Many families may feel anxious about homeschooling their children throughout high school due to uncertainty about whether or not it could affect their chances of securing a college spot and difficulty in selecting the right curriculum. Despite being difficult, homeschooling at the high school level can be an incredibly rewarding experience for a parent who is well-prepared. By digging deep and offering an education focused on college preparation, the experience can be incredibly beneficial for the child.
Let’s begin with what the majority of universities look for on a transcript. A transcript is a record that outlines all the classes your child has taken, along with the score they earned in each and the number of credits they have obtained. A Program of Studies typically lists course title, an overview, and the number of credits for each course. Every high school has its own unique way of calculating grades, which can range from numeric to alphabetical and from weighted to unweighted. No matter what formula you use to assess your child’s performance, ensure you use it consistently and make sure to specify the grading system you used in the transcript.
Insider tip : Colleges don’t care about weighted courses. Public schools give a heavier significance to honors and AP courses so as to make parents happy. Universities convert all grades to a 4.0 system. They understand that Advanced Placement courses are more challenging, which will have a positive effect on “strength of schedule,” meaning that your child has completed challenging classes.
How does all this translate to homeschooling? Initially, you must guarantee that your kid is taking the essential courses needed to be accepted to college. The main classes are English, mathematics, science, social studies, and global/foreign languages. Typically pupils attending public schools must complete three years of science, mathematics and social studies curriculums; four years of English instruction; and one or two years of a foreign language. The general guideline to gain admission to a college is to take 4 years of standard courses, excluding world/foreign languages, which can vary in amount of time needed. These foundational courses are generally labeled as educational programs, and, amazingly, colleges add up academic credits annually.
An Example of A Core Course for “Freshman” Year
When your kid starts their freshman year of school, it is recommended that they learn about a variety of topics in the core subject areas, as well as any other classes of their choice. You do not need to take part in or enroll in a standard class. This could indicate that the student has read a specific genre of literature, such as fantasy, and has done some inventive and analytical writing related to those books. This is great. You should keep a reading list and other written or created artifacts (for your portfolio – more on that in a later article) and begin to write up your program of studies entry, which might look something like this:
This course is worth five credits and covers both backgrounds for literature as well as 19th Century American Literature.
This course looks into the beginnings of written works, with particular focus on mythology and the Bible’s Old and New Testaments. Gaining insight into the impact of these literary works on Western literature can be achieved through comparing them and examining them through critical writing. In the 19th Century, American Literature experienced numerous shifts in the way poetry, novels, short stories, and essays were written. Significant authors from this period include Emerson and Thoreau. As the US made the transition from a farming to a manufacturing country in the 1800s, the writing style of its literature also evolved. In-depth examination of fiction, particularly short stories, will focus on the works of Thoreau, Whitman, Hawthorne, and Melville. At least two major papers are required.
You can include a selection of books to read in relation to this subject, as well as the details of any papers that have been written about it. The title of the course, the amount of credits, and the letter grade will be listed on your transcript. Every state requires a particular amount of credits in order to be eligible for graduation. In New Jersey it’s 120 credits. The specific number of credits assigned to classes differs between school districts and individual educational institutions. In my state, for example, some educational institutions offer five credits for a whole year course, whereas other places give ten credits. Identify what the minimum credit requirement is for graduating in your location to determine how many credits your kid requires. Examine how your local high school handles it, which could provide a useful reference point. The high school website typically contains all the details. Just be consistent on how you assign credits.
You can count any form of hands-on experience related to science, math, and other fields as internships. This includes any projects undertaken, studying abroad, or even family trips. Be sure to include samples of your work in your portfolio, coming up with clear names and descriptions for each project along with the related credits for your course of study. Here’s an example. Your family takes a trip to England. Before the journey, your child gets ready by not only learning about British history, but also taking the time to read classic British literature. Here’s what an entry might look like:
What Should Core Courses Cover?
The fundamental classes should indicate a development from the first year of college to the last.
If you were to refer to English classes using the standard terms, these would be labelled as English 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. For every category, you would have a description of what your kid learned, the reading material they encountered, and the written assignments they completed.
Colleges typically expect prospective students to demonstrate capabilities in mathematics beyond Algebra 2. If your kid had already taken Algebra 1 in junior high, then it would look like this: In ninth grade they would be studying Geometry, 10th grade would be devoted to Algebra 2, eleventh grade would involve either Trigonometry or Precalculus, and during their senior year they could take Calculus. The significance of this sequence is that students should be familiar with mathematics related to trigonometry prior to taking their ACT or SAT in the spring of their junior year. The ACT will examine topics such as pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, and trigonometry. The SAT has been revamped to include more complex mathematics, like trigonometry, with a special emphasis on algebraic skills like linear equations, functions, and inequalities, problem-solving and data analysis abilities like ratios, percentages, graphs, and frequencies, and higher-level mathematics such as quadratic or exponential functions and geometry.
