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Please help me think through high school planning


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I'll be starting high school with my last child next fall. She's so different from her brother who I just graduated.  He had very specific interests and goals, didn't care about his social life, was exposed to many things through Scouts, and found his place among some unique people and groups. I have three big concerns about homeschooling DD through high school:

1. I need to help her find friends and social activities. There are very few high school aged homeschoolers in my area, so co-ops aren't helpful and it's hard to find homeschool classes for that age group. She loves to dance and loves her dance studio, but every time she starts to make a friend there, they quit or just disappear or something. It's so weird. She'll tell me about someone she's starting to become friends with and then they just stop coming to class and someone will say they quit to do something else or went to another studio or moved and she wasn't quite to the point of getting contact info. She goes to youth group, but there's almost no girls her age!  Most of the high school social scene is centered around the public high schools. It's enough of a problem that most homeschoolers here end up putting older kids into school and I've considered encouraging her to try some school sport or activity just so she can meet people. She craves friends and social activities and, with her being the only child left at home, I think it's going to be a problem.

2. She doesn't have a clue what she might want to do someday or what she might want to study in college. I know this isn't uncommon and gives us lots of room to explore. Maybe I just got spoiled by DS who had a specific direction. I want to expose her to things that might spark an interest, but I'm not sure where to start. Not knowing a direction makes it hard to plan what high school should look like for her. Do you have any recommendations for college or career planning or interest tests?

3. I think I made a mistake with DS by not giving him more opportunites for advanced/honors/AP/DE classes. He worked really hard, but it doesn't come across on his transcript because most classes were done at home and listed as regular classes and that put him at a disadvantage when competing for what he really wants to do. I don't want to make that mistake with DD, but I can't afford to outsource to good quality courses or AP classes. I'll either need to make home courses honors and back it up with CLEP or AP tests or start dual enrollment earlier and hope the state gives her credit hours. Is there anything I'm missing on showing the level of work she's doing if classes are done at home?

 

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19 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

or start dual enrollment earlier and hope the state gives her credit hours. 

 

DE credits for the next school year were announced a few weeks ago and they are much more generous than they have been in the past.  Parents and students were very pleased when they saw how many hours they were awarded.

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On the social side I have no advice to offer. We feel very much isolated.

 

On the academic side, APs are a good way to show standardized rigor if DE is too expensive. I would start out by a couple of easier APs that might be interesting to her. AP Human Geo, AP Environmental Science, AP Psychology come to mind. And you don't really need classes. You can design your own courses between reading, videos, and available prep and attempt exams on you own. 

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Posted (edited)

The "last kid at home" need for social outlets is real!

We drive an hour to 2 of dd's activities. Fortunately we've been able to line them up on the same evening. It's been a game changer. She still thinks she might want to leave for college at 17, but has enough to make peace with being home until she's 18 if needed.

Our local homeschool teen activities seem to revolve around one or two specific things that not everyone is in. I was at our local homeschool graduation a couple of weeks ago, and those kids just seem much less connected than any previous group.

+1 on starting with an easier AP if you want to go that route.

Edited by MamaSprout
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I don’t have any advice. In fact, I’m about to post a very similar thread. I wanted to pop in to say too bad we (very likely) aren’t local to each other. I have a serious dancer who would love more dance friends. She also my last at home and likely to graduate early. 

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Posted (edited)

I've got a girl who doesn't have any social prospects  (small, rural town & no activity like dance) plus the doesn't-know-what-to-do-in-life. It is weird to not have all her electives filled in already, honestly. Anyway, commiserating. Good luck!

ETA; I'm trying to at least give her some interesting classes. We're the ones doing Dectective/Crime/Mystery Fiction for Literature.

Edited by RootAnn
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14 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

3. I think I made a mistake with DS by not giving him more opportunites for advanced/honors/AP/DE classes. He worked really hard, but it doesn't come across on his transcript because most classes were done at home and listed as regular classes and that put him at a disadvantage when competing for what he really wants to do. I don't want to make that mistake with DD, but I can't afford to outsource to good quality courses or AP classes. I'll either need to make home courses honors and back it up with CLEP or AP tests or start dual enrollment earlier and hope the state gives her credit hours. Is there anything I'm missing on showing the level of work she's doing if classes are done at home?

My situation is exactly swapped - I've spent the last 2 years trying to push a Sisyphean boulder of a child up the high school mountain, and my younger one is the driven and college-bound one. I don't have advice to give, but I appreciate this insight you offered... demonstrating academic level hasn't even been on my radar screen so far, completion has been the goal! With the second kid I should really buckle down on this element, since she's got actual plans 😛 

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If the goal is to show rigor and open up college possibilities and/or merit aid and scholarships, then it doesn't really matter a ton if the college she eventually attends gives her credit for any dual enrollment courses or not. The goal of helping her open college doors will have been met. 

That said, there are ways to show rigor at home. I mean, if you're doing all honors level work, just label it all honors. Get your home AP courses approved. Choose one targeted outside class to spring for if you can. Or, specifically put in your school profile that you didn't label home based courses as honors because they all represent high level work - things like that contextualize their read of the work performed. Write up course descriptions, even if they're not requested, that show college textbooks or lots of depth or long book lists or whatever.

We used dual enrollment in large part because it gave ds a mental health boost to see that he could succeed in college and as a kid who has issues with test taking, it helped him do that one or two things to verify his education since he's applying test optional to most schools. That's not necessary for all kids... but it's also often really good for kids who have social needs that can't be met by a homeschool community.

 

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My kids have shown rigor wo any AP or DE classes.

I have been searching for activities for my 15 yod.  I'm not a FB person, but I have joined multiple groups for our area trying to connect to activities. I have found a couple she is going to try.

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