This year marks my third student entering high school. (Side note…time passes too quickly!)
Each student of mine has had very different goals, which has made planning their high school years a bit different. Rebecca wanted to go to cosmetology school, which meant she did not need the foreign language or higher level math credits. Thomas decided to end his high school career a bit early and is taking the GED test in January, which made his high school planning very different. Natalie wants to go to college and plans to take as many dual enrollment courses at our local college as possible. Mary…well, she’s in 5th grade, so I have a few years before I need to make her plans. 😉
The first place I started with planning the high school years was my state’s diploma requirement page. We live in Tennessee, so I visited Tennessee.gov.
There, I found that this is the current graduation requirement list of credits:
Total Credits: 22
Math: 4 credits – Including Algebra I, II, Geometry and a fourth higher level math course
English: 4 credits
Science: 3 credits – Including Biology, Chemistry or Physics, and a third lab course
Social Studies: 3 credits
Physical Education and Wellness: 1.5 credits
Personal Finance: 0.5 credits
Foreign Language: 2 credits
Fine Arts: 1 credit – May be waived for students not going to a University to expand and enhance the elective focus
Elective Focus: 3 credits – Math and Science, Career and Technical Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)
I found some great printables, as always, at Donna Young.org. I also utilized my CRS (Church-related school, our “cover” school here in TN), which is HomeLife Academy. They also offer some great planning tools and information. Don’t overlook your CRS or equivalent “cover” if you have one. They are there to help you succeed in this homeschool journey.
Once you have the list of requirements, it’s easy to break those down into yearly plans. I find that my children are much more gung-ho for extra credits (and have more time to devote to them) in the early high school years. I tend to add more credits to the 9th and 10th grades than to the 11th and 12th ones. Getting some of those electives out of the way in the earlier high school years gives me a feeling of being ahead of the game. It also is time to help my children establish good study habits, while knowing that if we miss the mark for a certain subject this semester, we do have more to go. If we wait until the later high school years, that time is slipping away so quickly, it’s hard to make up anything we may be lacking.
I highly encourage you to talk with your children as they enter their 8th grade year. Find out what interests them, where they see themselves in the future. This will, of course, change over time, but give you a starting point to go on.
Much changes in the student’s life during the high school years. They are reaching an age of maturity that brings with it many new challenges, feelings, and thoughts. Trying to pin down exactly what they do to do with “the rest of their life” can be difficult. Exploring all of their options with them gives them a sense of control in a somewhat confusing time.
Dual enrollment is an excellent way to gain both high school and college credits during these busy high school years. Graduating high school with several college credits already in place gives your child a leg up. They have also earned those credits at a reduced cost, which is a tremendous help. Be sure to explore this option! Even if your child is not college-bound, dual enrollment opportunities exist. My children have the option of attending TN Tech Center as a dual enrolled student. They can learn a trade while completing high school, at no cost. What a huge benefit this is to our children!
Don’t let homeschooling the high school years scare you. You’ve been teaching them for how many years? High school is no different. If you are scared of Algebra or Biology, seek out a different curriculum or hire a tutor. The options are really limitless. You can do this!
Here are some other sites to help you get started:
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