Homeschooling During the High School Years
Are you considering homeschooling through high school, but you feel you have several reasons why you shouldn't? The two reasons we most hear from homeschool moms are, "I am not up to the task!" or, "My student needs a diploma and transcripts. With the myriad of resources available today, you are up to the task, and you can provide your student with a diploma and transcripts that major universities will accept. These four years of high school are the most rewarding of all the homeschool years. After laboring with your children through the grammar school years, you see the fruit of your labor in the high school years.
Quick Tips to Homeschooling Through the High School Years
It is important to realize that credits begin accruing in ninth grade. The good news is that many resources are available to guide you in planning and career counseling. The first decision to make is whether your student is college bound or considering vocational training. Preparing college bound students will require more preparation and organization. While not everyone will go to college, it is often best to train and prepare your students for college, just in case they decide in eleventh or twelfth grade that they do want to go to college. Here are some important steps to take for college bound students.
- Prepare a four-year high school plan. This four-year plan will become your student's transcript. Copy off a sample from the internet several times and rough out your student's high school career. Don't worry if you make adjustments as you go through the years.
- Create a portfolio of your student's work. Write a course outline and description for each course taken. Find these out in the textbooks themselves, or write your own for self-designed courses. Course outlines can be taken directly from the Table of Contents. Descriptions should include the following: Course Title, Description, Objectives, Activities Included, Textbooks, and Methods of Evaluation. Often it is best to write these after student has completed the course to provide a description of what actually happened.
- Begin preparing the transcript. Write it on a computer or in a format that you can clean up for final presentation. To learn how to prepare a transcript go to www.hslda.org and click on Preparing for College. Also find answers at Transcript Pro www.homeschooltranscripts.com. Also visit www.donnayoung.org and click on Becoming Organized. Then click on Homeschool Forms. Under Planners, templates and calendars, go to High School Forms. From there you'll find High School Transcripts and from there one final click should get you to One Page Basic Transcript Sample...whew!
- Plan to have your student take the PSAT, SAT and ACT tests. Sophomores are eligible to take PSAT for practice. Take it as a Junior to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. Register at www.collegeboard.com. Begin taking College Board exams in the spring of the Junior or fall of the Senior year. Register for the SAT at www.collegeboard.com. Register for the ACT at www.ACT.org. (ACT compass test is not to be confused with the ACT.)
- Think twice about taking the GED. Many experts recommend that college bound students not take the GED exam, because it has always been the test for high school dropouts, and it carries a stigma. David Calihan, author of Home School Guidance Counselor says the following, "So when I say I don't recommend the GED, it's not because I think it's subservient. It's because the system says it's subservient."
- Consider having your student take CLEP Tests. CLEP tests are 90-minute tests, administered by the College Board. They cost $65 and, if passed, the student earns both high school and college credit. Check www.collegeboard.org.
- Begin preparing financially for college. Visit www.finaid.org, www.fastweb.com, www.fastaid.com. Help your children discover their interests by reading the book Do What You Are, by Paul D. Tieger.
- Contact admissions representatives from colleges. Request a copy of admission applications. Many may be found online. Mark in your calendar application deadlines for each university.
- Obtain letters of recommendation. Many colleges and universities want letters of recommendation. These can be obtained from leaders of Boy Scout Troops, political work with our legislators, employers, coaches, etc.
- Get involved with outside groups and activities for high schoolers. Organizations to check out are: Generation Joshua, Capstone, Congressional Award.
- Join HSLDA. Become familiar with this excellent website. Almost any home school question can be answered at www.hslda.org.