High school credits? Ugh! That’s an instant homeschool parent stressor. Whether you’re a homeschooling veteran or just getting started, understanding how high school credits work for a homeschool transcript can be a daunting, but necessary task. This is especially true for those who are preparing to apply to higher education, as universities look closely at transcripts to assess a student’s academic achievements. Knowing this, it’s important to be aware of how credit accumulation is determined in a homeschool setting.
By the end, you’ll understand how to correctly award credits, so you can take the steps necessary to create an effective transcript that accurately reflects your student’s academic achievements.
By Lisa Nehring of True North Homeschool Acadamy and It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool
Will Homeschooling Ruin My Kids? What are the unbelievable risks of homeschooling your kids? It’s a question that gets asked by many new homeschoolers.
I like definitions, so let’s start there.
To ruin means to destroy or cause to disintegrate.
And since I’m assuming you are not a violent criminal posing as a homeschooler, let’s just take that off the table. So, the short answer is, “No,” you won’t ruin your kids by homeschooling them.
But even beyond that, homeschooling can have countless positive benefits.
For one thing, the individualized attention your child receives and the ability to tailor the curriculum to fit their interests and learning styles is unmatched. Add to that the flexibility of homeschooling, and you’ve got a recipe for success that would be hard to replicate in any other setting.
Plus, homeschooling creates opportunities to learn in any setting. You can take field trips and visit museums and libraries with greater frequency. You can also customize the entire learning experience to suit the way your child learns best. This allows kids to receive the education they need while simultaneously investing in their emotional and social development.
So, no, homeschooling won’t ruin your kids – on the contrary, it could very well open up a world of learning experiences that they may not have been able to access while in a conventional school setting.
You will mold and shape them. And like all human interaction, it could go one of three ways.
Combo of really well and poorly
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but homeschooling is just a method of intentional education and parenting. It’s not a perfect method, it’s not foolproof or failsafe. We are imperfect, passionate people who are raising imperfect, passionate people, so the room for wild success and failure is vast.
But, like many things, there are things that you can do to ensure a more positive than negative outcome.
The key is to be intentional in creating a learning plan that’s specific to your child’s needs, interests, and goals.
Take the time to delve into how your child learns best and how to apply those principles in day-to-day education. Additionally, it’s important to find a balance between educational elements and self-care, such as rest, relaxation, and recreation.
Finally, remember to be patient and flexible — like with most things in parenting, there will be missteps, but with a supportive and intentional environment, there will be many more successes.
You can choose an educational pedagogy that has been successful throughout the ages- not all education is created equal.
You can choose quality literature, movies, and music – the old Sunday School song that admonishes, “Be Careful little eyes what you see, etc.” is so appropriate for child-rearing.
You can choose to study- really study and wrestle and run after- your faith with your children.
You can pray.
You can partner with other like-minded people going in the same direction educationally and in life. True North, baby.
Will Homeschooling Ruin My Kids? I hear you, still asking and wondering!
But look. Even if you do all the “right” things -whatever that means- like you never get sick, discouraged, have financial difficulties or in-laws who undermine you or a bad hair day- your kids and you might will make mistakes, be oppositional or go in the wrong direction. Maybe just slightly off track and maybe so off base, you wonder if either one of you will survive.
Us Mommas have a tough time with these kids living their own lives.
They are our hearts, walking around outside of our bodies, and we love them so. And when they suffer, we suffer. And homeschooling allows us to get to know each other really well, our strengths and our weaknesses, our joys, and our sufferings.
And maybe that all sounds discouraging, but it’s just messy. Because people are messy. Your kids need an education. Who better to provide that education than their loving parents? It’s Biblical.
It’s the way of the wealthy, educated elite: providing private, individualized instruction. And you have an investment in your kids in a way no one else will.
Maybe you are not as equipped as you feel that you need to be, but honestly, that is easy to remedy by the following:
Find a great educational pedagogy and the resources YOUR family needs to succeed*
Find a tribe of like-minded travelers*
Do the work homeschooling requires
Have FUN and enjoy the fabulous journey that homeschooling can provide you and your precious children
Will homeschooling ruin your kids? The short easy answer is No.
