07 July 2011

Planning high school classes

Maybe it's time to actually talk about school. Summer sure does seem to be winding down fast so it's time to get the plan finalized and books bought.  Some tips today on how to come up with a high school plan.  I take no credit for coming up with this idea, I got it from the Sonlight forums but it's really helped me focus and organize what Sweet Pea is going to be taking for her high school classes.

First thing you want to do is to take a look at the state graduation requirements.  Not that, as homeschoolers, we have to follow them but to give you a starting point of what you may want to include in your student's plan.  Also take a look at what colleges are looking for on a high school transcript.  To me this is much more important.  It doesn't matter is the kids in public school must take a semester of health.  While it's probably a good idea, if you teach that in daily living and a class in classical music is more important to getting into the college music program, teach the classical music.  So take a look at the entrance requirements of a few colleges your student is likely to think about going to.  You'll find that most colleges are pretty similar although there can be key differences.

Once you do that you can start with a basic plan for the next four years.  It'll probably look something like 4 years of English and math, 3 years of science and foreign language, 3 years of history/social studies, and a bunch of electives.  You may end up with more math, less history, and that's ok.  Just do this in pencil or on the computer so you can change it if you need to (hopefully before your student gets there!).

Having the general classes listed, you can then fill in the specific class.  For example, if you have 3 years of science, what science are you going to teach?  Are they going to be lab sciences?  Most colleges I've looked at are  wanting to see something like 3 years of science and 2 must be lab sciences.  Sweet Pea is going to do 4 years of science, earth science, biology, chemistry, and something else as yet to be decided.  Once you do that part, you can fill in what specific curriculum/books you're going to be using.  For earth science, we're going to be using parts of Apologia's General Science and Physical Science.

What I've done is make up a chart that lists in the first column the class (science), then the title (Earth Science) then in the last column what we're using.  For some, especially English or a foreign language, you may not have a specific title until you put it on the transcript. So my chart looks something like this:

9th grade
English                                 Sonlight LA
Science    earth science       Apologia Gen Sci/Physical Sci
French                                 Rosetta Stone French I
History     world history        Sonlight World History, Pt II
Bible                                    Sonlight Bible (core H)

I have done this for all four years, at least the first column.  Some of the older grades have specifics already penciled in, some don't.  All of it, except 9th grade is still subject to change.  Hopefully this will give you a good starting point to start thinking about what your student is going to be doing the next four years.

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