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High School plan - Goal is to set my daughter up for zero limitations.


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Hello,

 

I am new to the board, but not new to homeschooling. I have taught my children for nine years, eight of which I used the K12.com independent study program. Due to the dramatic price increase from grade school to high school, I branched out last year for my daughter's 8th-grade year to expand my experience in pulling different curriculums together. My plan for my soon-to-be freshman follows this message. 

 

If I have made any errors or omitted important course requirements, please let me know! My goal is for my daughter to have zero limitations. :-) She is used to a very rigorous class load. Depending on what school she wants to get into, she may have to take calculus instead of statistics and computer programing instead of web design. However, she prefers statistics and web design, so we will plan on those for now. Also, I am aware of my typo on the 5K calendar due date. Of course, it should be 2017, not 2007. :-)

 

As far as "life skills," I plan to include things like writing checks and keeping a checkbook in the consumer education class. I also currently have my daughter reading "Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House" by Cheryl Mendelson. This 800+ page book covers everything from cleaning to electrical safety to insurances. She has to have it read before school starts in August. I also plan to have her follow me around for a week this summer and do what I do (cleaning, laundry, meals, etc). She already folds the towels, sets the table, helps me organize shared closets, organizes her own spaces, and of course, makes her own bed. When she was little, I involved her in more, but I always feel guilty about how much work I make the kids do for school, so I usually let them have their free time to be free. However, I realize that I am short changing them if they leave the house and do not know how to do laundry!

 

Thank you in advance for any advice! Again, the plan is below.

Melisha

 

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Welcome to the WTM board, and welcome homeschooling high school!

 

Wow, that is a very detailed high school plan! You have definitely covered your bases as far as planning credits that are "college prep" so that DD will have what she needs to be eligible for admission to most colleges. My initial thoughts:

 

- counting credits

Rule of thumb for "bringing up" credits from middle school is to only count Math that is Algebra 1 and above, Science that is Biology and above, and Foreign Language that is high school level and where the student continues with the next progressive course. Two reasons for that:

1. colleges very frequently only look at credits completed in last 4 years before admission towards entrance requirements

2. only courses that progress in rigor and where the student continues to advance in the progression in high school tend to be "brought up" from middle school (i.e., Math, Science, Foreign Language); because English, Social Studies (History), Fine Arts, and Electives do not have a similar sort of clear progression, these courses are not "brought up" from middle school, even if done at a rigorous or high school level

 

So of your pre-high school credits, I would only count the Algebra 1 for credit on the high school transcript, and I would NOT count:

- 8th grade English

- 7th-8th grade World History

- 7th grade Earth Science

- 8th grade Fine Arts

- K-8th grade Art History

 

- English

Since you can't really "bring up" the English from 8th grade, and you'll need a 4th credit of English, and your student seems to enjoy theater, what about making one of the English credits about reading/analyzing plays for 1/2 the credit, and then writing a play for the other 1/2 credit? :)

 

- Science

If your student is not STEM-based or heading towards a STEM career, then Biology, Chemistry, Physics is fine, but I'd suggest shifting and starting Biology in 10th, and instead do something like Physical Science in 9th grade -- that way, your Science credits continue to progress in rigor up through 12th grade, rather than suddenly getting light in 12th grade with a 0.5 credit of Forensics (a non-rigorous science).

 

- consider possible AP tests, CLEP tests, or dual enrollment

In the later years of high school, consider keeping up rigor through course work and/or testing that can "double dip" and possibly provide simultaneous high school AND college credit. This can also work to increase the chances of scholarships for college, and/or reduce overall time at college.

 

- keep up rigor to reduce future limitations

If one of the goals for rigorous high school is eligibility for college -- and possible scholarships due to high level of work! :) -- then you might want to reduce the "light" credits -- PE and Driver's Ed, for example, and boost the core academics English, Science, and Social Studies (and Math and Foreign Language) to 1.0 full credit each year of all 4 years of high school.

 

- be careful of scheduling a lighter 12th grade

It looks like you're wanting to use middle school English and Science to count as credits in order to leave more room in high school for electives and extracurriculars. The problem with that is that it ends up leaving the student with a "light" 12th grade, and gives colleges the impression that the student is starting to slack, rather than finish with a strong rigorous push at the end.

 

If you're thinking your student needs a bit of a break in there, consider a gap year between high school and college, in which your student can travel, work, volunteer, do self-improvement or physical activities, etc. -- pretty much anything EXCEPT registered college credits, which knock the student from freshman status to transfer college student status, and therefore, the student is no longer eligible for freshman scholarships.

 

Or, double dip -- count some of the athletic extracurricular activities and hours towards PE credit; count the piano practice and recitals towards 1 credit of Fine Arts.

 

Or, spread out -- knock out a 0.5 credit here and there as summer school, to spread out a heavy load of credits -- electives would be esp. easy for doing this. Or, if only going with 3 "hard" sciences, spread out the 3 credits of Biology, Chemistry, Physics over 4 years.

 

Or, condense -- take a few courses as dual enrollment at your local university or community college, where frequently a 1 semester college course = 1 year (1 credit) of high school. That racks up the same amount of overall credit, but in less time (1 semester vs. all year).

 

 

Here's what I see you have, which I've re-listed by grade, with a few additional comments below:

 

9th grade

1.0 credit = English

1.0 credit = Math: Geometry

1.0 credit = Science: Biology

1.0 credit = Social Studies: History, Modern World

1.0 credit = Foreign Language: Spanish 1

1.0 credit = Elective: PE

0.5 credit = Elective: Health & Nutrition

1.0 credit = Elective: Service Learning

7.5 credits = total

 

10th grade

1.0 credit = English

1.0 credit = Math: Algebra 2

1.0 credit = Science: Chemistry

1.0 credit = Social Studies: History, U.S.

1.0 credit = Social Studies: Psychology

1.0 credit = Foreign Language: Spanish 2

1.0 credit = Elective: PE

0.25 credit = Elective: Consumer Science/Home Ec

0.5 credit = Elective: Driver's Ed

7.75 credits = total

 

11th grade

1.0 credit = English

1.0 credit = Math: Trig/Pre-Calc

1.0 credit = Science: Physics

0.5 credit = Social Studies: Civics

0.5 credit = Social Studies: Gov't

0.5 credit = Social Studies: Economics

1.0 credit = Foreign Language: Spanish 3

1.0 credit = Elective: PE

0.5 credit = Elective: Web Design

7.0 credits = total

 

12th grade

     1.0 credit = English

1.0 credit = Math: Statistics

0.5 credit = Science: Forensics

1.0 credit = Foreign Language: Spanish 4

     1.0 credit = Fine Arts

1.0 credit = Elective: PE

1.0 credit = Elective: Computer

4.5 credits = total

 

red comments:

- English -- REALLY need an English credit in 12th grade; consider a DIY English, either writing (if student loves writing) or studying Lit. of high interest to the student

 

- Fine Arts -- most colleges require 1.0 credit of Fine Arts as part of their admission requirements -- Web Design can count for this, but even more -- I'd suggest using some of the piano or theater hours during all 4 years of high school to count as your 1.0 credit of Fine Arts -- you should still have plenty of hours of piano and/or theater beyond a Fine Arts credit to count towards extracurricular activities :)

 

- 4.5 credits total -- that's very light for 12th grade, especially compared to the previous 3 years with 7+ credits each year

 

blue comments:

- Psychology is usually counted as a Social Studies, but you can also count as an Elective if you prefer -- it would be an "Academic Elective", which is a credit above/beyond the required credits in one of the 5 academic subjects (English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language); you might also consider dropping Psychology down to 12th grade to balance out the credits (not overload 10th, while simultaneously beefing up 12th), and do Psychology as a 1-semester dual enrollment course and then take another dual enrollment course that could help knock out requirements for a college degree in advance

 

- Civics is usually part of a 0.5 to 1.0 credit of Gov't credit, although your area may require separate 0.5 credits for each

 

- Economics is usually counted as a Social Studies -- frequently done as the other semester with Gov't

 

- Forensics -- since the overall credit count is light, consider adding another 0.5 credit of a Science, for an overall total of 4 science credits -- perhaps Anatomy, Meteorology, Environmental Science, Astronomy, Marine Biology, or whatever is of interest to your student

 

 

It looks like your student has lots of interests, and you just want to make sure you are also allowing time for all of those interests -- perhaps balance the credit load a little more evenly throughout the 4 years of high school, so plan on 6.5 to 7.0 credits each year (rather than 7+ credits for 9th-11th, and then only 4.5 credits in 12th), which helps the transcript look less like "slacking" in 12th grade, AND provides more flexibility and breathing room in the earlier years for including those extracurriculars and other goals you have in mind to accomplish. :)

 

My only other suggestion is to write your schedule/high school plan in pencil so you can bend and flex during the next 4 years as your student's interests/career plans change, or as unexpected opportunities pop up. BEST of luck as you plan and accomplish homeschool high school! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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That looks like a very solid plan to start high school with.  Only a couple things struck me.

