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Help With High School - Need to Switch Gears


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Hello all!

I am in need of some help moving forward, and I was hoping to gain it here. I have a daughter who is a freshman by age and is highly accelerated. (I do hope this is a safe place to tell things how they are - I've not the time or inclination to beat about the bush.) Her recent ACT score is 31, and her Reading and English were 36 and 35, respectively. 

She has read many, many classics, and she is well-versed in English, Reading, and Math. (Science isn't my strongest point, but she is being educated adequately in this area and will move to the local college for that in the fall.) We have been looking at colleges, and the one she is looking at attending is selective and values a classical secondary education. That's why I'm here. 

I need to move forward the next two years by providing her as classical of an education as I can provide. (She will probably graduate a year early.) Is there anyone who can walk me through the subjects and how to best provide this to her? 

I did read the Well Trained Mind when my kids were young and used classical materials over the years, but in order to really deepen her education and prepare her for the type of college she wants to attend, I need to add in Latin, Logic, deepen History even more, etc. I will outsource Math and Science to our University by way of dual enrollment. 

I would welcome messages or responses here if anyone has time to help me out. Mostly, I need to know where to look for Latin, Logic, History, and English materials that fit the bill. I also welcome any other suggestions about what to add. She prefers self-study to online options, though I know with languages she may need a teacher. I have never learned Latin. 

Thanks so much. 

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You should consider Henle Latin. You can have a look at the program on the Memoria Press website. After that, she could move to Henle II and more advanced reading of authentic Latin prose. She could do very well in self-studying Henle, especially as you say she works at an accelerated pace and prefers self-study to online classes. You yourself do not need to know Latin, as she can ask questions and get reliable answers on the Memoria Press forum about any aspect of her Latin study.

Bonnie

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26 minutes ago, Bonnie said:

You should consider Henle Latin. You can have a look at the program on the Memoria Press website. After that, she could move to Henle II and more advanced reading of authentic Latin prose. She could do very well in self-studying Henle, especially as you say she works at an accelerated pace and prefers self-study to online classes. You yourself do not need to know Latin, as she can ask questions and get reliable answers on the Memoria Press forum about any aspect of her Latin study.

Bonnie

Thank you for this! This is incredibly helpful, as I found the Latin resources overwhelming. We dabbled in Latin when they were younger, but I never stuck with it. I will look at this. Thanks so much. 

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Welcome! There are plenty of posters here with advanced kids. My recommendation for an advanced and gifted student wanting to pursue a school looking at a classical ed would be to use Wheelock's Latin. It is the gold standard for Latin. Since she is already a 9th grader, I would attempt to finish it in 2 yrs so that she can work on reading poetry/prose in 12th.

I would look at reading lists from programs like Great Books Academy.  They offer logic in 9th.

http://greatbooksacademy.org/curriculum/ninth-grade/

http://greatbooksacademy.org/curriculum/tenth-grade/

FWIW, I would not use MP products with a gifted student. (Their approach woul drive my kids batty.)

Edited by 8filltheheart
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I honestly can’t help much with classical resources as my kids aren’t that way inclined. One thing I do want to caution is not to target a school so tightly that you structure your your child’s education to one college. Students are still developing and can change their minds to what they want to do in college. Leave room for exploration and be open to new rabbit trails.

all the best in your endeavors 

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18 minutes ago, Lilaclady said:

I honestly can’t help much with classical resources as my kids aren’t that way inclined. One thing I do want to caution is not to target a school so tightly that you structure your your child’s education to one college. Students are still developing and can change their minds to what they want to do in college. Leave room for exploration and be open to new rabbit trails.

all the best in your endeavors 

I agree 100%.

This post also reminded me that I had meant to post that competitive schools look at way more than test scores and transcripts. Make sure your dd has the "other" that competitive schools weigh heavily. (Extracurricular activities, leadership roles, volunteer work, awards/honors.) I would not let her fall in love with a school. I'd encourage her to think in broad terms to avoid possible heartbreak.

Edited by 8filltheheart
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You'll want to complete a college prep set of credits. That means the set of credits that colleges want students to have completed in high school in order to be eligible for admission to the college.

Below is the standard set of college prep credits. Since she is planning on applying to competitive / selective or top tier colleges, then she'll want to go with the "4x5 plan" (4 credits each in the 5 academic subjects of English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and For. Lang.). For selective colleges, she may also want to include some AP courses/tests, and/or dual enrollment (which you're already planning on).

4 credits = English (usually 1/2 writing + 1/2 literature)
4 credits = Math (Alg. 1, Geometry, Alg 2, + a 4th math above Alg. 2)
3-4 credits = Science, with labs (most colleges are flexible; some want Biology and Chemistry)
3-4 credits = Social Studies (most colleges want 1 credit = US Hist.; many also want 1 credit = World Geog/Hist.; some want 0.5 credit each Econ & Gov't)\
2-4 credits = Foreign Language (same language)
1 credit = Fine Arts
4-8+ credits = Electives
26+ credits = total (if shooting for selective colleges)


self-study classical providers of Great Books / History & Literature materials:
Roman Roads Media
- Veritas Press self-paced Omnibus
- Memoria Press - Classical Studies materials; Logic & Rhetoric materials 

 

I also strongly encourage you to look at these excellent rigorous classical online course providers, even if online is not her preferred choice -- the first option esp.:
- Lukeion
- Well-Trained Mind Academy
- Wilson Hill Academy

re: learning foreign language
Another option would be to hire a local tutor to help guide her through Latin / Foreign Language acquisition.

