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How do you (personally) handle your state's "fluff" requirements at the high school level?


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I'm struggling to find a better word than "fluff." I'm referring here to subjects that are important, but not heavy academics--subjects like health, physical education, first aid, etc. 

To be clear, I have always met my state requirements, full stop. I'm not trying to cheat the system or deprive my children of essential education they need! I believe these topics are indeed important, but we learn most of these things through daily living. (When my kids were tiny, for instance, we covered health by reading aloud and discussing several health books over the course of the year and calling it good. Likewise, more recently, my kids spent a week taking the Red Cross Babysitting Basics course--stuff like that.) And phys. ed. has always easily been met through extracurriculars and hiking and everyday fitness, etc. 

But as I look ahead to planning high school, I'm realizing two things: 

  1. Colleges don't actually require these subjects for admission. (In other words, your local high school may require x semesters of health or phys ed. or music or volunteer hours, or whatever, but the colleges themselves pretty much just require English, Math, Science, Social Science, Foreign Language, one Fine Art (usually), and whatever other electives. There are some minor variations on this theme, but I've been researching lots of colleges lately--for my own reference--and it appears that they all pretty much boil down to the same main academic requirements.)
  2. High school level work, coupled with my teen's immense interests, are easily going to fill her calendar. There's just less room in the schedule at this stage to do things like music appreciation "just for fun." She is focused and knows how she wants to spend her time. 

My state requires "900 hours of instruction that includes the following subjects: language arts, geography/social studies, math, science, health, phys. ed., fine arts--including music, and first aid/safety/fire prevention." But it does not state HOW MUCH of the 900 hours must go to each thing. I'm curious how your family handles these sorts of state requirements at the high school level. Do you read one health book and call it good, deciding you're meeting your state's requirements?  5 health books? 10? What's your thought process behind determining what is "enough"?

The one that especially frustrates me is "fine arts, including music." My child spends ALL her time making art and will almost certainly be an illustration/painting major in college. Clearly, we've got fine arts covered. (It's not at all as if we don't think art is important!) But we're just not into music in the sense that no one in our house plays an instrument or is currently interested in doing so. How do you reconcile these types of issues in your own house? Would just listening to lots of music (aka "music appreciation") satisfy the letter of the law in your mind? How might you track it or keep records? Would a written "listening list" suffice? (Thus far, we've covered music a variety of ways--doing Music Together in the early years, and then using curricula like Maestro Classics and SQUILT more recently. But again, we're no longer interested in devoting entire afternoons to these subjects.) 

Long story short, I obviously want to meet the letter of the law, but at the same time, I don't want to expend a lot of time, energy, or money on these things at the high school level, especially since they're not required for college admissions. Would love to hear how others approach this. Thanks!

Edited by EKT
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I gave my DD a credit each for PE and Fine Arts during 9th grade so that I meet all my state’s (very loose) requirements. It was an easy no-brainer since she is a pre-professional ballerina who trains 20-25 hours/week. Other than those initial credits, I’m treating her ballet just as a robust EC and not assigning it any more credit (even though I know many of the residential ballet schools assign multiple credits to their training yearly). 
 

Aside from the requirement of one credit PE and Fine Arts, there are no fluff credits expected here. If there were, I’d meet them as efficiently and with as little fanfare as possible. This particular DD is a strong academic student and will be better served by a 4 x 5 plan (4 years of Eng, Math, Science, Social Science, & Foreign Language)  + rigorous electives (AP Art History, AP Stats, etc) rather than fluff credits.

With regard to your scenario about music: I think just listening to a variety of great music and possibly attending concerts, operas, and musicals a couple times per year would be perfectly adequate! I have an 11-year old who can ONLY do math while listening to classical music so I’m considering that her music education this year!

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We don't have this kind of explicit requirement here. It sounds like the kind of thing where you need to decide (with the Hive's help!) what approach you are comfortable with and then just do that, because, as you have found, no one will particularly care. If you take 900 hours and subtract 150ish for each of the core classes that you feel are important, what does that leave you with? 900-5x150=150, minus time on an elective (120), so 30 hours over the course of a year to run a 5k, listen to a performance, check the batteries in the smoke alarm, and put together a first aid kit for the car, maybe?

I wouldn't put those things on a transcript anywhere, but they are productive ways to fulfill the letter of the law if that is your concern. You could document the activities somewhere in case somebody asks and then consider it done.

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Here is what we did for music, art, pe, and health. I wrote up what we did as part of life over the four years and gave a cumulative credit and no grade. I only gave grades for the core academic subjects.

Music History and Appreciation. 1.0 cumulative credit/ 0.25 credit per year. No grade.

This is a continuous course spanning all four years of high school. The goal of the course is to develop an understanding of the stylistic features of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Twentieth-Century Western Art Music. The student will become familiar with the works of a representative sample of composers and learn to place unfamiliar listening examples in their proper historical style period. The student will attend over thirty live performances of varying genres, including several operas, symphony concerts, choral music, musical theatre, folk music, and jazz.

The student listened to the following audio lectures by the Teaching Company:
 How to listen to and understand Great Music
48 college level lecture, each 45 minutes in length, taught by Prof. Robert Greenberg

 

Art History. 1.0 cumulative credit/ 0.25 credit per year. No grade.

This is a continuous course spanning all four years of high school. The goal of the course is to develop an understanding of the development of Western art and architecture from Ancient Greece to the 20th century. The student will become familiar with the works of a representative sample of artists and learn to place unfamiliar works in their proper historical style period. The student will visit over ten Art museums in the US and Europe as well as a variety of historic architectural landmarks in Europe.
Textbooks:      The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland and John Boswell
                        Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting by Wendy Becket

 

P.E.: Rock Climbing and Mountaineering. 1.0 cumulative credit/ 0.25 cr. per year. No grade.

This course is an introduction to rock climbing and mountaineering. Learning objectives include handling of rock climbing equipment, climbing vocabulary and communications, placement and removal of protection, different climbing techniques, use of guidebook, backpacking skills, backcountry safety,  map work, climbing and backcountry ethics, environmental awareness, leave no trace.
Students received instruction in rock climbing in various areas and types of rock (list of places) Day hikes included several summits of over 14,000 ft in the Rocky Mountains as well as slot canyons in Utah. Once a year, students participated in a multi-day backpacking trip.

 

Health. 0.5 credit. No grade.

A high school level health class, covering the following topics: human body systems, growth and development, sexuality and pregnancy, nutrition and physical activity, personal care and hygiene, alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse, mental health, diseases and disorders.
The student took a First Aid/CPR/AED class at XXX and received CPR certification.
Textbook: Changing Bodies, Changing Lives by Ruth Bell.

 

For DS, instead of separate music and art, we did this:

Introduction to Fine Arts 1.0 cumulative credit/ 0.25 credit per year. No grade.

This is a continuous course spanning all four years of high school. The course surveys the development of Western Art and architecture and offers an introduction to performing arts. The student will become familiar with the works of a representative sample of artists and learn to place unfamiliar works in their proper historical style period. The student will visit several Art museums in the US and Europe as well as a variety of historic architectural landmarks in Europe.
The student will attend live performances of varying genres, including plays, band and choral concerts, and musical theatre.
Textbooks:      The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland and John Boswell, Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting by Wendy Becket

 

Edited by regentrude
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I really appreciate this post. I am in the middle of planning high school for my rising 9th grader and I want to make sure I understand how this works. 

My daughter does about 3 hours of swimming a week with a non-competative team. Do I call that PE? Mark it as a "Pass" on her transcript?

