Jump to content

Menu

What would you or your student have done differently in high school?


matrips
 Share

Recommended Posts

If there is already a thread for this, I apologize but couldn’t find it, and if you just want to link to it, that’s okay too. But-  Anything you/them wished was done differently?  More classes? Harder classes?  Or challenging classes without being overloaded, and having a fun one in there too.  Taking it easier.  There are so many AP class options, but surely it’s okay to just take one or at most two a year?  What was really do-able?  What would have made things better?  Any wise info?

 I have 3 in high school, advanced classes, intelligent, motivated, and doing just fine, but I don’t want them setting up for added/major stress.  Right now they are freshman, so we have time to do it right 🙂. The reason I’m thinking about this is they’re talking about next years schedule, and one has the opportunity and inclination to take precalculus this summer so he can take calculus sophomore year, so he can take more electives later. But most electives tend to be AP type.  It seems too much imo. Now if he wanted to take pre-calculus this summer to have less work during sophomore year, that would sound better.  But then he’d be a year without math.

Looking to the moms who have been there!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do we wish we would have done differently? Actually, not much. I feel like we got about 95% of homeschooling high school right. 😄

But I think the responses you get to this question will be tricky to apply to yourself, as everyone has extremely different combinations of student abilities/interests/needs; parent homeschool or academic goals; and life circumstances... From your description above, you have a VERY different type of student than I did, and he has very different strengths and goals than my students did... We did no AP classes, and did math at a much more average student pace than your DS (like, Pre-Calc in 12th). DSs were very bright, interesting, creative funny teens -- they just not interested in doing college classes in high school. 😉 

That said, about the only thing I might have done differently in retrospect is to perhaps have outsourced 1 year of writing and 1 year of science for DSs to have the experience of pushing themselves a bit more by being accountable to someone else. Also, I slightly regret we weren't able to work in Latin for DS#1, who said he was interested in that at one point early in high school.

That's about it. Everything else was so very positive and a good fit for DSs, and was a fun and interesting "stretch" and learning opportunity for me in overseeing their homeschool high school years. What I think we did right, and what I am so very happy we did in homeschooling high school:

- made our own History and Lit courses, which allowed us to discuss everything, and read some books that have been life-changing (in the best ways) for DSs
- did Logic with their Dad -- and had tons of real-life discussions that applied logic and helped them develop their analysis skills and critical thinking abilities for being able to make real-life decisions
- didn't burn out DSs by trying to push too hard or do too many academic courses (DSs were NEVER "into" school/academics, and neither was very self-motivated or self-disciplined about wanting to do "rigorous" academics)
- included regular time for extracurriculars and volunteering/community service, which allowed DSs to build friendships, explore some areas of interest, and develop some skills in leadership, responsibility, and public speaking that they would not have gotten out of a class setting
- outsourced foreign language as 2 semesters of dual enrollment in 12th grade, which allowed DSs to "dip a toe" in the waters of college at an age (older high schoolers) that was the right timing for *them*
- scheduled, and modeled, the lifestyle of *balance* -- that there is more to life than 7, 8, 9, 10 hours a day of school work
- as a family, during the semester in each of 2 different years of high school, took a longer family trip (3 weeks) and toured a big chunk of the country -- visited historic sites, natural wonders, and just drove through the landscape and went sight-seeing in some major cities; not only did that make some wonderful family memories, but getting to experience our country's history and culture, all together as a family, when DSs were at an age where they really "clicked" with the experience, was incredible

Overall, what I found that most helped me in homeschooling every year, but especially in the high school years, was to pray for insight as to what each DS most needed each year, and to spend a lot of time each summer researching and planning for each new school year. Yes, I had the "quick list" of required credits for being college prep on the desk when planning, but I didn't let "must be competitive for college admissions" drive the bus, or push us in a direction that was not in DSs' best interests.

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, matrips said:

... I have 3 in high school, advanced classes, intelligent, motivated, and doing just fine, but I don’t want them setting up for added/major stress.  Right now they are freshman...
... one has the opportunity and inclination to take precalculus this summer so he can take calculus sophomore year, so he can take more electives later. But most electives tend to be AP type.  It seems too much imo. Now if he wanted to take pre-calculus this summer to have less work during sophomore year, that would sound better.  But then he’d be a year without math.


