Tag Archives: college

Getting Ready for High School

cohdra100_1411Last week, I attended a class called “Homeschooling Your High Schooler” presented by homeschool veteran and speaker Tandy Collier. It was a great  class, focusing on what to do to help your homeschooled child get accepted into college. With my oldest son John entering eighth grade this year, I need to begin thinking ahead now.

This is especially true in our state. Students can begin receiving high school credits for some classes they take in the eighth grade. This year, John will be taking two classes that can count towards his high school credits. I realized that even with those extra credits, however, we need to map out now the courses he’ll take in 9th-12th grade, just to be sure that he stays on track. With so many dual enrollment and online learning opportunities, he can have a strong start when it comes time to enter college.

But there’s more to plan. Ms. Collier mentioned that colleges and universities admission counselors like to see that a student is a dedicated member in an organization and sticks with it for a long time. They also like to see that the student has a variety of experiences withing that group. With so many extracurricular activities available, we have to decide together just which ones he should participate in. Up to now we haven’t done much with organized sports, opting instead to pursue scouting, which John still enjoys. He’s also continuing on with music and playing the piano. But there’s much more to choose from: 4-H clubs, Civil Air Patrol, Teen Pact, theater, chorus, and band, just to name a few.

Was the class intimidating? No — rather, it was encouraging. Last year, my husband and I discussed whether or not to continue homeschooling through high school, and at the time we felt it was the right way for us to go. Now I know we’re headed in the right direction. I also know it will involve a lot of work and a lot of planning, and I need to stay on top of things as we enter the high school years. But I also know that for the most part,  I have one more year to prepare. Whew!

Testing

Our state doesn’t require yearly testing, so this was the first year we tried it. My seventh-grader John took a standardized test with a group of elementary and middle school students.

I decided to have him take the test this year for one main reason: we want him to go on to college, and that path requires standardized tests for admission and scholarships. The more practice he has at test-taking, the easier it will be for him to take the SAT or ACT in the last years of high school.

If I wasn’t sure about making him take the test before, I was after I told him I had signed him up. He begged and begged not to go, as he tends to be afraid of the unknown. He needed to know it wasn’t so bad.

Happily, John recognized two of the students in the testing group, and he felt a little more at ease. By the second day he was much more relaxed, and by the third day testing was no big deal. Goal accomplished.

This week the scores came in, and we were excited as we studied them together. A friend of mine has her children tested every couple of years to see how they’re doing and what she may need to work on with them. John did well in every subject, though his scores were lower in history and geography.

I’m not sure how helpful these test scores are in helping me fine-tune my teaching, though. The history questions consisted of world history, and we’re learning American history this year. John also told me after the test that he made a lot of educated guesses. He didn’t realize until the end of the second day that he wasn’t supposed to answer questions he didn’t know.  

Will I test again next year? Yes, I’ll have John take the tests so he can feel even more comfortable with the process. For us, seventh grade was a good year to start.