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AP courses/exams for 8th grader: Calc BC, Phys C, Comp Sci A. Thoughts?

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DS is a rising 8th grader, and has been mostly home schooled. We may (or may not) put him in B&M school for the last 2-4 years of high school, but at least 8th grade will definitely be at home. Parents are not really familiar with American education system. We know the math and physics content, but our computer science knowledge is probably archaic.

So the question is whether to take these courses and/or exams, and which courses for which subjects, so we are looking for suggestions for course providers. It is an option to take the AP course, but not the AP exam (or do the AP exam in a later year, when DS is more mature and experienced). DS has been doing reasonably well in math contests for several years, but otherwise doesn't really have test taking experience.

The reason to try to get AP results is not only for college entrance, but also, in case he goes into B&M high school, to be in position to get appropriate course placements using AP credentials that might be considered more "official" than parents' claims and homemade transcripts - and this a reason to not delay the AP exams.


AP Calculus BC :

DS has (or soon will have) taken all the AoPS intermediate and discrete courses, so it makes sense to take AoPS Calculus next. (I had a thread about alternative Calculus courses https://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/682211-alternatives-to-aops-for-discrete-math-and-calculus/ but it seems the AoPS one would be best.) He'll definitely do the course, but there is just a decision about the AP exam.


AP Physics C : "Mechanics" and "Electricity and Magnetism" (2 courses, 2 AP tests):

The pre/co-requisites are just calculus (DS knows some now, and would take AoPS Calculus concurrently) but no previous physics is needed, so prerequisites should be fine. The physics looks pretty basic to me. Internet searching for AP Physics C course providers yields very few, and that search led me to find one option, UC Scout www.ucscout.org/courses (UC Scout thread here https://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/686499-anyone-used-or-know-about-ucscoutorg-uni-calif-sponsored-hsap-courses/) but I'd be interested to hear any suggestions for courses.


AP Computer Science A :

DS has never taken any Comp Sci course, but has used Scratch for some time, and knows a little Python, so is basically a beginner, but AP Computer Science A seems to have little prerequisites, just very basic math, and I've heard this is regarded as an easy AP (being equivalent to only one college semester). Is that right? There appear to be lots of course providers, so I am interested in suggestions.


So I am interested in course suggestions for these 3. I also want to hear if people think this is a good idea for a highly mathy 8th grader.


One logistic complication is that the AP exams (regular 4-15 May 2020, late 20-22 May 2020) clash somewhat with National MathCounts (either 9-12 or 16-19 May 2020, not sure which). I expect DS will go to NMC with a decent chance of making the list for top 56 out of 224, so this is a goal to prepare for, which conflicts somewhat with APs. I'm not sure how best to handle that. This clash is only for 8th grade.

 

Edited by HomeForNow
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4 hours ago, HomeForNow said:

The reason to try to get AP results is not only for college entrance, but also, in case he goes into B&M high school, to be in position to get appropriate course placements using AP credentials that might be considered more "official" than parents' claims and homemade transcripts - and this a reason to not delay the AP exams.

 

What is your son’s four year plan for high school? When does he hope/intend to start dual enrollment? What science is he going to take at high school? Does he intend to take AP Statistics and what math course does he intend to take in high school? 

My kid’s finished AP Physics C and AP Chemistry in 8th grade but they would have to take biology, environmental science, astronomy and whatever science the public high school has before dual enrollment. The private schools we toured are more flexible but would still expect biology to be taken in 9th to complete the three core sciences. They also expect AP Statistics to be completed before dual enrollment for math. Also parents would be responsible for transport to and from school to community college for dual enrollment. 

Initial 9th grade course selections locally were done by April in 8th grade before AP exams were taken. 