And in case what you were *really* looking for was ideas about this specific situation... If this idea is student-led, then it's unlikely to cause stress. And if you find it's not working out you can always make a change:

- switch and do the Pre-Calc in 10th grade after all -- or spread it out over 10th & 11th grades to give more time to electives
- only schedule 5 credits total in years where there are advanced/rigous/heavy classes (like AP)
- brainstorm and create some lighter electives in subject areas of high interest to DS
- lighten the load of other classes (like History) to balance with heavier more time-consuming classes like advanced Math/Science/AP
- take your time with electives and self-study with MOOCs, books, Teaching Company lectures, etc. -- if it takes 1.5 - 2.0 years to earn 1 credit of a more advanced elective topic, no problem
- bring some balance by getting out of the house and exploring some extracurriculars that fit in with the elective of interest, or might help your student develop some additional interests beyond just academics 

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Annnndddd... never mind. Disregard both my posts because they were based on the assumption that you were homeschooling high school. I just now saw your thread on the high school board about looking ahead to 11th grade and that your DC are in a private B&M high school, so nothing I said above will work for you. Sorry!

BEST of luck in thinking through how you might make changes and work with your school! Warmest regards, Lori D.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Lori. From our family's perspective there is no way to answer you question bc homeschooling is what made everything work. 

I have had an advanced student who took 10 cr hrs sophomore yr and wanted to take more. I had to tell him no way. But, he was taking classes he loved and options were wide open. Being ahead meant taking courses he wanted to take, not having to select from what was left that he hadn't taken.  He only ever took 2 AP classes (chem and cal BC). He spent his taking upper level math, physics, and astronomy courses alongside classes like philosophy, the themes and allusions in the movie Inception, works of CS Lewis, etc.

He wasn't stressed at all bc he was simply doing what he enjoyed bc it is what he chose. We has flexibility to take breaks around heavy exam times at his U for his DE classes, etc.

He would have melted into a pile of mush in a b&m high school.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is so very individual. I know my only high school (homeschool) graduate is glad she didn't go to a b&m hogh school when we gave her the opportunity for 10th grade. She said there were things she should have done but didn't. However, she said if I would have pushed them on her, she would have resisted, so it is more that she wishes she would have pushed herself more.

I felt like her high schooling was full of my mistakes & short-comings since she is my guinea pig, but she turned out great anyway. So, at least with homeschooling, my view is there is wiggle room and grace for mistakes.

Edited after DD#1 finished her freshman year of college. She has expressed some mild frustration with me that I didn't push her to do more DE so she would have more wiggle room in her college plan. I still maintain she would have resisted too much to make it worthwhile. But, I can Mmmn-Hmmmm when she makes her comments. :)

Edited by RootAnn
Updated after 1st kid's freshman year of college
  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that it's all so individual. Because I have my weird pair, I can often see when something worked for one but not the other. Alas. I know we've made a million mistakes, but... oh well.

For myself as a high schooler... I can think of a million little, specific things, but mostly it was the experience I had, it was good, in part because I went to an excellent school and in part because I was a giant pain the rear for teachers and administrators. Good for me.

None of it feels applicable to anyone else.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, matrips said:

. The reason I’m thinking about this is they’re talking about next years schedule, and one has the opportunity and inclination to take precalculus this summer so he can take calculus sophomore year, so he can take more electives later.


Check the school catalog. Some high schools (even public ones) offer multivariable calculus and linear algebra in-house (community college lecturer comes to the high school). If he doesn’t want to take AP Statistics after AP Calculus BC, and the school ran out of higher math classes, then you might be stuck in the chauffeuring role of getting him to and from community college for math class. If you are lucky, the community college math class has online math class options and he doesn’t need to be in campus except for the finals.  
I spend every weekday at community college accompanying my 10th grader, would have bought a home nearer to community colleges if I have known back when my kids were 2 under 2. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some random thoughts- (some of which I know are unpopular)

- I would not have my dc do anything because "it looks good on a college application" or because "scholarships!" or because "they need service hours". I caught onto this by the time my first one graduated from high school but early in his high school career I was worried about all the stuff people tell us we need to do because it looks good or will help attain scholarships. I want my dc involved and engaged with the world but in ways that they enjoy and make sense. "Because it looks good" is not a good reason and you can't do enough to stand out if it is coming from the desire to check the box on leadership or service or whatever category. The students that have the kind of activities that really stand out are coming from a different, more genuine place and you can't manufacture that.

