As homeschooling parents, we bear the responsibility of preparing our kids for life after school.
For some this means allowing them to attend high school for some or all of their last four years. For others, it means developing a plan for high school. I’m in the second group, and let me tell you, it is something that has caused me much stress and appointments with L’Oreal.
Well okay, L’Oreal and I already had a monthly standing appointment, but that is beside the point. This gray hair phenomenon has to be blamed on something, so I choose high school. 🙂
High school homeschooling has stressed me out just a bit.
Even among homeschoolers, it seems the focus for high schoolers is almost always college. What if a student isn’t college bound? I don’t want to set the bar too low, but I also can’t set it so high that he cannot attain it. It’s just high school! I had to come up with a plan, and that started with figuring out HOW to MAKE a plan. Like I said, just a tad little bit of stress here.
In Washington, we have the freedom to decide what our students learn, and how.
For elementary and middle school, this flexibility is wonderful. It allows us to follow our whims and interests.
Once you reach high school level, there are certain things that are expected. Our state has graduation requirements, and I think that is a good place to begin when forming a plan for high school.
The first thing I did was go to my local school district’s website and copy/pasted their graduation requirements into an Evernote. (Do you know Evernote? You should! This is my new favorite tool for well, EVERYTHING. And it is FREE.)
Just for reference, here are my state’s graduation credit requirements:
I added descriptions so that I would remember what types of courses fit into these requirements. Certain courses are non-negotiable, such as US History (which must include Constitution and Governent studies). Others are open, such as Science and Health.
Both of my daughters attended public schools for high school.
One thing that the school did each semester is have the students, in their advisory classes, to keep track of their credits on a credit worksheet. The worksheet contained each of the categories, with boxes to fill in with the credits they had taken for each. It is a good visual to keep them on track, and I decided that it would probably help D1 and I as well.
I created this in Evernote too, with simple tables to track his credits. I included the descriptions, so that I have everything in one place. (Evernote doesn’t allow me to zoom in to get a full screenshot- the only drawback I’ve found.)
The empty boxes are what he still needs to take to fill the requirements. I included possible courses (such as First Aid/CPR), but since I created this in Evernote, I can edit those courses at any time and change them if he doesn’t end up taking a particular class.
I didn’t think we did very well with 9th grade.
I was so concerned about his credits this year because I was focused on what he didn’t get finished this year. It all counts now! Physical Science and Geography just didn’t end up fitting into his daily schedule, and with his challenges, forcing the issue was counter-productive.
Looking at the entire year over all though, he earned a total of 7 credits, without the science or geography! This worksheet is helpful not only for me, because it set my mind at ease, but it is also helpful for my son.
I went over it with him, and we talked about how these are the things he is required to complete to graduate. It’s not a random assortment of things Momma pulls out of thin air, but actual state-required courses.
He’s starting to understand. He can SEE what he needs to check off the list. Lists and rules are what he thrives on, so this has been the best solution for us. I plan on using this worksheet later on to create his high school transcript.