A final thought:
To be competitive for a selective school, she will want to not JUST have the rigorous academics. There are a ton of students out there with multiple AP test scores, high GPAs, and all rigorous courses. What sets a student apart is projects of personal passion, extracurriculars, involvement in the community, travel, and missions/volunteering. Selective colleges are looking for what students will bring to and add to their campus life. If the student doesn't have experiences beyond good academics, the student will have less to offer to the selective college campus life.

Also, while it is SUPER that she has a future college goal, esp. if it is a selective college, do NOT "put all your eggs in one basket". I strongly encourage you both to do some college research over the next 2 years to find several colleges she would like, and have at least one of them NOT be selective/competitive. For example: a selective/competitive college with an acceptance rate of 23% means that out of the 100 students who are JUST as bright, talented and motivated as your DD is, only 23 will get into the school -- over 3/4 will NOT be accepted for admission. Just an FYI to not set the heart on just one school, and if that doesn't work out, not have a plan B, plan C, and plan D, just in case. 😉

Welcome! and BEST of luck in your DD's classical studies for the next few years! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I just reread your post and saw where you said 9th grade by age and then referred to 2 more yrs. Just something to think about--early graduation rarely benefits students in terms of admissions. Graduating at their regular 12th grade age gives them more time to enhance their CV with more accomplishments that will help them stand out amg a group of equally talented peers.

In terms of competitive admissions, you cannot think regionally. You have to think in terms of nationally and internationally bc that is their competition. It is not unusual for advanced kids to apply with incredibly high levels of academic achievement....hence why the "other" matters so much. 

Edited by 8filltheheart
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Thank you for all of your help and resources! These are great ideas and I appreciate the advice as well. 

She has an older sibling who will graduate in a year, so I have gone down the road of talking with several colleges already. It was helpful when she was ready to start looking. She has two in mind, one selective and the other isn't as much so. I will try to convince her to add a third choice to her list and contact them also. That is great advice. 

As far as extra activities, I always struggle here. She is very active and talented in dance as well and plays violin. She takes several hours of ballet every week and is involved in shows, etc. She is definitely a leader in her dance studio, but as far as being a leader in the community, we are running out of hours in the day. Do you think it would be smart to carve out some time on a Friday for some volunteer work as well? She plans on trying to intern/volunteer in a political capacity the next couple of years. 

To address the idea of not specializing her education too much, I wanted to add that she already almost has enough credits to graduate high school. She started taking dual credit classes in middle school and skipped 8th grade. I was originally looking at trying go ahead an get a head start on her college choice (they allow early enrollment online), but after some research, I thought it might be more beneficial to deepen what we are doing here for a couple years and then just send her to college a year early. That is my thought process. If anyone else has any other suggestions/ideas, I welcome them. (I already know about high school credits and how they work and what counts when, etc., so I don't need advice there.) 

Also, is an AP class or two important? They are so expensive, and I want to make sure it's worth allocating the funds before doing it. 

Thanks so much for all of your help and support. I will look over all the resources recommended later this afternoon. 

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6 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

I just reread your post and saw where you said 9th grade by age and then referred to 2 more yrs. Just something to think about--early graduation rarely benefits students in terms of admissions. Graduating at their regular 12th grade age gives them more time to enhance their CV with more accomplishments that will help them stand out amg a group of equally talented peers.

In terms of competitive admissions, you cannot think regionally. You have to think in terms of nationally and internationally bc that is their competition. It is not unusual for advanced kids to apply with incredibly high levels of academic achievement....hence why the "other" matters so much. 

She wants to go to law school and get a head start. That is why she wants to graduate early. But this is a good thought. 

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I'm confused by this part of your post.

9 minutes ago, booksandwool said:

She started taking dual credit classes in middle school and skipped 8th grade.

Also, is an AP class or two important? They are so expensive, and I want to make sure it's worth allocating the funds before doing it. 

What courses did she take DE? Were they below AP level or equivalent? If she took typical AP type subjects as a DEed student, it would be redundant to take the AP course.

It might be easier to offer suggestions if you shared what she has taken. (I have had kids who took multiple science and math courses each yr  or studied multiple languages (she graduated with 15 foreign lang credits) bc those were their interests.  They studied philosophy, unique lit courses (dd spent her sr English cr on a capstone thesis on Shakespeare.)) Options are endless.

In terms of ECs, more does not = better. Commitment is what they want to see. Directed focus is better than superficial. Her dance commitment is exactly the type of EC they want to see. I would consider Mock Trial or debate simply  bc of her goals. 

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32 minutes ago, booksandwool said:

She wants to go to law school and get a head start. That is why she wants to graduate early. But this is a good thought. 

It is highly recommended that students get a Bachelor degree in something other than legal studies/criminal justice, which works well to expand what they can draw on for getting a Master's in law, and which can help them later on in specializing in an area of law. The Bachelor degrees most frequently recommended as excellent prep for a future law degree are almost all things that fall right in her interests of classical education:
- History
- Business/Economics
- English
- Philosophy
- Political Science
- Arts & Humanities
- Psychology
- Math/Science

Agreeing with @8filltheheart -- she also beat me to the suggestion about extracurriculars, that it's quality that counts, not quantity. 😉 And adding a +1 to her suggestion of Mock Trial.

