I don’t know about you but I saw my high school guidance counselor a total of 3 times during high school when she signed off on the classes I was going to take. But, in public (or private) school, most students are following a typical lock step method of education, and the classes are in place for whatever track the student happens to be on, vocational or college bound based on test and performance scores. Easy peasy for the guidance counselor. Plus, they don’t have parental investment in the kids or hopes and dreams for their future.
With homeschooling, as we’ve said so many times before, you have so much freedom. Freedom to choose what to study and when, and to personalize as little or as much as you want to. Like I point out in my workshop What a Homeschooling Parent Actually Does, being a Guidance Counselor is one of the roles of the Homeschooling Parent. And what a great role it can be with some simple parameters.
Crafting a Personalized Learning Plan can be so helpful. It’s like a map that you can follow to the letter or take fun little detours from, but regardless of it still keeps you on track. A Personalized Learning Plan can provide a clear path toward academic achievement and personal growth.
Start with the End in Mind
Where do you see your kids going post high school? You know them best and you have great ideas about what they are capable of, the cost of many things, including vocational and college training and also what it takes to support certain lifestyles. Start talking with your kids while their young about the lifestyle that they want and how they’ll pay for it.
Set Clear Goals and Objectives
Before diving into the nitty-gritty details of planning, take some time to establish clear goals and objectives for your child’s high school years. Consider academic aspirations, personal interests, and potential post-secondary paths. Are there specific subjects your child wants to excel in? Are they considering college, vocational training, or other career paths? Defining these goals will serve as the foundation for creating a tailored plan. Consider serious hobbies or areas of interest as well. How important are they to current and future plans, what will it take to support those interests?
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Understand Graduation Requirements
Research the educational and graduation requirements for your state. This includes necessary credits in subjects like mathematics, science, English, social studies, and electives.
Plan a Four-Year Program
Divide the high school years into four academic years, each focusing on a balanced curriculum that aligns with your child’s goals. Incorporate core subjects, such as mathematics, science, English, and History, and include elective courses that cater to your child’s interests. Also consider subjects like computer science, foreign languages, Art and Music, Bible, Career Exploration and Entrepreneurship. And look, just because you plan a 4 year program, doesn’t mean it has to be accomplished in 4 years. I’ve worked with students who have finished high school as young as 13 and as old as 21. So, again, you have freedom to work with your kids and your lifestyle.
Plan by Year
Using a Typical Course of Study as a guide, plan by year, taking into account any prerequisites or sequential learning paths. Be sure to include Middle School Courses that are high school level hours and rigor and don’t forget to include CLEP, DE, Honors and AP courses if you choose to go that route.
Include Extracurricular Activities High school isn’t just about academics. Factor in extracurricular activities such as church, sports, arts, community service, and clubs. These activities play a crucial role in personal development, building social skills, and enhancing college applications.
Take Advantage of Amazing Opportunities
Each family, locale and season presents unique opportunities. Be flexible enough in your schedule that you can take advantage of them as they pop up! And remember, parents, YOU are your kids very best resource. Include them in your hobbies, activities, business, dreams and big ideas! You never know where they’ll lead!
Keep Your Student Involved in the Process
Involve your child in the planning process. Their input is valuable as they’ll be more engaged when they have a say in their education. Discuss their interests, strengths, and preferences to tailor the plan to their needs. Again, talk to them about the kind of lifestyle they want and how they’ll support that. Help them understand that how they’ll support that lifestyle goes beyond money and can include social, familial, spiritual, physical and mental resources!
Monitor Progress and Adjust as Needed
Review your high school plan and schedule to monitor progress. Are your student’s goals being met? Is the schedule realistic and manageable? Make adjustments as necessary, considering any changes in goals, interests, or circumstances.
Foster a Love for Learning
While planning is crucial, remember that fostering a love for learning is paramount. Incorporate projects, hands-on activities, and real-world applications to keep your child engaged and excited about their education.
Embrace Flexibility and Growth
As your child progresses through high school, they may discover new interests, strengths, and passions. Embrace flexibility in your plan to accommodate these changes. The high school journey is a time of growth and self-discovery, and your plan should reflect that evolution.
Crafting a high school plan is a collaborative and dynamic process. It requires careful consideration of your child’s goals, a well-structured curriculum, and a flexible approach. With dedication, open communication, and a commitment to fostering a love for learning, you can craft a high school experience that equips your child for a great high school experience and future success!