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1/8/2009 9:40:59 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter -- January 2009

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter--January 2009
Accelerating or Decelerating Along the High School Freeway
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Dear Friends,

Happy New Year 2009! The dawn of a new year is a wonderful
opportunity to start afresh with a blank slate. If 2008 ended on a
high note for you and your teen, praise the Lord. On the other hand,
if 2008 was a year you would like to forget, we pray that the Lord
helped you to grow in endurance, faith and hope. In either case, let's
all launch into 2009 with great anticipation of seeing the Lord's hand
in all we do.

January may be a good month for you to evaluate your progress for this
school year. Adjustments may need to be made to your yearly plan--a
course may have already been completed or is not coming along as
anticipated. One of the benefits of homeschooling your teen is the
opportunity to alter or re-customize not only your high school plan,
but also to adjust the rate of speed with which you cover individual
course material. Deciding the course of action you should pursue will
depend on your teen's abilities and maturity level. Here are some
items to keep in mind.

Accelerating: Putting the Pedal to the Metal!

Beginning Early
One way to accelerate during the high school years is for students to
take high school level courses prior to the 9th grade year (usually
during the 7th or 8th grade years.) The key is to be sure you use
high school level materials. In addition, adequately document the
high school course by keeping good records of the resources used
(including textbooks, DVDs, videos, additional reading, etc.), the
amount of credit you gave the course, your method of evaluation
(tests, quizzes, papers, etc.), work samples from the beginning,
middle, and end of the course to show progress, and also the final
letter grade that you awarded your child. Most colleges do not have a
problem with high school level courses taken in the 8th grade, but
some colleges may have strict policies of not counting for high school
credit any course taken prior to 8th grade. So please check with
colleges your teen is thinking about applying to in order to ask about
their policies regarding courses taken prior to 9th grade.

Speeding Up
Some teens cover course material very quickly and may be able to
finish the material early. If that is your experience, then you have
the option to begin another course mid-year. For example, if your
teen flew through the Algebra 1 book in one semester (and you are sure
he or she has mastered all of the concepts), then go ahead and start
the Algebra 2 book. In general, when you put together your
transcript, you will want to include the course in the year it was
completed. So, if the Algebra 2 course was started in the 9th grade,
but finished in the 10th grade, then show the Algebra 2 course in the
10th grade year on the transcript.

Finishing in Three Years
Some teens may want to (and are capable of) finishing up their high
school requirements in three years instead of four years. However,
here are some questions to think through:

Is my teen ready for the real world in terms of not only academic
ability but also spiritual and emotional maturity? Are there any age
restrictions that come into play for his or her next step after high
school graduation (such as licensing requirements, apprenticeship
programs, employment opportunities, and so forth)? Although your teen
may have completed the minimum courses necessary for high school
graduation, could the traditional 4th year of high school be used to
take additional and more advanced courses that will better prepare him
or her for adulthood?

After considering these questions, if you are convinced that your
student is ready to graduate high school in three years, then
carefully plan out your teen's high school program to accomplish this
goal.

High School and College Concurrently

Another option for your teen is dual enrollment (receiving college and
high school credit simultaneously). Many times students may take
community college or college distance learning courses while still
completing high school requirements. Because a one semester college
level course is equivalent to one year of high school credit, your
teen can accrue necessary high school credit quickly. More details on
dual enrollment may be found on our website.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5921

Rather than graduating high school early, the student can elect to
continue taking college courses, choosing to transfer these credits to
a four year college or to complete an Associate degree concurrently
with the high school diploma.

Transitioning into college while still living at home and being
introduced to a classroom setting in a smaller environment are
benefits of this option to your teen. Using the questions above will
be a good guide when considering this option.

Decelerating: Whoa, Simba!

Now let's take a look at the reverse of acceleration during the high
school years. For some teens, deceleration or slowing down is in
their best interests.

