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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How do I plan for high school?!

Homeschooling elementary age children is a huge decision. Many of us couldn't imagine teaching someone to read when we started out. But homeschool a high schooler?! No way I'm up to that task!!

When I talk with folks about homeschooling a teenager, two concerns seem to rise to the surface. The first is a perceived inability to teach such hefty subjects as Chemistry and Geometry. The second is a fear of planning and keeping records that will satisfy a future college.

While the first may be "easily" satisfied with all the on-line and computer-based science and math products available, the second seems to be more intimidating. I'd like to offer a couple of thoughts that might make it less so.

For any high school course of study, it is very helpful to create a syllabus. This is as simple as establishing your expectations for your student. Here are a couple of examples ...

AMERICAN HISTORY (Junior Year)
  • Read daily assignments from Core text
  • Maintain a Word document of answers to all questions based on reading assignments
  • Complete one research paper on an individual of your choosing from your American History studies (Length = 2-5 pages dbl spaced, complete bibliography with no fewer than three sources)
Satisfactory completion of these requirements will result in a passing grade.

AMERICAN LITERATURE (Junior Year)
  • Choose 10 titles from the provided book list
  • Complete the associated writing assignment for each literature piece
Satisfactory completion of these requirements will result in a passing grade.

Much like a college course, a syllabus provides a clear understanding between instructor and student as to what is needed to receive a passing grade. Creating a written copy of a syllabus for each course for your student's high school folder/portfolio presents a clear picture of your child's education. It also becomes easy source material for creating your high school transcript.

My final thought is simply this ... yes, *you* are qualified to create the syllabus for each high school course your student undertakes. You are the teacher ... you know your student's abilities ... and you are best able to set reasonable goals for your child's education. A syllabus goes a long way toward removing any subjectivity in the high school record keeping process. If your student completes the expectations outlined in the syllabus to *your* satisfaction, then a 4.0 or A or A+ is automatically entered on their transcript.

Trust your instincts ... just as you were the best one to teach your child to read, you are also the best one to guide that child through the high school process!

~Judy

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