Also (once the pandemic passes), consider involvement in one of these extracurriculars that would be excellent prep for law:
- speech & debate
   • National Forensics League
  • STOA
   • local high school team
- model legislative program:
   • YMCA Youth & Government
   • Teen Pact
   • Model UN mock session -- AMUN; MUN
   • American Legion Auxiliary: Girls State
   • Junior States of America

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1 hour ago, booksandwool said:

...Also, is an AP class or two important? They are so expensive, and I want to make sure it's worth allocating the funds before doing it. 

AP is just one way of showing rigor. I'd look at the specific colleges she is interested in and see how much weight they place on AP. So the answer to "is it worth it" will depend on the potential future colleges of interest.

Also It is the AP test SCORE, not the AP CLASS that colleges would care about. You do NOT have to take an expensive AP class. You can self-study for AP -- do your own home-grown class and sign up to test through a local high school. The test itself is $95-125 per test.
 

1 hour ago, booksandwool said:

... I thought it might be more beneficial to deepen what we are doing here for a couple years and then just send her to college a year early. That is my thought process...

Your plan sounds great. 😄

Hopefully @8filltheheart will share more about her one DD's self-study of French & Russian, and her great senior project of translation that showed DD's passion for the subjects, as well as self-motivation and unique abilities.

Also, hopefully @Dmmetler will pop in and share about her accelerated DD's path. Her DD started DE at age 12, and has done various projects in her field (herpetology), as well as extracurriculars to show her passions, strengths, and interests beyond rigorous academics. Her DD is graduating this year with a ton of DE -- I believe DD is 17?? -- so she is graduating at a younger age.

Also @regentrude's DD graduated at 16yo after doing quite a bit of DE at her local university, and went on to the highly selective University of Chicago -- so she could also provide some good info on how early graduation might look, and how to prepare for a selective college.

If my tagging these ladies doesn't draw them to this thread, you can click on those tags which will take you to their personal page, where you could send them private messages, if you think that would help with planning your DD's specific course of study for high school.

BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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1 hour ago, 8filltheheart said:

I'm confused by this part of your post.

What courses did she take DE? Were they below AP level or equivalent? If she took typical AP type subjects as a DEed student, it would be redundant to take the AP course.

It might be easier to offer suggestions if you shared what she has taken. (I have had kids who took multiple science and math courses each yr  or studied multiple languages (she graduated with 15 foreign lang credits) bc those were their interests.  They studied philosophy, unique lit courses (dd spent her sr English cr on a capstone thesis on Shakespeare.)) Options are endless.

In terms of ECs, more does not = better. Commitment is what they want to see. Directed focus is better than superficial. Her dance commitment is exactly the type of EC they want to see. I would consider Mock Trial or debate simply  bc of her goals. 

Yeah, that was probably confusing. My mind is all over the place this week. 

I spoke with the high school advisor from HSLDA a couple years ago and then proceeded to call colleges around the state, and what I found is that some colleges like to see AP classes on the transcript (regardless of the test score), because it shows they have successfully taken a class with a rigor that is standardized across the country. I had it on my list, but honestly, DE classes are a lot less expensive and can be done in half the time. So far, in DE, she has had American History, European History, Dance History, Spanish 1. (Do you sense a theme? lol) She will take Chem in the fall and that is all I have slated for her so far. I'm making a plan this week to see if we are adding any more from the college. 

She would love to do debate or be part of a mock trial, but I can't find any groups close to us. 

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41 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

Hopefully @8filltheheart will share more about her one DD's self-study of French & Russian, and her great senior project of translation that showed DD's passion for the subjects, as well as self-motivation and unique abilities.

Also, hopefully @Dmmetler will pop in and share about her accelerated DD's path. Her DD started DE at age 12, and has done various projects in her field (herpetology), as well as extracurriculars to show her passions, strengths, and interests beyond rigorous academics. Her DD is graduating this year with a ton of DE -- I believe DD is 17?? -- so she is graduating at a younger age.

Also @regentrude's DD graduated at 16yo after doing quite a bit of DE at her local university, and went on to the highly selective University of Chicago -- so she could also provide some good info on how early graduation might look, and how to prepare for a selective college.

If my tagging these ladies doesn't draw them to this thread, you can click on those tags which will take you to their personal page, where you could send them private messages, if you think that would help with planning your DD's specific course of study for high school.

BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

Thank you for this list!

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Thank you everyone! I am looking through all of your links now. I do appreciate the encouragement that her involvement in dance is helpful because of the commitment level. I will make sure to look into the best way to highlight this on applications, etc. I do have information about how to build a dance resume because she has talked of dancing professionally also. 

Oh, someone sent a list of things to consider majoring in for pre-law - she is thinking journalism.

She's having a hard time choosing between dance and journalism/law as career paths because they are so different from each other. So, as her mom and her teacher, I'm just trying to make sure she is prepared for both. lol She has mentioned double majoring as well, but she has time to work that out as long as she's prepared either way.

Thank you again!

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OK, here's how our path ended up coming out-it wasn't so much by choice as the next best thing. I will say that we looked at merit aid and honors college offerings over raw numbers in competitive schools-because the fact is, competitive schools usually aren't good for merit aid, if they do it at all-everyone accepted is in the same narrow band. State U's with good honors colleges, and private LACs that offered opportunities of good merit were prioritized-the ideal school was one where L was in the top 25%-but the top 25% was ALL kids with high GPA's, talent search test scores, often had been involved in a subject at a deep level and had similar credentials, and piles of DE/AP/IB credit, and one where undergraduate research, REU experiences, internships, national and international program experiences such as Fulbright scholarships, and graduate school placements were extremely high.  We are in the bubble where "meets need" schools tend to be a financial disaster, since our CSS profile says we can afford full pay, but the family budget says otherwise. Had we been above or below that line, we likely would have targeted a different set of schools. 

