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Looking forward towards high school

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I wanted to start a thread for parents of 8th graders, who are considering what next year will bring.


The high school board has some amazing threads stickied at the top of the board.  Reading through all of them can be overwhelming, but I'd encourage folks to start dipping their toes in the high school waters.  There have been great conversations sharing philosophies and experiences.  I know I've benefited over the years.


This one is a great place to start.  Starting high school, outsourcing, online class, tutors, dual enrollment, ap, psat, sat/act, sat II, clep, ged, links to past threads here.     :huh: Whew, I'm out of breath just typing it.


I really found the thread with Lori D's timeline helpful when I was starting out.  http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/354200-high-school-time-table/ 


One thing I did when my first kid approached high school was to do a 4 year plan with a grid.  Then I took a look at the college application requirements from several schools that I thought were in the ballpark of what he'd be looking at.  I penciled in which classes he needed to take and when I thought he'd take them.  This helped me see if I was on track, if I needed to up his level in some area in order to be on the goal level in a couple years or if I had too much piled on in one particular year.  One thing I tried to keep in mind was that if I wanted to use AP exam scores to support applications, then those exams had to be taken before senior year.  (AP exams are only offered once a year, in May.)


It is worth looking at your state and local graduation requirements, even if you aren't bound to follow them.  This is what students in your area will have when they apply to college.  Meeting or exceeding these expectations can be especially important if you are looking for financial aid.  


Be aware of what your local policy is with respect to homeschooled students entering a public high school mid-stream.  In the states we've lived in, either there were complicated hoops or a general policy not to accept ANY homeschooled credit.  Some have found high schools reluctant to accept even credits from correspondence schools with an accreditation.  It is good to know ahead of time if you are making a one semester, one year or four year commitment.





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Super post, Sebastian! ? A super simple way of making one of those 4-year plans and to keep from feeling overwhelmed is to take a sheet of notebook paper and fold it twice, into quarters, then open it out and you have 4 "boxes" with lines for jotting in with pencil and erasing for planning. ?

I'll add a "replay" of a previous post of mine from the thread "High School curriculum, where do I start??" Best of luck to everyone starting to think ahead to homeschool high school! Warmest regards, Lori D.


Welcome to high school planning! Come on in -- the water's fine!

No need to panic. Honestly, much of the planning/doing of 9th grade will be like what you have already done in the past: each year, you just take the next step up. With high school there will be the next step up in difficulty and volume, just as there is with each previous grade, but there will also be a few other things you'll want to take into consideration, to help you decide on specific curriculum. My suggestion before planning specific curriculum would be to sketch out a flexible general high school plan.

Make a high school plan:

1. Determine YOUR overall goals
Your plan would start with jotting down what your top 3 or so goals are for accomplishing in high school, as your window for accomplishing goals is narrowing to just 4 years now. What is important to you and your spouse to see developed in your student as far as character? academics? experiences? life skills? exposure to extracurriculars? other? Knowing your top goals helps you determine which classes to have your student take, and often, can help you determine *how* to accomplish those classes. Think: what helps me accomplish my goals?

2. Determine outside "required" classes
Once you have your "short list" of most important goals to accomplish, then you will probably want to start thinking about what kinds of classes you will either be required to complete or want to complete. Check your state's high school graduation requirements to see if there are any credits and classes you are legally required to accomplish.

Even if your state does not place specific requirements on homeschoolers, it is a good idea to at least look at both your state's high school graduation requirements, as well as your state's university admission requirements and consider "following along" with similar coursework for several reasons:

- if your student plans to attend college after high school graduation, he/she needs to have taken specific credits in order to be eligible to enter college

- the high school requirements are what all the other students vying for admission to the university will have accomplished -- to be competitive for admission and for scholarships, it's important to meet or exceed those requirements
- in case circumstances are such that your student goes back to a public/private high school part way through high school
- in case you move to a different state that DOES require certain coursework, your student is not behind

Many homeschoolers "blend" the 2 lists to come up with a list of classes they want their student to cover. For example, here is a very typical list of required classes for freshmen applying for college admissions:

4 credits = English (Literature & Writing, with a little grammar and vocab. thrown in)
3-4 credits = Math (Alg. 1, Geom., Alg. 2; STEM students = 1-2 higher maths requiring Alg. 2 as pre-requisite)
3-4 credits = Science (with labs -- STEM students = 4-5 credits and Advanced Science credits)
2-4 credits = Social Studies (1 credit = American History)
1 credit = Fine Arts (music/art/drama performance or appreciation; or, digital arts, photography, filmmaking etc.)
2-4 credits = Foreign Language (of same language)
4-8 credits = Electives (examples: Logic, Computer, PE, Health, Bible/Religious Studies, Vocational Tech courses, "academic electives" (English, Math, Science, Social Studies or Foreign Language beyond the required credits), or personal interest courses, etc.)
22-24+ credits = total

3. Determine "mom requirements" & student interests
Are there any classes or extracurriculars you want to make as "mom requirements"? (health, PE, typing, home ec, auto maintenance, Bible/religious studies, volunteering/community service, etc.) Are there any special interests your student will want to pursue? (sports, hobby, etc.) Add those to your list of coursework as electives.

Sit down with your student and discuss if s/he has any ideas at this point of what s/he might want to do for a future career (engineering, medicine, filmmaking, teaching, etc.). Or if s/he has a specific interest s/he'd like to pursue during high school (example: band, theater, scouting, robotics club, riding horses, electronics, mock trial or model U.N. program, sports, etc.). You may decide to either add more courses in the field of interest -- or, schedule time for your student to be involved in extracurriculars that fulfill personal interests. Then discuss with your student what classes the 2 of you want to accomplish in 9th grade.