She also does 1 hour of cello lessons and practices with a double quartet once a week for 1.5 hours. They perform very regularly on the weekends. Do I call that Music Appreciation and mark is as a "Pass" on her transcript? 

Do colleges look at that on a transcript and think, "That isn't a class that is an extracurricular"? Or do they mostly focus on the core academic classes and standardized test scores while glancing over fluff classes like PE? Is it fair that a public school kid on her swim team and in her double quartet counts it only as an extracurricular while she counts it as both a high school credit and an extracurricular? Do colleges think about this?

My daughter is most interested in academics and would rather focus her time there than worrying about classes like PE and Health. I'm already stressed out about making her schedule work. 

I've always considered myself a strict homeschooler but now that I think of counting credits and creating transcripts I realize just how loosey-goosey our homeschool really is! 

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30 minutes ago, Spring Flower said:

I really appreciate this post. I am in the middle of planning high school for my rising 9th grader and I want to make sure I understand how this works. 

My daughter does about 3 hours of swimming a week with a non-competative team. Do I call that PE? Mark it as a "Pass" on her transcript?

She also does 1 hour of cello lessons and practices with a double quartet once a week for 1.5 hours. They perform very regularly on the weekends. Do I call that Music Appreciation and mark is as a "Pass" on her transcript? 

Do colleges look at that on a transcript and think, "That isn't a class that is an extracurricular"? Or do they mostly focus on the core academic classes and standardized test scores while glancing over fluff classes like PE? Is it fair that a public school kid on her swim team and in her double quartet counts it only as an extracurricular while she counts it as both a high school credit and an extracurricular? Do colleges think about this?

My daughter is most interested in academics and would rather focus her time there than worrying about classes like PE and Health. I'm already stressed out about making her schedule work. 

I've always considered myself a strict homeschooler but now that I think of counting credits and creating transcripts I realize just how loosey-goosey our homeschool really is! 

Requirements are so different from state to state and district to district that it is hard to imagine colleges are really going to "care" if your PE credit looks like an extra curricular.  My DD is in public school, and to graduate they needed a 1/2 credit (aka 1 semester) of PE.  That's it.  There were several choices and she picked "personal fitness" - which essentially amounted to daily walking around a track, doing a group fitness activity like zumba/aerobics, or some very basic weightlifting.  Meanwhile, friends in other districts have to take a full credit or more of traditional "gym sports" PE.  It's already very different between different schools, so I would have no trouble "counting" for the purpose of graduation any equivalent amount of physical activity, no matter the form, if we were homeschooling for high school.  

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50 minutes ago, Spring Flower said:

My daughter does about 3 hours of swimming a week with a non-competative team. Do I call that PE? Mark it as a "Pass" on her transcript?

She also does 1 hour of cello lessons and practices with a double quartet once a week for 1.5 hours. They perform very regularly on the weekends. Do I call that Music Appreciation and mark is as a "Pass" on her transcript? 

Do colleges look at that on a transcript and think, "That isn't a class that is an extracurricular"? Or do they mostly focus on the core academic classes and standardized test scores while glancing over fluff classes like PE? Is it fair that a public school kid on her swim team and in her double quartet counts it only as an extracurricular while she counts it as both a high school credit and an extracurricular? Do colleges think about this?

I highly doubt colleges care or even notice.

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I ignore it. Who cares. In the vast majority of states, no one is checking. If I got called for a review, I'd make something up. And I'm unabashed about this. I have fully covered health and PE and music and so forth with my kids and it's just a little hoop. If they needed me to play their little game, I would. Easier for everyone.

If I lived in Maryland, where they actually check, I would either do a single half credit course one time, because that's all that's required of public school students and the law specifically says that homeschoolers cannot be required to do more than public schools require. OR, I would just listen to some music some afternoons and make a list or something. It doesn't have to be a class or a credit or a half credit to comply with COMAR.

 

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quote: Do colleges look at that on a transcript and think, "That isn't a class that is an extracurricular"

I don't think most colleges are going to get nit picky on PE vs extracurriculars based on how the public schools do that around here. It's a state requirement and there are ways to meet it with traditional PE class, or being on sports team, marching band, and other options are given.  The high school where I'm zoned, has options for more than 1 credit in PE as the student's "career elective option."  Was never an issue for my oldest or middle about PE.  Middle gal, as a college student not high schooler, took a PE credit course at community college worth 2 college credits. It changed my perspective on what counts as a credit. Walking for Fitness.  logged 60 miles over the 8 weeks and tracked heart rate. read an easy book (Fitness Walking for Everyone, by K. Davis) and took the multiple choice tests open book.

What I personally did:

PE: kept a close enough count of hours.  My cover school wants to see 150 class hours in an activity to call it a credit. They allow .25 a year over 4 years as one way to do that.  oldest - archery counted.  middle - cardio videos. youngest: can one major in PE in high school?  she did a homeschool PE class several days a week plus special olympics with tournaments every year of high school.

Health: even though we experience that with life, I used a textbook for health credit. Two of mine used Total Health. Another used high school health from Monarch.  I personally find it helps to have structured information at that stage of learning as part of getting ready for "adulting".  Neither of those were major time consumers. I went with the textbook for credit approach. both were listed by the publisher as high school.

Fine arts with music: oldest did Discovering Music by Carol Reynolds. Middle hmmm... oh yeah, she was in the big production at the mega church with the huge stage. she was among 200 high schoolers with the choreography.  about half of them were there to get their homeschool fine arts in.  LOL.  One of those productions was fine art credit and the other years were EC.  edit to add: wait a minute, she also did Mark Kistler's 3D drawing for art (at the time it was a subscription class)

However, "including music" was not a requirement in my state/cover school.  If I had to, I'd go with music appreciation with composers, or at least have a unit with the art with something about music history in my area.  No, I would not try to make it a full class. I would just "include" it.   If OP is looking for ideas here is one that was fun and easy to include in our free time https://www.mfwbooks.com/item/15603/Sousa-to-Satchmo/ would it meet "enough" to say you are including music in your fine arts?  sure, I guess but I'm  not in your state to know that.   But I wouldn't be sweating it based on what you wrote. Include it.

Youngest is a piano player and music is her language.  so that's not help the OP.

hope some of that been there ideas are helpful to someone

Edited by cbollin
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We don't have specific graduation requirements for homeschoolers in our state, but I chose to meet or exceed the requirements of the local public high school.  The fluff requirements there were two years of PE (including a semester of health with CPR/first aid), two year of art/music/drama, and a semester of occupational education.

One kid met the health requirement by reading a health textbook and answering the questions in writing, reading a few supplemental books, and doing healthcare provider CPR and first aid training at the fire department.  He met the PE requirement by taking several sailing classes through our local parks department and then doing an overnight sailing camp for a week.  He had a semester of PE from a school he attended as well.

The other kid met the PE requirement by playing 3 semesters worth of pick up basketball over the course of four years.  He had health at the high school

Both got credit for music by taking instrument lessons.  One got credit for drama by doing Destination Imagination in combination with other improv work.

With the exception of health, all of it was stuff they would have done anyway.  Note that anything that was listed as a class was not listed as an extracurricular with the exception of instrument lessons for one kid where there was a clear separation between the class and the extracurricular.

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I live in Ohio also and always took the fine arts as either/or so either music OR art, or if you want, both.  That is how the portfolio reviewer also handled it. 

I think it makes sense to look at what the local high schools are doing. They are not requiring four years of fine arts/music credit, four years of health credit, etc.  You are not obligated to do more than what they are requiring.  

I am counting our high school health as "health" and as for the other years, any sort of discussion about health is going to count. 

