Thursday, March 26, 2009

But What About Prom? Homeschooling through High School

It's amazing to me that prom is one of the first things people think about when the topic of homeschooling high school is discussed.

I went to public high school and I didn't go to prom. Know what? I survived.

Other things that come up often in these discussions of what a homeschooled child will miss in high school? Sports, letter jackets, class rings, yearbooks. Do ANY of these things have the least relevance to the actual purpose of school? An education is, of course, what I mean.

If education is mentioned, it's usually in the context of "how will you (the homeschool mom) ever teach chemistry?"

So, many people give up before homeschool high school ever begins. But for me, those social events are not important enough to change our goals as a family. And there are ways around the seeming inability to teach an advanced subject.

Last night, I joined a gathering of homeschool parents sharing ideas about homeschooling through high school. My son David will be entering ninth grade in the fall, so this is a very relevant topic for me. So much information was shared that we decided to make this the first of a series of meetings on the subject. I'll attempt here to give a brief overview of the discussion.

The speaker, Connie, is a local woman who has 2 daughters in college and one son still being homeschooled for high school. She began with a reminder to take our children's learning styles into consideration when designing their course of study. Something else important is to pray for wisdom and for God to remove any fear regarding the issue. She gave us a long list of things to do, such as set goals, keep good records, help students become self-learners, and many more.

Many options are available to homeschooled highschoolers beyond the typical mom-teaching model - pre-packaged curriculum, online academies, community college, private tutors, courses on DVD, co-ops, and more. Don't forget to use Dad as a resource also. And yes, you can learn along with your student, but the most important thing to remember is that you are teaching your child HOW to learn.

Take time to plan out your child's course of study before high school begins. Outline the classes before making any purchases. Stay organized. Connie showed us a binder she had kept for one of her daughters. Every time she received anything to do with her education, she put it in the binder in a page protector - letters thanking the girl for volunteer work, newspaper clippings, transcripts from classes, certificates from outside organizations, etc...

Recordkeeping is essential. Write everything down. Keep up with your grading and gradebook.Eleventh grade is a time for college applications, so you'll need complete records then. Don't wait for senior year. Start out right and things will go smoothly.Remember to keep track of ALL extracurricular activities. Colleges want well-rounded students.

We talked a lot about testing - MME/ACT, SAT, AP, CLEP, Iowa, Stanford - but I am not going to go into that here, at least not now. Those things change a lot, and some things are state-specific. Others vary according to what college you want to enter. The best recommendation about testing is to check with the colleges or trade schools your child is considering and find out THEIR desires regarding test scores, as well as other attributes they are looking for in applicants. Also remember that some tests can be taken more than once for a better score.

Transcripts are important. You will create your own. There is software available for this, but you can use a form you create or modify. It should be ONE PAGE. Put the GPA (grade point average) on it. List the classes your child took and the credits earned. Have the transcript notarized. (usually free at your bank)

The meeting lasted about two hours and there were lots of questions. We plan to have more meetings delving into different areas of this huge topic, so stay tuned for more information! I'm sure I've forgotten some of the most important information, so go check out the handouts.

Hand Outs passed out at the meeting:
MI Dept of Education New High School Grad Requirements (Class of 2011), 2 pages
Connie's great notes (4 pages)
A No Nonsense Conversation (2 pages),
Resources: Web Sites and Books for Homeschooling Through High School (1 page),
Sample Transcripts & Report Card:
1 Sample Transcript:
1 Sample Report Card:
Excel Spreadsheet Transcripts - plug in the numbers & it will calculate for you!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Lisa...for taking the time to post this. I will be linking it on my blog.


~Byn There said...

Great info for any parent with a high schooler. Keep good records of all the activities their children are involved in. Thanks for all you do Lisa!

Luke said...

I went to Prom... three times. It never changed my life [smile].

Homeschooling is absolutely a viable option for high school.