr. high math sequence. For my mathematically average kid, that means that I'm hitting prealgebra in 7th and algebra in 8th so that geometry is completed in 9th before taking the PSAT fall of sophmore year.

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Welcome to planning for homeschooling high school! ?

On 10/14/2014 at 6:27 PM, snipsnsnailsx5 said:

Sources on what typical minimum standards are per grade level that they should learn/know? 

World Book Encyclopedia typical course of study = topics commonly studied in public school, by grade.
What do "7th" and "9th" grade look like to you = past thread, post #3 lists a breakdown of expectations, and topics typically covered, for an *average* student; listed by grade.
Could you point me to a list = past thread, post #3 lists types of classes for high school

But usually in high school, planning is done by determining what specific credits (classes) need to be accomplished, and then you decide what specific resources best help you accomplish those credits and your goals. Usually that list of credits is compiled by combining:

- state required credits for high school graduation
- required credits for college admission for incoming freshman
- credits in areas of interest/passion of the student, and/or "parent required" credits

Most families accomplish approximately 22-28 credits over the 4 years of high school (averages out to 5.5 to 7 credits per year). A very quick/rough guide is the "4-by-5 + electives plan" = 4 credits in each of the 5 core subject areas (English, Math, Science, Foreign Language, Social Studies) -- plus 1-2 electives per year.

Typically, once you combine any state requirements for high school graduation, with requirements for college admission, you come up with a list like this:

- 4 credits = English (about 1/2 Literature and 1/2 Composition/Writing)
- 3-4 credits = Math (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, + 4th math above Alg. 2)
- 3-4 credits = Science, with labs (some colleges want Biology, Chemistry; most are flexible)
- 2-4 credits = Foreign Language (same language)
- 2-4 credits = Social Studies (many colleges want 1 credit = Amer Hist; some also want 1 credit = World Hist/Geog and/or 0.5 credit each Gov't & Econ)
- 1 credit = Fine Arts
- 4-8+ credits = Electives (Computer, Logic, Health, PE, Bible/Religious Studies, Vocational-Tech, credits in topics of personal interest, Add'l credits in Fine Arts, "Academic Electives = credits in the above 4 areas beyond required; etc)

22-28 credits (or more) = total

Specifically for bringing a student home in 8th grade and then planning on homeschooling in high school -- as you'll probably remember from your past experiences of switching to homeschool and then back to public school ? -- you need to allow for transition time for both you AND your student. So start gently with just a few core subjects and slowly add in subjects.

And especially for a tween/teen, be looking for extracurriculars to be involved in, for social opportunities, supporting personal interests and passions, and trying out new interests:

Finding extra-curricular
What extracurricular activities for the high school years?
What kinds of extra activities for high schoolers?
DS is so, so lonely

THEN, once you've eased back into homeschooling, you can think about preparing your 8th grader for high school work. Here are some helpful past threads on that topic:

Looking back (what you would do differently to prepare for high school work)
If you knew then what you know now (what would you do differently for Logic stage years)
High school parents: looking back what would be your ideal for 7th/8th grades

On 10/14/2014 at 6:27 PM, snipsnsnailsx5 said:

 how long do you typically spend with schoolwork for one child in these upper levels?

This varies widely, depending on the individual student, and what materials are being used. A very rough guide is 1 hour per day per subject (which comes out to 5 hours per week, and 180 hours by end of school year (5 hr/week x 36 weeks). That would be the maximum amount of hours toward 1 credit. The minimum amount of hours toward 1 credit would be 120 hours, which comes out to either 40 min/week 5 days a week, OR, 50 min/day 4 days/week.

- Science, English, Math = tend to come closer to 150-180 hours, so allot more time per day
- History, Foreign Language = varies, depending on materials used. 
- Government, Economics, Electives = tend to come closer to 120-135 hours, so less time per day.

So, if you plan on 6 credits (classes), roughly estimate roughly 6 hours of schoolwork per day.

On 10/14/2014 at 6:27 PM, snipsnsnailsx5 said:

Any other sources to get me started on reading and planning?

At the top of the high school Board are some pinned threads that you will find helpful in the next years. The first one to check out is "Starting High School Outsourcing, AP, SAT… links to past threads here". Posts #1 and #2 are loads of links to past threads on all kinds of topics for homeschooling high school:

post #1 topics
- getting started
- books and resources
- making a high school plan
- outsourcing
- tutors
- online classes
- dual enrollment

post #2 topics
- info and pros/cons on various high school tests: PSAT, SAT, ACT, SATII, AP, CLEP, GED

I would especially start with these threads:

High School "Time Table" (deadlines / what to do and when for high school)
High school curriculum -- where do I start? (how to decide what credits to do, and then how to select curriculum)
Could you point me to a list (post #3 lists types of classes count for what types of credits)

The bare bones of what you'll need for starting high school:

1. Do lots of reading/research
- ask lots of specific questions on the high school Board
- the above threads have great starting info
- homeschooling high school articles at 
HSLDA and Donna Young website
- your local library may have one of these helpful books:
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens (Debra Bell)
Homeschooling the Teen Years (Cafi Cohen)
Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School (Rebecca Rupp)

2. Make a high school plan
A sort-of "mission statement" or overall checklist or guide to your 4 years of high school. High school curriculum, how do I start? = post #2 has a helpful "quick start" for making a plan.

3. Determine a method for record keeping
- check out past threads linked in that big pinned thread at the top of the high school board
- look at 
Lee Binz' The Home Scholar website, with free articles / video tutorials

4. Talk with some local homeschoolers with high schoolers / graduates
They can let you know about all the options available to homeschool high school students in your area. They can let you look at various programs so you can see what's a good fit for *your* student. You might be able to do a "mini-co-op" for science labs together. Your students get to know other high schoolers. You can swap/buy used curriculum from them. And they can be great mentors or a support system for YOU! smile.gif

One last thing you might want to check out between now and the start of your high school journey -- sometimes, due to a variety of reasons, switching to a "brick and mortar" school during high school becomes the best option. However, some schools or some school districts, don't allow any transfers partway through -- so homeschooling in those areas is an "all or nothing" decision for 4 years. It's just a piece of information that should be "on the table" for the decisions you and your family will make as you move into the high school years.

Again, welcome! I'd suggest hanging out on the high school board for lots of specific experiences and answers to questions. ? And happy planning! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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www.time4learning.com has some good courses. Check what your state's requirements are and what the University he is thinking of attending later homeschool requirements are. {I read your blog. Poor guy! I think I would have come unglued!!} Other than that, welcome!

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