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How best to prepare for high school?

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I'm sure this has been asked many times over, but what are the essential skills that should be in place before starting high school?  My dd is only in 7th, but high school is getting closer, and I'm starting to worry more and more about it. 


My dd has expressed an interest in taking a couple of classes at the high school (foreign language, lab sciences) and I want to be sure she can keep up.  With the exception of the end of year test (CAT), she has never really taken tests.  Despite doing well on this every year, she has EXTREME test anxiety and ends in tears every single year.  I'd love any ideas on test preparation or dealing with test anxiety. 


Writing is my other major concern.  She did WWE 1-4 followed by R&S 5-6 (still finishing 6).  While writing comes naturally to her, she's never written a report or essay in her life.  I think she did 1 book report.  Assuming I have her use the skills introduced in R&S across history and science, will the composition lessons in R&S 6-8 be enough to get her up to speed?  Until now, we've done tons of reading, but I have required very little output from her.  I know in school, a good deal of written work is required.   


What about study skills?  I've seen the Great Courses' How to be a Super Star Student (I think that's the title) mentioned on here.  Is that worth working on?  Should it be started in 8th or beginning of 9th?  Does it cover note taking?  That's yet another thing she's never done.  So is studying for that matter.  It sounds silly, but I don't know how to teach studying. 


For science in particular, what should we be working on?  We read interesting science books, do experiments every week, and write a "what we did" page and leave it at that.  Once again, lots of reading and experimenting, but little written down.


The more I type, the more I realize I've failed to teach her.  It probably sounds like we've done nothing all these years, but I promise we have.  She has read tons of books on many different topics.  I hope that counts for something:)

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Actually, you sound like you're right on target to me!

Students *transition* into high school -- it's not like flicking a switch to go from 8th grade to 9th. Some students have some of the skills used in high school in 8th grade, a few in 6th or 7th. Others don't start developing those skills until INTO high school… 9th, 10th, 11th grade. If you have the ability to homeschool all the way through, then you have the ability to blend in learning each of the different skills as each individual student is *ready* to start working on that skill. Also, the volume, rigor, and expectations of 9th grade is a lot less than the volume, rigor and expectations for 12th grade. So your student does NOT need to enter high school and be working at end-of-high school levels. ?

So you can relax a bit -- your student is not at all "behind". ? Middle school is all about working on getting solid in foundational subjects (reading, writing, math), and possibly starting to explore ahead if ready for more advanced work. Again, you sound like you're right on target! Below are ideas of skills to consider possibly beginning to work on, and links to threads with ideas for resources, and esp. -- encouragement! ? Welcome to looking ahead to high school! ? Warmest regards, Lori D.

What do "seventh grade" and "ninth grade" look like to you? = a thread with general expectations at the middle/high school grades

possible Middle School skills to work on:

- solid reading on or above grade level (read/understand textbooks; beginning exposure by 8th grade to Literature/literary analysis; beginning exposure to some of the intro-level classics)

- solid math (up through Pre-Algebra, possibly Algebra in 8th, if ready)

- solid writing -- complete paragraphs; by 8th grade, attempt a multi-paragraph paper (writing process: brainstorming, writing, revision, proofing, final version) (complete paragraph: intro with "hook" & thesis; body with supporting examples & commentary; conclusion)  (writing of different types: descriptive, narrative, expository, persuasive)

- science: exposure to variety of topics; the scientific method; beginning experimentation; beginning to write up a lab report

- touch typing/keyboarding fluency (5th/6th grade is a GREAT time to work this in, but definitely be fluent by end of 8th grade, as all high school papers need to be typed)

possibly in middle school, often not till high school:

- beginning exposure to computer software (word-processing program, making a power point presentation, making charts/graphs, accessing online sites and interactive websites)

- beginning exposure to study skills (time management; memorization tips; studying from textbooks; note-taking; test-taking tips)

- possibly outsource a class in 8th grade to work under a different instructor, practice computer skills, practice study skills

- possibly trying out an extracurricular or two (academic camp, after school club for academic topic or special interest, community tween/teen theater or arts or music group, sports, volunteering, personal interest, all-ages community group of special interest…)

Some encouraging threads:
To all you people with 8th graders (or there abouts)
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
Looking back (what you would do differently to prepare for high school work)
Hypothetical question: What to do for the 4 years before public high school?

re: Study Skills
Start slow; pick one skill you want to focus on; slowly work on incorporating it into being a regular part of your daily/weekly routine. When you student has that skill down, pick another skill to focus on that you think your student is ready for. Remember, study skills are something that your student will develop over time, including well into the high school years, so this will most likely NOT be something to just "knock out" in the rest of 7th grade, or in 8th grade.

"Crosspost - Why you should work on TWTM skills - narration, dictation, outlining, etc"
"Teaching academic and organizational skills to your logic stage student"

These past threads have some great suggestions for resources -- note that a lot of these are parents of high schoolers, so it is NOT uncommon to wait until your student's analysis and abstract thinking portions of the brain start developing strongly to THEN introduce and work on study skills :):

"Study Skills… Resources for Logic Stage?"
"Study Skills"
"Teaching study skills"
"Study Skills Curriculum?"
"FREE Study Skills Lectures"
"Favorite books/courses on learning to learn or study skills?"
"How to Study Smarter..."
I finished the Study Skills class proposal"

Edited by Lori D.
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Lori covered all the detail, but I just want to say the best way to prepare for high school is to continue moving forward from wherever your student is. There is a great thread (was in Nan?) about not expecting your 9th grader to act like a senior. 9th grade is just the year after 8th. Every year should step up. Every year should ask for more depth of thought, more organized output, synthesis of more complex material. There is no jump into high school. It is just the next step. It sounds like you are doing a great job. Relax and keep going.

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