 

I'm with Lori D that Civics is frequently taught as part of Government.  Government can be taught as a year long course, but is also often taught as a one semester course.  I paired US Government with Comparative Government for my older kids (both as AP classes) and will pair US Govt with Macroeconomics for my youngest (our state doesn't have a school that offers Comparative Government, so there is no opportunity to take the AP exam).  I recognize the Lanahan book as one that my Govt course used.  You might want to look at the course description for the Advanced Placement (AP) course and see if that is a track you want to explore.

 

I saw the mention of the CFA and military candidate.  Depending on the service she is interested in, she may really need the Calculus.  (The Navy is very focused on STEM degrees for both USNA and NROTC.  My impression is that the Air Force also likes STEM students.)  She may also want to take into account the fact that the academies are quite specific in whom they want letters of recommendation from (Ex. USNA wants the junior year English and math teacher.)  The desire to have an outside teacher to write letters of recommendation was a big factor in choosing to use dual enrollment for some courses junior year.

 

If she is still considering options, she might want to include the Coast Guard Academy and Merchant Marine Academy in the schools she looks at.  They are much smaller and often overlooked service academies.  Senior Military Colleges and ROTC programs might also be of interest.  

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I agree with Lori D. that the K12 history courses from 7th and 8th grade and the K12 earth science course should not be given high school credit as they are not high school level (I am very familiar with K12), but the K12 Lit and Comp I is a high school level course (especially if it was taken with K12) and I see no problem with giving credit for it.  

 

However, it is very important when giving high school credit for courses taken in middle school that your justification for giving that credit is rock solid, otherwise it calls into question the veracity of the rest of the transcript.  One test of whether a course is credit worthy (and it's not the only one) is whether the resources used are labeled by the publisher as being intended for high school students in either regular or honors sections (in other words, not remedial).  The K12 history courses and earth science course don't pass this test, but the K12 lit and comp course does.

 

Other than that, I noticed that the science starts out strong (AP Bio and Chem) and then seems to fizzle with regular physics and then a forensic science class.  I would either put an elective in for 9th grade (for example, my son did astronomy and meteorology in 9th) or make the 11th and 12th grade courses more robust, perhaps AP Env Sci in 11th and AP Physics C concurrent with AP Calculus in 12th.  Related to this, if your goal is to ensure that your daughter isn't limited by her high school coursework, I would very seriously rethink not taking calculus.  My understanding is that taking statistics might be perceived as being less rigorous than calculus especially if it is taken instead of calculus (rather than in addition to it).

 

Other than that, the program you have laid out looks very comprehensive.  Don't be afraid to change things as needed and be sure to give your daughter time to find out who she is and what she's interested in.  One of the great things about homeschooling is its efficiency and the gift of time it brings.  

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It looks like she's quite the artist, so I'd consider counting up her art time along with any studying or classes in art that she's taking through high school and giving her a credit in Art (Applications of Art, Painting, ... I'm sure you guys can come up with a title). You could put that credit into whichever year is lightest. 

 

My kids aren't trying for any top level schools, so I won't add anything to the other poster's comments. I will echo the suggestion to be flexible as lots of things can change.

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Seems very heavy on PE (2 credits max is typical here). I would not give academic credit to Driver's Ed and Home Economics/Consumer Science. At least in my area, they are not a part of a college-prep transcript. By all means, teach them; I just don't think they are credit-worthy. I agree that civics is included in government class. Also agree that in order to keep all options open, your best bet is to do a 4X5 (or 4X4 +2) plan: 4 years of all five core academic areas- English, math, science, history/SS, and foreign language. Some only do 2 years of foreign language, hence the 4X4+2. Otherwise, it looks good.

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I noticed in your list of standardized tests you didn't include any SAT subject tests.  You may want to check the admission requirements of the colleges your dd might apply to and see if those are required or recommended by them, or perhaps just required of homeschooled applicants.  If so, it's a good idea to take them immediately upon completion of the course.  For example, if your dd finishes chemistry her sophomore year, then sign up for the SAT subject test in chemistry in May or June of that year.  

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Her artwork is beautiful! (Thanks RootAnn for linking.)

 

Agreeing with what others have posted. I also wouldn't give credit for a lot you have listed like drivers ed, consumer ed, service learning. I would also recommend a chem course before AP level bio if she hasn't taken a high school level chem.

 

I am way more flexible with my kids. I don't create a 4 yr plan like that. I just decided this morning what my 10th grader is taking this yr. (We just moved and dealt with health issues, so that it is why so late, but I normally wouldn't have made the decision until the end of 9th or beginning of summer.) You can be more flexible and still keep all doors open. There are lots of ways to satisfy core credits.

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... it is very important when giving high school credit for courses taken in middle school that your justification for giving that credit is rock solid, otherwise it calls into question the veracity of the rest of the transcript.  One test of whether a course is credit worthy (and it's not the only one) is whether the resources used are labeled by the publisher as being intended for high school students in either regular or honors sections (in other words, not remedial).  The K12 history courses and earth science course don't pass this test, but the K12 lit and comp course does...

 

While I do agree with you that there can be very valid exceptions for "bringing up" from middle school a credit in a subject area that normally does not work to do so (English, Social Studies, Fine Arts or Elective), because of the possibility of a college not accepting a crucial core credit (8th grade English) taken more than 4 years prior to admission, AND in combination with a proposed light 12th grade schedule, I really think a solid English credit and a more rigorous Science are needed to keep from looking like this student is "coasting" at the end of high school. JMO! :)

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Wow! Thank you to EVERYONE for all of the GREAT information! I am so glad that I joined and posted on this forum! I am not sure if it is appropriate, but since some of the topics overlap, I am writing one response.

 

When I came up with the plan, I focused on what information she has already obtained (and at what level the coursework was performed) and what knowledge she still needs. Even though I assigned a credit hour value to some of my daughter’s junior high classes, I did so to show that she has taken those courses and has knowledge of those topics. Plus, her junior high classes (history and otherwise) far exceed the academic level of the classes offered by our local public high school. When given the opportunity, I review what is being covered and what is being requested of the high school students in our school district.

 

In regards to science, I counted her junior high K12 advanced earth science course because it was the advanced version. I did not count her K12 life science and physical science courses because those were regular classes, not advanced. However, if that is not how it works, she will take four years of science during her high school years. She was very excited about taking a forensic science class, but she could easily add a new (and different) science class to get the other needed semester. Or, she could substitute in one of the AP classes that was mentioned… Depending on what college she wants to apply to.

 

As far as the history courses, the world history class she will take her freshman year is the third in "The Human Odyssey" series. Once again, more than giving her "high school credit," my main intention of listing those classes was to show that she has taken world history courses that cover prehistory through the 21st century (by the end of her freshman year). And, yes, the K12 Honors Literary Analysis and Composition I is a high school course. I was hoping that she could get some of her required high school coursework done in junior high, but if some colleges will not look at the class because it was not taken in a specified four year window… I have made life harder on her and wasted her time. :-( Well, education is never really a waste of time. :-) It will make the other classes easier.

 

Illinois does not really require anything of homeschoolers; however, I try to exceed the IL Department of Education's requirements for public school students. One requirement is that high school students must take 50 minutes of physical education 5 days a week each year. Therefore, if my daughter is devoting that much time to P.E., she deserves to get the same credit as the local public school students. However, I would want those credits to be in addition to any academic credits she needs, not a substitute for them. I will rethink this, since the IL P.E. requirement does not really apply to her. She would love the extra time to work on her core classes! Plus, getting up at 6:00 a.m. so she has time to exercise is not her favorite. Ha! :-)

 

I like the idea of spreading her classes out more evenly. She does not really expect to have a light senior year. I am encouraging her to seriously think about her long term goals these next two years and really make some serious decisions before she starts her junior year in high school. So, the vacant spots in her senior year are really so she can take any important classes that are more specific to her career path. However, I did not take into account that colleges look more at the age and years that she took the courses versus what level of knowledge she has based on her actual work in her specific classes.

 

Teacher recommendations will have to come from her piano or theater instructors. I cannot send my daughter to the local public school for any classes. For instance, the high school biology class finished only ONE THIRD of the textbook topics last year and still counted it as a year of biology. I may not be the best science teacher in the world, but we will go through each chapter as we are supposed to and google videos to fill in where my lack of knowledge fails her.

