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Join us at our upcoming speaking engagements:
June 22-23, 2018: OCEANetwork (OR)—Carol Becker
July 12-14, 2018: AFHE (Phoenix, AZ)—Diane Kummer (Diane is speaking during the pre-conference and conference)
Questions about Testing for Teens?
What tests should you consider for your teen? “Taming the Testing Jungle” untangles college entrance tests, career interest tests, and achievement tests. Learn when to take the tests, how to register, and which tests make sense for your teen. For more details check out these additional links:
Homeschool Testing Services (HTS) offers HSLDA members special pricing on the Stanford 10 (on-site, at home, or online) and the Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP, on-site).
Our e-books will help you homeschool through high school with confidence!
Develop a Plan for High School is the first in Carol and Diane’s Homeschool through High School with Confidence series. Learn how to choose courses, assign high school credits, evaluate course work, and improve time management for you and your high school student.
Simplify Your Recordkeeping and Transcript is the second in Carol and Diane's e-book series. This in-depth e-book helps you streamline the recordkeeping process and produce a professional transcript you’ll be proud to present to college admissions officers, employers, and military recruiters.
Not able to attend one of Carol or Diane’s high school events? HSLDA’s recorded event High School at Home: Turning Possibility into Reality features sessions on developing a high school plan, creating transcripts, charting a course for post-high school plans, and more—with lots of encouragement! Purchase it at the HSLDA Store.
Your Teen’s High School Plan: An Opportunity to Customize
|Dear Friends,||March 1, 2018|
When consulting with parents who are homeschooling through high school (or about to start), we often hear them express confusion because of the many voices offering different advice about which courses to include in a teen’s high school plan. We want to turn your confusion into excitement by helping you discover how to customize your teen’s high school program. (Please note: Some resource links in this newsletter may require an HSLDA member login.)
We encourage you to take time to plan and prepare for high school. HSLDA’s Homeschooling Thru High School website offers resources covering many aspects of high school at home. For a general overview of homeschooling high school, consider viewing these short videos, which provide details and accompanying resource lists on testing, extracurricular activities, electives, career guidance, transcripts, developing a high school plan, grading, recordkeeping, and credit evaluation.
After learning the basics, the next steps include becoming familiar with your state’s homeschool law, sample four-year plans, and resources. These steps will give you clarity as you choose courses to include in your teen’s personalized high school plan.
Become familiar with your state’s homeschool law
Your state’s homeschool law may dictate subject areas you are required to teach. Be sure to include these subjects in the courses your teen completes before graduation.
You can read a summary of your state’s homeschool law by visiting this page and selecting your state. If you are an HSLDA member, you can then use the navigation pane to the right of the summary to retrieve a detailed legal analysis of your state law. The analysis explains the following important information:
- Homeschool filing options—Some states offer several options for filing as a homeschool, with different paperwork and teaching requirements. Other states provide for only one way to legally homeschool.
- Compulsory attendance ages—This section lists the ages when schooling is required.
- Required days of instruction—Not all states mandate required hours or days of instruction; however, in states that do, parents should formulate a method to record compliance.
- Required subjects—Certain states have detailed subject and credit requirements, so knowing these will help parents plan for graduation. Some states simply list required subjects but no credit requirements. Parents must keep records to document compliance with these requirements. Some states list neither required subjects nor required credits and give families much flexibility to determine what courses their teens will complete to graduate high school.
- Teacher requirements—This section lists educational requirements for parents or other adults teaching a family’s children.
- Standardized testing—This section details any standardized testing requirements, portfolio assessments, or other end-of-year requirements.
We encourage members to contact HSLDA’s legal department if you have any questions about your state’s legal requirements or choosing an option for your family’s specific situation.
Some parents mistakenly think that homeschooled students must comply with public school graduation requirements. Parents actually have much leeway to determine the courses their teens will complete in order to graduate. If you feel it may be helpful, you can reference your state’s public high school graduation requirements when deciding the courses your teen completes. You can find public school graduation requirements on your state department of education’s website. If you choose an option that allows you to homeschool under the auspices of an umbrella organization, church group, or correspondence school, make sure you understand its graduation requirements for your teen.