ETA:

Course providers we used:

AP Computer Science A - Edhesive (both, 2017)

AP Physics C - PAH Jeff Lanctot (both, 8th grade)

AP Chemistry - PAH/ChemAdvantage (both, 8th grade)

AP Calculus BC - AoPS Calculus then DIY test prep (DS14, 2017)

Edited by Arcadia
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if he took all these courses, what would you expect a bm school to provide? At our very competitive HS, calc BC is the highest math offered on that math track ( we offer stats as well; some schools offer either discrete math or alg 3 but I know of no school that offers 4 years of math courses AFTER calc BC). AP comp sci A is the hardest comp sci course. Physics C is the hardest sci course to qualify for in the school in that it requires bio, chem and then Physics 1/2 be taken first. If the child can do all these things in 8th grade, no HS is going to accomodate, so using them as solid evidence of placement does not seem very purposeful.

Also, Physics C is calc-based and should be taken after calculus, so I would rank these course in order from comp sci as the easiest to physics c as most advanced.

 

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One problem we encountered with early calc was that there were no classes beyond calc BC at the local hs.  In fact, only one school in the metro area offered classes beyond that level (calc 3, diff e, linear alg) and the rest had the child do dual enrollment at the cc.   Which still only offered 3 post-BC classes   

It was also our experience that dd still needed 4 years of math to be a competitive university applicant, so we held off and just focused on competition math for 8th.  Then dd never went to a b&m school anyways.

Computer science a is a ton of work, but I’m not sure I’d consider it difficult.  Definitely a different mindset than math, though.  As an adult, I watched other adults that were “good at math” drop out of intro computer science courses pretty quickly    

Physics C is kind of the same - a different way of thinking.   I personally had something like 20 post-calc credits before I did physics and I struggled, while dd took it concurrently the year after BC and did just fine.   No harm in only ending up doing one of the tests since he will still have to take bio/chem/whatever In HS.  

Also remember that some schools have competitive entry into AP. Classes or reserve them for certain grade levels, so just because he’s doing this now doesn’t mean he would be on the track you want him to be.  

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Thanks for the comments and course provider list. Arcadia, do you recommend the ones you used? Are there others to consider. (We're pretty much decided on AoPS for calculus. Do you just practice old tests after that?) I've seen several mentions of PAH for courses, and I see it's somewhat expensive. But is it also time consuming, and how flexible/inflexible is the schedule? DS doesn't want a schedule that is too heavy or inflexible, as there'll be times when he wants to focus on upcoming math contests.

As to the questions of if DS does this now, what happens for the next four years, there are too many variables and unknowns to make me want to postpone a course for fear of running into a problem with school or state rules. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for delaying a course, e.g. not doing Calc before first doing all the AoPS intermediate and discrete courses, and of course we don't want to do a course before DS is ready. I just don't want to be boxed in by restrictive school/state rules, though I know the problem is very real, and experienced it with DS's 2 month stint trying B&M school for grade 7.

Only the math is really accelerated (and it's not that rare), and two Math PhD parents should be able to figure out what he can keep doing in math (though we have to find the right resources). Doing AP Phys C early, is really just taking care of 1 one year science subject. The rest of the science sequence (e.g. bio. chem) would proceed normally and it would just bring some future physics one year earlier. Computer Science is treated as an elective, so doing it early shouldn't do too much "damage".

We always have the option to continue homeschooling (though we really need B&M school for some things). But the main option we are eyeing is a selective residential public school (not commuting distance), that has plenty of advanced courses (though they don't do much AP ironically), but it just has grades 10-12 (and many go for just 11-12), so they will be able to cater. Before that, for grades 9 or 9-10 we could homeschool, but also there are a couple of local schools that have enough courses at least for grades 9-10 (though they may not cooperate, pushing us back to homeschooling). I'm not that optimistic about the local schools, but I am quite optimistic the non-local grade 10 or 11 - 12 school, and that's what we're aiming for.

There are many possible scenarios, but I don't see much downside to trying for these AP credentials, as long as DS is able, and the decision to take the AP exam can be made later. Homeschooling is quite unregulated here, so we can be flexible in what we attempt.