Slowing Down to Save Time
Again, one of the benefits of homeschooling is the ability to adjust
the rate at which you teach the material. Don't feel bound to the
traditional concepts of covering the material in a certain period of
time. If your child needs extra time to complete assignments properly
or to master concepts that don't come easily, then by all means, slow
down. This is especially true in the math and language arts/English
areas. Because math concepts build on one another, have your teen
persevere to work out difficulties in an area until he understands
them to the best of his ability--not necessarily to the point of
perfection--before moving ahead. You may find that slowing down at
the first indication of a problem will actually allow you to speed up
later in the course.

As another example, if your teen drags his feet when writing
compositions, you may want to consider backing up a bit. Have your
teen write a well-structured paragraph for a period of time. Then
begin assigning longer writing projects.

Delaying Certain Courses
Keep in mind that there are correlations between certain subject
areas. For example, some science courses tend to incorporate a lot of
math, so you'll want to be sure that your teen has the math skills he
needs in order to do well in a course. Chemistry should wait until
the teen has successfully completed Algebra 1 and is at least
concurrently studying Algebra 2. Likewise, Physics may be easier to
grasp if the student has already completed Algebra 2.

Let's Take Five
In most cases, there is nothing wrong with taking five years to
complete high school courses if your child will be helped by not
feeling pressured to graduate in four years. Taking five years gives
you and your teen additional time to work on weak academic areas. If
the American History course takes 18 months to complete due to your
teen's slowness in reading, don't become flustered. The more
important aspect is that your teen knows he is making progress,
understanding the material, and enjoying learning. Adding this extra
year to high school may be just what your teen needs to increase both
his skills and confidence.

If you do take five years to complete high school, then you may want
to format your transcript by noting courses completed by subject area
(http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5922) rather than the more
traditional approach of listing courses by grade level.

A Final Thought
In the sovereignty of God, He has created each of your children with
unique learning capacities. Be careful not to make the mistake of
thinking that your teen must be on the same high school timetable as
other homeschooled students. Don't succumb to the pressure of
comparison and forget that you, being attuned to your teen's aptitude
and skill in individual subject areas, have the ability to regulate
the speed of teaching. You may find that your customization of the
high school program includes accelerating in one subject area while
decelerating in another area! See the modifying and fine-tuning of
your teen's rate of acceleration or deceleration during the high
school years as an advantage and blessing of homeschooling. Accept
their academic abilities and adapt to their rate of learning.

Next month, we'll discuss how you can design a career development
elective that will help your teens look forward to investigating the
possibilities of future careers.

Until then, keep running your race with endurance and patience,

Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Coordinators

HIGH SCHOOL SYMPOSIUM
Online registration for HSLDA High School Symposium is now open
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5923

BECKY AND DIANE'S UPCOMING SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

January 17, 2009 -- LEAH -- Region 5 (Syracuse, NY)
Contact: Deanna McGregor dmcgreg2@verizon.net to register
(Diane)

February 20, 2009 -- GCCHSA Winter Workshop High School Seminars
(Southern NJ)
To register and for more details contact JudithRisser@comcast.net
(Diane)

March 7, 2009 -- Central Savannah River Area Home Education
Association (CSRA HEA) (Augusta, GA),
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5586
(Becky)

March 27-28, 2009 -- APACHE (Peoria, IL)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5587
(Diane)

April 2-4, 2009 - MACHE (Minnesota)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5180
(Becky & Diane)

April 17, 2009 - HSLDA Second Annual High School Symposium
(Purcellville, VA)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5588
(Becky and Diane along with other featured speakers)

May 22-23, 2009 -- CheNH (New Hampshire)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5181
(Becky)

June 4-6, 2009 - LEAH (Rochester, New York)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5924
(Diane)

June 18-20, 2009 - CHEC (Colorado)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5925
(Diane)

July 17-18, 2009 -- AFHE (Arizona)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=5589
(Becky)

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-> "I saved my entire membership fee with one discount"

"When I called Liberty to find out what kind of discount we could
get, they told us we would 10% off our car insurance and 5% off
our homeowner's insurance. What we will save is more than double
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license this year, the savings will be a real blessing!"

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1108

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