 

L started dual credit at 12, with similar scores to your DD. The reason for this wasn't academic but social-there was a strong need for classes and connections with other people, and online simply was not doing it. We picked college classes based on box checking and interests, with a focus on classes that included a lot of discussion. What this meant was doing mostly humanities at the college, in the honors program where classes were small, students tended to be highly motivated (my state gives tuition free CC to pretty much all high school graduates, so the honors program filters out the kids who have higher scores and are planning to go to state U's vs those who are on terminal associates programs). Summer programs added additional course opportunities, pre-COVID. So, lots of credits in English, history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, foreign language, and math, and a handful in arts, communications, science and education. Most science classes were better suited to be done outside the college setting because we had resources there, and needed a more focused program-a geology class was added this semester only because it had an on-campus lab which had reasonable COVID precautions for a kid who was DYING to get back on campus. College foreign language was used for the basics, but after that we went to 1-1 discussion sessions with tutors online to build conversational skills. Math was box checking for degrees.  A big focus of high school has been designing and teaching classes in areas of interests-Herpetology, a class about Dragons which is basically a cultural anthropology class, and, starting next fall, a class about dinosaurs and how they are portrayed in children's media for elementary kids. The Herpetology class, in particular, is a long-term interest, and the focus on making it accessible for a younger age group and in an online format is something that is relatively new. This has led to opportunities to present at conferences-including the World Congress of Herpetology in Jan 2020 (this is basically the equivalent of the Olympics, and it was sheer good fortune that the country chosen for 2020 was in the Southern Hemisphere and therefore summer happened BEFORE COVID shut everything down-because it ended up being the last major non-virtual conference for the year). L also did competitive cheer and competed nationally until a knee injury forced the end of the sport-by the time rehab was completed and it might have been reasonable to go back, COVID made that sort of group sport a poor idea when you have family members who are at high risk, and has been involved in music, including ensembles and assisting in instructing group classes. 

 

L made the decision to plan to graduate at 16,  and at this point has been accepted to a range of schools, with substantial merit aid, up to and including multiple full tuition+ offers. As stated, we focused more on honors colleges and opportunities for research, outreach, and internships-the top two choices at this point are both schools in areas where there is substantial work in science education and outreach and involvement will be easy, and both schools strongly incentivize and support student internships and research. We also looked for schools that offered something more academically-classes that were off the beaten path or beyond what had been done in high school, because after four years of largely doing general education distribution credits, there aren't many standard electives left! We needed non-standard ones. So, schools that had robust, unusual programs were of interest. While it is possible that waiting another year or two to graduate would have made a stronger package, honestly, we've pretty much gone as far as we can go locally without ending up getting a bachelor's degree-and none of the local schools are a really strong options for the specific areas of interest, although for another student they might be a good fit. 

 

COVID has made everything more difficult. It has ended up being a good thing that those middle school ACT scores were good, because those were the only ones we had to send in. An awesome field study experience last summer ended up getting cancelled, and so did the online marine bio class grabbed at the last minute to replace it. It was a good thing that some of the classes L teaches and had pioneered were online, because not only did that give an activity that continued, but they have been extremely popular, and have led to new challenges, as some of the students who have enrolled are new to online learning and may not be particularly well suited to classes that, previously, were taken only by a subset of very gifted kids with passions for the topic. Often the students are dying for social interaction and connections, so that has been an interesting struggle to learn to accommodate as a 16 yr old who is ALSO very socially isolated.  If I had a child who was able to be a bit flexible on graduation dates at this point, I would want them to graduate no earlier than 2023 to give a chance for things to shake out, because I suspect the class of 2022 is also going to have some significant impact. 

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Thank you @Dmmetler -- that is so AWESOME and GENEROUS of you to share your DD's journey so others with accelerated DC can have a feel for both how to "do" high school that is really "college", and then the process of figuring out the "what comes next" part. 😄 

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On AP. My kid has none. The plan had been to do APUG last year, but with all the changes to the exam and moving online, we chose not to bother to take it. It has not mattered in the slightest, especially since the focus on humanities classes for a kid planning to major in biology means that it would have been redundant anyway.  College classes were shorter, more fun since they were (until COVID) live human contact, and tended to have a lot less busywork (again, until COVID). 

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4 hours ago, booksandwool said:

As far as extra activities, I always struggle here. She is very active and talented in dance as well and plays violin. She takes several hours of ballet every week and is involved in shows, etc. She is definitely a leader in her dance studio, but as far as being a leader in the community, we are running out of hours in the day. Do you think it would be smart to carve out some time on a Friday for some volunteer work as well? She plans on trying to intern/volunteer in a political capacity the next couple of years. 

We have found that top universities are looking to see that the students are giving back to the community.  Dance and music are still self serving. I know this because my son is a very accomplished violinist but his applications asked specifically for what he has done for others. I would suggest to save time, that you make the leadership that she does at the dance studio more official.  Find out if she can be a mentor, or volunteer as a teacher for younger kids, or create and run an after school program in dance over the summer. (obviously, this is all covid related, but you have a few years). Top schools are looking to see that you can make things happen, that you can share your experiences and knowledge to help others. It looks far better if you can create these opportunities than to just join an existing group. My son created an olympiad math program at a local school rather than just offering to help out at the math camp.  It shows that you are proactive and passionate. Do not overlook this.  My older boy and I are now having to scramble to get this done for grad school applications and scholarships because we just didn't think about it earlier. 