Consider sample four-year plans
Deciding which courses your teen should complete prior to graduation is best understood once you have determined your teen’s post–high school goals. “A Guide to Homeschooling through High School” gives guidance (not requirements) for three possible high school tracks. These sample plans can help you determine what courses will give your teen a well-rounded education and prepare him or her for life after graduation.
- General high school plan—for students entering the workforce, the military, vocational (including tech or trade) schools, or apprenticeship programs
- Average or strong college prep plan—for students entering community colleges or applying to most four-year colleges and universities
- Rigorous college prep plan—for students applying to selective or prestigious colleges and universities
The general high school plan typically includes 5–5.5 credits per year (50–55 in California, 25–27.5 in New Jersey, and 10–11 in Indiana and Idaho). The average or strong college prep plan typically includes 6–7 high school credits each year (60–70 in California, 30–32.5 in New Jersey, and 12–14 in Indiana and Idaho). In most of the United States, the core academic courses (English, math, history, science, and foreign language) are each 1 credit (10 in California, 5 in New Jersey, and 2 in Indiana and Idaho) and generally take a year to complete. Once you have decided on the core academic courses to offer, fill in the rest of your teen’s plan with elective courses, which can build upon your teen’s hobbies and interests.
The general high school plan gives parents the most flexibility in choosing courses for their teens. For instance, a student might choose to complete three years of math consisting of General Math 1, General Math 2, and Business Math. Another student might take General Math, Pre-algebra, and Algebra 1; whereas a third student might take Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. All three students may take three years of math, but the level of the math courses depends on each student’s skill and post-graduation goals. The same principle holds for English, history (social studies), and science courses. This gives you flexibility to chart a four-year plan that best suits your teen.
The average or strong college prep plan suggests courses that prepare students for most four-year colleges. The strong college prep plan requires more credits than the average college prep plan and also includes more advanced courses. The rigorous college prep plan emphasizes academic courses in 11th and 12th grades with the addition of dual-enrollment and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
Many college-bound teens follow the average college prep plan through 9th and 10th grades. At the end of 10th grade, help your teen to narrow the list of colleges and universities to which he or she plans to apply. Then encourage your teen to check the admission websites of those schools to understand freshman undergraduate admission requirements (for students applying to attend a four-year school directly after graduation) or transfer student admission requirements (for students attending community college first). Then you will have time to add any needed courses into your teen’s high school plan during 11th and 12th grades to meet these requirements and to prepare your teen for his or her intended major(s). The more you know about a destination college—the final four-year institution where your student will complete a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree—the better you can navigate the college search and application process.
In states that offer state scholarships, research the specific high school courses and credits required for eligibility. Apprenticeship programs, trade schools, and other opportunities may either stipulate certain courses or recommend that students take certain courses. It is important to research all opportunities ahead of time to know requirements.
Armed with all this information, you can fill in a four-year plan that guides your teen towards graduation. With the plan in place, you will be able to concentrate on one year at a time without worrying that you have missed something. Each year, you can tweak the plan as your student’s post–high school goals become more apparent. For more information on this process, consider purchasing our e-book Develop a High School Plan. Also, remember that HSLDA members can call us for free assistance in developing your teen’s four-year high school plan for college, workforce, or military.
Know where to find resources
Once you have a game plan, there are many resources to help you determine whether you will teach a course at home or if you will need to find an outside instructor to teach it. “The Pros and Cons of Different Course Options” provides helpful tips and resources for sorting through the possibilities. Other useful resources as you design your teen’s high school plan include:
- Homeschooling Thru High School website
- Homeschooling Thru High School newsletters
- Teaching English
- Teaching math
- Teaching science
- Teaching social studies / history
- Teaching foreign language
- Teaching electives
Your teen is one of a kind, and you will tailor his or her high school plan to match strengths and interests with future goals. Remember that your course options may change as your teen progresses through high school and refines his or her post–high school plans.
The four years of high school speed by, and sooner than anticipated, the big graduation day will be here! Next month, we’ll share ideas for celebrating this milestone in your teen’s life.
Encouraging you to customize your teen’s high school plan,
Carol Becker and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants