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Cross-post: High school for the non-college-bound

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I just posted this thread on the Learning Challenges board, but thought some might miss it there. I'm interested in a wide range of views, so if you have ideas, come over and discuss. My own dd has disabilities, but the thread might apply to others who don't as well.


What do you think is essential, and what can be skipped?


More details on the LC thread.

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It would depend on the specific needs and abilities of your student, but if possible, I'd try to ensure the following:


Math:  Understanding how to balance a checkbook (or whatever the modern equivalent is of that now), what it means to obtain a loan and how interest works, and the importance of saving money.  In terms of typically taught math skills, being solid with whole number operations, fractions, decimals, and percents.  Beginning algebra would be an added (but unnecessary) bonus, but being able to use Singapore bar diagrams to work out applied problems would be just as good.


Reading:  Reading well at a fifth grade level, with eighth grade being even better.  Being able to understand written directions and warnings that may contain some technical vocabulary.  


Writing:  Being able to write coherent and polite emails, memos, etc. 


Cultural and scientific literacy:  Having knowledge of significant events in history and their sequence, having familiarity with culturally relevant books and movies (classic and contemporary).  General understanding of basic biology, psychology, earth science, human body/health, as well as a touch of physics and chemistry.   All of this could be done with middle school level materials.


Life skills: Cooking, nutrition, and food safety; basic household chores and maintenance; driving and navigation; technology stuff, using computer, phone, etc; budgeting



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Glad you cross posted. I keep forgetting to connect on the LC board and don’t visit often. I should.


Youngest is lower IQ (or low average if tested with non verbal metrics) and ASD (level 2 supports). She’s in grade 10. So we still have 2 years to go. College is not a reality direct out of high school even with the “thinkcollege.net†kind of programs in our area. Those are post secondary pre college pre career training programs for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities.


I’m in a state where homeschoolers can report to cover schools as a way to be legal, and then we follow the schools recommendations for courses while making the course fit our student.


With all of that said.

English: reading, grammar, and composition. My wish is that by grade 12, we move from traditional literature stuff into world of work “Englishâ€. I am strongly leaning toward the Work Keys curriculum for that year to focus on what skills are needed in English for work. She is so severely impaired in verbal ability that she will not be able to have a job where lots of writing or reading is needed.  hence the whole work keys thing.  I'm hoping for bronze level with her.  yeah. that would be achievable with lots of supports.


I’m also browsing the catalog at wieser educational for “world of work†kind of books.



pre alg, (did that in grade (9)

Alg 1 (key to algebra, mixed with hands on equations, and a course on edX platform. She likes solving this stuff who knew?.)

Geometry basics course. (some key to geometry, with some other things that will make sense next year. I don't know. I question my sanity on that decision sometimes)

Practical Math (aka consumer, life skills, etc). Using the pacemaker text called Practical Math.


I much prefer applied math with consumer and practical stuff. But doing basics and intro in algebra and geometry might benefit with something hard to try. Hard is not a bad thing.


Social studies: oh wow. How did I go from a 5 year cycle program like mfw to get er done 3 courses and out of here. I wish she knew more than how to read a map and find things on it. I wish she had some understanding in history. I'm thinking last course will be practical living/civics. 


Science: she likes to cook. She calls cooking time Chemistry class. (She was capable of doing most of Friendly Chemistry, and a food based lab.) She endured watching biology videos and going to nature center to get a “life sciences introduction†credit. She did a catch all physical science. My dreams that maybe when she’s in her 20s she might learn scientific method and thinking might see light of day? But I’m ok at this point if she can’t tell a good hypothesis or not. oh yeah, I belong on the special needs/ challenges subforum more, don't I?


Electives: full independent living is not something I can see her capable of within 10 years. She’s 16 now. But she can do many skills in that such as laundry, chores, did I mention cooking and baking?, volunteering at church as one of the janitors (she loves to push that huge trash cart and dust everything). She likes Spanish, so we did Spanish (used a later 1990s video series on discovery education with Sr. Morris). Turns out she is good on piano. Not prodigy or anything. But piano lessons were a really good thing for her. And well, special olympics has been a good thing too. I have an athlete? Really? Wow. Anyway.  I hear some of the struggles her older friends at special olympics have with getting driver's licenses, and I just can't see my kid being able to drive.  I'm not sure I see the middle one learning it before age 25 with her challenges.