Also, for PE my kids did a formal course, and other than that they go for walks, play football with friends, etc. Again, not trying to make a credit out of the day to day physical activity.  

ETA: our local high school does not require two years of arts, or a semester of occupational education.

These are the state of Ohio graduation requirements for 2021.  They are incorporating additional courses as the years progress (my oldest graduates in 2024) but I have no intention of meeting those requirements.  http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Ohio-s-Graduation-Requirements/Earning-an-Ohio-High-School-Diploma-for-the-Cl-2/GradReq2021.pdf.aspx?lang=en-US

 

ETA2: NO ONE I know tracks hours. We are not required to by law. I don't know anyone who is worried about the 900 hours. Can you imagine doing 900 hours with a 1st grader? No, neither can I. It's arbitrary and not applicable to most grade levels. Please don't worry about it!

Edited by cintinative
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Even the 2022 and beyond requirements for Ohio state only 0.5 credit health, 0.5 credit physical education, and no specifics on art electives. But again, these don't apply to us. 

http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Ohio-s-Graduation-Requirements/Sections/Classes-of-2023-and-Beyond-Graduation-Requirements/GradReq2023.pdf.aspx?lang=en-US

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We don't have hour or really very specific class requirements in Illinois. 

Health & PE: My kids go through Oak Meadow's Integrated Health/PE their freshman year. Easy peasy & done. Oldest walked for her PE. Middle did TKD (Demo Team went on extracurriculars, but belt classes counted). Since she isn't doing that for the pandemic, she is now rollerblading and doing exercises assigned by her physical therapist. I counted physical therapy as well. Youngest will probably do the Wii fit - she loves that thing. I did a spreadsheet with empty squares that they cross off when they do 1/2 hour exercise. That's about as much tracking as we do for PE. 

Art: Oldest did fine arts at community college. Middle is doing a lot of art therapy and various drawing books. Youngest will probably do art appreciation.

Music - we don't have this specific requirement: All of my kids played piano for a while, but music these days is listening. I tie it into history lessons or just play it in the background while they work. Occasionally I'll do an "artist or genre of the month" thing when I am feeling motivated (read not often). Oldest didn't have any music on her transcript. Middle probably won't either. Don't know about youngest.

First Aid - we don't have that requirement: All of my kids take babysitter training/CPR during 8th/9th grade through our local hospital. If I did have that requirement, I'd push that back to 9th grade and count it. 

Consumer Education - the public school does require this, but we don't: I require my kids to listen to the CD's of Dave Ramsey I have from years ago. They then also get to listen to my lectures on where I think he gets it wrong. They help me budget for a couple of months to see how it works. It doesn't show on their transcripts though. 

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2 hours ago, Spring Flower said:

I really appreciate this post. I am in the middle of planning high school for my rising 9th grader and I want to make sure I understand how this works. 

My daughter does about 3 hours of swimming a week with a non-competative team. Do I call that PE? Mark it as a "Pass" on her transcript?

She also does 1 hour of cello lessons and practices with a double quartet once a week for 1.5 hours. They perform very regularly on the weekends. Do I call that Music Appreciation and mark is as a "Pass" on her transcript? 

Do colleges look at that on a transcript and think, "That isn't a class that is an extracurricular"? Or do they mostly focus on the core academic classes and standardized test scores while glancing over fluff classes like PE? Is it fair that a public school kid on her swim team and in her double quartet counts it only as an extracurricular while she counts it as both a high school credit and an extracurricular? Do colleges think about this?

My daughter is most interested in academics and would rather focus her time there than worrying about classes like PE and Health. I'm already stressed out about making her schedule work. 

I've always considered myself a strict homeschooler but now that I think of counting credits and creating transcripts I realize just how loosey-goosey our homeschool really is! 

re: pass/fail
I would avoid Pass/Fail marks on transcripts -- some colleges automatically convert "pass" grades to "C", which can alter your student's cumulative GPA. Did she meet the requirements of the team and work with a decent attitude? That's an "A" for PE. 😉 

re: swim team as PE credit and/or extracurricular
You can NOT double dip the hours and count the SAME hours for both a credit AND the extracurricular activity, BUT... you can use some of your hours of swim team for PE, and once you have accrued enough hours for 0.5 credit or 1.0 credit of PE, count the remainder towards an extracurricular. I personally would make sure that my PE credit included other activities in addition to the Swim Team (such as hiking, running, dance, aerobics, kayaking, rock climbing or whatever you are normally doing), so that the bulk of the Swim Team hours really are counting as an extracurricular and you can count that with a free conscience as an extracurricular.

No, colleges see "PE" as a credit on transcripts all the time, and since you will NOT be labeling your PE credit as "Swim Team" on the transcript -- colleges are not going to know how that PE credit was put together, unless they look at your separate Course Description document. And really, college do NOT really care about PE. Or Health. Or Driver's Ed. Or Typing...

What colleges care about are English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, and if you have enough of each type to meet their requirements for admission. And then they care about GPA and test scores, to know if your student is going to be able to do the level of work at their school. 😉

re: cello
Playing/practicing an instrument and performing is a credit in "Music", not "Music Appreciation. You could call it "Fine Arts: Music", or "Music: Cello" on the transcript. Again, give a grade rather than pass/fail to avoid having a college slap a "C" on that credit as their automatic "default".

[Just for general information: Music Appreciation would be a course in learning about the history of music and music genres and musicians/composers, plus listening to music. Similarly Art Appreciation is not producing art but would be about the history of art and art movements and arts, plus exposure to art, while Theater Appreciation is not about performance or stage craft, but would be about the history of theater and types of dramatic works and key authors/works, plus viewing some theater performances.]

BEST of luck as you start wearing your homeschooling administrator hat! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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1 hour ago, Spring Flower said:

I really appreciate this post. I am in the middle of planning high school for my rising 9th grader and I want to make sure I understand how this works. 

My daughter does about 3 hours of swimming a week with a non-competative team. Do I call that PE? Mark it as a "Pass" on her transcript?

She also does 1 hour of cello lessons and practices with a double quartet once a week for 1.5 hours. They perform very regularly on the weekends. Do I call that Music Appreciation and mark is as a "Pass" on her transcript? 

Do colleges look at that on a transcript and think, "That isn't a class that is an extracurricular"? Or do they mostly focus on the core academic classes and standardized test scores while glancing over fluff classes like PE? Is it fair that a public school kid on her swim team and in her double quartet counts it only as an extracurricular while she counts it as both a high school credit and an extracurricular? Do colleges think about this?

My daughter is most interested in academics and would rather focus her time there than worrying about classes like PE and Health. I'm already stressed out about making her schedule work. 

I've always considered myself a strict homeschooler but now that I think of counting credits and creating transcripts I realize just how loosey-goosey our homeschool really is! 

In my area, students who participate in any of their schools' competitive sports are exempt from P.E.   So a student on the school's swim team gets P.E. credit.  A student who swims on the Y's team does not.   Bowling counts as a competitive sport.  

Be generous with the grades for your "fluff" classes.   In schools, students who show up dressed for P.E.  and participate with good attitudes, get an A.  There is little or no homework.  There is also nothing on the transcript to indicate exactly what was done in P.E., the transcript states, "Physical Education," "0.5 credit," and a letter grade.     Avoid pass/fail grades.  Colleges interpret "pass" as "C" and adjust G.P.A.'s accordingly.

Cello lessons could be counted as either music or an extracurricular. Public schools give credit for band and orchestra.  Your daughter would have more than enough hours for a credit just counting the Cello lesson and associated practice as a course.  Keep the double quartet as an extracurricular.  If you would rather count both as extracurricular, consider a  music appreciation course.  One she might enjoy that would also tie-in with history is Professor Craig Wright's "Introduction to Classical Music," via Coursera.  (Wright is a music professor at Yale University.)   She could watch it over a summer or stretch it over a year or even two.   