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1 hour ago, booksandwool said:

Yeah, that was probably confusing. My mind is all over the place this week. 

I spoke with the high school advisor from HSLDA a couple years ago and then proceeded to call colleges around the state, and what I found is that some colleges like to see AP classes on the transcript (regardless of the test score), because it shows they have successfully taken a class with a rigor that is standardized across the country. I had it on my list, but honestly, DE classes are a lot less expensive and can be done in half the time. So far, in DE, she has had American History, European History, Dance History, Spanish 1. (Do you sense a theme? lol) She will take Chem in the fall and that is all I have slated for her so far. I'm making a plan this week to see if we are adding any more from the college. 

She would love to do debate or be part of a mock trial, but I can't find any groups close to us. 

Thank you for taking the time to share that info.  Seeing that, do you mind if I share an alternative perspective to what you are currently thinking?  Yes, your dd is advanced, but  equally, based on what you shared as what she has currently taken DE, I wouldn't classify her as so advanced that I would think that she is going to be a shoo-in competitive level, even in 2 yrs.  She has taken the equivalent of 2 AP level course or perhaps only 1/2 of 2 AP courses.  (Did she take 2 semesters of American history and 2 of European?  Their AP equivalents are the equivalent of 2 semesters each, vs 1.)   Competitive level admissions is pretty high stakes.   It doesn't take a boatload of DE or AP courses to be competitive, but it does take "something."  

FWIW, here is my perspective as someone who has graduated 6 kids from their homeschool, 2 of them very gifted young adults.   My ds graduated high school with something like 40 credits.  He took his first alg course when he was 10.  By the time he graduated from high school, he DEed for 4 math classes post AP cal BC (multivariable, DiffEQ 1 and 2, and linear alg) and 5 cal up based physics classes.  Those physics classes were on top of classes like AP chem, AP equivalent bio (he didn't sit for this exam bc he didn't care and didn't need it for anything), and a 3 astronomy classes.  He also had multiple classes each in subjects like philosophy, theology, Latin, French, computer science, etc on top of his 4 histories and Englishes.  He also had multiple leadership roles, attended SSP (competitive summer science program), a national science essay honorable mention, on-campus research, etc.  I considered him competitive.  His biggest weakness was his ACT score which was higher than your dd's but not high enough to be truly competitive (truly competitive is 34+ and 34 is borderline competitive.  (He is severely dyslexic and we didn't pursue extended time.)  

The thing about ds's application is that it screamed "I love physics and math."  He was applying as a physics major.  (I guess it isn't surprising that he is a 3rd yr physics grad student.  🙂 )  His application was 100% authentic him and his passion.

Dd had a completely different approach and focus.  She did not take any APs and only took 1 DE spring of sr yr (so no grade and obviously didn't influence her acceptances.)  Here is where I completely differ from the advice HSLDA gave you.  She was incredibly competitive (more so than her brother) and was accepted everywhere she applied and was awarded the top scholarship offered by several schools.  Her transcript resembled her interests.  She studied Russian, French, and Latin.  She took French history in French.  She read advanced levels of French lit in French (like Les Mis.)  She had an English cr for Russian lit.  She took Russian history.  She had courses like Communism in the 20th Century.   She translated a Russian fairy tale into English.  She competed in multiple Russian competitions and won an international award for a B1 level Russian competition, multiple gold awards, best non-heritage speaker, and was part of the US team for an international olympiad.   (She is now a college sr who majored in Russian and French.)

I don't share that to discourage you at all!!  I share it bc they did not stand out as at all unusual at scholarship interview weekends.  The other applicants were every bit (and many were even more so) accomplished as these 2.   Both of them could have graduated way earlier than they did.  (As a matter of fact, dd was quite upset with us when she was 15 and we wouldn't let her grade skip and graduate a yr early.  Afterward she was incredibly thankful that we didn't bc her international olympiad team was her sr yr.)   But, competitive applications take high school accomplishments to a completely different level than advanced academics.  It is a different process. 

In terms of the next tier down school.....academics are really all that matter and good academics and a test score like your dd's is all it takes.  She will have zero difficulty achieving that goal just taking courses and continuing what you have described.

Our family is very much like @Dmmetlerdescribed.  We pursue scholarships.  Our kids who have attend 4 yr Us have attended on full or close to full scholarship.   What their achievements allowed the 2 I described do was have multiple options to choose from.  They both received very large scholarships and have been part of specialized programs with additional benefits.  But my college freshman had a far more typical high school experience with avg accomplishments and is still attending on scholarship and is part of her school's honors college.  So, there is no single obvious path forward.  THere is ZERO need to stress or attempt to conform to a single school's image of an applicant.  She can just do her and have lots of options as long as she doesn't become wedded to a single school.

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Just be aware that not all DE is equivalent.  You need to ask yourself how rigorous this work is.  To transfer credits was a huge effort for us as it was clear that his university has found that lots of DE was not up to snuff. We had to provide not just his grade, but a course outline, the textbook and edition, the exact pages covered, the midterm and exam, a statement from the professor that it was closed book and taken under time pressure. So you may be finding DE easier than AP because it may actually be easier, and the universities she applies to may know that. In the end, my son found that DE was not worth his time (even though our local university is well respected), so he only had 2 DE and 3 AP-equivalent courses (we are outside the USA). The rest of his classes were homegrown and focused on his interests. He stood out because of all the international competitions he was invited to. Be warned, the competition is fierce, and getting fiercer. But more classes or more DE don't make you stand out. You need something besides standard school-directed academics. 