- I would outsource math starting in high school. Obviously many homeschoolers do great with math. We did not. My oldest two floundered too long in our homeschool math before I realized we were not achieving full understanding. By the time I caught on that there was a problem and we needed some help they had mental blocks around math. My two oldest dc continue to think they are bad at math and there was no reason they should feel that way. I dropped the ball on it and didn't even realize it. It wasn't neglect. I thought we were doing the right things but we weren't.

- I would start every college discussion with affordability. With the oldest we kept hearing about great financial aid at private schools and what a stand out kid he was. Time taught us how it works, how much we are comfortable paying, and how many fantastic stand out kids are out there 🙂 We don't do dream schools and we don't do much of "just apply and see what they offer you". We know the numbers on the front end and act from there.

- I wouldn't worry about small details. (AP or de? Algebra 2 or Geometry after Algebra 1? Physics first or Biology?) None of those small details are worth fretting about. Lots of ways to do it and it all works out ok. What is important is an overall culture of hard work, achievement, learning to manage your own time and administrative tasks. If you don't have an overall culture stressing the importance of education and responsibility it doesn't matter whether you took Algebra 1 in 7th grade or 8th or whether you had three or four years of foreign language. 

- I would not underestimate the importance of GPA and ACT/SAT scores in the financial realities of college. "But she is captain of her soccer team!" means nothing when a matrix of test scores and GPA is used to determine scholarships.

  • Like 8
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As many have stated, it really is quite individual.

I've on my third high schooler now. They are all so different, and there's been little repetition in the path.

Because mental health issues run in our family, I like to make sure mine leave with some coping skills. I don't think I've been terribly successful in that regard though, because they don't seem to be terribly open to it until the young adult years. But at least a foundation has been laid?

I want mine to do some sort of volunteer work in high school, just because it's a good practice to take into adulthood.

I recommend that people start recording the kids volunteer hours, awards, that sort of thing starting in ninth grade, because they likely will need the infornation for something senior year, and no way will you remember all the little things. Better yet, have the student record it if you think they will be reliable.

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm on my third high schooler, too.  I have bright kids who score well on SATs and a strong family history of top schools.  Anxiety and depression also run in our family.  We have made the choice not to pursue 15 AP type schedules and travel teams (for sports or robotics.)  So ds 1 did 1 AP in 10th, 2 in 11th and 3 in 12th.  The other core classes one could call honors, but since we homeschool, I could adjust the schedule.  My dd, who is in 11th, is doing 2 APs this year and will do a mix of 1 AP and maybe 3 DE classes (over 2 semesters).  She is old for her grade and very mature.  I wanted my bright, high achieving kids to have space in their life for family, church, downtime,  friends and ECs that they do for fun.  My dd I am always monitoring bc she tends to overcommit.  She has had some mental health struggles early on and I shudder to think what public school would be like for her bc we live  in such a high achieving area and she'd want to be on the top.

Anyway, our approach is not to "play the game" just to play the game, but instead to strive for balance.  It is hard enough in the culture we live in to achieve that, I can't even imagine if the kids had to do more APs on top of it all. Our children's mental health is just not worth a Yale/Princeton acceptance. It's especially not worth the 6% acceptance and high likelyhood of not getting in--not when there is so much else to do and see and experience.  We are very happy with ds's big scholarship/honors program at a small LAC that is not "top tier" but excellent.

What I would have done differently is more homeschool specific and probably really dependent on things that happened that are specific to our situation and I only would have done them if I'd have known what would happen.  I would have joined our out of state large co-op earlier--lesson you could apply--don't put your eggs in one basket, make sure your children have social options outside of school (or social options beyond one group.)  I would have taught my oldest how to initiate social events and not pulled support (his group that imploded had an alpha male who had been around since ds was 7.)  I thought he'd figure out how to initiate earlier than he did and I feel like he is still learning in college and has some strange ideas about what is imposing on people.  I wish I'd insisted he initiate more.  I would have had strict internet/social media rules earlier.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see your kids are not homeschooling, so I won't talk about my eldest, who homeschooled high school, and instead talk about my youngest, who went to b&m school from 5th grade on. 