 

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3 hours ago, SusanC said:

We don't have this kind of explicit requirement here. It sounds like the kind of thing where you need to decide (with the Hive's help!) what approach you are comfortable with and then just do that, because, as you have found, no one will particularly care. If you take 900 hours and subtract 150ish for each of the core classes that you feel are important, what does that leave you with? 900-5x150=150, minus time on an elective (120), so 30 hours over the course of a year to run a 5k, listen to a performance, check the batteries in the smoke alarm, and put together a first aid kit for the car, maybe?

I wouldn't put those things on a transcript anywhere, but they are productive ways to fulfill the letter of the law if that is your concern. You could document the activities somewhere in case somebody asks and then consider it done.

Ooh! This is an interesting frame to use! For some reason, I hadn't thought to divide the hours up in that way, and see what's leftover for the fluff. This is really helpful, thank you!

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2 hours ago, regentrude said:

Here is what we did for music, art, pe, and health. I wrote up what we did as part of life over the four years and gave a cumulative credit and no grade. I only gave grades for the core academic subjects.

Music History and Appreciation. 1.0 cumulative credit/ 0.25 credit per year. No grade.

This is a continuous course spanning all four years of high school. The goal of the course is to develop an understanding of the stylistic features of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Twentieth-Century Western Art Music. The student will become familiar with the works of a representative sample of composers and learn to place unfamiliar listening examples in their proper historical style period. The student will attend over thirty live performances of varying genres, including several operas, symphony concerts, choral music, musical theatre, folk music, and jazz.

The student listened to the following audio lectures by the Teaching Company:
 How to listen to and understand Great Music
48 college level lecture, each 45 minutes in length, taught by Prof. Robert Greenberg

 

Art History. 1.0 cumulative credit/ 0.25 credit per year. No grade.

This is a continuous course spanning all four years of high school. The goal of the course is to develop an understanding of the development of Western art and architecture from Ancient Greece to the 20th century. The student will become familiar with the works of a representative sample of artists and learn to place unfamiliar works in their proper historical style period. The student will visit over ten Art museums in the US and Europe as well as a variety of historic architectural landmarks in Europe.
Textbooks:      The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland and John Boswell
                        Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting by Wendy Becket

 

P.E.: Rock Climbing and Mountaineering. 1.0 cumulative credit/ 0.25 cr. per year. No grade.

This course is an introduction to rock climbing and mountaineering. Learning objectives include handling of rock climbing equipment, climbing vocabulary and communications, placement and removal of protection, different climbing techniques, use of guidebook, backpacking skills, backcountry safety,  map work, climbing and backcountry ethics, environmental awareness, leave no trace.
Students received instruction in rock climbing in various areas and types of rock (list of places) Day hikes included several summits of over 14,000 ft in the Rocky Mountains as well as slot canyons in Utah. Once a year, students participated in a multi-day backpacking trip.

 

Health. 0.5 credit. No grade.

A high school level health class, covering the following topics: human body systems, growth and development, sexuality and pregnancy, nutrition and physical activity, personal care and hygiene, alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse, mental health, diseases and disorders.
The student took a First Aid/CPR/AED class at XXX and received CPR certification.
Textbook: Changing Bodies, Changing Lives by Ruth Bell.

 

For DS, instead of separate music and art, we did this:

Introduction to Fine Arts 1.0 cumulative credit/ 0.25 credit per year. No grade.

This is a continuous course spanning all four years of high school. The course surveys the development of Western Art and architecture and offers an introduction to performing arts. The student will become familiar with the works of a representative sample of artists and learn to place unfamiliar works in their proper historical style period. The student will visit several Art museums in the US and Europe as well as a variety of historic architectural landmarks in Europe.
The student will attend live performances of varying genres, including plays, band and choral concerts, and musical theatre.
Textbooks:      The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland and John Boswell, Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting by Wendy Becket

 

Thank you for this; it's generous of you to share your specific course descriptions! Very helpful. I'm still in the "learning how to homeschool high school" phase, and I didn't realize this method of tracking courses was a possibility! I appreciate this frame and your sharing the sort of language I might use to describe it. 

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1 hour ago, Farrar said:

I ignore it. Who cares. In the vast majority of states, no one is checking. If I got called for a review, I'd make something up. And I'm unabashed about this. I have fully covered health and PE and music and so forth with my kids and it's just a little hoop. If they needed me to play their little game, I would. Easier for everyone.

If I lived in Maryland, where they actually check, I would either do a single half credit course one time, because that's all that's required of public school students and the law specifically says that homeschoolers cannot be required to do more than public schools require. OR, I would just listen to some music some afternoons and make a list or something. It doesn't have to be a class or a credit or a half credit to comply with COMAR.

 

Ha! I so appreciate this perspective! (We live in Ohio now, but we homeschooled in Maryland for nearly a decade. Ohio is slightly better in this regard! I know I would be so annoyed at COMAR at the high school level if we were still in Maryland.)

 

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RE: "not double dipping".  Around here in group schools, there is no credit given for "extracurricular" marching band.  And, it's not double dipping when the public high schools give the PE credit and the student still lists it as activities.  I was sure that was a bad thing.  I was terrified that it was somehow wrong and bad things would happen or something, so I did the split the hours thing that Lori is describing for EC archery and PE archery (and stage musical stuff).   Pretty much the awards with archery those were "EC activities" but the hours on the range with class time.   To me double dipping was more about not turning in the same paper for two academic courses, or "reading bible time" as both "bible class" and "literature".  that is a big no no. 

not really the issue, but wanted to share that weird aspect from my life.

 

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1 hour ago, historically accurate said:

We don't have hour or really very specific class requirements in Illinois. 

Health & PE: My kids go through Oak Meadow's Integrated Health/PE their freshman year. Easy peasy & done. Oldest walked for her PE. Middle did TKD (Demo Team went on extracurriculars, but belt classes counted). Since she isn't doing that for the pandemic, she is now rollerblading and doing exercises assigned by her physical therapist. I counted physical therapy as well. Youngest will probably do the Wii fit - she loves that thing. I did a spreadsheet with empty squares that they cross off when they do 1/2 hour exercise. That's about as much tracking as we do for PE. 

Art: Oldest did fine arts at community college. Middle is doing a lot of art therapy and various drawing books. Youngest will probably do art appreciation.

Music - we don't have this specific requirement: All of my kids played piano for a while, but music these days is listening. I tie it into history lessons or just play it in the background while they work. Occasionally I'll do an "artist or genre of the month" thing when I am feeling motivated (read not often). Oldest didn't have any music on her transcript. Middle probably won't either. Don't know about youngest.

First Aid - we don't have that requirement: All of my kids take babysitter training/CPR during 8th/9th grade through our local hospital. If I did have that requirement, I'd push that back to 9th grade and count it. 

Consumer Education - the public school does require this, but we don't: I require my kids to listen to the CD's of Dave Ramsey I have from years ago. They then also get to listen to my lectures on where I think he gets it wrong. They help me budget for a couple of months to see how it works. It doesn't show on their transcripts though. 

Thanks for this! I love your idea of making a sheet that they check off as they go. That feels super doable. 