 

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Be very careful, if you are homeschooling privately for high school and want to do BM high school midway through, then be prepared for them not to accept high school credits for homeschooled courses. I would find out now what they will and won't accept or you might find your son forced to repeat courses to satisfy the school's requirements. 

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^ Looks like we posted almost simultaneously.

The selective residential public school (not commuting distance), that has plenty of advanced courses and just has grades 10-12, said (at an off-campus info session) that they would (probably, the presenter said it, so it's not official) accept DS's AoPS course results for credit. All their students are transferring in after doing 1-2 years of high school elsewhere, so they are used to assessing everyone's incoming credits, so they leave with a 4-year transcript. I think they also have placement tests. But point taken. This would be 2-3 years from now. We will go on a day-long tour of the school sometime in the next year, and will ask questions about these things. Having some AP results, and also math contest results, may help for overall "credibility" of a homemade transcript.

Point taken though. There's a lot of warnings in these responses for me to think about.

But I'm also interested in course suggestions, and thoughts on the AP plan generally.

 

Edited by HomeForNow

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I know that even though Physics C can be taken concurrently with Calculus, the two students I know who did this both struggled bc you hit Calculus in the physics before you've learned it in the Calc class.  It make the physics class a lot harder.

My ds did Comp Sci and I think it would be doable as an eighth grader particularly for a dc with a good mind for programming. Programming can take a long time, though.  So, I think Physics C, Calc and Comp Sci would be a heavy load on top of English, history, foreign language for most eighth grader.

We also ran into the needing four years of math issue with my first who was on an advanced math track.  In middle school he seemed very math minded and headed in a STEM direction, by high school grad he was humanities all the way and still had to do extra math, which he didn't enjoy.

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3 hours ago, HomeForNow said:

Arcadia, do you recommend the ones you used? Are there others to consider. (We're pretty much decided on AoPS for calculus. Do you just practice old tests after that?)

 

It’s hard to recommend course providers as what works for my kids may not work for yours. They work for my two kids for different reasons.

DS14 use Barrons for MCQ practice and CollegeBoard past year papers for FRQ practice.

AP exam registration deadline is now in Fall (early November) instead of Spring (early March). You would need to look for a place willing to let your son take the AP exams now and probably pay up the exam fees by end October.

2 hours ago, freesia said:

We also ran into the needing four years of math issue with my first who was on an advanced math track.  

 

That was an indirect reason for DS13 to take calculus in 9th grade instead of 8th. It’s not fun finding math courses for DS14 since he doesn’t want to do any dual enrollment yet.

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One other question I would suggest you get answered before you commit to doing these APs in 8th grade is whether or not you need your B&M school to give high school credit for the courses completely. For example, in my area, they would only allow you to count math and foreign language toward high school credits, but not any other courses. So physics would not solve finishing a high school credit for science unless that is not a concern for you.

By any chance are you in CA? if so, you must be even more careful about this with the a-g approved courses which will affect you as well as how geometry will be validated. A non-issue for private homeschoolers, but a big issue in what your future institution will permit on the transcripts.

3 potential APs exams is a lot for an 8th grader who sounds like he has zero AP experience. The other issue is being able to secure a spot to actually test which this being the first year when registration has moved to October...no one actually knows how this is actually going to play out in terms of access.

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As for high level math, my older ds ran into trouble because the local university's classes were too easy and getting over there was too time consuming for a daily commute.  So after taking 2 classes and earning 100% when the Mean and Median were 60%, he chose to self study mathematics at home. He could go faster and deeper on his own.  But there was definitely a down side, MIT did not give him credit for this self-study but would have if he had taken the same courses at the Uni even though they were easier.  This means he will have to overload for 2 semesters to get his double major.

So as a Freshman, DS just finished a grad level math classes at MIT, but he only has credit for 2 undergrad classes.  MIT is nice that they didn't require ds to have officially taken the prereqs to take a class, but not all universities would allow this.  He just took the 5th course in a sequence of 5 with none of the prereqs. I'm not sure that I would change his path if I had to do it again because self-studying was wonderful for him, but there were ramifications for both the dual enrollment path (travel and too easy) and the self study (no official credit). A lot really depends on the policies of the universities and if they allow you to jump courses. Just a couple of things to think about.

