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Avg. kids and high school credits

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My youngest 3 kids will be in 7th, 8th and 9th grade next year. They are avg kids!  I've been trying to look though the avg. kid threads but my question is........ When you have kids that have to work very hard to get avg grades how do you get enough credits to give a HS diploma? I keep seeing things like "my child is doing Alg 1 in 11th grade"  or "we didn't do chemistry" etc. How do you end up with enough for them to graduate? What kinds of classes do you do?  We will probably be one of these families and as I prepare for next year, I'm trying to figure out how I can give a few courses they need to have and then give some electives that would count as a class that they would enjoy. It can be overwhelming and this board is my only homeschool resource. 

 My 9th wants to go into the Marines and my 8th has pretty rough exectutive functions skills. As I've been reading on these boards I'm seeing that I shouldn't try to load on a ton of work especially at the beginning that it might send us all over the edge. I'm nervous about my abilities so I'd like to figure out how to have happy kids and enough work to get them through high school without failing them. I don't have a college degree myself so I don't claim to be super smart, just love my kids and think homeschooling them is the best way us.

PS. My next year 7th grader has been homeschooled only and my 8th and 9th have been to PS the last 2 years and I have decided it's best to bring them home for the duration.

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32 minutes ago, Mom28kds said:

avg grades how do you get enough credits to give a HS diploma?

Do you mean what classes should they take over the high school years?

As my dc enter high school we are aiming for 4 credits each -



History/social studies


Foreign Language


Where a credit is 150-180 hours, with some classes taking more (like sciences with a lab component) and some classes being on the light end (electives) and some work being done on their own time (like reading). I plan to make these classes challenging for them regardless of whether they are "average" students or "high achieving"

The top of the High School board has some linked threads with lots of good information about home schooling high school, including some "how to get started" posts. Have you had a chance to look at those recently?

Edited by SusanC
After my posts age slightly, they sometimes need refinement
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Well, I know some schools spread Algebra over two years (Alg 1A & 1B). I don't think I'll havr to do that, but you never know.

I have done conceptual science (physics, for example & chem this year is more kitchen chem than "real" chem for one of my kids) for my not-gifted-in-math kid. She might follow up with a "real" pass at one of them before she finishes.

But, mostly, I translate their passions into either extra curricular or credits. So, my dd#2 had a credit of art since she lives with a colored pencil in her hand & takes oil painting lessons. She did some creative writing classes on top of her usual writing of chapter books, so I gave her credit for that. 

One of my youngers might volunteer with a raptor recovery group that will be an extra curricular, but if he still spends hours investigating & reading about specific birds and their nesting, I'll probably find some ornithology material for him and give him a credit for it.

But "average" shouldn't have a problem getting the minimum number of credits. They might not get all 4x5 + that SusanC listed, but they should have 4 credits of English, and at least 3 of the others plus 2 of foreign language.

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My average, but aiming for college student isn't ready for Alg. 1 in 9th grade, so she is getting a credit in preAlg. for 9th, and will get Alg. 1 in 10th. She has to get through Alg. 2 to get the state sponsored scholarship, so we will push through. Otherwise some kids might not go that far, and would settle for remedial math in junior college I would guess. That would work for us, but we are aiming for a specific progam for her.  She is only required 3 lab sciences for this program, so that is all we will do. She is doing a physical science with lab, will do Biology with lab, and chemistry with lab, choosing one that doesn't do a lot of math. She will be pursuing art, so we focus a lot on that with her, following her passion. We enter art contests. She takes a couple of different art classes. We are researching what she needs for a portfolio, and she will end up with a lot of credits in the arts. So we know what her passion is and focus on that, making sure she gets what she has to to graduate and aiming for a specific program that we qualify for. 

My other student is above average in some areas but average in others.  So we do the required in her average subjects, pushing a bit, but not too much, and work harder and focus on her strengths and what she is aiming for in college. 

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Welcome to planning for homeschool high school! (:D

Well, unless you live in a state that regulates amount/type of credits required for *homeschoolers* to graduate, then you as the parent / administrator of your homeschool set the requirements for graduation / earning the diploma -- that allows you to set the requirements that best prepare each student for future success!