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43 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

re: pass/fail
I would avoid Pass/Fail marks on transcripts -- some colleges automatically convert "pass" grades to "C", which can alter your student's cumulative GPA. Did she meet the requirements of the team and work with a decent attitude? That's an "A" for PE. 😉 

re: swim team as PE credit and/or extracurricular
You can NOT double dip the hours and count the SAME hours for both a credit AND the extracurricular activity, BUT... you can use some of your hours of swim team for PE, and once you have accrued enough hours for 0.5 credit or 1.0 credit of PE, count the remainder towards an extracurricular. I personally would make sure that my PE credit included other activities in addition to the Swim Team (such as hiking, running, dance, aerobics, kayaking, rock climbing or whatever you are normally doing), so that the bulk of the Swim Team hours really are counting as an extracurricular and you can count that with a free conscience as an extracurricular.

No, colleges see "PE" as a credit on transcripts all the time, and since you will NOT be labeling your PE credit as "Swim Team" on the transcript -- colleges are not going to know how that PE credit was put together, unless they look at your separate Course Description document. And really, college do NOT really care about PE. Or Health. Or Driver's Ed. Or Typing...

What colleges care about are English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, and if you have enough of each type to meet their requirements for admission. And then they care about GPA and test scores, to know if your student is going to be able to do the level of work at their school. 😉

re: cello
Playing/practicing an instrument and performing is a credit in "Music", not "Music Appreciation. You could call it "Fine Arts: Music", or "Music: Cello" on the transcript. Again, give a grade rather than pass/fail to avoid having a college slap a "C" on that credit as their automatic "default".

[Just for general information: Music Appreciation would be a course in learning about the history of music and music genres and musicians/composers, plus listening to music. Similarly Art Appreciation is not producing art but would be about the history of art and art movements and arts, plus exposure to art, while Theater Appreciation is not about performance or stage craft, but would be about the history of theater and types of dramatic works and key authors/works, plus viewing some theater performances.]

BEST of luck as you start wearing your homeschooling administrator hat! Warmest regards, Lori D.

This is extremely helpful. Thank you!!

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4 hours ago, Spring Flower said:

I really appreciate this post. I am in the middle of planning high school for my rising 9th grader and I want to make sure I understand how this works. 

My daughter does about 3 hours of swimming a week with a non-competative team. Do I call that PE? Mark it as a "Pass" on her transcript?

She also does 1 hour of cello lessons and practices with a double quartet once a week for 1.5 hours. They perform very regularly on the weekends. Do I call that Music Appreciation and mark is as a "Pass" on her transcript? 

Do colleges look at that on a transcript and think, "That isn't a class that is an extracurricular"? Or do they mostly focus on the core academic classes and standardized test scores while glancing over fluff classes like PE? Is it fair that a public school kid on her swim team and in her double quartet counts it only as an extracurricular while she counts it as both a high school credit and an extracurricular? Do colleges think about this?

My daughter is most interested in academics and would rather focus her time there than worrying about classes like PE and Health. I'm already stressed out about making her schedule work. 

I've always considered myself a strict homeschooler but now that I think of counting credits and creating transcripts I realize just how loosey-goosey our homeschool really is! 

In my area, a kid in a varsity sport gets to claim the sport as EC AND it counts as a gym credit every year.

Same kid could be in band class and in a performance group and both would be counted. It depends on how much time and demand of the activity. (Marching band kids in my district also get a PE credit for marching same as a varsity sport, and they take a band class, and its en extracurricular but they do put in a lot of hours) 

Edited by theelfqueen
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Our state says .5 Health, .5 Personal Finance,  1 Fine Art- plus the other core classes.

For oldest, we did OM Health, 1 credit, and for the PE portion of had a sticker chart, lol!  I had younger kids using them, and it made it easy to keep track!  30 minutes = 1 sticker!  Our state does say .5 of Personal Finance,  but I haven't put it on her transcript snd no one cared.  Art at the college, 1 credit, and Drama at Co-Op, 1 credit.

For second DD, same Drama credit and Health- but she hasn't had PE yet.  Maybe next year?  She had a full credit of Personal Finance at Co-op.  

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I wouldn’t overthink it, that is for sure. 
 

I have done a variety of things for that fluff. Sometimes it has been a co-op class because they want to be there for social reasons. Sometimes it has been “here- read this” or “hey come watch theses videos with me.” 
 

Time is limited in high school and I’m not going to let any of that take away from the things I think are more important (and that list is pretty long.) 

We learn those things anyway in everyday life. Health is important but filling out a health workbook is not. 

My current senior has been my one kid not to play a sport. He has PE on his transcript this semester. I’m sure he had mowed the yard and raked leaves enough in the past four years for a half credit of PE.

I’m a rule follower to a fault but I have no worries about this. It isn’t “unfair”. He isn’t going to beat someone out for a scholarship because he has a half PE credit. Colleges do not care. I have enough things to hassle my teens about without making them log hours they are shooting baskets in the driveway. 

I worry about a lot of things but these fluff requirements are not on the list. We manage them in a variety of ways but I’m not willing to give them much time or effort unless we are particularly interested. 

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Dd needed these for her transcript for high school (rather than college) stuff. We did "health", but it was really a basic anatomy course with a couple of chapters added from an old health book. We did it the same year she did biology, which just has too much to cover if it's just one subject. We did include swimming, but she left the club team after that summer, so we don't count it as an extracurricular activity.  

Health and Physical Education

Health

Grade: A

Holt Modern Biology (Rheinhart and Winston Holt) 2009

Health: Making Life Choices (McGraw-Hill)

Topics covered include; anatomy and body systems, diet, personal health care, drugs, sexuality, aging, alternative medicine, and the environment and health. The course reading includes research, and students follow media for health-related topics and complete a research paper.

 

Physical Education 1: Conditioning

Grade: A

Class requires regular attendance to classes for Pilates, yoga and barre. Goals are to increase flexibility, strength and posture. Course grade also includes creating a cross-training plan.

 

Physical Education 2: Sports and Fitness

Grade: A

This courses focus is on the exploration of different sports with an emphasis on cardo and strength building. It includes regular club swimming and private instruction in tennis.

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11 hours ago, Sherry in OH said:

In schools, students who show up dressed for P.E.  and participate with good attitudes, get an A.  There is little or no homework. 

This isn’t how it worked when I was in school. Those who showed up and played got a B. Those with notable skill got an A. I got a B every semester I had to take PE (which in my school was required in all of 9th and 10th grades). My classes centered on group sports like softball or tennis. Classes at my local school nowadays are much more about personal fitness, and only 1 semester is required. PE and Health are wildly popular summer school classes; in PE summer school, they meet once a week, and the kids keep track of physical activities done. However, even in the middle school, the kids write papers and cover topics like bullying in PE. In health, we learned CPR and first aid. Most girls and women have no clue how their own reproductive system works! Fast reactions to health emergencies like choking or bleeding are also incredibly important and relevant to life.

I’ve had my kids cover health in a class with a grade since their peers have it also. For one kid, I haven’t decided what to do with PE. 

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OP, on your music question, yes, I would listen to music and read some basic books or lesson plans on genre, movements, composers, etc.  Nothing major.  Easy to add in.  It just says including music.  I have a basic curriculum with CD from RainbowResources that says for grades 1-12 that is basically listen to the CD, read about the composer and includes some worksheets like word finds about the reading.  I would do something like that as an add in every now and then, if you have nothing else going on. But there are also musicals to listen to and watch and so many other ways to learn some music.  It doesn't have to be theory. 

For us: 

I did give my odd a health credit because she took a health course at co-op that covered some things.  Plus she is a scout and keeps her first aid/CPR current, etc.  I don't even know if I will end up giving my current high schooler a health credit or not.  She never did the co-op class, but has all of the CPR/first aid/safety babysitter certification etc. covered with scouts, so I know she has covered the important stuff.  I just know when they did a class in co-op they covered some other things. 