One thing I would do differently is to prep more formally for the SAT and ACT. She did not get any scholarship money for her scores, tho they were pretty good. A 31 ACT will earn you some $ at some private schools, but they cost so much to begin with that it didn't matter.  If she had gotten just 2 points more she could have qualified for enough aid at certain schools to have had a wider choice. 

I would have worked much harder to teach her more about our faith, and not trusted Sunday School to do so. This had serious repercussions I won't go into. 

I would have gotten theraputic help for all members of our family but particularly her. Again, I can't go into it. 

Your window of influence is closing rapidly. Academics are just one part of preparation for adulthood, and my advice is to take the total child into account. 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, HeighHo said:

Funny, my recent college grad mentioned this weekend that precalc was a flat out waste of time.  After he took it, other students were allowed to skip. It does add slightly to the workload of calc if skipped; he'd agree to compress and get it done over the summer.

I think it depends on the math sequence. Some Algebra 2 courses cover trig. In our state, they don't, so precalc is a semester of Trig and semester of other stuff. So in some places it would make sense to just cover the little bit of new material over the summer, and in others not as much.

Larson has a "Precalc & Calc 1" text book, but I've never seen a course.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe my DD would agree with me that things happened much faster than we had expected, with regard to the university application process. There were also other applications, for scholarships, etc. that kept her extremely busy, writing essays and filling out applications and asking for Letters of Recommendations, etc.  Instead of "extremely busy", "swamped" at times would describe how many things she had to do, at the same time, and all of them were important tasks that needed to get done and get done well.  

She did all of the work on the applications and essays and was in charge of that 100% of the time.

When she asked me about a university that contacted her or that she had come across, I checked them out for her and gave her my opinion.

If we had it to do over again, we would have had a better grasp on the process and begun earlier...

With regard to the courses you listed, my DD took Pre-Calc in High School. She is taking Calculus in the university now. If one could minimize the gap in time, between the Pre Calc course and Calculus 1, that would IMO be very helpful for the students. She did have some "Honors" courses, but no AP courses, but her courses were rigorous IMO.

Good luck to your  DC!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was comparatively "light" with my two in high school, and I don't regret that at all. Both did a mix of standard high school and college-level classes. My theory was that they need time to "be" and to work through those years emotionally. They both did Latin all the ways through, and that was a big win for both in terms of teaching them how language comes together, giving them excellent vocabularies, and teaching them discipline. We had an extremely difficult year as a family during my youngest's senior year, and I was glad that she didn't have over-the-top academics on top of everything else. She had a good mixture that year. 

I went too light though with my oldest in 10th grade. I outsourced most of his work that year to a local group, and it was a huge mistake. The following year I was able to put hm into several online courses that upped the ante in an appropriate way. 

Now they are a junior and a senior in college. Both are academic superstars with clear goals in mind. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

We’re still going through the first one but I know with DD she will need a more traditional high school experience.  We’ve had lots of fun with DS, travelled all around the world and even lived abroad for months at a time, experiences that were great for me and precious for all of us especially these days, but I wonder if, short term, they weren’t a disservice to him.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I asked far to much of my DD and it stressed her out and made her ill by her sophomore year.  With my second, i am doing things a bit differently: I am decrease the academics to 5 core requirements/year only (English, math, history, science, foreign language) and unschooling the history and science and all electives (the kid chooses what he wants to do for those things).

Edited by Reefgazer
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Older thread, but okay.  I would not accelerate math beyond getting to calculus senior year.  My reasons - a) there's little benefit to doing so.  b) outsourcing at that level is difficult as it would either require online d/e (not a fan of online especially for this type of class) or In person d/e 4x perweek.  While I have no problem with in person d/e, adding the 4th day really messes up the schedule and requires 4 days of lengthy driving instead of 3.  c) it takes the student further away from the kind of math they need for college testing right when they need to do college tests.  

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, Another Lynn said:

Older thread, but okay.  I would not accelerate math beyond getting to calculus senior year.  My reasons - a) there's little benefit to doing so.  b) outsourcing at that level is difficult as it would either require online d/e (not a fan of online especially for this type of class) or In person d/e 4x perweek.  While I have no problem with in person d/e, adding the 4th day really messes up the schedule and requires 4 days of lengthy driving instead of 3.  c) it takes the student further away from the kind of math they need for college testing right when they need to do college tests.  