Also, as a homeschooler, you get to decide *how* to accomplish a list of required credits for graduation. That means picking programs that are a good fit for each of your student's unique abilities and needs. 🙂

Just to encourage you: It looks like you are in Ohio? The only graduation requirement I am seeing for homeschoolers is:
"PUBLIC/PRIVATE SCHOOL: Ohio requires a state minimum of 20 credit hours in specific academic subjects, plus instruction in economics, financial literacy, and fine arts to receive a diploma. HOMESCHOOL: Parents determine when their student has fulfilled graduation requirements and can issue their own homeschool diploma; students of private/online schools may receive diplomas from those institutions."

Even the Ohio public school graduation requirements are not too difficult to mirror at home, if you wanted to:
4.0 credits = English
4.0 credits = Math (OH requires: up through Alg. 2 at least -- if following the Vocational-Technical path, then Alg. 2 not required)
3.0 credits = Science (OH requires: 1 credit each of = Physical Sci., Life Sci., Adv. Sci., unless parents decide otherwise)
3.0 credits = Social Studies (OH requires at least 0.5 credit each = Amer. History and Gov't)
0.5 credit = Health
0.5 credit = PE
5.0 credits = Electives (OH requires at least 1 credit = Fine Arts and 0.5 credit = Econ & Financial Literacy; other OH elective options: Foreign Language, Business, CTE (Career-Technical Education -- i.e., Vocational-Tech), Technology, Agriculture, Family/Consumer Science, or additional credits in English, Math, Science, Fine Arts)
20 credits = total

That list of credits is very close to what the typical college requires for admission:
4 credits = English
3-4 credits = Math (up through Alg. 2)
3-4 credits = Science, with labs
3-4 credits = Social Studies (1 credit = Amer. Hist.; some colleges: 1 credit = World Hist/Geog and/or 0.5 credit each = Gov't/Econ)
2-4 credits = Foreign Language (which is one of the OH elective options)
1 credit = Fine Arts
4-8+ credits = Electives (ex: Health, PE, Computer, Logic, Bible, Vo-Tech, more Fine Arts or other subjects; personal interests...)
22-28+ credits = total

A very rough "rule of thumb" is that 1.0 credit = 1 hour of work per day, 4-5 days per week, for 36 weeks of the school year. At that rate, to complete 20 credits by the end of high school, you just need to do 5 credits per year (about 4-5 hours or work per day). And only 3 of those 5 credits per year are apt to be tough for average or struggling students (English (the writing), Math, Science).

Very likely, your students will complete more like 5.5 - 6.0 credits per year, without it being difficult at all. Ideas:
- do the Math at a slower rate and just school year round in that subject
- do a lighter 0.5 credit course over the summer as summer school
- PE can be hours accumulated of doing normal sports or activities in the afternoon, on weekends, and over the summer
- for some electives (like Fine Arts), count lessons/hours your student may already be doing (theater, piano, art, etc.)

And there are options for outsourcing courses that you feel unqualified to teach yourself:
- pick a program with video lessons
- hire a local tutor to oversee the student's work
- trade off strengths with another homeschooler
   (i.e. -- you teach your kids & their kids your strong subject, and they teach your kids & their kids in their strong subject)
- join a local homeschool co-op
- ask if your school district allows for a student to take 1 class with the public/private school 
- outsource to an online class/teacher
- for vocational-tech courses, try dual enrollment at your local community college

re: Algebra 1 in 11th grade
As for getting 4 credits of math with a math struggler -- that could look like:
1.0 credit = Consumer Math*
1.0 credit = Geometry
1.0 credit = Algebra 1, part A  (1 school year to get through 1/2 of Algebra 1)
1.0 credit = Algebra 1, part B  (1 school year to get through remaining 1/2 of Algebra 1)
* = (also: things like Integrated Math, Bookkeeping, or Business Math can count towards a required 4 credits of math)

For a math struggler, you might look at trying a gentle program:
- Walsh Power Basics
- Keys to Algebra series (at least as an initial run-through, and then a second program)
- Math-U-See

re: average/EF-challenged students
For my math struggling DS#2, it took 1.5 school years of time to complete each of Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. He also did Geometry and Consumer Math, so he had 4 credits of Math by graduation. (If it had taken longer to get through the Algebras, we would have just doubled up and done Consumer Math in tiny bites spread out over 2 years while still getting through the Algebras.)