PE, both of mine are dancers.  I gave each a half credit of PE a year, even though they clearly do more than just 1/2 credit hours.  I counted the rest as extra curricular.  They have done musical theater, been in a video, been volunteer teachers, on top of regular classes and rehearsals for recitals. That being said, I did have odd do some research on ballet and do a paper once, and both have done PE classes at co-op that cover other skills.  Currently, my high schooler's PE class at co-op is doing Tai Chi. 

Fine arts: my odd did take Piano for years, so she actually got a half credit of music/piano for three years of high school plus a half credit of art, because we too do a lot of art.  My current kiddo did a year of piano lessons in high school, so that is her including music.  (though we do other things too.) She is very into art and gets a half credit each semester, even though, honestly, this year, she has done so much, I am considering giving her a full credit.  She really devotes a lot of time to it. 

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I agree that overthinking it is not worth the headache. Do what you want to do with your kids and figure out how to "package" that to colleges as a separate issue.

We did do health and PE and fine arts because I wanted my kids to have some of the similar things on their transcripts as other IN applicants. We're not required as hs'ers to follow IN's Core 40 for graduation, but I wanted my kids' transcripts to look similar.

Health was an easy .5 credit one year with a textbook and a couple projects. Easy peasy but hit all the bases.

Fine Arts has been different for each kid. One kid did piano  lessons all 4 years and I spread that credit out. One kid did a semester of Filmmaking and another one of Guitar and Piano. One kid did a couple years of piano lessons and a semester of drawing from udemy.

For PE I just tell them to do a little bit of personal fitness daily and I sprad the credit out over 4 years.

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Our local schools require some health and PE.

I didn't put any on the transcript, the state school didn't care, they only cared about their requirements for college. We did do enough things in each area that I could have put something on the transcript if I had needed to. 

She had plenty of art credits.

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I would have interpreted the original post as fine arts, which can include music instead of just art, but that may or may not be what they meant.

Here, most of us use an umbrella as the way to fulfill state requirements.  Many umbrellas have basically the same requirements as the state - 1 PE, 1 fine arts, 1/2 health, 1/2 personal finance.  The standard that we were given was completion of a book or 150 hrs/credit.  So, for fine arts my kid has taken a music theory class at co-op (a little more than 2 hrs/week for 36 weeks for 75 hrs) as 1/2 credit.  Kid has also taken a co-op ballroom dance class (1 hr/week for 36 weeks) and that will be around 1/2 of the next 1/2 credit.  We debate another year of ballroom or a summer with 40ish hours of drawing for the rest of the credit.  For PE, we've counted conditioning workouts.  Kid plays on a public school baseball team and on a homeschool basketball team but we count those as extracurriculars.  Some of the baseball workouts aren't sport-specific, and weightroom time, summer workouts, independent workouts, summer league rec sports, and a co-op self defense class are being counted towards 150 hrs of PE.  The workouts will continue, but we probably won't keep counting to earn multiple PE credits.

Personal finance was done by working through a couple of books and discussing. 

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On 2/10/2021 at 1:58 PM, Spring Flower said:

I really appreciate this post. I am in the middle of planning high school for my rising 9th grader and I want to make sure I understand how this works. 

My daughter does about 3 hours of swimming a week with a non-competative team. Do I call that PE? Mark it as a "Pass" on her transcript?

She also does 1 hour of cello lessons and practices with a double quartet once a week for 1.5 hours. They perform very regularly on the weekends. Do I call that Music Appreciation and mark is as a "Pass" on her transcript? 

Do colleges look at that on a transcript and think, "That isn't a class that is an extracurricular"? Or do they mostly focus on the core academic classes and standardized test scores while glancing over fluff classes like PE? Is it fair that a public school kid on her swim team and in her double quartet counts it only as an extracurricular while she counts it as both a high school credit and an extracurricular? Do colleges think about this?

My daughter is most interested in academics and would rather focus her time there than worrying about classes like PE and Health. I'm already stressed out about making her schedule work. 

I've always considered myself a strict homeschooler but now that I think of counting credits and creating transcripts I realize just how loosey-goosey our homeschool really is! 

Yes. Count it and call it a pass. 😁

I do count things as classes that we just do. The reason I took my kids out of public school was so they wouldn't waste time at public school. If it is unfair, my solution is not to make my kids waste time, but to argue that public schools shouldn't waste people's time either.

 

 

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I honestly, didn't double dip though. My daughter was in orchestra and we counted it as a class one year and extra curricular the next. But she wasn't applying to super competitive programs so they really don't care about extra curricular.

My son is on the ski team. I'm counting this year as PE. Although, I could also count martial arts, biking to work, circuits. In the future it will be extra curricular. 

My non-athletic daughter needed the excercise for her health anyway so keeping an excercise log was a good thing for her. 

 

I had them do a Coursera course on nutrition and read some articles on some other stuff: sleep, drugs, sex etc. We just talk too but then I had them take Wilderness First Aid so that counted for a lot of hours. One child actually did the Wilderness First Responder class but child 2 only wanted the 16 hour first aid. I'm hoping the others will be willing for the complete first responder class. https://soloschools.com/training-information/

 

 

 

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I forgot fine arts.

My dd does music lesson (10 years on one instrument and also dabbles on a couple others) and a lot of drawing on her own, but this is what we did for arts:

Ceramics

Credit .25 ~ Grade: A

Instructor: Brandon Xxxx, MFA.

Course includes both hand-building techniques and wheel throwing, as well as clay preparation, history of ceramics, selecting and creating designs, and various glazing techniques. Student completes six pieces in course, choosing and preparing the best work for judging.

 

Music Theory

Credit .5 ~ Grade: A

Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory: Book 1. (Surmani and Surmani)

Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory: Book 2. (Surmani and Surmani)

Course teaches a deeper understanding of melody, harmony, rhythm, and notation including how to create, manipulate, and analyze chord progressions and the formal structure in instrumental works of the past as well as the present. Includes book work, ear training and performing.

 

Voice

Credit .25 ~ Grade: A

Instructor: Tracy Xxxx. Board-certified music therapist.

Course goal is improvement of skills in voice. Includes but not limited to instruction in vocal range, sight reading, technique, and ombeture.

 

Music Theory was at home, ceramics was a community center class and voice was 6 months of stand alone private lessons.

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Our state does not have requirements for homeschoolers, but in general we are following the state requirements which include .5 credit for PE and .5 credit for health and a fine arts credit. My dd is a piano player -- lessons, practice, plays in the band at church -- I am giving her a credit each year for her music. For PE, she does Crossfit. I counted that for a semester for her .5 credit though she has been doing it for years. For health, I made it fun. She is really into the human body so I bought her Kinesiology for Dummies-- she read and notebooked through it, she took a fitness and nutrition 4 week course on outschool, and we will wrap up that .5 credit with CPR/First Aid/AED training as soon as it opens from Covid. 

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Our requirements come from our umbrella school not the state, but they are similar to the state's. We use what we have already going and do simple things. Related to Lori D's comment on p/f, I will give A's for all these. 

Fine Arts - I'll count Dd's Vocal Music class at her tutorial and some art that she does at home with online instruction. Musical Theater is technically a class, but I will list it as an ec along with piano. 

PE will be Dd's very low key dance over several years and some fitness/yoga etc.  (when life is normal and we can go to the Y)

Personal Finance - Dd will do Dave Ramsey's high school course in the summer and together with her AHG Money Management badge, we'll call it good. Nowhere near 75 hrs., but I don't care.