 

Additionally, even though the local school “teaches the test,†only 7% of the high school students met and only 2% exceeded the math proficiency expectations. And, only 54% met and only 6% exceeded English proficiency expectations. In contrast, Alexandria’s 8th grade Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) ranked her in the top 1% nationally. Her complete composite: 99 National Percentage Rank (Note: The test was administered over a course of 3 to 4 days at and by Holy Trinity Catholic High School).

 

She will take SAT subject tests… I just have not researched the tests enough, yet to know how to list them appropriately. I like the 4x5 approach. If I understand some of the comments correctly, I may have some of her electives incorrectly listed. I thought I was finished (with some expected tweaking along the way), but it looks like I have a long way to go! Ha!

 

My daughter does love art and is very disappointed that she will not have time to take art in high school… However, she is developing an art class to teach at a nearby assisted living center. She is going to include an art history section in her class, so she will have a reason to keep her knowledge sharpened!

 

My apologies for this very long post. I probably have not addressed all of the comments. I have read them, and I will reread them. I need to go for now, but I am sure that I will have additional questions and comments regarding all of your posts. Thanks again for ALL of the GREAT information! This has been extremely informative! I welcome any additional comments and recommendations!

 

Thanks again!

Melisha

 
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My daughter does love art and is very disappointed that she will not have time to take art in high school… However, she is developing an art class to teach at a nearby assisted living center. She is going to include an art history section in her class, so she will have a reason to keep her knowledge sharpened!

 

I absolutely encourage you to work out a schedule that includes a course of study that includes Art every year. Don't sacrifice your student's passion and gifting! Art looks to be part of her future occupation and vocation -- you do not want to cut her off from that for an arbitrary set of required credits.

 

If your DD is not planning on a highly selective/competitive or top tier college, then the following credits will make her eligible for admission for the majority of colleges, and still leave her plenty of time to pursue her passion:

 

4 credits = English

3-4 credits = Math (Alg. 1, Geometry, Alg. 2, and many colleges want a 4th math above Alg. 2)

3-4 credits = Science, with labs

3-4 credits = Social Studies (many colleges want 1 credit = American History)

2-4 credits = Foreign Language (same language)

1 credit = Fine Arts

4-8+ credits = Electives (which can be additional credits beyond the required credits in the above subjects)

 

Even if you go with 1 credit each in English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language, that's only 5 credits per year of high school, which still leaves you 1 credit per year for Art, PLUS 1 credit per year for Electives, for a total of 7 credits per year.

 

9th grade

1.0 credit = English

1.0 credit = Math: Geometry

1.0 credit = Science: Biology

1.0 credit = Social Studies: History, Modern World

1.0 credit = Foreign Language: Spanish 1

1.0 credit = Art

0.5 credit = Elective: PE

0.5 credit = Elective: Health & Nutrition

7.0 credits = total

 

summer between 9th/10th

informal (not formal structured credit) = Service Learning

 

10th grade

1.0 credit = English

1.0 credit = Math: Algebra 2

1.0 credit = Science: Chemistry

1.0 credit = Social Studies: History, U.S.

1.0 credit = Foreign Language: Spanish 2

1.0 credit = Art

0.5 credit = Elective: PE

0.5 credit = Elective: Consumer Science/Home Ec

7.0 credits = total

 

summer between 9th/10th

informal, or as a "summer school" credit = Driver's Ed

 

11th grade

1.0 credit = English

1.0 credit = Math: Trig/Pre-Calc

1.0 credit = Science: Physics

0.5 credit = Social Studies: Civics/Gov't

0.5 credit = Social Studies: Economics

[1.0 credit = Foreign Language: Spanish 3] *

1.0 credit = Fine Arts

0.5 credit = Elective: Computer

0.5 credit = Elective: Web Design

7.0 credits = total**

 

* -- if planning on a college that only requires 2 years of a foreign language, can drop Spanish and have room for a subject of high interest/career interest; OR, if wanting 4 credits of foreign language, take Spanish as dual enrollment at a community college and 1 semester = 1 credit -- so completion of foreign language credits in half the time, which opens up space for other courses

 

** -- no formal PE credit for 11th-12th -- just physical activities for enjoyment and for lifestyle choice

 

12th grade

1.0 credit = English

1.0 credit = Math: Statistics

0.5 credit = Science: Forensics

0.5 credit = Science: choice -- examples: Anatomy, Astronomy, Marine Biology, Environmental Science, Ecology, Botany...

[1.0 credit = Social Studies: Psychology]***

[1.0 credit = Foreign Language: Spanish 4] * = see note above

1.0 credit = Art

1.0 credit = Elective: choice

7.0 credits = total

 

*** = optional; can drop and replace with a course of personal interest, as most colleges are fine with 3 Social Studies credits, which DD would have from the gr. 9 & 10 History credits, and gr. 11 Gov't & Econ credits

Edited by Lori D.
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[Note: You might not want to use real names or specific locations on the board.  It does show up in internet searches.]

 

For recommendations you might also be able to use teachers of online courses or college instructors if she does dual enrollment at a local college.  Different colleges have different policies on recommendations.  Some only use teachers.  Some also accept recommendations from coaches and other mentors.  

 

Welcome to the board.  If you haven't had a chance to look at the big thread pinned to the top of the high school forum, you might check it out.  Lori D collected a lot of threads together in a monster index of high school and college application topics.  Lots of goodness in there.

 

 

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
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[Note: You might not want to use real names or specific locations on the board.  It does show up in internet searches.]

 

For recommendations you might also be able to use teachers of online courses or college instructors if she does dual enrollment at a local college.  Different colleges have different policies on recommendations.  Some only use teachers.  Some also accept recommendations from coaches and other mentors.  

 

Welcome to the board.  If you haven't had a chance to look at the big thread pinned to the top of the high school forum, you might check it out.  Lori D collected a lot of threads together in a monster index of high school and college application topics.  Lots of goodness in there.

 

Thank you! Yes, my daughter will have online teachers for her Spanish classes, so she will be able to get recommendations from them. I will check out the pinned thread. And, yes, I should be more careful about using our real names. Thanks again! Smiles. :-)

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I absolutely encourage you to work out a schedule that includes a course of study that includes Art every year. Don't sacrifice your student's passion and gifting! Art looks to be part of her future occupation and vocation -- you do not want to cut her off from that for an arbitrary set of required credits.

 

If your DD is not planning on a highly selective/competitive or top tier college, then the following credits will make her eligible for admission for the majority of colleges, and still leave her plenty of time to pursue her passion:

 

 

 

Thanks again for all of your input! I really appreciate all of this advice! My DD does want to go to a highly selective/competitive college. However, your comments regarding art are very valid. I will show your course outline to my daughter and see what we can work out to better satisfy the requirements of top tier colleges and still allow her time to take the classes that she is passionate about. :-) 

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This s my perspective as a parent who has btdt multiple times over--don't compare your dd to your local school, local test scores, other local homeschoolers, etc. The only thing that will ultimately matter by the time she applies to college is how she compares to other students both nationally and internationally. So, it really doesn't matter if a course is an advanced middle school course compared to your local high school. What really matters is if it will be seen as an advanced high school equivalent course compared to all other applicants in the stack. You do not want admissions to think "inflated" or "attempting to cover core weaknesses" by elevating typical advanced middle school work to high school level content.

 

A good rule of thumb is that courses that are more universally defined in content like algebra 1 are more typical as carry ups. Life science, otoh, would be likely to raise a red flag. Life science is a standard middle school course. So is earth science. There are high school credit worthy earth science courses, but I would want to ensure that my resources met that definition bc for competitive schools, chem, bio, physics are going to be expected to be intro level high school courses and advanced level courses will be beyond those core.

 

I would suggest spending time reading college admission requirements and look at what they are expecting. Your dd's art talent will be highly regarded at elite schools even if she isnt planning on majoring in art. They want kids with passion, interests, and talent. They are going to completely disregard non-core academic courses, hold little value for lower level courses, and want to see higher level academic core classes (like cal instead of stats, APs vs life skill courses). Keep in mind that many of the kids applying to top schools are taking powerload level courses. It is not unusual for competitive homeschoolers to start AP level courses in middle school or take multiple each yr duringnhigh school.

 

It does not take a long list of APs to build a strong transcript, but it does take being aware of the bigger picture application process. Focusing credits around the core goes a long way in ultimately creating more flexibility.