I picture the next two years with a heavier focus on learning about getting and keeping a job. More responsibilities around the house. I recently bought a huge package of stuff on teachers pay teachers. They had this sale going and I got the Daily Living Skills bundle at decent price. The author is named Susan Traugh. I hope to cover a lot of that in grade 11 and 12. I don’t know what I’ll call it on transcript to be honest. And then we joke that she will get to “do college at homeâ€, and that just means the transition years where she could be in public school SPED will be more of the daily living and maybe changing volunteer to paid work in some fashion.



links with resources:



and the Susan Traugh packet : (I got the complete bundle. probably didn't need the teacher manual version)




I have a middle child whose college path is non traditional. low to average IQ, very slow processing abilities. She did "standard" academic stuff (think whatever mfw sold). this is her gap year of self study for CLEP exams, and trying to help in the community. But she's slower path college bound and it will take longer. 

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Check out Cindy LaJoy's Blue Collar Homeschool website (she is a WTM boardee! :) ), and consider joining the facebook group. 


As far as what to focus on/not focus on in high school -- agreeing with EKS, in that the goal is to prepare the student to be a functional adult, and, to be comfortable navigating life.


I would add, try and keep as many doors open for the future as possible -- so if it is possible for where the student is, you might try for jumping any hoops needed in high school to make a community college / vocational-tech / trade school still an option for future additional training into a field of high interest to the student.



Definitely look for extracurriculars you student can participate in. I don't know what your student's working level is, or what interests your student has, but you might also work on including extracurriculars that could also lead into jobs. Things like:


- cake decorating

- flower arranging

- sewing

- jewelry making

- soldering electronics

- computer or small appliance repair

- photography

- robotics

- 4-H projects -- working with animals

- tile mosaics

- woodworking

- metalworking

- welding

- leather-working

- auto maintenance/mechanics

- gardening/horticulture/landscaping or yard maintenance



Some ideas for extracurricular groups:

- 4-H

Christian Youth Theater - or other community youth theater

- Junior Achievement (business-career groups for elementary/middle/high school ages)

DECA (high school business-career oriented)

- Future Farmers of America (high school agriculture group)
FIRST Robotics (high school robotic team competition)

- Orienteering (all-ages community group - hiking/map-following)

- History Recreation group in your area

- Community Gardens


Accrue your government credit through hands-on:

Youth & Government (model legislation program)

TEEN Pact (government and the political process; Christian)
Junior State of America (civics and politics)
Model United Nations (mock U.N. session)

Teen CourtYouth CourtMock Trial (mock judicial)


Accrue Speech & Debate elective credit -- and a valuable life skill:

National Forensics League (speech/debate)
National Christian Forensics and Communication AssociationChristian Communicators of America (speech/debate; Christian)


Opportunities if military-minded (whether headed for a career in that area, or just interested now)
Civil Air Patrol (teen U.S. Air Force auxiliary -- leadership, scholarships, etc.)
U.S. Naval Sea Cadets (teen Navy prep -- leadership, scholarships, etc.)
Junior ROTC (teen Air Force prep -- leadership, scholarships, etc.)
U.S. Army Junior ROTC (teen Army prep -- leadership, scholarships, etc.) 

Just for fun:

- get involved in volunteering with a community service group of interest to you

- join an all-ages community group -- hiking, biking, paint balling, book club, young authors, chess, robotics, electronics, etc.

- sports team/club
- public/private school after-school club; band or orchestra
- homeschool group: co-op; Youth activities; Student Council; etc.

- local classes in dance, martial arts, or specialty sport/activity (fencing, horseback riding, electronics, etc.) 

- local YMCA offerings

President's Challenge (physical fitness program)
Congressional Award (combo of personal development, exploration/expedition, physical fitness, and community service)

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I just posted this thread on the Learning Challenges board, but thought some might miss it there. I'm interested in a wide range of views, so if you have ideas, come over and discuss. My own dd has disabilities,


I mentioned a group thinkcollege.net.  Wanted to share the link and forget it earlier and didn't want to edit it in either.



Even from brief read of the details on the LC thread, I'm not sure if it applies to your situation or not.  I wish and hope that my dd could do something like that when she's in her early 20s.

but check around in your state.  see what things they encourage and do that stuff.  

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