Here is an academically-oriented four-year plan for homeschooling through high school, with an emphasis on preparing for life after high school. It’s excerpted from Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High School Paperwork, which is, of course, my favorite resource for keeping high school records;-).
This is an academically-oriented plan, with an emphasis on looking forward and preparing for life after high school. Even if your student isn’t planning to go to college, it can’t hurt to have the basics in place, just in case his or her plans change, as they did in our family.
One of our boys is in an HVAC apprenticeship, and didn’t plan to go to college at all and wasn’t so sure he needed all the academic stuff. However, after he graduated from high school, he started considering entrepreneurship for the future. He ended up earning a Business Management certificate, and is currently studying for his Associate’s degree in Business. Having the academic basics in place made it easy for him to make a quick post-high-school decision to start taking classes, and having a solid transcript ready to go made the whole process easy for me.
• 6 courses, 1 unit of each core subject (English, Mathematics, History, Science, Foreign Language, Arts/Physical Education/Electives)
• Read for pleasure as much as possible.
• Learn Greek and Latin roots for vocabulary.
• Establish solid study habits.
• Practice note taking skills.
• Begin developing test-taking skills (a PSAT skill book can be useful).
• Think about personal aptitudes and read up on career options.
• Same class balance as freshman year.
• Continue or develop extracurricular activities that fit interests.
• Schedule PSAT for the fall of junior year.
• Begin researching college, trade school, or apprenticeship options.
• Request info.
• Use test-prep books to get ready for the SAT or ACT.
• Take CLEP tests whenever ready.
• Begin classes at a community college, if desired.
• Six classes*
• Take the PSAT in the fall (optional, but there are benefits, such as qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship).
• Focus on time-management & study skills.
• Narrow down college and/or career options.
• Spring: Take SAT/ACT and visit colleges or alternatives.
• May/June: Apply to two or more colleges, tech schools, or apprenticeship programs.
• Six classes*
• Scholarship search/essays/applications.
• Take SAT Subject Exams, AP, CLEP exams.
• Retake SAT I or ACT if desired.
• Continue good study habits and extracurricular activities.
*Hands-on learning, college classes, entrepreneurship, or apprenticeship activities can fulfil some of the class requirements, so don’t feel that you have to have six traditional, text-book-based classes. Mix and match as needed!
Good planning and recordkeeping will help you and your student reach your goals (it’s hard to reach what you haven’t set, so goal-setting is a key part of the planning process). Take time to plan, then have monthly meetings with your student to determine whether you’re on track to succeed. If you work as a team, homechooling through high school can be a tremendous blessing!
Janice Campbell is the graduated homeschool mom of four sons, and the author of Transcripts Made Easy, Get a Jump Start on College, the Excellence in Literature curriculum for grades 8-12, and other homeschool resources. Be sure to visit her website, Everyday-Education.com, to get a free writing evaluation rubric and sign up for her free e-newsletter.