 

ETA: Also, keep in mind that kids change a lot in high school. Think about how different a kindergartner is from a 3rd grader or that 3rd grader from a 6th grader. They difference betweeen 9th and 12th can be just as radical. Who they are and their goals and functioning level really becomes apparent during high school.

 

For our family, we don't design and plan our high school around college admissions, but select colleges around our kids. The reason we don't plan out advanced level work yrs in advance is bc their courses just morph that way according to their ability. My kids who are really strong students end up taking courseloads that reflect that internal drive and academic demeanor. Their interests end up making selections that I could never have predicted in 8th. For example, my current college sr took his first physics course in 8th grade. I had no idea how much he was going to like physics and even science in general. By the end of 12th, not only had he taken chem, AP chem, and bio, but he took 3 homemade astronomy courses and 5 dual enrollment physics courses. (He took 2-3 sciences every single yr.). (I had a Dd take her first Russian course in 9th. I had no idea how much time Russian would consume in high school and a controlling force in her college search. Another Dd vascillated constantly about what she wanted to do--everything from chef to biochem to forensic science. She ended up pursuing an Allied health degree and is now an OTA. Definitely not something I foresaw at all.)

 

By 11th, the type of school that fits them is pretty clear. We can then approach college from our seat of control rather than having spent 4yrs planning and doing courses around what a school may or may not end up seeing as fitting their profile student.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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...My DD does want to go to a highly selective/competitive college. However, your comments regarding art are very valid. I will show your course outline to my daughter and see what we can work out to better satisfy the requirements of top tier colleges and still allow her time to take the classes that she is passionate about. :-) 

 

Yes, a highly selective/competitive college will want to see rigorous work, but you don't want to "put all your eggs in one basket" and gear all of high school towards just what that one desired college wants to see. A highly selective/competitive college can have an acceptance rate of under 20% -- some as low as just 6-8%. That means out of every 100 students (who likely will have just as rigorous a transcript and variety of extracurriculars as your DD), only 6 or 8 will be admitted to the school. So plan on casting your net a bit wider, and don't set your heart on just one school.

 

Especially: you don't want DD making a decision now at the start of high school, and shut down seeing other strong candidate colleges. As high school progresses, your DD will likely begin to see more clearly what she wants to do as a career, which will help you both research colleges with strong department programs that will be a good fit and nurture her talents and passions -- and those programs are not always *just* at selective/competitive colleges. ;)

 

Lots to research and think about, but you also have 4 years to get to there, so you can spend 9th grade figuring out what is the good balance, researching if APs and/or dual enrollment might be useful -- or not! -- and esp. be looking for options of good instructors, or summer programs, or online resources, etc. that will help DD pursue her passions.

 

Good luck! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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You've gotten excellent advice, but I had one more thing to add because we are nearly done with Human Odyssey 3, and I really don't think it's at a high school level. We are actually finishing it over the summer (for us, this is summer is between 7th and 8th), even with some additional readings and documentaries, and I don't think it's as strong as 1 and 2. It's a much shorter volume for sure. 

 

I've actually decided to do an intensive study of social/cultural history of the contemporary age of 1950 to present for 8th instead. I hadn't really planned this originally, but as we started Human Odyssey 3, I just realized how much it was missing. I'm pulling in the whole last section of America Odyssey even though I had originally planned it for high school plus Hakim, Zinn, several decade series books from Prufrock. 

I'm only mentioning this because you might find it not to be as fulfilling as you hope for 9th. 

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You've gotten excellent advice, but I had one more thing to add because we are nearly done with Human Odyssey 3, and I really don't think it's at a high school level. We are actually finishing it over the summer (for us, this is summer is between 7th and 8th), even with some additional readings and documentaries, and I don't think it's as strong as 1 and 2. It's a much shorter volume for sure. 

 

I have gone back and forth on this (having been through it three times--yes, three times with two kids!).

 

HO3 is shorter because the font is much smaller, the text columns are 3 inches wide instead of 2.5 inches, and the pictures are much smaller and somewhat less numerous.  I think if it were formatted the same way that 1 and 2 are, it would be a similar length.  (ETA:  I just did a quick estimation of the number of words in HO2 and HO3 and found that HO3 is actually about 5% longer--so, basically the same length.)

 

I think it is as strong as 1 and 2, in an academic sense, but it isn't as compelling for whatever reason.  Maybe they were trying to get away from the narrative style of 1 and 2.  I don't know.

 

I think it *is* half credit worthy--and what's weird is that I seem to remember that years ago (I'm talking like ten years ago) the K12 high school course that used it was for a half credit, but now it's a full credit.  But maybe I'm not remembering right.

 

I beefed it up with lots of supplemental reading and analysis as well as some documentaries for fun, and I still only gave it a half credit.

 

That said, after we had finished HO1-3, my son was reluctant to cycle back to ancient history again.  He claimed to already know everything there was to know about world history, having done it twice and all.  So I told him that if he got above a 700 on the official (practice) SAT world history test, he wouldn't need to do a straight world history course again.  With no preparation at all, he got a 730 on the test.  So there you go.

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I have gone back and forth on this (having been through it three times--yes, three times with two kids!).

 

HO3 is shorter because the font is much smaller, the text columns are 3 inches wide instead of 2.5 inches, and the pictures are much smaller and somewhat less numerous.  I think if it were formatted the same way that 1 and 2 are, it would be a similar length.  (ETA:  I just did a quick estimation of the number of words in HO2 and HO3 and found that HO3 is actually about 5% longer--so, basically the same length.)

 

I think it is as strong as 1 and 2, in an academic sense, but it isn't as compelling for whatever reason.  Maybe they were trying to get away from the narrative style of 1 and 2.  I don't know.

 

I think it *is* half credit worthy--and what's weird is that I seem to remember that years ago (I'm talking like ten years ago) the K12 high school course that used it was for a half credit, but now it's a full credit.  But maybe I'm not remembering right.

 

I beefed it up with lots of supplemental reading and analysis as well as some documentaries for fun, and I still only gave it a half credit.

 

That said, after we had finished HO1-3, my son was reluctant to cycle back to ancient history again.  He claimed to already know everything there was to know about world history, having done it twice and all.  So I told him that if he got above a 700 on the official (practice) SAT world history test, he wouldn't need to do a straight world history course again.  With no preparation at all, he got a 730 on the test.  So there you go.

 

This is very interesting. We loved HO1-2 in the other world history courses. Modern World History is listed as 1 credit because it is covered in two semesters. I could definitely beef it up with additional materials. However, the course has a research project the 2nd semester and 2 honors projects (one each semester). So, the three projects will dictate that she goes beyond the HO3 book. Is this not enough coursework to merit a full credit?

 

By the way, that is great that your son scored a 730 on the SAT world history test! Both of my kids think that they are history experts... because of the K12 history program. We have always loved it!!!

 

Thanks!

Melisha

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Yes, a highly selective/competitive college will want to see rigorous work, but you don't want to "put all your eggs in one basket" and gear all of high school towards just what that one desired college wants to see. A highly selective/competitive college can have an acceptance rate of under 20% -- some as low as just 6-8%. That means out of every 100 students (who likely will have just as rigorous a transcript and variety of extracurriculars as your DD), only 6 or 8 will be admitted to the school. So plan on casting your net a bit wider, and don't set your heart on just one school.

 

 

Thanks again for all of your input. I did not intend to imply that she plans to apply to only one school. I want her to have zero limitations... meaning that I want her to be able to apply to whatever schools she wants. However, she currently wants to apply to ivy league schools. :-)

 

Luckily she is passionate about many things. Even though she is artsy, she also loves algebra, history, and language arts. She even loved life science, so I expect that she will enjoy biology this year. We definitely will know more about what she wants to do by the end of her sophomore year, but I just want to plan so that she does not miss something important that will knock her out of the running for something she wants to do. I know that the plan will have to be adjusted as we go.

 

Again, I am so glad that I posted. I was completely thinking incorrectly on how the classes should be arranged and how colleges view coursework. :-)

 

Smiles,

Melisha

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This is very interesting. We loved HO1-2 in the other world history courses. Modern World History is listed as 1 credit because it is covered in two semesters. I could definitely beef it up with additional materials. However, the course has a research project the 2nd semester and 2 honors projects (one each semester). So, the three projects will dictate that she goes beyond the HO3 book. Is this not enough coursework to merit a full credit?

 

If she takes the course through K12, because they say it is a high school level course worth 1 credit, that is what you should assign.  If you are simply using HO3 as a spine and adding in extras yourself, you're going to have to use your judgment about whether it merits a full credit.