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma

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2 hours ago, calbear said:

3 potential APs exams is a lot for an 8th grader who sounds like he has zero AP experience. 

 

Looking at the AP exam 2020 schedule, it would be Physics C (Monday afternoon), Calculus BC (Tuesday morning), Computer Science A (Friday afternoon). It would not be a fun schedule even though it’s doable.

OP’s son can use the credit by exam route for calculus, physics C and computer science A if he pass the exams. That’s what my kids intend to do for their UC applications.

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I agree that OP's son can use credit by exam for her application, but that doesn't necessarily solve graduation requirements for the schools she is looking at. That is individual to the school. Some might let you test out. Others may not. There's no consistent policy on that. 

Edited by calbear

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I came back to comment that Mark T wrote this review about UC Scout's Physics 2 course in the pinned high school forum thread about physics courses.
 

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Definitely find your AP site now. I have one lined up for DD and haven’t even decided if she is going to bother to do the AP exam since she has a large number of college credits.

And I would also agree with looking at what counts in 8th grade. We ended up doing an on-paper grade skip for DD, because otherwise she would have had college credits in 8th grade that were not allowed to count on a high school transcript. 

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It sounds like you are working on your B&M backup plan...perhaps widen that to early residential college.   Anywho, your state ed website can tell you what the public school needs for a diploma.  All of your 8th grade APs are fine here, as schools are required to offer high school credit for 8th grade to the capable who did the courses.  looking at your state ed website will tell you how many of those credits apply to the diploma reqts and how the waivering is done. some of it is AP, some of it SAT, and you'll see the rest spelled out.

I'd encourage you not to neglect AP English.  Both of these course are much better than the grade level English courses.  The skills learned will be helpful in the future, especially the writing and defending skills.

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After some more discussion our plan is for DS to homeschool for grades 8-9, and then, if admitted, DS would go to the selective residential public school (SRPS) which only has grades 10-12. This school has a lot of higher level classes, with small classes, and individual attention, a focus on writing (even in STEM), and no multiple-choice tests at all. They actually probably do less APs than other academically focused high schools, and I expect they have high expectations without piling on mountains of pointless ambiguous homework like some kinds of academically focused high schools around here. We're pinning our hopes on this school, since all the other schools around here (academic or otherwise) have problems, and we really can't and shouldn't homeschool DS until grade 12.

So this gives us two years, grades 8-9, for DS to gain some APs, which would be useful for credit and/or prerequisites, for high school and/or college. DS is pointedly mathy, so it is only STEM where he is advanced not humanities.

We are ultimately hoping DS could get into MIT or CalTech, maybe a longshot of course, or else some other very STEM-focused (minimal humanities) college, with good needs-based or merit-based pricing (so a lot of colleges are excluded for economic reasons).

ETA: PS We are not in Calif, and DS does not plan to go to any uni there (except maybe CalTech), so I think the a-g system does not apply. I know I mentioned UC Scout, but that is just as a possible course provider that I came across, not any connection to Ca.

Edited by HomeForNow
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1 hour ago, HomeForNow said:

We are ultimately hoping DS could get into MIT or CalTech, maybe a longshot of course, or else some other very STEM-focused (minimal humanities) college, with good needs-based or merit-based pricing (so a lot of colleges are excluded for economic reasons).

Just an FYI, my ds has noticed that most students at MIT have reached national level in something - math, physics, music, robotics etc. He has friends who have won national cello championships, been on a robotic team that went to nationals, taken the USAMO, been to the national physics or chemistry or computing camps, etc.  I obviously don't know how admissions chooses kids, but in ds's opinion, focusing on one thing to a very high level seems to be an important piece of gaining entry for many kids.  