Health - Some reading and discussion at home over a period of years and we'll call it good. I'll list standard textbook, which I own and use as a reference book for the umbrella school curriculum list. Her AHG badges from the Personal Well Being frontier also include some of this - nutrition, hygiene, sleep, drugs etc.  She has CPR and First Aid certifications as well as plenty of safety/emergency preparedness type training.

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Wait, aren't you in Ohio? If so, we don't have any graduation requirements at all for homeschoolers! We have (intentionally) vague rules about having to complete certain subjects, but all of those subjects need to be covered during my child's education and don't necessarily have to all be done in high school. Even in public schools, there are students who won't have art or music or whatever in high school, but they did have them at some point.  If I add a class in art or music or health, it's because I want my student to have that subject in high school, it's an interest of my student, or it's required for colleges we're considering. The law in Ohio was written *very* carefully with the help of homeschoolers and nowhere does it say you need to do every subject every year and it never specifies high school graduation requirements.

ETA: I went back and read your post and you quoted the law incorrectly. You give "assurance that home education will include" the listed subjects AND "Assurance that the child will be provided a minimum of nine hundred hours of home education each school year." It does NOT say that every listed subject is required within the 900 hours every year.

Edited by mom2scouts
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On 2/16/2021 at 5:04 PM, mom2scouts said:

Wait, aren't you in Ohio? If so, we don't have any graduation requirements at all for homeschoolers! We have (intentionally) vague rules about having to complete certain subjects, but all of those subjects need to be covered during my child's education and don't necessarily have to all be done in high school. Even in public schools, there are students who won't have art or music or whatever in high school, but they did have them at some point.  If I add a class in art or music or health, it's because I want my student to have that subject in high school, it's an interest of my student, or it's required for colleges we're considering. The law in Ohio was written *very* carefully with the help of homeschoolers and nowhere does it say you need to do every subject every year and it never specifies high school graduation requirements.

ETA: I went back and read your post and you quoted the law incorrectly. You give "assurance that home education will include" the listed subjects AND "Assurance that the child will be provided a minimum of nine hundred hours of home education each school year." It does NOT say that every listed subject is required within the 900 hours every year.

This is really helpful, thank you! (Yes, I am in Ohio, but we have been here for less than a year. We homeschooled in Maryland for nearly a decade, so I am still getting used to the new laws!) Your interpretation on this is helpful, because I was definitely reading the law as though we have to do all the subjects every year. (I've only met with my reviewer once so far, so I look forward to discussing this with her in more detail.) 

 

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17 minutes ago, EKT said:

This is really helpful, thank you! (Yes, I am in Ohio, but we have been here for less than a year. We homeschooled in Maryland for nearly a decade, so I am still getting used to the new laws!) Your interpretation on this is helpful, because I was definitely reading the law as though we have to do all the subjects every year. (I've only met with my reviewer once so far, so I look forward to discussing this with her in more detail.) 

 

Your post, mom2scouts, made me really curious that I've been misinterpreting the law, so I went back and looked at the requirements here. It says:

The parent’s notification of home education must include:

  • Name, address and signature of the parent or guardian;
  • Name and birthdate of the child;
  • An assurance that the home education will include 900 hours of instruction in the following, unless the topic or practice conflicts with the religious beliefs of the parent:
    • Language, reading, spelling and writing;
    • Geography, history of the United States and Ohio, and national, state, and local government;
    • Mathematics;
    • Science;
    • Health;
    • Physical education;
    • Fine arts, including music; and
    • First aid, safety and fire prevention.
  • A brief outline of the intended curriculum (informational only);
  • A list of teaching materials (informational only);
  • Assurance the home teacher has a high school diploma or the equivalent or is working under the guidance of a person holding a bachelor’s degree;
  • An assessment report, if the notification is a continuance from the previous year

 

So, to me, it sounds like each year's "900 hours" needs to include all of those subjects in some capacity. But it sounds like others interpret it differently? 

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3 hours ago, EKT said:

Your post, mom2scouts, made me really curious that I've been misinterpreting the law, so I went back and looked at the requirements here. It says:

The parent’s notification of home education must include:

  • Name, address and signature of the parent or guardian;
  • Name and birthdate of the child;
  • An assurance that the home education will include 900 hours of instruction in the following, unless the topic or practice conflicts with the religious beliefs of the parent:
    • Language, reading, spelling and writing;
    • Geography, history of the United States and Ohio, and national, state, and local government;
    • Mathematics;
    • Science;
    • Health;
    • Physical education;
    • Fine arts, including music; and
    • First aid, safety and fire prevention.
  • A brief outline of the intended curriculum (informational only);
  • A list of teaching materials (informational only);
  • Assurance the home teacher has a high school diploma or the equivalent or is working under the guidance of a person holding a bachelor’s degree;
  • An assessment report, if the notification is a continuance from the previous year

 

So, to me, it sounds like each year's "900 hours" needs to include all of those subjects in some capacity. But it sounds like others interpret it differently? 

This is more of a thing at notification time vs. portfolio review. We often use documentaries, performances, and music lessons for fine arts. Since we do those as part of life, I just list them genetically on our NOI. For PE and first aid, I list personal fitness and life safety skills (cooking safety, for instance). We do some kind of course for electives and/or incorporate them into another course, but the everyday stuff is what I put on my NOI, usually a copy and paste each year.

If lifestyle stuff is rigorous enough, it will make it into the transcript as a cumulative credit or partial credit. 

PE for my older one was a combo of personal fitness, homeschool soccer league, and backyard badminton. 

Kids in public schools here don’t necessarily all take art and music from what I understand. Usually one or another. I think some kids take shop classes for fine arts too, but I am not positive. I think languages might be under fine arts, but I’d have to look. Kids at vocational schools get OSHA training and lots of safety stuff related to their training (everything from professional kitchen work to construction to phlebotomy)—it makes sense to incorporate safety into daily life in that context. 

 

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10 minutes ago, kbutton said:

 

Kids in public schools here don’t necessarily all take art and music from what I understand. Usually one or another.

 

When my dd was in ps (through 7th grade), they greatly reduced the amount of time for art/music/PE due to test prep for high stakes testing.  My older kids had a lot more electives and art/music/pe when they were in school.  Dd only had one semester of PE in three years of middle school and one semester of art.  She was in band so she had music every year, but I don't know if she would have had it at all if she wasn't in band.  

ETA - we're in OH

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19 hours ago, EKT said:

Your post, mom2scouts, made me really curious that I've been misinterpreting the law, so I went back and looked at the requirements here. It says:

The parent’s notification of home education must include:

  • Name, address and signature of the parent or guardian;
  • Name and birthdate of the child;
  • An assurance that the home education will include 900 hours of instruction in the following, unless the topic or practice conflicts with the religious beliefs of the parent:
    • Language, reading, spelling and writing;
    • Geography, history of the United States and Ohio, and national, state, and local government;
    • Mathematics;
    • Science;
    • Health;
    • Physical education;
    • Fine arts, including music; and
    • First aid, safety and fire prevention.
  • A brief outline of the intended curriculum (informational only);
  • A list of teaching materials (informational only);
  • Assurance the home teacher has a high school diploma or the equivalent or is working under the guidance of a person holding a bachelor’s degree;
  • An assessment report, if the notification is a continuance from the previous year

 

So, to me, it sounds like each year's "900 hours" needs to include all of those subjects in some capacity. But it sounds like others interpret it differently? 