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If Ivy League/highly competitive college is the goal, the most rigorous course of study is going to be essential, just to get her foot in the door. Beyond that, she will need to distinguish herself in some way, because there will be thousands of applicants who have similar transcripts, as far as coursework. Test scores will be significant too, and probably moreso for her since she is coming from a homeschool background, so you will definitely want to plan for SAT subject tests and possibly AP exams.

 

The above is much less of an issue if you take the desire for the most selective schools out of the equation. The potential transcript you have planned will certainly get her into college, and likely with scholarships in many places! :-)

 

All that to say, I would not plan on bringing up any of that coursework from middle school if selective college is the goal. It's not adding anything unique to her transcript, and gives the perception of padding. She will definitely want four years of rigorous math, science, social studies, and language arts. Twelfth grade will need to be her most rigorous high school year, and I would certainly plan on calculus for math that year. I'd look at making some of those courses AP-quality, or something with similar perceived difficulty.

 

What she does outside of academics will be of major importance as well (again, if highly selective college is the goal.) She will need to excel in something, and demonstrate leadership in some form.

 

You've received a lot of useful advice above (LoriD's insights are always the best! :-) )

 

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If Ivy League/highly competitive college is the goal, the most rigorous course of study is going to be essential, just to get her foot in the door. Beyond that, she will need to distinguish herself in some way, because there will be thousands of applicants who have similar transcripts, as far as coursework. Test scores will be significant too, and probably moreso for her since she is coming from a homeschool background, so you will definitely want to plan for SAT subject tests and possibly AP exams.

 

The above is much less of an issue if you take the desire for the most selective schools out of the equation. The potential transcript you have planned will certainly get her into college, and likely with scholarships in many places! :-)

 

All that to say, I would not plan on bringing up any of that coursework from middle school if selective college is the goal. It's not adding anything unique to her transcript, and gives the perception of padding. She will definitely want four years of rigorous math, science, social studies, and language arts. Twelfth grade will need to be her most rigorous high school year, and I would certainly plan on calculus for math that year. I'd look at making some of those courses AP-quality, or something with similar perceived difficulty.

 

What she does outside of academics will be of major importance as well (again, if highly selective college is the goal.) She will need to excel in something, and demonstrate leadership in some form.

 

You've received a lot of useful advice above (LoriD's insights are always the best! :-) )

 

:iagree:  I don't think the outlined coursework is truly competitive for elite admissions. 

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If so, it's a good idea to take them immediately upon completion of the course.  For example, if your dd finishes chemistry her sophomore year, then sign up for the SAT subject test in chemistry in May or June of that year.  

 

This is fabulous advice and information that I did not know! Thank you so much! I just checked the College Board's website, and I will plan to sign her up in May 2018 to take the June 2018 SAT world history and literature tests :-) Thanks again!!

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In most cases, you need 2 or 3 subject tests TOTAL. (One math, one science, and one humanities score would do it for just about anywhere.) It's not like APs where more tests give you more credit, so be strategic and use her time wisely. Don't take them just to take them.

 

You'll want the big practice test book.

https://www.amazon.com/Official-Study-Guide-Subject-Tests/dp/0874479754

 

Longer discussion of subject tests here

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/651969-sat-subject-tests-pointless/

 

My favorite guide to college testing here

Http://Www.compassprep.com/guide

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Her artwork is beautiful! (Thanks RootAnn for linking.)

 

Agreeing with what others have posted. I also wouldn't give credit for a lot you have listed like drivers ed, consumer ed, service learning. I would also recommend a chem course before AP level bio if she hasn't taken a high school level chem.

 

I am way more flexible with my kids. I don't create a 4 yr plan like that. I just decided this morning what my 10th grader is taking this yr. (We just moved and dealt with health issues, so that it is why so late, but I normally wouldn't have made the decision until the end of 9th or beginning of summer.) You can be more flexible and still keep all doors open. There are lots of ways to satisfy core credits.

 

In regards to her artwork... Thank you! I will pass along the compliment to her. 

 

Okay, due to all of the feedback, I will not give credit for consumer education, health, etc. I did not realize that those classes were not included on transcripts sent to colleges. Since she has to actually take and do the work for the classes, I thought she would get credit for them. By the way, I received her GIANT student health textbook yesterday. How on earth is all of that information supposed to be covered and learned in one semester!?!? 

 

I am so glad that you mentioned the chemistry and biology courses. In regards to the AP Biology course, I looked at the course outline and requirements, and I really think this class is within her ability. In regards to the AP Chemistry for her sophomore year... Originally, I entertained having her take Algebra II then Geometry. According to info that I have read, if she has a high level of success in Algebra II, then the regular high school chemistry class prerequisite can be waived... making her "eligible" to take the AP chemistry. But, I then switched to Geometry then Algebra II order and completely forgot about the chemistry issue! One option is to switch back to Algebra II then Geometry. Then, she would have Algebra II freshman year, and then may or may not (depending on success in Alg II) take the AP Chemistry her sophomore year.  However, since I posted my plan, I have learned some things... One of which, it appears to be more advantageous to take an AP class her senior year than her sophomore year. 

 

So, this is what I am thinking in regards to math and science:

9th Geometry

10th Alg II

11th Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus

12th Calculus - (OR AP Statistics depending on her desired career path and the requirements of the colleges that she wants to apply. I have actually heard that some colleges want AP statistics instead of calculus (depending on her major).

 

9th AP Biology (I think that she can handle this specific class right now.)

10th Chemistry

11th Physics

12th AP Chemistry (OR the forensic science and another one-semester science depending on her desired career path and the requirements of the colleges that she wants to apply.)

 

Is this a better use of her time? She is going to be working hard either way. She might as well be working hard on courses that are going to set her up for the best possible success (for college and life).

 

Thanks!

Melisha

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In most cases, you need 2 or 3 subject tests TOTAL. (One math, one science, and one humanities score would do it for just about anywhere.) It's not like APs where more tests give you more credit, so be strategic and use her time wisely. Don't take them just to take them.

 

You'll want the big practice test book.

https://www.amazon.com/Official-Study-Guide-Subject-Tests/dp/0874479754

 

Longer discussion of subject tests here

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/651969-sat-subject-tests-pointless/

 

My favorite guide to college testing here

Http://Www.compassprep.com/guide

 

Okay! Thanks! I really think that she would do great on both the world history and the literature tests if she took them today... but I think she would do especially well after her freshman lit and world history classes. However, I will check into it further and into the APs.  :-)

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...Okay, due to all of the feedback, I will not give credit for consumer education, health, etc. I did not realize that those classes were not included on transcripts sent to colleges. Since she has to actually take and do the work for the classes, I thought she would get credit for them...

 

It's your homeschool, your call. :) You certainly can grant credit for the work, if you wish. However, by the time you reach the senior year, I think you'll probably find that a student working at a rigorous level has accrued so many credits, those "light" credits, or credits earned in middle school, just are not needed. I know, it's hard to have that perspective before starting 9th grade, when feeling a little panicky and as though absolutely every little thing your student does must be awarded credit. ;)

 

The reason most of us are suggesting not putting it on the transcript is that esp. if applying to a selective/competitive college, those courses look like "padding" -- trying to increase the credit count, but with non-rigorous material, or with things the college assumes students are already naturally learning on their own time -- study skills, life skills, how to drive, etc.

 

You can understand how colleges will compare students who come in with 28+ credits that are all Science, Math, and other academic credits (and many of the credits are AP and/or dual-enrollment) -- vs. other students who come in with 28+ credits but a number of them are light. Driver's Ed and Home Ec. look very weak compared to Calculus and Advanced Physics. ;)

 

But again, it is your homeschool, and your call. The key is to have a transcript that accurately reflects your student's hard work, without making it look like padding, so that the transcript doesn't raise red flags, and so that the truly rigorous credits don't get called into question, but instead help your student shine. By 11th/12th grade you will have a very clear sense of what should go on DD's transcript, and what to save for the extracurricular list, and what to just allow as "credit-less" real life pursuits. :)

Edited by Lori D.
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I don't think it's a problem giving credit for drivers ed, consumer ed, or civics. Drivers ed is a graduation requirement for the public high schools here in IL, so you either take it there or you have to show completion of a private, approved drivers ed course.

 

Consumer ed is also a requirement to graduate at our high school, many students take it as a summer course so they can take other electives during the school year. There is even an honors consumer ed offered at our school.

 

Civics is also now a graduation requirement for anyone starting at our high school after 2016-17.

 

I've included the course descriptions from the school's academic handbook. 

