By the time you reach the high school years, you have some general ideas of how to plan them. Today, in sharing homeschooling high school, I’m giving you a few detailed pointers for curriculum, credits, and courses to steer you in the right direction.
3 POINTERS: HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM AND COURSES
First, look at 3 things I wished I would’ve known before I started.
One/ In the beginning, it’s not necessary to plan all four years.
It’s just not necessary because a lot will change. Your teen will mature and may change the direction of his education or career as he approaches adulthood. Give him some wiggle room.
Have a plan so you can give your teen goals, but analyze each year. Having a framework of courses is much better.
I appreciated reading How to Homeschool 9th and 10th Grades: Simple Steps for Starting Strong to help me stay focused on the start of high school.
Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School was a book I read early on.
After reading it, I designed a framework and understood that the three Rs are the foundation of any well-laid out high school course.
Look where I share the nitty gritty of that here in my post Homeschool High School The Must Cover Subjects Part 1 and Homeschool High School The Must Cover Subjects Part 2.
Two/ Also, I wished I would have used middle school to help my first high school teen explore more subjects he wanted to.
With my second high school son, I was prepared to let him explore more elective type courses in middle school and getting some of the basic math out of the way.
Middle school gives a budding teen time to explore subjects he is interested in. Take advantage of this time to have some fun.
Three/ Something else I didn’t learn until later was to explore more career options and not just focus on academics. After all, your kid is not attending college for life. It’s preparation for life and a career. (well hopefully).
Careers matter and high school is the time to explore careers.
Reading Career Exploration: for homeschool high school students and What Color Is Your Parachute? for Teens, Third Edition: Discover Yourself, Design Your Future, and Plan for Your Dream Job are two books that are real helpful for your teen to go through.
EXPLORING HIGH SCHOOL COURSES
Something else I didn’t appreciate with my first high school teen is the power to be flexible with courses and course descriptions.
I couldn’t think past simply putting English, Math or Science on my first transcript.
Looking back, I know when preparing transcripts that you want to follow some traditional guidelines and keep general course names on the transcript. So those general descriptions were correct.
However, I need to describe the courses specifically.
Just to illustrate, I put Performing Arts on my first two boys’ transcript.
My older two boys took ballroom dancing, but Performing Arts is the general description to put on the transcript.
I had to come up with a description of ballroom dancing.
I started by looking first at the website where my boys took lessons to give me an idea of how to word what they learned.
I put this:
This beginner course is an introduction to the fundamentals of basic dance. In each dance class, students will be expected to participate in warm-ups and learn the techniques of the Waltz and other traditional dances like the Mambo, Salsa and Swing. Along with learning choreography and dance history, this course culminates in a Spring concert performance.
It wasn’t bad for my first description, but like anything that is a first, it wasn’t exactly comprehensive or correct in a sense.
Since then, I learned that I needed to add my grading scale, what books we used, and how I was going to assign credit.
It’s harder to go back and add these things later, but not impossible.
The bottom line is to keep the course name on the transcript general and make your course descriptive detailed on a separate page to produce it if needed.
EASILY WRITING COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Arranging wording to describe your teen course takes practice, but look at these places to help you.
- An obvious place to is the website where you purchased the curriculum. I find the descriptions super helpful in my course descriptions.
- I also look at high school course names and descriptions on public school websites. I look for course descriptions similar to the courses that my sons will be doing. This usually gives me some wording
- Another place I’ve found descriptions in a nutshell is on Amazon. Amazon is great for giving book descriptions and with a few tweaks of adding how I assign credits and grades, a book description can easily turn course description.
- Too, when I didn’t feel like I got a good overview of a course because some descriptions lacked, I would glance at the table of contents to help me word the description of the course.
HIGH SCHOOL CREDIT CONUNDRUM
It can be overwhelming for even the most organized teen and parent when understanding credits, but I like to keep things simple.
It’s been my experience that some families assign a 30 minute class the equal of a 45 minute class because of the intensity of homeschooling and give the student one credit for a rigorous course like literature or math.
You decide how to gauge your credits and the work ethic of your student.
In addition, you decide to give credit if a curriculum is 70% or 80% complete. Some homeschoolers give credit if it’s 80% complete, others less.
Look at my detailed post here for Homeschool High School–How to Log Hours for High School. It gives a detailed explanation for credits.
Also, I have free forms and show you how to expand the use of a transcript here at my detailed post Homeschool High School Transcripts – Anything But Typical.
You and I know that there is no one right to plan high school. But breaking high school down into manageable chunks keeps the process from being overwhelming.
Begin with a framework of the three Rs in high school, fold in accurate course descriptions as you can, be flexible, keep reading about how to grade and assign credit.
Before you know it, you’ll be a pro for your child – which is what really matters.
You will also love my other tips I have for homeschooling high school below:
- When Your High Schooler Tests Below Grade Level
- Homeschoolers Who Want More Than College
- 9th Grade Homeschool High School – Avoid the Sock It to Them Attitude
Hugs and love ya. You got this!