 

Yes, I agree.  I did it with my oldest and regretted it for a number of reasons. I'm not doing it for my others.  Getting through Calculus is fine.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, Another Lynn said:

Older thread, but okay.  I would not accelerate math beyond getting to calculus senior year.  My reasons - a) there's little benefit to doing so.  b) outsourcing at that level is difficult as it would either require online d/e (not a fan of online especially for this type of class) or In person d/e 4x perweek.  

Dual enrollment math is twice a week for my DS15. Dual enrollment Japanese is thrice a week. So in our scenario, Japanese was the one that requires more driving. 

DS15 is so happy with his dual enrollment math classes that I am glad I let him take the calculus BC exam in middle school. DS14 is looking forward to taking dual enrollment math in Fall as he needs to wait for his Calculus BC score for placement. He is taking dual enrollment classes in summer.

For DS15, it means he would be able to complete the core math classes for an associate degree in math before graduating high school. He enjoys math classes but not math competitions so dual enrollment is a blessing to him. 

Dual enrollment classes for my teens are free for high school students with limits on number of classes per quarter. So it helps our homeschooling budget too. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Another Lynn said:

Older thread, but okay.  I would not accelerate math beyond getting to calculus senior year.  My reasons - a) there's little benefit to doing so.  b) outsourcing at that level is difficult as it would either require online d/e (not a fan of online especially for this type of class) or In person d/e 4x perweek.  While I have no problem with in person d/e, adding the 4th day really messes up the schedule and requires 4 days of lengthy driving instead of 3.  c) it takes the student further away from the kind of math they need for college testing right when they need to do college tests.  

 

I would say like everything, it depends on the child. My child loves math and did not want to stop with calculus in middle school. She took 6 college level math courses after calc BC through dual enrollment and have met all the math requirements for her major before starting college. Her toughest high school course was AP lit with PAH. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Lilaclady said:

I would say like everything, it depends on the child. My child loves math and did not want to stop with calculus in middle school. She took 6 college level math courses after calc BC through dual enrollment and have met all the math requirements for her major before starting college. Her toughest high school course was AP lit with PAH. 

My POV as well.  Ds was able to graduate with multiple 300 level math and physics courses completed.  Bc he too so many courses as a high school student, he was able to take grad courses as an UG which in turn lead to way more opportunities as an UG (research) which in turn influenced his grad school applications.  It all started in middle school. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/17/2020 at 10:36 AM, Reefgazer said:

I asked far to much of my DD and it stressed her out and made her ill by her sophomore year.  With my second, i am doing things a bit differently: I am decrease the academics to 5 core requirements/year only (English, math, history, science, foreign language) and unschooling the history and science and all electives (the kid chooses what he wants to do for those things).

While I agreed with @Lilaclady above, I also want to agree with @Reefgazer. The best approach is to follow the child's lead but ensuring that they know how to keep life balanced.  What works for 1 of my kids would never work for another.  I let them each march to their own beat.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 2nd son went to B&M for high school.  He is now in college.  Honestly, I let him just choose.  If he asked for my opinion, I gave it, but I didn't push.  He was very into the arts and theater and I wanted him to have time to enjoy that, which for him, meant a mix of honors classes and regular classes, but no APs.  

My 16 year old is a sophomore in a B&M school, and again, I am letting him choose.  He has mostly Honors classes with two APs this year, his choice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/18/2020 at 7:47 PM, Lilaclady said:

I would say like everything, it depends on the child. My child loves math and did not want to stop with calculus in middle school. She took 6 college level math courses after calc BC through dual enrollment and have met all the math requirements for her major before starting college. Her toughest high school course was AP lit with PAH. 

I held mine back- just a little. I was waiting for something, even though I knew she could do the math. We did algebra and algebra 2 more or less twice (with lots of other problems solving and fun math along side). I made her do Precalculus, even though when she did an assessment with a math teacher last summer, he suggested moving in to Calculus this year. She moved through DO's course in 8 months along side some EMF and AoPS courses. BUT I finally saw real maturity from her in the last few months. She'll do Calc BC next year, and I won't hold her back at all on any classes she wants to tackle from here on.

It's really about knowing your kid.

Edited by MamaSprout
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...