Edited by lewelma

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1 hour ago, lewelma said:

Just an FYI, my ds has noticed that most students at MIT have reached national level in something - math, physics, music, robotics etc. He has friends who have won national cello championships, been on a robotic team that went to nationals, taken the USAMO, been to the national physics or chemistry or computing camps, etc.  I obviously don't know how admissions chooses kids, but in ds's opinion, focusing on one thing to a very high level seems to be an important piece of gaining entry for many kids.  

DS is definitely pointy in math, so we definitely want to focus on the STEM/tech-y universities that appreciate those qualities, and which would best suit him. (I have read about how American universities, unlike in other countries, focus on broad academics and a lot of non-academic things, which is bad for DS.) So, what you say could be good for DS, but it depends on how well he could do. For example, he may eventually qualify for USA(J)MO, but may not do very well once he gets in. That might be a bit too ordinary for MIT. But MIT should be a goal, and I think focusing on STEM academics is the best approach, and also on math contests which give him a chance of reaching a decent level.

 

 

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On 6/15/2019 at 6:07 PM, lewelma said:

Just an FYI, my ds has noticed that most students at MIT have reached national level in something - math, physics, music, robotics etc. He has friends who have won national cello championships, been on a robotic team that went to nationals, taken the USAMO, been to the national physics or chemistry or computing camps, etc.  I obviously don't know how admissions chooses kids, but in ds's opinion, focusing on one thing to a very high level seems to be an important piece of gaining entry for many kids.  

 

When you say "been to the national physics or chemistry or computing camps" are you talking about the top "public" (though requiring admission) camps like Mathcamp in the USA, or do you instead mean the even more competitive camps like Mathematical Olympiad Program (MOP) where entry requires being a USAMO winner, or in a few other categories, to be invited, and where national teams are selected?

 

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From a financial and collegiate perspective having DS get as much done with Dual Credits and AP as possible, would be an asset in many ways.  The more credits he has under his belt the sooner he can pick harder classes (with smaller class sizes) that he may be interested in for his major when he enrolls.  By that I mean, students with the highest amount of credits get to pick their classes first. This can assist in finishing his major (especially with) Math, if the courses are not already filled by other students.  He could also graduate 2 years earlier and focus more on earning his Masters/PH.d, earlier on if he chooses.  We have an 8th grade son who is accelerated with Science (although, perhaps not respectively as accelerated as it sounds like your son is [KUDDOS btw!]), and we've had to also weigh the pros and cons regarding the issue.  We realized how much it could hold him back to not earn AP credits, compared to high schools that offer a large variety.  If your son is going to be doing extremely challenging, college comparable courses, it would be an asset to earn college credit for them. Otherwise he will just have to take them again as Gen Ed courses in College <3. There are so many articles that state that colleges look at AP and SAT over any other factor for students requesting admissions. Although, I have a feeling with his Math talents he will stand out regardless.

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On 7/7/2019 at 8:11 PM, Shaunannew said:

From a financial and collegiate perspective having DS get as much done with Dual Credits and AP as possible, would be an asset in many ways.  The more credits he has under his belt the sooner he can pick harder classes (with smaller class sizes) that he may be interested in for his major when he enrolls.  By that I mean, students with the highest amount of credits get to pick their classes first. This can assist in finishing his major (especially with) Math, if the courses are not already filled by other students.  He could also graduate 2 years earlier and focus more on earning his Masters/PH.d, earlier on if he chooses.  We have an 8th grade son who is accelerated with Science (although, perhaps not respectively as accelerated as it sounds like your son is [KUDDOS btw!]), and we've had to also weigh the pros and cons regarding the issue.  We realized how much it could hold him back to not earn AP credits, compared to high schools that offer a large variety.  If your son is going to be doing extremely challenging, college comparable courses, it would be an asset to earn college credit for them. Otherwise he will just have to take them again as Gen Ed courses in College <3. There are so many articles that state that colleges look at AP and SAT over any other factor for students requesting admissions. Although, I have a feeling with his Math talents he will stand out regardless.