Will Homeschooling Ruin My Kids? The more complex, realistic answer is you will struggle, work, cry, and experience joy. It is worth it.
A Typical Course of Study can help you develop a strong plan for homeschooling Junior High School. It can define your purpose in what can feel like an academic no-man’s land! Students are no longer children but are definitely not yet the young adults they will be in high school.
Their bodies are changing rapidly, and they can’t keep up with themselves, preferring to sleep and eat over many other options. Some people want to skip the Jr. High years, pretending it’s all a bad dream. But these years, though challenging, can be rich academically and set the tone for future high school and adult success!
How Do Tests Help?
Jr. High is typically the time when undiagnosed learning disabilities or processing disorders come to the fore, and getting a good standardized test done now, as a benchmark of a student’s ability by grade level, can be really helpful. If you suspect a disability or processing disorder, check out resources such as our Advising. Help is available, though you may have to search for tools. SPED Advising (like ours at True North Homeschool Academy) can save you hours, thousands of dollars, and tears of frustration!
If your student is weak in any of the basics, such as English or Maths, you will want to shore those weaknesses up; particularly reading comprehension and speed and Math literacy, including being strong in the four math functions- addition and subtraction, multiplication, and division.
What to Focus on in Junior High
a typical course of study for Jr High School will focus on the Core 4 subjects and then add in Electives and Extra-curricular activities.
Jr. High is typically 7th and 8th grade. You’ll want to focus on the Core Four and build from there:
English – make sure your student has the mechanics of writing down. Can they write simple sentences, a paragraph, and a three-paragraph paper on an assigned topic? Students should be able to write a clear, well-organized simple essay by the end of the 8th. They should understand basic grammar and spelling and build their vocabulary through more difficult reading.
Math – Solidify their knowledge of math functions, particularly multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percentages. Students should begin moving into pre-Algebra/Algebra at the end of Jr High.
Science – Students should have a basic foundation in nature studies. Jr. High Science will give them a broad overview of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, Earth & Space, Physical Science, and an introduction to Lab Reports. They should know the Scientific Method.
History- students should have a broad sweeping overview of History, with details about the Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and the Modern World and an understanding of U.S. History. A basic timeline is a great idea. Be certain they have a basic understanding of Geography.
Electives and Extra-curriculars
Foreign Language: Jr. High is a great time to introduce a Foreign language if you haven’t already! Latin is a perfect language to start with. It will solidify English grammar basics, build English vocabulary (15000 English words are Latin derivatives), and give them a fun code to crack. Latin also has many moving parts, so it is a good critical thinking skill as your teen learns executive functioning skills. Spanish, Chinese, German, French, and Hebrew are also great ways to hone skills, and students can earn High School Credit while still in Jr. High!
Logic: Face it, most tweens live to argue and are not very good at it. Teach them logic and reveal that they’ll be able to recognize fallacies and form logical arguments. Good writers are good thinkers, which will hone their English skills; math is symbolic logic, which will hone their math skills. Informal Logic is a perfect study for developing tween brains.
Physical Education: ½ credit each year. Regular exercise will help regulate your teen’s emotions, energy to argue, and food intake. Check out our fun Dance at the Movies course, where students will gain skills, earn PE credits and learn to appreciate the beauty of dance.
Music: A general overview of music, including Music Theory, voice, or instrument lessons, will enrich their homeschool program (and their lives!).
Art/Humanities: Give them a general understanding of Form and Color, Photography, Photoshop, etc.
Bible/Apologetics: Students should have a solid overview of the Old and New Testaments and a foundation of Apologetics; an understanding of how to defend their faith.
Computer: Basic Computer Information Systems, Powerpoint, Video Editing, Internet Safety, and Accountability; I highly recommend parents read Glow Kids and make informed decisions about what their students can access via phones and the internet!
Health- This should include general hygiene and safety, including managing and handling their phones/ internet usage.