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12 hours ago, lewelma said:

 It shows that you are proactive and passionate. Do not overlook this.  My older boy and I are now having to scramble to get this done for grad school applications and scholarships because we just didn't think about it earlier. 

I don't want to derail the OP's thread, but I wanted to jump in here and make a quick comment.  Grad school apps are not quite like UG apps.  I spoke with ds and confirmed since I wasn't involved in his grad school apps.  (Math is slightly different than physics.  I'd ask @plansrme about math grad apps.)  If your ds is applying for physics, the key components are going to be UG research (on-campus and REU experiences), LOR, GPA/coursework, and PGRE score.  (You'll read conflicting information online about the PGRE, but everywhere ds applied required it and looking at grad cafe the yr he applied, it definitely looked like it mattered.   This is from 2019, so it might help clarify, but look for more upto date information. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19UhYToXOPZkZ3CM469ru3Uwk4584CmzZyAVVwQJJcyc/edit?fbclid=IwAR1wP_FRrK_rEyWXAvXoPWxHRbUOlHS9vVRq114Wa4zmn0q3ez4cMmvjNHk#gid=0 

Astrobites has a lot of good info in general; here are a couple https://astrobites.org/2014/08/28/applying-to-grad-school-in-the-us-a-timeline/ 

I skimmed through this one http://astrophysics.physics.fsu.edu/documents/currie_grad_school_advice.pdf  He said volunteer work mattered a lot.  Ds had some key things he did (he formed a group that reached out to alumni to offer mentoring to students as upper classmen) and a couple of other things, but really, UG research is what made his application so strong.  (well, that and coursework since he was able to take so many additional courses.)

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Law school is very competitive to get into. So while she may be able to get a “head start” and start undergrad somewhere early, she may be setting herself up to be a stronger candidate for law school and a stronger person if she slows down and does more of what matters now. Four years of Latin, detailed history classes, participation in extra curriculars related to debate and public speaking like mock trial, model UN, this type of thing, as well as the journalism that you mentioned she’s interested in,  these are worth four years of her time. She can grow and develop with them, rather than just checking them off a list. 

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@8filltheheartand @Dmmetler I appreciated your stories and perspectives so much. Thank you for taking the time to share. You both created courses for your teens that were based on their interests, is that right? I have been thinking of doing the same thing for either English or History, since I can't see how she  needs anything traditional in either of these areas at this point. I was thinking of having her go through a Rhetoric Writing course just for solidification of skills. 

@8filltheheart - You are exactly right that what she has had isn't competitive enough. And, honestly, her ACT score isn't that competitive as a graduating senior either. She received that score when she was 14, and I am expecting it to go up, along with her classes and experience. We were all set to increase DE, and potentially enroll her online early, etc etc. (I won't bore you with our many, many, in depth conversations - I'm sure you can relate!) to accelerate her further. I was just telling a friend the other day, that I didn't know what to do with her. Basic high school seemed to be completed (for the most part) and what do we do now? Holding pattern until graduation? Accelerate her into college level work exclusively?  Yesterday, I found some information that made me think it might be smart to go deeper instead of farther, and I feel like that has been confirmed by reading your thoughts here, thought I very much appreciate your encouragement that we don't have to conform to any college's standards. Interestingly, my oldest daughter will graduate with well over 30 DE hours, much like your older one, and we are on a path to go a different route with our next one, also mirroring your experience a little. (My oldest is very bright with high scores also, but her college/degree choices aren't as rigorous.)

@stripe Thank you for your thoughts about competitive law school and how it might be better for her to finish high school regularly to help her in that endeavor. That is a good point. 

@lewelma Yes, I am not sure the DE is all that rigorous, as she has had no trouble with a high A, even at 14 years old. I do think it helps supplement what we are doing here, but I'm not sure it is really all that hard. 

I am hoping to make at least a 2 year plan this week (even if she doesn't graduate in two years, I feel like we may need to revisit things in a couple years). I may share it here for feedback if that's okay. 

Thanks again everyone. 

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Keep in mind that depending on where she applies, test scores will need to be from 11th grade or the first testing cycle of 12th. Many competitive scholarship deadlines are in Oct or early Nov. Early action/early decision deadlines are equally that early. I try to have my kids finish with testing  in early 11th so they can move on.

If your dd wants to try for National Merit, the only test that counts is in fall of 11th, so that would be next yr for her. Lots of great scholarship opportunities for NMFs. Definitely worth trying for. You need to find a school where she can sit for the exam. 

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5 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

Keep in mind that depending on where she applies, test scores will need to be from 11th grade or the first testing cycle of 12th. Many competitive scholarship deadlines are in Oct or early Nov. Early action/early decision deadlines are equally that early. I try to have my kids finish with testing  in early 11th so they can move on.

If your dd wants to try for National Merit, the only test that counts is in fall of 11th, so that would be next yr for her. Lots of great scholarship opportunities for NMFs. Definitely worth trying for. You need to find a school where she can sit for the exam. 