It is strongly advised that your child studies the topics of biology, chemistry, and physics from the field of science. These are key. To obtain a fourth year of scientific study, determine what area of science is of the most interest for your child. There are a seemingly endless number of study options when it comes to science, such as astronomy, biochemistry, bioethics, quantum physics, human anatomy and physiology, toxicology and pharmacology. Your local community college is an ideal location for searching for more advanced scientific courses.
Pupils ought to have a class which focuses on global history, another one concerning American history, and other topics of interest like sociology, anthropology, political science or economics.
World/Foreign Languages: It’s best to stick to one language. Try to have 3-4 years in one language. The language you choose is up to you. Colleges don’t have a preference.
How Can I Verify My Child’s Work?
Although anything can give your child knowledge, universities want evidence that they were able to take lessons from a reliable external source. It is suggested that in junior high school – or even prior, if a student is prepared – they should participate in college-level classes dealing with fundamental subject matters. She can also learn these subjects online at EDX.org or Coursera.org , both of which make available internet-based college courses, a few in real time and some which are previously recorded. The school boasts high-profile educators from various colleges instructing a wide range of topics. You can receive a certification of completion for the course if you pay a small charge and pass the final exam. Both virtual and local community college programs are of superior caliber educationally and can help you economize substantially in the long term, as it is sometimes feasible to transfer community college credits to other schools.
There is also the “Advanced Placement” (AP) option. College credits can be acquired at some universities by taking courses offered at a high school level. College Board verifies the material and provides an AP class exam that you can take to show you have a thorough understanding. If your child gets a grade between 3 and 5 on the AP (Advanced Placement) exam, universities often award them course credit or the ability to skip a class in the future. It is not essential to complete an AP course before taking the exam; however, it could be tricky to find a school that allows someone to sit for the test without being registered there. You can look online and find vendors that give Advanced Placement courses, but to take the test, you have to sign up at the high school where you are from or the nearby schools. Try your local high school first.
5 Mistakes Parents & Homeschool Students Make When Planning For College
Typically, words such as economical, productive, and successful are not connected with college. But they can effectively describe your student’s college journey.
Let us take a glance at a few errors and suppositions which you and your learner can steer clear of as you transition from homeschooling to college.
1. Expecting to Go into Debt for College
There is an immense amount of money, reaching up to $1.7 trillion, that is due in the form of student loan debt in the United States, making college debt look unavoidable.
Nevertheless, your pupil has many choices to get money for their university training without accumulating a huge sum of financial obligation.
Private universities often provide generous merit-based scholarships, which can amount to fifty percent reductions in tuition expenses, to applicants who achieve strong academic performance.
Your child can also seek out private awards to help cover the expense of their college education.
Every year, certain scholarships go unused because there are not enough people applying for them.
Other ways to avoid getting buried in student loans include:
- Enrolling at a local college while still in high school for a reduced price (known as Dual Enrollment)
- Taking advantage of lower cost community college for the first two years
- Testing for college credit (like CLEP tests)
- Finding on-campus job opportunities
- Enrolling in ROTC in exchange for tuition assistance
2. Expecting College to Train You for Your Career
Parents err when they anticipate their scholar will have all the necessary skills to immediately begin the profession they want upon graduating college.
Apart from schools specifically tailored towards providing vocational education, a regular college degree won’t automatically lead to a chosen profession for your offspring.
Instead, it serves as a foundation for the future.
In many scenarios, attending college is more focused on increasing knowledge and understanding than providing job-specific skills.
3. Thinking You’ll Figure Out What You Want to Do in College
Some students go to college without having a specific objective in mind.
They believe that they will determine which degree program is appropriate for them simply by being enrolled in school.
Having an unchecked approach to your college education is acceptable only if you have countless money and eternity. Even then, I wouldn’t necessarily call it “good.”
It is possible for your student to begin with one concept and shift their focus when they are presented with alternative options.
Nonetheless, if your adolescent does not have an understanding of why they are attending university and what they are hoping to study, it can be beneficial for them to decide that before signing up.
Do not be embarrassed to spend time creating a plan for your future.
4. Failing to Prepare for the Battle of Worldviews
As a homeschooling parent, you have had the opportunity to mold the outlook your student has concerning the world.
It could very likely be the prime cause why you started homeschooling.
You’ve curated experiences and trained your children well. You have provided them with a foundation that is rooted in Biblical values and principles.
Regardless of the kind of college your child goes to, whether it be secular or faith-based, it’s guaranteed that there will be other people both in the student body and the staff who have different beliefs than them.
Get your kids ready beforehand so it will be simpler for them to remain strong and maintain what they recognize is correct.
5. Not Taking Advantage of Dual Credit
Taking courses at a college while still attending high school is known as dual credit.
Your child can meet their high school criteria by taking a university course while getting college credit simultaneously.
It’s an excellent and seldom used method to get your kid ready for college classes, finish some core requirements, and make an excellent impression on college applications.
It may even save you money.