Electivesfor Jr High should be diverse and introduce students to various opportunities and challenges. In Jr. High, students are moving from experience to interest to strategy if their interest is something that they want to pursue and have a clear drive to invest in.
Community Service is a great way to get Tweens to think beyond themselves and understand and support others’ needs.
Books: Of course, reading great literature will expand your student’s horizons, build their vocabulary and help them empathize with others.
Want to know more about credits, transcripts, and standardized tests?
It’s a great time to homeschool, and the options for Jr. High School Homeschooling are better than ever! Check out our live online dynamic, interactive classes taught within an international community by world-class teachers! Students interact and work together- we believe excellent education occurs within a community!
What do you do with an undecided homeschool student?
Many use the terms work, job, career, and vocation interchangeably. While it’s true that each involves working and a wage, having a career and vocation means more than just a paycheck. They describe a type of work where your passion, purpose, skills, and the marketplace collide. In the words of theologian Frederick Buechner, “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.”
While some students seem destined for a particular vocation at an early age, it is common for today’s students to near high school graduation without a plan. Parents can encourage informed early-career-direction decisions. It starts with helping teens identify who God made them be, supporting them as they explore occupations, and finally, helping them develop goals and create an action plan. By partnering with and encouraging them in this important decision, they can graduate high school with a vision for their future.
Help an Undecided Student Build Identity
Nothing is more foundational than being rooted in Christ. Assisting teens in forging strong, positive identities is one way to help them form true convictions and stand firm in them regardless of what everyone else does. Google “Who I am in Christ.” Print and review as a family. Emphasize that work is part of God’s plan and that He designed them for a purpose.
Be generous with your praise, affirming skills, and natural abilities you have observed.
Ask questions that help identify likes and dislikes and what is important: What kinds of interactions energize you or drain you? Do you like to work with facts and data, or prefer people-oriented activities? Are your decisions objective and logic-based, or are your decisions based on how they may impact others? Do you like to discuss your ideas, or do you prefer time alone to make decisions?
Encourage busy teens to enjoy downtime, strengthening their creativity and problem-solving skills. Schedule time to pursue hobbies and to invest in electives, sports, and other team activities that build skills and reveal interests.
Explore Career Options for the Undecided Homeschool Student
A better motto than “You can be anything you want to be” is “Be all you can be!”
Researching careers online will help teens better understand occupational profiles that match their interests and personalities. Set a goal for how many careers to research. Information should include primary duties, the education or skills needed for working in that field, the work environment, and the median wage. Discuss the findings. Check out CareerOneStop.org.
Utilizing a career assessment tool at age 16 may further identify vocations that match God-given interests. Informal assessments are readily available on the web.
These are self-interpreted and can lack reliability, so they are best used to generate discussion. Fee-based or formal assessments are more comprehensive and statistically validated. A trained career counselor can interpret the results to identify best-fit careers and college options. Look for a comprehensive assessment that covers the four components of vocational design: personality, interests, skills and abilities, and values. Check out CareerDirect.org.
Good Career Planning
Good career planning includes building curiosity and excitement toward participating in the marketplace. Use your networks to introduce people in occupations that interest them and match their vocational design. Thinking about a career sector rather than a specific occupation will generate a bigger list of options that match their interests. Encourage them to prepare a list of questions by Googling “informational interview.” Practice interview skills to improve their confidence level.
Take advantage of the flexible schedule of homeschooling. Facilitate opportunities to learn outside of the classroom through part-time work, volunteering, and job shadowing. This will help confirm interests and build a resume with skills that employers value.
Set Goals and Take Action with Your Undecided Student
By integrating the gathered information and identifying the education, training, and skills needed for the career sectors, plans and goals can be determined. Don’t worry about choosing one specific occupation at this stage. Goals can be categorized into five pathways: four-year STEM-related college degree; four-year liberal arts college degree; two-year vocational degree or certificate; apprenticeship training, military, or workforce; and gap year or travel.