Yes, she will take it every year, and we will get her scores/paperwork ironed out in plenty of time. My oldest sat for the PSAT this last fall at the local private school. (She barely missed semi-finalist scores. Argh.) I will have her younger sister do the same thing her junior year. I may actually have her take it both her sophomore and junior years so she can have a trial run, even though I know the  earlier one doesn't count. 

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My oldest son just went through competitive college admissions last year, and I have to agree with what a lot of people are telling you on this thread. It was really eye-opening for us to see just how competitive things are these days! Perfect subject/AP test scores, tippy top SAT/ACT, and rigorous academics are just the baseline for the application of so many students. The students really need to have a serious spike that demonstrates a long-lasting, serious focus/passion/interest. Something that you can craft a narrative around about who this student is and what special things they have done in high school to demonstrate that passion. International-level awards would be great additions as well.

Often, taking too many AP classes is counterproductive to making space for the student to have time to develop this passion. If I had a student who was passionate about dance or history, it would be better for me to have that student do something really creative and big (that also shows leadership!) with those interests (start a dance foundation for underprivileged kids in the community? create some kind of outreach? start a nonprofit?) rather than to just fill a school year with an additional 2 or 3 AP exams in random subjects that might show academic rigor. Don't get me wrong, you absolutely need the academic rigor, but only academic rigor is not enough for the top competitive schools. Make sure you have some high quality classes in the subjects of passion. This doesn't have to be AP or DE, though those can be easier to manage sometimes and can tick the "outside validation of grades" box for some, but they can also be really unique homeschool classes that you design to foster the areas of interest. It's a tricky balancing act to make sure that the student has enough room to breathe (beyond just grinding out academic work) to be able to really do some creative projects beyond traditional high school. 

10 minutes ago, booksandwool said:

 I have been thinking of doing the same thing for either English or History, since I can't see how she  needs anything traditional in either of these areas at this point. I was thinking of having her go through a Rhetoric Writing course just for solidification of skills. 

You will want to have English and history of some kind on her transcript for all of her years of high school, but you can get really creative with this. People on these forums have designed all kinds of creative courses for talented kids that can really develop specialized interests!

12 minutes ago, booksandwool said:

 She received that score when she was 14, and I am expecting it to go up, along with her classes and experience. We were all set to increase DE, and potentially enroll her online early, etc etc. (I won't bore you with our many, many, in depth conversations - I'm sure you can relate!) to accelerate her further. I was just telling a friend the other day, that I didn't know what to do with her. Basic high school seemed to be completed (for the most part) and what do we do now? Holding pattern until graduation? Accelerate her into college level work exclusively?  Yesterday, I found some information that made me think it might be smart to go deeper instead of farther, and I feel like that has been confirmed by reading your thoughts here, thought I very much appreciate your encouragement that we don't have to conform to any college's standards. Interestingly, my oldest daughter will graduate with well over 30 DE hours, much like your older one, and we are on a path to go a different route with our next one, also mirroring your experience a little. (My oldest is very bright with high scores also, but her college/degree choices aren't as rigorous.)

Just throwing it out there that the ACT/SAT score is given a lot more emphasis than I think it should be, but that's just the reality of getting your application on the table for consideration. Even doing a little bit of test preparation specific to the exam can help bring up a high score into the top range (35-36 ACT), so that's something to consider down the road if she doesn't get to that range on her own. A little prep goes a long way!

It sounds like you have already skipped a grade in middle school, so you want to really consider whether more grade skipping is the best idea. There are lots of students who take plenty of college-level work in high school to meet their needs, and that's not a bad thing. Lots of homeschoolers in my area acquire more than 50-60 credits of dual enrollment by the time they graduate. High school is a great time to explore and really hone in on what subjects you love the most without the pressure of college. High school really isn't something to be rushed through after you finish "basic high school." I don't think that "basic high school" is really even a thing in the world of competitive admissions. There is no need to say that you are "done" because you have met some basic requirements. It sounds like maybe your DE school is not the most rigorous, so maybe see if there are any more challenging universities in your area that might allow for dual enrollment? Pursue some online coursework or coursera courses? Dive in with all of the cool stuff that is out there!

I think you are on the right track with the idea of going deeper in subjects, and if she finds the academics to be such a breeze that she is left with lots of extra time, then have her really come up with some serious passion projects/targeted volunteer work (in her area of interest)/competitions on the side. I think it should be easy to find valuable ways to fill her time that will have the end result of making her an ever-more interesting version of herself and give her plenty of experiences in life that she can pull from when she writes her essays. Take a look at some of the top-tier college admissions essays and get an idea about the kinds of things she'll need to be talking about and have meaningful experiences in. 

It's really a fun time, and I am sure that you can find lots of unique opportunities for a driven student to have an amazing high school experience. Good luck!

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I wouldn't worry about test scores since you have time for them to go up. Similarly, I wouldn't worry about DE taken in middle school beijg inferior to AP because it's middle school. The only reason it's on the high school transcript at all is that it is a college course. 

 

I do suggest doing the ACT or SAT each year. We skipped it the first couple of years, and the result was that my kid ended up applying to colleges with 8th grade scores due to COVID, because there hadn't BEEN any test dates in Spring of 2020. We managed to sneak in an SAT in October, finally, but it was literally a case of having scores sent directly and praying they were enough to qualify for the scholarship bump that required scores by Dec 1. And, after all that, the biggest packages came from schools which had been test optional pre-COVID, and which, while their averages are high overall, put the biggest weight on essays and interviews, or to subprograms where the test score was simply a bar to clear, not actually the deciding factor. 

