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ByGrace3

What makes a class "Honors"?

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Honestly, I never really considered offering "honors" credit to my homeschoolers . . . but as I think about the level of expectations I have on my kids, I wonder if that is fair? For example, I am currently teaching a Spanish 1 class at a local hybrid school, the level/pace they are following is no where near the level of work my dd is doing. She will most likely finish Breaking the Barrier Spanish 1 this year . . . or get super close. I feel like this is definitely honors Spanish level. She will use BtB 2 next year for 9th grade for Spanish 2. Definitely a tough amount of work/level of learning. Would/should this receive an "honors" label? How does that even work with a homeschool transcript?  I am feeling a bit clueless in this. Also, she will be taking Biology with Collegeprepscience.com next year. . . . it sounds like a very involved class. . . again, how does "honors?" get designated? Is it worth even messing with it or should I just let everything be a normal/standard class? I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with facing all the high school details. 

 

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There are some good past threads on this topic (see below). Check out the linked threads on PAGE 1, under the heading of "Honors Courses", in "High School Motherlode #2" pinned at the top of the High School Board:

Honors courses: what is required for the label?
Did you know that Honors courses have more ‘weight’ on a transcript?
Honors Algebra vs regular Algebra (how to decide/is it worth the time & money)
Do non-UC [Univ. of CA] schools weight grades in 9th? (I.e., Honors courses on the transcript)

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Specifically in regards to languages, I know some public schools don't allow first or second year language courses to be honors, though this may vary in different areas. And, as those threads will tell you, there isn't a standard definition, so I think as long as you have a system that you feel honest and okay about, you can label how you like.

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Here is my take -- more and or deeper content; more thoughtful application of the work.

How this may look for a history course:

  • Regular Course -- In history, this may be more of a straightforward, read the book, answer fact-based questions based upon the text.  45 min-1hr/day (total)
  • Honors Course -- Possibly the same textbook (or maybe not), plus additional reading, more thoughtful responses to questions, a bit more writing (1hr-90 min per day)
  • Advanced -- Usually a college level textbook, with use of primary source documents, synthesis essays, (90 min-120 min per day)

How this would look for a foreign language course (we had honors foreign language in high school -- it was much faster paced)

  • Spanish 1 Honors -- All of regular spanish 1, plus a bit more grammar and about 1/3 of spanish II
  • Spanish 2 Honors -- the last 2/3 of Spanish 2,  and about 1/2 of Spanish 3
  • Spanish 3 Honors -- the last 1/2 of Spanish 3, and most of Spanish 4 -- so kids could go straight to AP Spanish after year 3.

How this looks in math for us:

  • PreAlgebra Regular -- Abeka -- pretty much plug & chug.
  • PreAlgebra Honors -- Art of Problem Solving (goes deeper, much more challenging)

I don't know how much it matters, but I'm not going to hamstring my kids with something that reads less than what they really did -- especially after going part time with the public school here. I want a college to know immediately, that my kids were doing more than what was expected at a glance (literally, dd/ds took courses where they completed an entire semester's work in a few weeks or less)  AP Biology wasn't like that -- but I also know that if dd had taken it with me, she would have gotten to the anatomy portion... the school ran out of time.

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I think it’s really relative, but while I have been compiling my dd’s transcript and course descriptions, I am realizing that many of the classes she has taken have been very heavy or college level even if they were not AP.  When I am looking at all her classes listed out, I can easily pick out the ones that were a more typical high school level classes vs what went further and deeper.  I didn’t label many of my son’s classes honors because he took more mainstream options, so maybe that gives me the perspective to see what is honors with my dd’s stuff.  

However, it is totally up to your discretion.  For example, all of my dd’s online Spanish classes were labeled “honors”.  At Lukeion, none of her Latin classes have been labeled “honors”, not even her post-AP class.  In reality, I would say the Latin class went further and required more but each of those teachers chose to label their classes differently.  So, for classes that you are teaching, if you feel it is honors level, I would say you can label it that way.

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