 

Yes, I definitely agree with the benefits of getting these courses and exams done. Unfortunately our home schooling efforts have been a bit of a fiasco, so we need to start checking some conventional checkboxes. Also we need give DS more structure and also set some goals, so hopefully he develops some work ethic and study habits. We have to watch that the goals are realistic (and I'm not totally sure these AP goals are). Actually he is only advanced in Math, not the other subjects, but this should enable him to do closely related topics like Physics and Computer Science even though he doesn't have specific background in these.

Okay, so that might sound a bit negative, but a kid who is high achieving in some area may still not have good long term prospects if he is lacking work ethic and study habits or other general life skills. I'm almost at my wits' end with this. So we need to get him on track this year (or at least check some checkboxes while trying).

ETA: I'll admit this could be a parenting problem too.

Edited by HomeForNow

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1 hour ago, HomeForNow said:

 

Yes, I definitely agree with the benefits of getting these courses and exams done. Unfortunately our home schooling efforts have been a bit of a fiasco, so we need to start checking some conventional checkboxes. Also we need give DS more structure and also set some goals, so hopefully he develops some work ethic and study habits. We have to watch that the goals are realistic (and I'm not totally sure these AP goals are). Actually he is only advanced in Math, not the other subjects, but this should enable him to do closely related topics like Physics and Computer Science even though he doesn't have specific background in these.

Okay, so that might sound a bit negative, but a kid who is high achieving in some area may still not have good long term prospects if he is lacking work ethic and study habits or other general life skills. I'm almost at my wits' end with this. So we need to get him on track this year (or at least check some checkboxes while trying).

ETA: I'll admit this could be a parenting problem too.

He is also quite young.  Being able to do something does not equate to needing to do it.  You are expecting the workload and work ethic of an older child.  Kids 4 yrs older than him can struggle with AP level classes' workloads.  They are meant to be the equivalent of introductory level college classes.  Your child is not even high school age. It is far better to let them work and accelerate under their own steam vs. expecting them to do it.  There really isn't a huge benefit to racing so far forward for a kid who is not equally motivated and mature (completely self-reliant/independent in meeting goals/obligations). When they want to do it, it can get to the point where you have to tell them, no, they can't do any more.  

Of course, there are definitely kids with low motivation.  My current 12th grader is not lacking in work ethic or study habits, but she has no motivation to excel beyond being a completely typical high school student.  That is fine, but she is also aware that her future is the one impacted by that, not ours.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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1 hour ago, HomeForNow said:

 

Yes, I definitely agree with the benefits of getting these courses and exams done. Unfortunately our home schooling efforts have been a bit of a fiasco, so we need to start checking some conventional checkboxes. Also we need give DS more structure and also set some goals, so hopefully he develops some work ethic and study habits. We have to watch that the goals are realistic (and I'm not totally sure these AP goals are). Actually he is only advanced in Math, not the other subjects, but this should enable him to do closely related topics like Physics and Computer Science even though he doesn't have specific background in these.

Okay, so that might sound a bit negative, but a kid who is high achieving in some area may still not have good long term prospects if he is lacking work ethic and study habits or other general life skills. I'm almost at my wits' end with this. So we need to get him on track this year (or at least check some checkboxes while trying).

ETA: I'll admit this could be a parenting problem too.

Not negative at all!  Completely understand as the greatest challenge for us, hasn’t been to teach our son facts, as much as it has been to help him understand the rigor of academic life outside of our walls.  He thought I was pulling his leg when I told him most kids in accelerated classes and college do homework on the weekends 😂. We had some serious heart to hearts, some points when I thought I might lose my mind guiding him with the additional structure, etc.  But he’s on board now, thankfully because he wants to be, and has fit in a really amazing routine, as of late. With that has come incredible growth with the things he has struggled with the most, and finding surprises with materials I had no idea he was as accelerated with as he is (I.e. he seems ready to take the AP Environmental Science test without needing to take the course (we’ll be reviewing everything to be on the safe side, but you could have knocked me down after he came in and told me he felt like he knew the material and then got an incredibly high score on the practice test).  Homeschooling allows us the flexibility to streamline the APES and focus more on his other AP courses.  