 

DRIVER EDUCATION G 161 (DEC15100 DEC15200)

DRIVER EDUCATION 161 (DEC16100 DEC16200)

GRADE: 10,11,12 LENGTH: 1 Sem

CREDIT: .25 (Classroom) .25 (Laboratory) GPA: All Subject

The purpose of Driver Education is to develop citizens who will be competent

and responsible users of the highway transportation system. Driver Education

grades are given for the classroom and laboratory phases separately, although

the phases are taught concurrently. Students must be a minimum of 14

years 11 months of age at the beginning of the semester during which they are enrolled.

In order to become qualified for an operator's license prior to age 18, the student must pass

both phases of Driver Education.

 

CONSUMER EDUCATION G 161 (BCE15100)

GRADE: 12 LENGTH: 1 Sem CREDIT: .50 GPA: All Subject

Consumer Education satisfies the state competency requirement to give students basic knowledge of consumer issues. The areas of learning required by state law include consumer rights and responsibilities, consumer protection, comparison buying, consumer economics, budgeting, saving, investing, credit, taxes and insurance. This course is for those students who would meet with limited success in a traditional consumer education curriculum. PREREQUISITE: Recommendation of the department

 

CIVICS GT 163 (SII15300)

GRADE: 10 LENGTH: 2 Sem CREDIT: 1.00 GPA: All Subject & Academic

The second course in the Team program, Civics GT 163, is a team taught course that provides an integrated curriculum with English GT 263. Team Program courses emphasize both content and skills in appropriately paced instruction, and provide additional support with attention to individual student needs. Within this collaborative learning environment, students further develop their reading, writing, and study skills by engaging in a variety of instructional

methods. Thematic units include: the nature of society, principles of government, Constitutional rights and responsibilities, structure of government, and principles of law and justice. Civics GT fulfills Illinois’ requirements for civics education and the administration of tests that cover major facets of U.S. government. Students must earn passing marks on these tests to graduate.  

PREREQUISITE: Placement recommendation by ninth grade team teachers

 

 

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...Originally, I entertained having her take Algebra II then Geometry. According to info that I have read, if she has a high level of success in Algebra II, then the regular high school chemistry class prerequisite can be waived... making her "eligible" to take the AP chemistry. But, I then switched to Geometry then Algebra II order and completely forgot about the chemistry issue! One option is to switch back to Algebra II then Geometry. Then, she would have Algebra II freshman year, and then may or may not (depending on success in Alg II) take the AP Chemistry her sophomore year.  However, since I posted my plan, I have learned some things... One of which, it appears to be more advantageous to take an AP class her senior year than her sophomore year. 

 

Most Chemistry programs only require Algebra 1 as a pre-requisite, and it's fine to be taking Algebra 2 concurrently. It's more a matter of needing to be very comfortable with Chemistry topics to do well in skipping regular Chemistry and going straight to AP Chemistry.

 

The most advantageous time to take AP tests for college admissions is in 11th grade (or earlier). AP tests only happen in May (at the end of the school year), and 12th graders are applying to colleges in November, are accepted by colleges in early spring, and are making their college choice by May 1st. So the whole application/acceptance process for college admission happens for a 12th grader before that 12th grader takes the mid-May AP test date, meaning that AP test scores do not come in to play in helping for college admissions.

 

The most advantageous time to take AP tests for earning a high score, and thus, college credit, is right after the student has completed the coursework/studied for the test -- for the harder math and science APs that is esp. helpful. If getting a high score to earn college credit is the goal, then yes, it is usually students in 11th and 12th grades who score best on those APs, and yes, it is most advantageous to take the hard AP math/science tests later in high school rather than earlier in high school.

 

 

...So, this is what I am thinking in regards to math and science:

9th Geometry

10th Alg II

11th Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus

12th Calculus - (OR AP Statistics depending on her desired career path and the requirements of the colleges that she wants to apply. I have actually heard that some colleges want AP statistics instead of calculus (depending on her major).

 

9th AP Biology (I think that she can handle this specific class right now.)

10th Chemistry

11th Physics

12th AP Chemistry (OR the forensic science and another one-semester science depending on her desired career path and the requirements of the colleges that she wants to apply.)

 

Is this a better use of her time? ...

 

Just me, but for 12th grade, I'd suggest just writing in pencil:

"Math -- possibly either Statistics (or AP Statistics), OR Calculus -- TBD closer to the time when we have more information"

"Science -- possibly two 1-semester courses of choice, OR AP Chemistry, OR an advanced science -- TBD closer to the time when we have more information"

 

I know you really want to have a firm, complete, detailed, finalized 4-year plan set in place right now, but I urge you to relax a bit for planning SO very specifically beyond 9th grade. Yes, it's good to understand that you'll need/want a credit of Science and a credit of Math in 12th grade, but it will be a LOT easier to make the call as to WHAT Math or WHAT Science to do once you're into 11th grade, and know more clearly what is needed.

 

SO many things can happen between now and 12th grade:

- Your DD's needs/interests may radically change.

- Life circumstances can intervene and radically alter your plans.

- College of choice may change requirements or policies in the next few years.

- Colleges you never considered before may suddenly appear and be of high interest, and have special credit needs.

Edited by Lori D.
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Okay, due to all of the feedback, I will not give credit for consumer education, health, etc. I did not realize that those classes were not included on transcripts sent to colleges. Since she has to actually take and do the work for the classes, I thought she would get credit for them. By the way, I received her GIANT student health textbook yesterday. How on earth is all of that information supposed to be covered and learned in one semester!?!? 

 

I'm giving credit for health and PE (not a ton of credit), because the public schools require it here, so they will be used to seeing that on their transcripts, anyway.  Also, two of mine are thinking about majoring in kinesiology, so health and PE are related to classes they would be taking in college (by my guess).  But, mine are not even remotely interested in Ivy League schools.

 

But, yeah, don't put too much fluff on there...like everyone already mentioned.

 

Honestly, and I'm not an expert here in any way, shape or form...but I think coming up with a 4 year plan for high school is a waste of time.  It was for me.  As we go into the next school year, my kids are capable of doing so much more than I predicted they would be able to do when I first tried to write out a plan (2-3 years ago).  And what we've done so far looks nothing like my original plan.  I don't know if this makes any sense, but each year, they are able to do things on a much higher level than I would've "predicted" they could do.  Does that make any sense?  Maybe it's just me...

 

Edited to add:  Sheesh, I hope my post doesn't sound mean.   :o    

Edited by Evanthe
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I don't think it's a problem giving credit for drivers ed, consumer ed, or civics. Drivers ed is a graduation requirement for the public high schools here in IL, so you either take it there or you have to show completion of a private, approved drivers ed course.

 

Consumer ed is also a requirement to graduate at our high school, many students take it as a summer course so they can take other electives during the school year. There is even an honors consumer ed offered at our school.

 

No one is saying homeschoolers can't give credit for those, just that those kinds of credits don't add anything of value to the transcript, and really just serve to "water down" an otherwise strong and rigorous transcript. If the grades in those courses are included in the GPA, it can look like they were just used to pad the GPA, but if they're given P/F grades, some schools will recalculate the GPA with a "P" equal to a C, which can tank na student's GPA. Other colleges will recalculate the GPA excluding those courses, so having them on there really is of no benefit, unless the student simply doesn't have enough credits without them, or is applying to a state uni that specifically requires them.

 

 

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And what we've done so far looks nothing like my original plan.

:iagree:  I found a couple of my (different) 4-year plans for dd#1. I know I scribbled a new one every year from 7th grade on & when I've found them later, I laugh. The one I did before her freshman year doesn't match her transcript at all (other than math and Spanish). I haven't even tried to scribble a plan for dd#2. Her path looks so completely different than dd#1's right now, but I can't see past freshman year yet. I'm not even trying to right now. It made me feel better to put something down, but things change and I haven't really looked at those lists since.

 

I suggest taking it year by year or month by month. I think your daughter might start leading the way sooner than you think - and that might change the whole picture, or even just parts of it. Take a deep breath, hug your daughter, plan THIS year, and enjoy yourselves. The years go by so quickly and pretty soon, they are gone having lives of their own.

 

Enjoy now.

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No one is saying homeschoolers can't give credit for those, just that those kinds of credits don't add anything of value to the transcript, and really just serve to "water down" an otherwise strong and rigorous transcript. If the grades in those courses are included in the GPA, it can look like they were just used to pad the GPA, but if they're given P/F grades, some schools will recalculate the GPA with a "P" equal to a C, which can tank na student's GPA. Other colleges will recalculate the GPA excluding those courses, so having them on there really is of no benefit, unless the student simply doesn't have enough credits without them, or is applying to a state uni that specifically requires them.