Teens with a healthy and productive level of parental guidance and support have a much better chance of making good college and career choices. Here are some questions: Which post-secondary institutions offer the programs needed? What is the cost for completion? How will it be funded? Can affordable or free college credits be earned in high school? What are the prerequisites or admission requirements? What courses should be completed during high school? Besides education, what experiences or skills would be valued? Together, you can develop a plan for high school, aligning them to support post-graduation goals.
Many students are more motivated when they have a defined purpose and set personal goals. Those who write down their goals are 50% more likely to achieve them. Work to break down their goals into specific, manageable tasks with timelines for completion. Change is constant, so capitalize on preparations for success after high school, no matter their choice.
Cheri Frame is a homeschool parent of three graduates, a certified Career Direct® Consultant, and the author of Credits Before College: A Comprehensive High School to Graduation Guide. She advises parents and students on how to earn affordable college credits in high school, choose a career, and graduate college debt free. Cheri and her husband live in suburban Minneapolis.
As the world of Homeschooling has expanded and options have increased and become more focused, it’s a great time to be homeschooling.
Frankly, the options for High School Homeschooling are better than ever! As the world of homeschooling has expanded and the unknowns of the next school year loom, parents of high schoolers are wondering how to plan for what’s ahead. A basic understanding of a typical course of study can be a simple and helpful guide to planning the future, even when that future seems uncertain!
Focus on the Core 4 in High School
You should focus on the Core 4 high school subjects and then add electives and extra-curricular ones. Some of this will depend on what type of transcript you are creating and where your students plan to land after high school. Vocational programs, college or university, ivy league or conservatory, or the Military all warrant focusing on different aspects of your student’s learning program.
I will link to classes we offer here at True North Homeschool Academy since we try to create classes with a typical course of study plan for each age group. Still, you should choose the curriculum or classes that work best for your family. It’s always awesome if you decide that means our online classes, but we want this blog article to help you make an amazing transcript for your high schooler, even if TNHA classes don’t fit your plan.
Typical Course of Study: High School
Let’s start by looking at high school as a four-year program. This will give us a long-view approach and help us determine what classes make sense within our subject areas. I’ll list each subject and then a common 4-year course of study. You are going to want to focus on the Core Four and go from there:
Art/Humanities – a general understanding of Form and Color, Photography, Photoshop, etc.
Bible/Apologetics Studies – should include a general overview of the Old and New Testament, Church History, and Apologetics. Every educated person was expected to have a general understanding of the Bible and could easily reference books and passages. Take time to read and discuss the Bible together and memorize Scripture. Awanas and the Bible Bee are excellent programs to commit the Bible to memory.
Basic Computer Information Systems – Powerpoint, Video Editing, Internet Safety, and Accountability.
Health – should include general health information, introduction to addictions, cybersecurity and addictions, ages and stages, and reproductive health.
Typical Course of Study electives can vary and be wildly diverse. Think about students’ areas of interest and what’s available to them. Many students delve deeply into a subject area that piques their interest, like art, drama, music, electronics, etc. And don’t forget to provide a robust reading list for your high school students, including short stories, novels, plays, and poems.
High School is also a time to explore new areas of interest so take some time to seek out and expose your student to activities and unique experiences.
Include Community Service in Your Homeschool
A typical course of study for your high school should also include Community Service– I would recommend 15 hours a year or more. It’s tricky with Covid, but you can always write letters to service men and women and collect coats or food for the local coat drive or food pantry. You might have to get creative, but high schoolers typically are creative.
Please teach your students about internet safety and how to protect themselves from addictions, pornography, and perpetrators. Teach them how to manage social media and how to be accountable. Getting snared in addiction at a young age can have devastating implications for them. I highly recommend Glow Kids for every parent and young adult.
Testing Options and More
ACT Test Prep can save you thousands of dollars in Scholarship earned, National Latin Exam looks great on a transcript, and our Performance Series test is a straightforward way to assess where your student is at and helps them gain confidence with standardized tests.
