Thursday, February 06, 2014

Planning for High School

I am a second generation homeschooler.  My very brave parents pulled me out of the Public School while I was in the 10th grade and I graduated in a homeschool setting.  Back then, homeschooling was practically unheard of and barely legal.  I now have a son who is just finishing his 11th grade year and twins who are finishing their 7th grade year.  I have seen both sides of homeschooling during high school. First, as a student and now as a parent educator and I am here to tell you that you will survive.  As both as the student and now the parent, I can tell that you that it can be successful, enjoyable and properly prepare your student for the next stage in life and whatever God has for them.

II  Why Homeschool During High School?

The temptation is to homeschool during the younger years and then put them into a more traditional school setting during high school because high school can seem so daunting.  It matters now because I need to have a transcript and each class needs to be credit worthy.  I know when my oldest was in 7th grade I went to the convention and went to every class on preparing for high school.  It was funny because I started noticing that there was a small herd of us that seemed to be going to all the same classes.  Finally, I asked the person next to me what grades their child was in and the whole room of us realized that we were all parents of students that were going into 7th or 8th grade and we were petrified of making a mistake when it counted.  Now 5 years later, I can tell you that it was a good idea to prepare then but I didn't need to have so much fear.  My son is thriving in his homeschool environment.  There are some definite benefits to homeschooling during high school.

In high school you finally reap the benefits of all those other years of homeschooling.  I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into my kids and the high school years are when you start to see the benefits.

Better Academics - Just as in the younger years, in high school we can tailor a child's education.  We can meet them where they are and that will show in their test scores.  They are also more likely to attend college.  Statiscally, 76% of homeschool students had taken college courses verses 46% of the same age group of 18 - 24 years olds.

In 1999 Stanford University accepted 27% of homeschooled applicants which was twice the acceptance rate of publicly and privately schooled students.

MIT states on their webpage that, " they have a long history of admitting homeschooled students and these students are successful and vibrant members of our community."

Studies show that in in testing, homeschooled students score significant higher than either their public or private schooled peers.

Biblically Strong - The ability to mentor and disciple our children.  After high school graduation, homeschooled students are statistically shown to internalize the values and beliefs of their parents.

The Ability to help your child find and develop their passions." How to be a High School Superstar" and "Do Hard Things and Start Here".  Changed our homeschool and allowed Connor to follow his passions.

III Structuring High School

Work from high school graduation backwards.
Spend some time with your teen dreaming and talking about their dreams and plans for life after high school.  We need to be realistic but we also need to make sure we are planning for whatever plans God has planned for our kids.  For instance, a good friend of mine has a brother who struggled severely with dyslexia but her parents never gave up on him and although he was public schooled they continually worked with him and now he has a PHD in Molecular Biology.  They never gave up on him and worked with him so that he could follow his dreams.

Start planning by finding out what your child needs to get into college.  Yes, I think you should plan on your child going to college.  Far better to be over prepared than under prepared.

So, for instance, if my child is going to be a STEM major, they need 4 years years of math and preferably, Calculus. Working backwards looks like this:

Stem Majors need 4 years, preferably Calculus.
12th - Calculus
11th- Trig and Pre- Calc
10th- Geometry
9th - Alg 2
8th - Alg 1
7th - Pre- Algebra

By working from what they need in College, you can easily figure out what courses they need in high school.

Carnegie Credit
Per its original definition, the Carnegie Unit is 120 hours of class or contact time with an instructor over the course of a year at the secondary (American high school) level. Strictly speaking, this breaks down into a single one-hour meeting, on each of five days per week for a total of 24 weeks per year. However, knowing that classes usually meet for 50 minutes yields a value of 30 weeks per year. A semester (one-half of a full year) earns 1/2 a Carnegie Unit.[1]

To graduate most students need between 20 - 22 credits

To have a General College Prep High school students need 24- 28 credit

For a Rigorous College Prep High School students should have 26 - 30 credits

***For a good breakdown on this you can goto the HSLDA website to print out their brochure on Homeschooling Through High School

Now that we are 3/4 of the way through high school with Connor, I can say with all certainty that it was one of our best decisions.  He has learned and grown so much and we have been able to be there to mentor and disciple him while learning alongside him.  He has done and accomplished so much more than we ever dreamed or planned.  God has used him in awesome ways while he was still protected from things he wasn't ready for.  We are excited to see what God has for him next.  We are also excited to homeschool the twins through high school.  I am already deep in planning for them.

All of this to say, don't give up now.  You can do all things through Christ, including homeschool high school.  It will be hard but oh so worth it!


1 comment:

  1. Jennifer Guzik6:27 AM

    Hi Dawn! We met several years ago at the ND homeschool convention when you were a speaker there. I worked the MFW booth with you. :-) Thanks so much for your post about high school. My oldest is in 7th grade this year, and I am starting to work on a plan for her high school years. Your post is very encouraging! Thanks for sharing it!


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