High School: The Basics
- Thursday, March 16, 2000
In the home school it is not necessary to specifically differentiate ninth grade from tenth, or tenth from twelfth for that matter, except as necessary in relating to the rest of the world (Sunday school, etc). Rather, be sure that courses follow in logical progression (do not start Advanced Math before Algebra I).
A minimum outline of college preparatory work will look like this:
English - 4 credits (Must include Composition and Literature; Recommended to include Research, and Public Speaking)
Social Studies - 4 credits (Must include World History, U.S. History; Recommended to include Government or Civics, and Economics)
Mathematics - 2 credits (Must include Algebra I and II, or Algebra I and Geometry; Recommended to include additional 2 credits in Trigonometry and Advanced Math.)
Science - 2 credits (Must include Physical Science and Biology; Recommended to include additional 2 credits in Chemistry and Physics with labs-see discussion below)
Fine or Practical Arts - 1 credit (Music, Visual Arts, Home Economics, etc.)
Physical Education/Health - 4 credits
Foreign Language - 2 credits
Electives - 1 credit
One credit in high school is traditionally accepted to be one year of a subject working forty minutes per day for 180 days (or 120 hours), plus homework. In the home school, students do not waste the huge amount of time that is wasted in the classroom, so the same amount of work may take your student much less time. College bound students should have a minimum of twenty credits, being sure to cover all required subjects.
You will want to tailor work in the later phases of high school to fit the college study goals your child anticipates. For instance, if he/she wants to study in a field of science, another two years of math and science are recommended. In choosing electives, you can use Bible, or a subject of interest. Also, be sure to keep your child's uniqueness in mind when you design his/her course of study.
There are various ways to tackle the job of making sure high school credit requirements are met. When our oldest was in sixth grade, we developed an outline of all the courses we would require for graduation from our home school. It was actually quite ambitious and went beyond what any traditional curriculum would cover. It included requirements in character development, Bible study, and Christian service. We knew when we wrote it that it was a template, an ideal, and we would probably need to update it as we actually experienced these years with our children. However, it provided a source of motivation and direction. We encouraged our seventh graders to begin on it as they were motivated and ready.
Our oldest three have now completed our program (at ages fourteen, sixteen, and seventeen). Though we did make some changes, we stayed surprisingly close to the model. Each of them has earned quite a few credits beyond the requirements of a traditional school.
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