 

We did custom courses where appropriate. We have been very fortunate in that we have had amazing mentors and support. And I can say that when there have been direct comments made, it is about that custom stuff and projects, not anything about coursework or test scores.  My BK14 is volunteering in a vet's office, cleaning kennels and learning to do lab work, etc-and I really suspect that when time comes for her to apply, that will be what gets discussed, just like L's Herpetology work and teaching outreach has been. 

 

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@UmmIbrahimShe will only have skipped one grade at all by the time we are done. I think my brain being all over the place is confusing people on this point and maybe some others. But I completely agree.  

Thank you for your encouragement to really dive into her passion and find something she can do to highlight/leverage her dance passion and proficiency. I will look into this. 

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Yes, I'm still confused.  What grade is she in?  My best guess based on what you posted was that in 8th grade she scored a 31 and DE and grade skipped 9th (bc she is a 9th grader by age) and is a 10th grader?? But then you mentioned her taking the PSAT the next 2 yrs which then makes it sound like she is a 9th grader and next yr is 10th grade.  While you can ask NM to consider a 10th grade score if you decide to grade skip 11th (up to them as to whether or not they agree to), you can't ask them to change a score taken 11th grade to 10th. So, if you are possibly reconsidering this is 9th grade, definitely make sure that she takes the PSAT next yr as a 10th grader.  

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2 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

Yes, I'm still confused.  What grade is she in?  My best guess based on what you posted was that in 8th grade she scored a 31 and DE and grade skipped 9th (bc she is a 9th grader by age) and is a 10th grader?? But then you mentioned her taking the PSAT the next 2 yrs which then makes it sound like she is a 9th grader and next yr is 10th grade.  While you can ask NM to consider a 10th grade score if you decide to grade skip 11th (up to them as to whether or not they agree to), you can't ask them to change a score taken 11th grade to 10th. So, if you are possibly reconsidering this is 9th grade, definitely make sure that she takes the PSAT next yr as a 10th grader.  

Funny, this exactly what we have struggled with over here, and it IS convoluted. 

Right now, I am calling her a 9th grader. She took some college classes last year, and her math/science/foreign language were all high school level so can be counted toward high school. We can't count the history, english, etc she took last year unless we call her last year's school 9th, effectively skipping 8th grade. Since that pigeon holes us some, we are just calling her a 9th grader for now, and we will just graduate her her Junior year if we decide to go that route. I now know that credits issued won't be an issue for graduation (she will have plenty). 

So, to clarify, we are calling her a freshman, but she may not need all four years at home. Calling her a freshman allows her to make that choice later. Does that make sense? She just turned 15 and will be a sophomore next year. I'll have her take the PSAT then and then again her Junior year, regardless of graduation date. She will also take the ACT at least once a year. 

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6 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

I don't want to derail the OP's thread, but I wanted to jump in here and make a quick comment.  Grad school apps are not quite like UG apps.  I spoke with ds and confirmed since I wasn't involved in his grad school apps.  (Math is slightly different than physics.  I'd ask @plansrme about math grad apps.)  If your ds is applying for physics, the key components are going to be UG research (on-campus and REU experiences), LOR, GPA/coursework, and PGRE score.  (You'll read conflicting information online about the PGRE, but everywhere ds applied required it and looking at grad cafe the yr he applied, it definitely looked like it mattered.   This is from 2019, so it might help clarify, but look for more upto date information. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19UhYToXOPZkZ3CM469ru3Uwk4584CmzZyAVVwQJJcyc/edit?fbclid=IwAR1wP_FRrK_rEyWXAvXoPWxHRbUOlHS9vVRq114Wa4zmn0q3ez4cMmvjNHk#gid=0 

Astrobites has a lot of good info in general; here are a couple https://astrobites.org/2014/08/28/applying-to-grad-school-in-the-us-a-timeline/ 

I skimmed through this one http://astrophysics.physics.fsu.edu/documents/currie_grad_school_advice.pdf  He said volunteer work mattered a lot.  Ds had some key things he did (he formed a group that reached out to alumni to offer mentoring to students as upper classmen) and a couple of other things, but really, UG research is what made his application so strong.  (well, that and coursework since he was able to take so many additional courses.)

Thank you so much 8, for taking the time to tell me all this! I need all the help I can get to give little hints to my son.  🙂

He is very clear on the need for research.  He is currently working his a** off to try to get this paper published with CERN by the summer. The need for the outreach is because of the NSF Graduate Fellowship that he is going for. He must write separately about 4 things: his and his research's intellectual merit and his and his research's broader impacts. The Broader impacts section is where they seem to require my son to have demonstrated that he is committed to outreach to the public.  I'm going to start another thread so I don't derail this one, and type up what the application requires and see how you guys would interpret it. 

ETA: made a new thread on the college board

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3 hours ago, booksandwool said:

I have a question about Henle Latin. Should I start another thread, or can someone answer here for me? I want to know how many years it takes to finish Henle First Year. I have read conflicting information on that. 

It can be done by most students in two academic years. I have known accelerated students who homeschooled year-round and did most of it in a year and a half.

Bonnie

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I wanted to thank everyone so much for your help and direction. I have a plan in place and now just need to follow up with some scheduling/organizing. Your ideas were very helpful, and we have taken them to heart. We discussed not graduating early, Latin exploration, and I contacted TeenPact last week. Thanks again - I really appreciate it. 

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