He also was my writing-challenged student, and that just took running alongside all the way through high school, and into the first year of being at the community college, until he finally clicked in his own time with how to write a decent paragraph/paper. The key is to go for *quality* of writing and learning the writing process and what goes into a paragraph (and then a paper), rather than *quantity* of writing.

Even with a struggling student, they start to "get it" the older they are, so that usually by 11th/12th grades, many of those who were strugglers are quickly closing the gap.

Edited by Lori D.
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I should emphasize that I have no actual high school experience yet! What I posted is my paper and pencil plan. I am hoping/expecting that as they start off they will develop their own opinions and interests (and perhaps areas of excellence and less-than excellence) so things will change. We will still accomplish basic college entrance requirements, but perhaps not exactly as I have them sketched out at the moment.

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You all have helped me so much already. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have felt like there is a mountain in front of me I wasn't sure I could climb. But ! was going to do everything I had to do it anyway. Your responses have helped ease my mind and put some practical ideas into place. Lori D, you are a gem! Thank you for taking the time to put all that together and help me understand how this would be doable. I actually felt more calm as I was reading all these responses. I'm hoping that others who read this will feel this as well. I don't post much because I feel I'm learning from all of you and don't have much to add. I've been with these boards for years and have gleamed so much from all of you. 

Edited by Mom28kds
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Lori D. - a little rabbit trail -  Your comments on your DS #2 are so encouraging.  In many ways sounds like my DS #1.   I have been thinking about Algebra 2 and wondering how this child will ever do it.  And then was thinking about Consumer Math as well.  I think I have decided to go ahead with Derek Owens Algebra 2 and if it takes us 2 years so be it. But maybe the way to do it is weave in Consumer Math?!   What did you use for Consumer Math?  Lori D - I really appreciate your insight and depth of replies!!  Thanks! 

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17 hours ago, shelleysboys said:

Lori D. - a little rabbit trail -  Your comments on your DS #2 are so encouraging.  In many ways sounds like my DS #1.   I have been thinking about Algebra 2 and wondering how this child will ever do it.  And then was thinking about Consumer Math as well.  I think I have decided to go ahead with Derek Owens Algebra 2 and if it takes us 2 years so be it. But maybe the way to do it is weave in Consumer Math?!   ...

So glad our experiences can encourage or help! Sounds like you have a good plan for getting 4 math credits completed, and some options of how to do it, in case you need to take more time with the Algebra. 🙂

17 hours ago, shelleysboys said:

...What did you use for Consumer Math?...

A friend had passed on her Abeka Consumer Math to us, so we just went with free, lol. It was pretty dated (from the late 1980s, I'd guess) as far as the prices of items in the examples, and of course did not have all of the current electronic financial kinds of options in there that students should be aware of. (Electronic transfer of funds, automatic payments, accessing your account to check balances and activity, etc.) Bob Jones has a slightly more recent version (1990s?) that covers very similar scope and sequence. I don't know if either publisher has updated their programs...

I've heard the MUS Stewardship program is a similar sort of program, but no personal experience. And if wanting secular, check out the AGS Consumer Math or the Walch Power Basics Consumer Math. I'm copy-pasting this list with links from a previous post:

Consumer Math programs (all are 1-year / 1-credit)
Abeka's Consumer Math (Christian) 
AGS Consumer Math (Wieser Education -- Pearson published a revised version) (secular) 
Alpha Omega Consumer Math (Christian)
Bob Jones Consumer Math (Christian)
Math-U-See Stewardship (Christian)
Walch Publishing: Consumer Math (Power Basics series) (secular)

FREE Consumer Math supplemental resources
Math & You (Ron Larson) (secular) -- 1 semester; free text with consumer math topics mixed with other topics
Money Instructor: Spending Money and Consumer Math (lessons) (secular)
Math Central, U Regina CA: grade 10 Consumer Math (projects, problems, etc.) (secular)
Summit High School, Mr. Fisher: Consumer Math & Personal Finance (4 downloadable workbooks) (secular)
IOHS: Weebly: Consumer Math (131-page workbook of consumer math -- exercise sets only) (secular)
Beatrice Schools: Consumer Math (printable worksheets) (secular)

Edited by Lori D.
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