  Anyyyywhoooo, I’m getting off track!  I think the big thing is whether you both love what you’re doing with homeschooling and want to continue with the flexibility to push farther with some things and have more time for others.  So excited for you guys and the opportunities that lay ahead!  Whatever you decide will be the right thing for your family! ❤️💕

Edited by Shaunannew

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The selective residential schools are great for kids who are self motivated, can manage their personal daily schedules well and want to be there. If your child is like many high schoolers who still need some parental oversight (and there is nothing wrong with that), then help your child learn how to do so and/or devise ways to check in regularly. I know some students went home on weekends which might be an option at least initially.

Get as much information as possible about the residential selective high school. One of my kids went to one. Had we known beforehand about the serious problems and lax oversight, we would not have considered it. Drugs, booze, sneaking off campus and driving to raves out of state, kids contacting drug dealers and then selling drugs, kids making drugs in labs, sex, suicide attempts. All of these things happened at my kid’s school although it wasn’t rampant. Of course, these things also can happen while your child lives at home but we were appalled that the school did not take the problems more seriously. They were largely swept under the rug completely. Maybe the schools have changed but I have no idea.

If you do decide that it’s the best choice for your son, be careful with allowing more freedom. Back then, parents chose the level of freedom given to their child such as leaving campus, etc. I’m not sure if this is still true today. You’d have to check.

As for the early APs, you might as well get them done if your son is ready and then find other material to study. You could also e-mail professors to ask for advice. Look for universities that understand that some younger students do move along at a faster pace. Some of the best math universities in the US have profs who are happy to advise advanced kids. This will take some leg work on your part but is an option to consider. I’ve known a few high schoolers who finished all or most of a university-level honors math sequence while at home. They were guided through by some terrific math professors. The AOPS boards might have some good ideas to check out as well.

Do you have any local math circles he could join?

Have you considered summer math camps? For someone who is as advanced as your son, camps can be very helpful in providing challenge, developing interests and finding like-minded peers. They’re not necessary but are worth considering as well.

 

Edited by BeachGal

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Are you considering just this one high school, or is it one of many?

I'm far from an expert on this, but my instinct might be to investigate what courses the potential high school teaches well, and then to teach other things during the last years at home.  In our area, the high schools that I might consider for my advanced learner seem to have a lot of physics courses.  I know this because my older kid (not my advanced learner) is getting close to that transition so I've been looking at a lot of course catalogs.  So, if I thought my kid was likely to go to a school where he'd be able to take Physics C in high school, I might choose something else for 8th grade, like Astronomy, or Geology or something which I barely see at all in the course catalogs.  

Anyway, it's just a thought.  It's not based on any experience.  And it doesn't answer the question of what exam to take, because I have zero knowledge there. 

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I don’t have personal experience with it, but suggest you look at Stanford University High School Online.  And also contact the University of Colorado and Oregon State University.  Iirc All of these have courses that High School students and often younger (the Stanford one starts for grade 7) can take online from anywhere and will probably be recognized as valid credits by high schools, colleges, or both.

https://ohs.stanford.edu/courses/2019/school-year/om4ab

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Also you might want to add Harvey Mudd college (California) to the STEM oriented colleges/universities you are thinking of.  

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We contacted some local schools about the possibility of a homeschooler taking AP tests there. One answered and said they only do it for there own students, and that they weren't even doing some of these subjects. The others didn't even respond. (Trying to get any info out of AP itself is hopeless.)

Also DS didn't show enthusiasm for doing any AP tests so I've dropped it for this school year. He can always do them later (if we can find a testing center).

I see there's a lot more things to answer in this thread, and I'll try to get around to it.

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