Tuesday, January 07, 2014

#Homeschool Step- By Step #2

Have a Jr High or High School student that you'll be homeschooling? Read on (this won't really pertain to grades below 6 or 7).

Jr High:
Some areas consider this grades 5-8, others 6-8 and still others only grades 7-8. As a homeschooling parent, it's really up to you and your child(ren).

Even though the school my children attended this year considered 5-8 Jr High, for my purposes, it will be only 7 and 8. However, it works fine as my middle two will be in seventh and eighth grade when we start this fall. (NOTE: after Christmas break they'll be back on full homeschool. There are pluses and minuses to both and we've determined, as a family, they belong home for the best education.)

Now, the big thing is to remember to introduce at least one elective your child(ren) will enjoy. For example: The did electives on Friday's only, in the afternoons, at the current school. They were allowed to pick (first come first serve) two electives per semester....one each quarter.

My son picked: Art and Small Animals the first semester and Art and Spanish the second semester.

My daughter picked: Quilting and Art the first semester and Quilting and Health the second semester.

To be fair, it's a small school and only a handful of items are options there. I'd love to expand that for them this coming year. 

High School:
Of course, this is always grades 9-12. However, the big thing with high school is that you have to work with credits, in some format, to accurately keep records for your child(ren)'s future. (It's also a grea tand simple reference so that you can plan from it as well.) In many states, you have to have so many hours per subject in order to earn 1 credit. Keep in mind, hours put in can include:
book study
educational films on topic
field trips
hands on practice
reading books on the topic

Don't forget electives. I know we're often so focused on core requirements, that we forget special interest. Besides, almost everyone in public high school graduates with credits over the minimum number required. I see no harm in homeschool students doing the same. 

Back to the credits -- The standard, no matter your state, that I seem to come up with no matter where I look, is 120-180 hours per credit. Why such a huge range? Well, it's topic dependent. Electives could be on the lower 120 hours, lab sciences would be closer to the 180 hour mark. A course, such as English or History, that will go on through the entire year, should average about 150 hours per credit. In the end, it is up to you. But be certain you're within your state guidelines and don't short change your child and his/her learning.There are times that less is more, I just don't feel education is one of them.

You'll also want to be certain they meet the standard credit requirements for your state. How terrible would it be to have a high school entrance counselor point out your child is short one math credit? Or one history credit? There's a 50 state information site that breaks down the "have to have" per state HERE. (You can view my state example below-- Mine does seem to get a little "sticky" as it seems they're changing final credit numbers. The current listing that was sent home from the high school is 24 required credits for graduation, where this lists 20 and some notes that change to 22 and other notes of potential further changes. So always be sure to read the fine print and when in doubt, contact your local boards.)

Also, in order to have a nice "line up" for the college applications, you'll want to carefully document all volunteer work, special hands on work done on anything that might relate to profession choice and so on.

You'll also want to start making connections that will stay with your older children. They'll need letters of recommendation for some colleges. While most will accept one from a parent when the student has been homeschooled, it's still nice to hear from those that aren't mom and dad.

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