4. Determine # of classes to do for 9th grade
Now look at your list of credits to accomplish in high school; it usually averages out to 5-7 credits per year of high school.

Your 9th grade schedule may look something like this:
- 1 credit = English (a Lit. program and a Writing program; optional: Vocab. program; possibly Spelling or Grammar if still needed)
- 1 credit = Math (the next step up from 8th grade -- typically Algebra 1 or Geometry)
- 1 credit = Social Science (typically History and/or Geography)
- 1 credit = Natural Science, with labs (hands-on experiments) (typically Physical Science, Biology, or Chemistry)
- 1 credit Foreign Language (often the next level up from 8th grade)
- 1 credit = Elective or Fine Arts
6 credits = total 
(completes required credits, but also includes opportunity to follow student interest through choice of Science, History, or Literature, and esp. through the student getting to choose the Elective or Fine Arts of interest to the student -- all of which works to help smooth a 9th grader's transition into high school level work)

A very rough guide for scheduling is 1 credit = 1 hour per day, so allow about 6 hours per day for accomplishing 6 credits.

Pick Curriculum
Now that you have a general idea of what your overall goals are, and what types of classes to cover in high school, you can start to think about HOW to accomplish those classes -- in other words, your original question of "what curriculum to use".

First: what are you currently using for English, Math, History, etc.? Do you like it? Does DS like it? Does it go up into high school levels? If so, then go with what you know is already working and is comfortable!

Is something not working? Or doesn't go into high school? Or you need a change for some reason? Then thinking through some questions to get more specific about what you want from a program can help. From there, you can post more specific questions on this Board, and look at reviews of various programs to help decide if it will be a fit for your family or not.

Questions to Help Pick Curriculum:
- Do you have a particular leaning towards a particular educational philosophy?
(example: real-book-based = Sonlight; classical = WTM; relaxed = eclectic mix of programs; etc.)
- Think about what you've used in the past; what worked well, and what did NOT work well about each? Which seems to have the most "pros" and least "cons" for your family?
- Does your DS have a particularly strong learning style? (takes in information best through visual, hearing, or touch/hands-on)
- Is there an area your DS is advanced in?
- Is there an area your DS is weak in that you want to build up?
- Does your DS have a particular interest in an area to suggest using more rigorous material, or more material to go "deep"? (example: loves science, or tech, or history, or literature, or the arts, or...)
- Are there programs you know would be either especially wonderful -- or horrible -- for DS?
- Are there programs that would be wonderful -- or horrible -- for YOU to oversee?
- Is there a specific program either you or DS would esp. LIKE to use and have been looking forward to using?
- Do YOU have a strong area you'd love to "do-it-yourself" for that class?
- Do YOU have a weak area (or a subject you dislike!) that would be better for you to outsource in some way?(program with video lessons; have DH or older sibling oversee it; hire a tutor; attend local homeschool co-op class; attend a high school for that class; distance/online class; dual enrollment with university or community college...)
- Think about what the rest of your family's day looks like; how will various programs fit in with your schedule?

Eventually (maybe for 10th or 11th grade), you may want to consider possibly having DS do an AP (Advanced Placement) class and test. If so, then you will go with specific curriculum geared for that AP class and test. (But for an average student doing 9th grade, especially if he doesn't have a strong idea of what he wants to do yet, I would NOT worry about trying to get an AP class into 9th grade -- use 9th grade to get comfortable with doing high school, and do some research on AP at that time to decide if is useful for your DS or not.)

Hope that helps! NOT to overwhelm you, BUT... when you are ready and want to do some more reading to ease into high school planning, here are a few past threads that may be of help:

Homeschooling High School... Where to Begin? (links to a wide variety of past threads on specific, helpful "getting started" high school topics)
High School Time Table (what needs to happen and when in high school)

Keep asking questions; do some reading on homeschooling high school; and ENJOY your homeschool high school adventures! BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Reading through all of them can be overwhelming, but I'd encourage folks to start dipping their toes in the high school waters.


That's why I started reading the high school board right from the beginning. Prevention is better than cure! :rofl:


And everyone politely ignores my little, baby self if I say something stupid. That has always been appreciated. :D

Edited by Rosie_0801
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That's why I started reading the high school board right from the beginning. Prevention is better than cure! :rofl:


And everyone politely ignores my little, baby self if I say something stupid. That has always been appreciated. :D


:smilielol5: Too funny, Rosie! But you're a smart cookie -- not seeing any silly comments coming from Down Under. ;)

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Another thing to consider is budgeting....I would like to outsource 100% of my kids' classes next year.  He is so ready for more accountability, more challenge, other teachers, etc.  With the added cost of math tutoring, we are looking at about 5k for 9th grade.  Obviously, one doesn't have to spend that much, and many classes are just as valid when done (well) at home with a homeschool curriculum or mom's syllabus.  In fact there are a few people here whose at-home syllabus and classes would far exceed even what we get by paying and outsourcing.  But, the point is, high school can be a significant budget increase.  Either you will work very very hard teaching subjects that are very difficult to keep up with, and work very hard on trying to figure out "how do I keep my kid on track and accountable for a subject I never took or learned 25 years ago?" ......or you will spend a lot of money.  Either way, high school will be a very different experience.


A lot of people in my circle homeschooled through middle school and then basically completely changed course and put the kids in high school....a lot of those who did so, seemed like they were basically freaking out and had no idea how harD OR how expensive it was going to be, to do it well.  


Others were just tired of homeschooling and felt their kids needed sports or whatever..there are lots of reasons.


But I think being aware of the big change in cost and workload for you and kids is important!  Many old-style homeschool blogs used to talk about how kids become "independent learners" and everything gets "much easier" "later on" ....I disagree...things become different but not easier.  In fact, if you are preparing your kids for college and hoping for good colleges, I think things get harder.

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