Want to know more about credits, transcripts, and standardized tests to ensure your high school student is getting a typical course of study? Survive Homeschooling High School is a comprehensive eBook that will walk you through how to plan and prepare for high school. Suppose you have a good handle on your high school plan but want help with the logistics of a transcript or assigning credits. In that case, you may want to check out our Academic Advising- we offer Academic Advising, SPED Advising for nontraditional learners, and NCAA Advising for those looking to compete for an NCAA position.
It’s a great time to homeschool, and the options for High School Homeschooling are better than ever! Check out our live online dynamic, interactive classes taught within an international community by world-class teachers! Students interact and work together- we believe excellent education occurs within a community!
Money Saving Bundles
And, in case you didn’t know, we offer Bundles for terrific savings.
We hope you have found our quick guide to a typical course of study for high school helpful. We invite you to join our Facebook group to let us know and to chat with other homeschool parents about credits, transcripts, curriculum, and everything homeschool.
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It’s fall and the weather is crisp and glorious and perfect for a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Why not use this opportunity to teach your teens how to plan an event?
Event planning is a great way to build your teens’ executive functioning skills as it requires creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. These executive functioning skills are tools that will benefit themselves and others as they learn and grow.
While some kids will have natural abilities with these life skills, others will need to be shown a basic structure and be reminded more than once of how to put it into practice.
Event Planning is Easy When Using This Basic Structure
Name of Event:
Follow Up Activities
Supporting books, films & YouTube Videos
Adding Goals Keeps Field Trips Focused
I also like to add in Goals for field trips. Goals can be as simple as, “have fun” and “fellowship” or more academic such as “to grow in our understanding of world politics”. Goals help keep us focused and can help us understand how much of an investment we want to make in terms of both time and money.
Extend the Learning With Follow-up Activities
Additionally, follow-up activities are a great way to extend the learning and fun! Again, simplicity can rule- – carve the pumpkin and roast the seeds; or simple events can turn into larger events- invite friends over for a fall potluck and bonfire!
Supporting books, films, and YouTube videos can preface the event, or be add-ons after the initial event, to extend learning opportunities.
Example of a Simple Plan Using the Basic Structure
Name of Event: Visit to the local Pumpkin Patch
Who Family and friends from co-op
What Trip to the local Pumpkin Patch
When October 2021
Where You Pick Pumpkin Patch; 45 min from home. Need water bottles, simple snacks, and shoes.
How Much $5 car, $10 for corn maze, $4 pumpkin, $4 Caramel apples, and $5 Gallons of cider- $45-50, not including gas.
Examples of Follow-up Activities:
Decorate your pumpkins: carve, paint, or permanent marker, depending on age.
Create a pumpkin vase for fall flowers
Roast pumpkin seeds (recipe below)
Roast pumpkin and make homemade pumpkin soup or pumpkin bread
Scoop seeds from pumpkin and clean well. Boil the seeds for 10 minutes; then toast them in the oven at 350 for approximately 20 min (watch so that they don’t burn).
For savory seeds, toss with a few teaspoons of garlic and rosemary, curry powder, or cilantro lime seasoning.
For a sweet and salty snack, dust with a pumpkin spice blend or cinnamon and sugar!
Pumpkin Spice Latte for Momma
Prep Time: 5 minutes, serving Size: 2
2 cups milk
1 cup very strong coffee (4 tablespoons coffee grounds to 1 cup of hot water)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-4 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus extra for dusting)
2 heaping spoonfuls of pumpkin
Pour all of the ingredients into a pot and heat over medium-high heat until the coffee is steaming hot. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream & cinnamon. Enjoy!
Event Planning Helps Your Teen & You!
Helping your teen grow their event planning muscles will help them handle projects that require multiple steps and follow through on the tasks assigned to them. It also develops soft skills that are so necessary for them to navigate in today’s world.
And while they are learning, they are helping you. It is important to enrich your family with fun activities that build memories but it can be time-consuming. It may take a couple of times overseeing what your teen is doing, but before you know it, you will be able to provide them with the resources and support they need and let them take some planning off your plate!