Where did you get this? This is NOT how the code reads!  This is the exact wording of the code:

(5) Assurance that home education will include the following, except that home education shall not be required to include any concept, topic, or practice that is in conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parent:

(a) Language, reading, spelling, and writing:

(b) Geography, history of the United States and Ohio; and national, state, and local government;

(c) Mathematics;

(d) Science;

(e) Health;

(f) Physical education;

(g) Fine arts, including music; and

(h) First aid, safety, and fire prevention.

 then later it says this:

(8) Assurance that the child will be provided a minimum of nine hundred hours of home education each school year.

 

Oh, I just went back and saw you got this information from the ODE. They have had wrong information of their site for years and HSLDA has been trying for years to get them to correct it. They finally corrected a few things, but it still doesn't align to Ohio Code. Here's the rule in Ohio: always read the code for yourself (Ohio Administrative Code section 3301-34) and NEVER get homeschooling information from either your school or the ODE. You wouldn't believe the "rules" they make up sometimes. 

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9 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

. Here's the rule in Ohio: always read the code for yourself (Ohio Administrative Code section 3301-34) and NEVER get homeschooling information from either your school or the ODE. You wouldn't believe the "rules" they make up sometimes. 

SO true!

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I follow my state's requirements for admission to the state university system as well.    I don't look at these kinds of classes as "extra" or "fluff".  I think they are very important for well rounded development and offer a lot to my teens.    It is an opportunity to find interests and develop them,  to find their passion, and to see that there is far more to life than just academics.   My kids have always looked forward to picking these classes.   These classes are, to me,  every bit as important as the traditional academic classes.

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5 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

Where did you get this? This is NOT how the code reads!  This is the exact wording of the code:

(5) Assurance that home education will include the following, except that home education shall not be required to include any concept, topic, or practice that is in conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parent:

(a) Language, reading, spelling, and writing:

(b) Geography, history of the United States and Ohio; and national, state, and local government;

(c) Mathematics;

(d) Science;

(e) Health;

(f) Physical education;

(g) Fine arts, including music; and

(h) First aid, safety, and fire prevention.

 then later it says this:

(8) Assurance that the child will be provided a minimum of nine hundred hours of home education each school year.

 

Oh, I just went back and saw you got this information from the ODE. They have had wrong information of their site for years and HSLDA has been trying for years to get them to correct it. They finally corrected a few things, but it still doesn't align to Ohio Code. Here's the rule in Ohio: always read the code for yourself (Ohio Administrative Code section 3301-34) and NEVER get homeschooling information from either your school or the ODE. You wouldn't believe the "rules" they make up sometimes. 

Wow, this is interesting! Yes, I got it here, from the ODE site (it's then linked under District Superintendent Responsibilities). This is SO interesting! Back in Maryland, the homeschool laws (known as COMAR) were very explicit and the same info was presented on all the various sites one might check (the county's site, the state's site, etc). It didn't occur to me--even after a decade of homeschooling!--that the ODE site wouldn't have the law presented correctly. I guess I should know better by now, but it just didn't occur to me. As you can tell, I had been interpreting the law differently than it is written, and it makes a huge difference!

I just Googled "Ohio Administrative Code section 3301-34" and found it worded the way you said. Is there a better "official" resource than ODE you use as your reference that you could link to? (What source do you use to stay up-to-date on Ohio law?) Thanks for you help!  

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2 hours ago, EKT said:

Wow, this is interesting! Yes, I got it here, from the ODE site (it's then linked under District Superintendent Responsibilities). This is SO interesting! Back in Maryland, the homeschool laws (known as COMAR) were very explicit and the same info was presented on all the various sites one might check (the county's site, the state's site, etc). It didn't occur to me--even after a decade of homeschooling!--that the ODE site wouldn't have the law presented correctly. I guess I should know better by now, but it just didn't occur to me. As you can tell, I had been interpreting the law differently than it is written, and it makes a huge difference!

I just Googled "Ohio Administrative Code section 3301-34" and found it worded the way you said. Is there a better "official" resource than ODE you use as your reference that you could link to? (What source do you use to stay up-to-date on Ohio law?) Thanks for you help!  

While it is not at all official, you might want to go to Ohio Homeschooling Parents website and/or Facebook group. I believe the woman who runs it is married to an attorney and she is adamant about following the law exactly as written. When they temporarily removed the requirement to include assessment papers or test results with the 2020-21 Notice of Intent, I found out from that page.

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7 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

While it is not at all official, you might want to go to Ohio Homeschooling Parents website and/or Facebook group. I believe the woman who runs it is married to an attorney and she is adamant about following the law exactly as written. When they temporarily removed the requirement to include assessment papers or test results with the 2020-21 Notice of Intent, I found out from that page.

Thank you! I appreciate the help!

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16 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

While it is not at all official, you might want to go to Ohio Homeschooling Parents website and/or Facebook group. I believe the woman who runs it is married to an attorney and she is adamant about following the law exactly as written. When they temporarily removed the requirement to include assessment papers or test results with the 2020-21 Notice of Intent, I found out from that page.

That page was so incredibly helpful for me when we made the move to homeschooling.  I honestly couldn't have done it without the information there.  Many years ago (pre-facebook) when I first wanted to homeschool dd, I was given incorrect information from our county homeschool coordinator and thought I couldn't do it.  The Ohio Homeschooling Parents facebook page got me through each step that needed to be done and reassured me that I was doing everything correctly and legally.  

 

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We don’t have those explicit requirements to meet, but we have our own personal requirements— I don’t want to launch my kids out into the world without having developed the ability to talk frankly about drugs, sex, peer pressure, partying, etc; and to possess basic life knowledge such as dealing with medical providers, understanding important aspects of their own health, financial knowledge, home repair, auto maintenance, insurance (all types), phys ed, etc.

We have used some of the following:

CPR/First Aid/AED certification — twice during the high school/rhetoric stage years, with discussion about why one would want to keep those certifications current for life. One round through the OWL (Our Whole Lives) curriculum, which is pretty comprehensive, plus integrated discussion of health when we do biology and while discussing current events and when preparing for medical visits— also, scaffolded independence with filling out forms and taking more of the lead at medical visits ffrom age 15 onward, so they are comfortable doing so by the time they leave for college.

There was a free curriculum put out by the ?American Society of Accountants? or somebody like that— it was a 4-part series of books they gave away free, and it covered everything from managing a checking account to how to start investing in the stock market and setting up a retirement account and paying taxes, household budgets, and more. Plus we listen to podcasts from PlanetMoney and others over dinner or in the car, and talk about them. (We listen to and discuss a lot of podcasts, now that I think about it).

We have a local athletic club that offers PE, so my kids have always gone there for homeschool gym class. One year it wasn’t offered and I ran one myself at the local park. I brought bases and kickballs, bocce, kubbe, cornhole, went on long hikes, etc. The kids ran around, tried different things, and generally had fun being active.

We tackled some home improvement projects and renovations ourselves instead of hiring contractors, sometimes just to give the kids experience in how to do certain tasks like planning a project, measuring, using different power tools safely, how to sand, stain, and paint, clean up correctly and deal with anything hazardous responsibly, etc. We made sure each kid had several exposures; my kids are pretty smart, and I usually think of them as picking things up quickly. But humans are humans, and I don’t expect my humans to take something we did when they were 13 and remember it clearly when they are 25. Maybe they still won’t remember, but I figure I’m giving them a fighting shot by making them do it several times over.

A lot of it we do cover by just conversation through the day rather than through formal curriculum. But I don’t leave it entirely up to chance; I actually wrote out a list of what I really needed to cover with each kid, and how much emphasis each kid needed on different things, and checked things off so I could see what I needed to plan on finding time to bring up to discuss. As you said, these things are really important.

My favorite tools for any of this kind of stuff are my planner and lists! 

Best of luck!

 

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