 

 

 

I included grades for PE and health because the local (well regarded) public school required 1.5 credits of PE and 0.5 credits of health, and I claimed in my school profile that our homeschool requirements either met or exceeded the requirements of the local high school.

 

I figured that if kids in public school have their transcripts padded by ridiculous required classes, why shouldn't my kid?

Edited by EKS
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...but I think coming up with a 4 year plan for high school is a waste of time. 

 

But, but some of us think it is FUN!!! :D

 

Now OP, if you are not one of those people and this is a stressful exercise that you are only doing because you "should," then I'm sure these ladies are right. It probably is unnecessary. But if you actually enjoy making these plans even though the final result will likely look far different, you are not alone. :)

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But, but some of us think it is FUN!!! :D

 

Now OP, if you are not one of those people and this is a stressful exercise that you are only doing because you "should," then I'm sure these ladies are right. It probably is unnecessary. But if you actually enjoy making these plans even though the final result will likely look far different, you are not alone. :)

 

I am glad that I am not alone! ;-) I make plans for everything. I love plans and schedules. Obviously, different personality types do things differently. If I have a plan, then I accomplish it. If I do not have a plan, it does not happen. My favorite quote is "A goal without a plan is just a dream." -- by Joe Friel

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But, but some of us think it is FUN!!! :D

 

LOL, yes! My 4-year plan was pretty flexible--I figured out what credits they needed for each area based on state and college requirements, but decided the curriculum and sometimes the specific subject content year by year, taking interests into account. So it was useful in that it gave me a starting point and helped me not to leave out something that was needed, but not so "tight" that we didn't have room to adjust for various opportunities and so on. (I started with the same 4-year plan for both of my kids but adapting for interests, opportunities, and a few times even curriculum made the results very different. They had only 12.5 out of 25+ credits that were similar or identical.) 

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But, but some of us think it is FUN!!! :D

 

Now OP, if you are not one of those people and this is a stressful exercise that you are only doing because you "should," then I'm sure these ladies are right. It probably is unnecessary. But if you actually enjoy making these plans even though the final result will likely look far different, you are not alone. :)

 

I LOVE making schedules and plans... but boy, do I have a good hearty laugh when I uncover an old "4-year plan" in a notebook or on the computer somewhere. :lol:

 

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I am glad that I am not alone! ;-) I make plans for everything. I love plans and schedules. Obviously, different personality types do things differently. If I have a plan, then I accomplish it. If I do not have a plan, it does not happen. My favorite quote is "A goal without a plan is just a dream." -- by Joe Friel

 

You aren't alone at all! I had a 4-year plan for each of my kids for high school. When they got ready to start college, we made a 4-year plan for that too. The thing you have to realize is that the plan and reality didn't match up all that well. What the plan did for me was let me check off all the boxes, then when something changed, I could look to see if it still checked the same box or if something else needed to be added to check that box. It gave me a baseline. I love my planning. 

 

Welcome to the high school board Melisha!

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Okay, due to all of the feedback, I will not give credit for consumer education, health, etc. I did not realize that those classes were not included on transcripts sent to colleges. Since she has to actually take and do the work for the classes, I thought she would get credit for them. By the way, I received her GIANT student health textbook yesterday. How on earth is all of that information supposed to be covered and learned in one semester!?!?

 

...One of which, it appears to be more advantageous to take an AP class her senior year than her sophomore year. ...

 

 

Do you need to complete the entire health textbook?  Are there topics that she already knows b/c of your normal daily family life?  Health is not one of those subjects that my kids have really needed b/c so much of what is covered is covered in other areas of our life (human anatomy, our very conscientious nutritional choices (and talking about why), health issues (lots of major health crises for discussion, etc.)  Just b/c it is in the book, does not mean she has to cover it in the book.  Teachers select targeted content all of the time.

 

In terms of AP advantages, I agree with Lori that scores matter for homeschoolers and scores available prior to  sr yr application season are the most advantageous for apps.  Sr yr courses are helpful for transcript strength and credit if schools/scores apply.

It's your homeschool, your call. :) You certainly can grant credit for the work, if you wish. However, by the time you reach the senior year, I think you'll probably find that a student working at a rigorous level has accrued so many credits, those "light" credits, or credits earned in middle school, just are not needed. I know, it's hard to have that perspective before starting 9th grade, when feeling a little panicky and as though absolutely every little thing your student does must be awarded credit. ;)

 

You can understand how colleges will compare students who come in with 28+ credits that are all Science, Math, and other academic credits (and many of the credits are AP and/or dual-enrollment) -- vs. other students who come in with 28+ credits but a number of them are light. Driver's Ed and Home Ec. look very weak compared to Calculus and Advanced Physics. ;)

 

 

This is the key.  My kids have carried up numerous credit hrs from middle school (up to 7 hrs).  The courses carried up have been core academic credits and their high school sequence core have built on top of those courses (like taking pre-cal in 9th grade having carried up alg, geo, alg 2, and AoPS courses from middle school or Latin 1 and 2 or French 1,2 and 3, and 9th starting with Latin 3 or French 4, etc.)  

 

My dd's transcript has PE on it simply bc one of the schools she applied to required a PE credit.  It is on there as P/F.   But, it is the only non-academic course on her transcript.

 

I know you really want to have a firm, complete, detailed, finalized 4-year plan set in place right now, but I urge you to relax a bit for planning SO very specifically beyond 9th grade. Yes, it's good to understand that you'll need/want a credit of Science and a credit of Math in 12th grade, but it will be a LOT easier to make the call as to WHAT Math or WHAT Science to do once you're into 11th grade, and know more clearly what is needed.

 

This.  Also keep in mind that there is nothing saying that high school is 1 English/math/science, etc per yr.  She may decide she wants to take stats and cal or take an advanced science and forensic science.   For example, my ds took 2-3 sciences every semester.  My dd took 3 languages simultaneously a couple of yrs, multiple lit classes, etc.  That is the advantage of homeschooling.  You don't have to follow traditional check-box sequencing.  You have the absolute freedom to customize your dd's education to be what you both want it to be.   Definitely know the basic 4-4-4-4-3/4 baseline (4 English, 4 math, 4 science, 4 history/social science, 3/4 foreign language) and keep it in mind every yr, but it is absolutely OK to be flexible in how they are pursued.  

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Also keep in mind that there is nothing saying that high school is 1 English/math/science, etc per yr.  She may decide she wants to take stats and cal or take an advanced science and forensic science.   For example, my ds took 2-3 sciences every semester.  My dd took 3 languages simultaneously a couple of yrs, multiple lit classes, etc.  That is the advantage of homeschooling.  You don't have to follow traditional check-box sequencing.  You have the absolute freedom to customize your dd's education to be what you both want it to be.   Definitely know the basic 4-4-4-4-3/4 baseline (4 English, 4 math, 4 science, 4 history/social science, 3/4 foreign language) and keep it in mind every yr, but it is absolutely OK to be flexible in how they are pursued.  

 

I think this is a real key - especially if she is interested in elite schools. My ds took 2 English credits every year in high school; he started college as a writing major. My dd took 2 science credits every year and only managed 3 history credits. She is a nursing major. While you want to get all the basic boxes checked, she should also be excelling in something. Just taking the standard sequence of courses in every area won't limit her options on future careers, but it won't get her into tippy top schools either. The kids there have gone above and beyond that in one or more ways both in the classroom and out of it. 

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Do you need to complete the entire health textbook?  Are there topics that she already knows b/c of your normal daily family life?  Health is not one of those subjects that my kids have really needed b/c so much of what is covered is covered in other areas of our life (human anatomy, our very conscientious nutritional choices (and talking about why), health issues (lots of major health crises for discussion, etc.)  Just b/c it is in the book, does not mean she has to cover it in the book.  Teachers select targeted content all of the time.

 

 

Health is a required class in IL (for public school students), and as I flip through the book, this information is very important. Of course, my daughter has learned about the body and some diseases along the way in science, etc. Plus, I am very into fitness, and my poor children have had to endure listening to me talk about nutrition, race training plans, calories, and grams of fat all of their short lives! Ha!

 

There is no requirement to go through the entire textbook of course. As an IL homeschool student, she is not even required to take health. However, I really think she will benefit from going through the information in a formal way. In fact, one thing that drives me crazy about public schools is that they never cover all of the coursework material. I am excited to go through it and teach it! I just wish it counted as a real class for college admission. Here are the topics:

 

8 Units: Mental Health, Social Health, Nutrition, Physical Fitness, Substance Abuse, Human Development, Preventing Disease, Community Health and Safety.

 

26 Chapters: Making Healthy Decisions; Personality, Self-Esteem, and Emotions; Managing Stress; Mental Disorders and Suicide; Family Relationships; Building Healthy Peer Relationships; Preventing Violence; Food and Nutrition; Making Healthy Food Choices; Digestion and Excretion; Movement and Coordination; Cardiovascular and Respiratory Health; Exercise and Lifelong Fitness; Personal Care; Alchohol; Tobacco; Preventing Drug Abuse; Reproduction and Heredity; Pregnancy, Birth, and Childhood; Adolescence and Adulthood; Infectious Diseases; Sexually Transmitted Infections and AIDS; Chronic Disease and Disabilities; Safeguarding the Public; A Healthy Community and Environment; Preventing Injuries 

 

Then, there are 3 to 4 sections in each chapter! But it does not end there! It continues with a first aid appendix that includes things like choking & rescue breathing, etc. I am definitely not an expert regarding all of these topics. Plus, I think that the information is important enough (that when there is some crossover with some of her other classes) that she gets two doses of the information. So, yes, my poor darling daughter will have to learn all of the topics in the 737-page book (no matter rather she gets a transcript credit for it), but maybe she will thank me someday! :-)

 

Smiles,

Melisha :-)

Edited by Melisha
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Health is a required class in IL (for public school students), and as I flip through the book, this information is very important. Of course, my daughter has learned about the body and some diseases along the way in science, etc. Plus, I am very into fitness, and my poor children have had to endure listening to me talk about nutrition, race training plans, calories, and grams of fat all of their short lives! Ha!

 

There is no requirement to go through the entire textbook of course. As an IL homeschool student, she is not even required to take health. However, I really think she will benefit from going through the information in a formal way. In fact, one thing that drives me crazy about public schools is that they never cover all of the coursework material. I am excited to go through it and teach it! I just wish it counted as a real class for college admission. Here are the topics:

 

8 Units: Mental Health, Social Health, Nutrition, Physical Fitness, Substance Abuse, Human Development, Preventing Disease, Community Health and Safety.

 

26 Chapters: Making Healthy Decisions; Personality, Self-Esteem, and Emotions; Managing Stress; Mental Disorders and Suicide; Family Relationships; Building Healthy Peer Relationships; Preventing Violence; Food and Nutrition; Making Healthy Food Choices; Digestion and Excretion; Movement and Coordination; Cardiovascular and Respiratory Health; Exercise and Lifelong Fitness; Personal Care; Alchohol; Tobacco; Preventing Drug Abuse; Reproduction and Heredity; Pregnancy, Birth, and Childhood; Adolescence and Adulthood; Infectious Diseases; Sexually Transmitted Infections and AIDS; Chronic Disease and Disabilities; Safeguarding the Public; A Healthy Community and Environment; Preventing Injuries 

 

Then, there are 3 to 4 sections in each chapter! But it does not end there! It continues with a first aid appendix that includes things like choking & rescue breathing, etc. I am definitely not an expert regarding all of these topics. Plus, I think that the information is important enough (that when there is some crossover with some of her other classes) that she gets two doses of the information. So, yes, my poor darling daughter will have to learn all of the topics in the 737-page book (no matter rather she gets a transcript credit for it), but maybe she will thank me someday! :-)

 

Smiles,

Melisha :-)

 

If you want to put health on the transcript, you should.  The vast majority of the kids she will be competing with for college admissions *will* have health on their transcripts.  

 

Also, check with your local fire department--they may offer CPR and first aid classes where your daughter can get certified.  Then you can skip that stuff in the book and list the certifications in your course description.

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Also, check with your local fire department--they may offer CPR and first aid classes where your daughter can get certified.  Then you can skip that stuff in the book and list the certifications in your course description.

I love this idea. My husband and I had talked about it at one point, but I did not write it down, so I forgot all about it! Thank you! I will add it to the list while I still have it on my mind. Ha! :-)

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Health is a required class in IL (for public school students), and as I flip through the book, this information is very important. Of course, my daughter has learned about the body and some diseases along the way in science, etc. Plus, I am very into fitness, and my poor children have had to endure listening to me talk about nutrition, race training plans, calories, and grams of fat all of their short lives! Ha!

 

There is no requirement to go through the entire textbook of course. As an IL homeschool student, she is not even required to take health. However, I really think she will benefit from going through the information in a formal way. In fact, one thing that drives me crazy about public schools is that they never cover all of the coursework material. I am excited to go through it and teach it! I just wish it counted as a real class for college admission. Here are the topics:

 

8 Units: Mental Health, Social Health, Nutrition, Physical Fitness, Substance Abuse, Human Development, Preventing Disease, Community Health and Safety.

 

26 Chapters: Making Healthy Decisions; Personality, Self-Esteem, and Emotions; Managing Stress; Mental Disorders and Suicide; Family Relationships; Building Healthy Peer Relationships; Preventing Violence; Food and Nutrition; Making Healthy Food Choices; Digestion and Excretion; Movement and Coordination; Cardiovascular and Respiratory Health; Exercise and Lifelong Fitness; Personal Care; Alchohol; Tobacco; Preventing Drug Abuse; Reproduction and Heredity; Pregnancy, Birth, and Childhood; Adolescence and Adulthood; Infectious Diseases; Sexually Transmitted Infections and AIDS; Chronic Disease and Disabilities; Safeguarding the Public; A Healthy Community and Environment; Preventing Injuries 

 

Then, there are 3 to 4 sections in each chapter! But it does not end there! It continues with a first aid appendix that includes things like choking & rescue breathing, etc. I am definitely not an expert regarding all of these topics. Plus, I think that the information is important enough (that when there is some crossover with some of her other classes) that she gets two doses of the information. So, yes, my poor darling daughter will have to learn all of the topics in the 737-page book (no matter rather she gets a transcript credit for it), but maybe she will thank me someday! :-)

 

Smiles,

Melisha :-)

 

In terms of the bolded, it is really personal preference.  You can certainly count it as a credit.  How much it is valued by admissions is debatable, but equally, you absolutely do NOT need to design your high school around admissions.  We definitely do not.  We design high school around our kids and however that pans out in terms of admissions we are equally OK accepting.  So, if a 737 page health text and an 800+ page life skills text are what you want her to complete, then go for it.

 

But in terms of the rest of the bolded, that is also a matter of personal preference.  I am not a fan of textbooks.  I personally do not believe that textbook committees are the final arbitrators of all that is valuable for different subjects.  For example, I am far more likely to follow EKS's example and sign my kids up for CPR or first aid or spend the summer designing menus with my kids around certain health goals, etc than use a textbook to cover topics I value. For the list of subjects that you posted in the health text, I don't see any that aren't already well known by my older kids simply through our family life.  But, that is who we are.  Education is a lifestyle around here.  We are not textbook people.  It works for us.  It doesn't make it better or right for anyone else.  But neither is completing entire textbooks superior to not.  I wouldn't necessarily ding a school that isn't finishing a text.  There may be vaild reasons for not.  The content may be superfluous.  It may have been covered in another manner.  Other content might have been supplemented to a higher degree b/c the teacher thinks it more important and less important info is cut.  

 

You need to embrace your own style and if the textbook is it, then embrace it and enjoy that path and ignore any and all posts to the contrary.  Don't fret over admissions and feel pressured to simply cram more in. There are 1000s of schools in this country and excellent educations to be had without thinking that you are closing doors and limiting your child's future over taking this class over that one.  It is absolutely impossible to cover everything.  You have to prioritize and make the best choices you see fit at the time.  

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Thanks again for all of your input. I did not intend to imply that she plans to apply to only one school. I want her to have zero limitations... meaning that I want her to be able to apply to whatever schools she wants. However, she currently wants to apply to ivy league schools. :-)

 

Luckily she is passionate about many things. Even though she is artsy, she also loves algebra, history, and language arts. She even loved life science, so I expect that she will enjoy biology this year. We definitely will know more about what she wants to do by the end of her sophomore year, but I just want to plan so that she does not miss something important that will knock her out of the running for something she wants to do. I know that the plan will have to be adjusted as we go.

 

Again, I am so glad that I posted. I was completely thinking incorrectly on how the classes should be arranged and how colleges view coursework. :-)

 

Smiles,

Melisha

 

In my opinion, your current goal of having "zero limitations" with regard to college acceptances is not obtainable for the simple reason that different schools value different things. 

 

I would think about coming up with a high school plan that centers around your daughter's interests, both in and outside the classroom.  When it comes time for college applications, she can then select those schools that align with her interests, and those schools will be more likely to accept her because she will have demonstrated that she is a good fit for them.

 

 

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