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Academics are the core of your student's high school experience, so you'll want to make sure he has a solid foundation. From drafting your initial high school plan, through selecting curriculum and testing options, to marking the end of your child's homeschooling journey with a transcript and diploma, helpful resources abound.
One option used by many homeschoolers is enrolling as a high schooler at a community college. Through these classes, your teen can earn both high school and college credit (this is usually called "dual enrollment"). Aside from offering instruction in subjects you may feel inadequate to teach, community college classes will save you money in the future if your student enters college and is able to transfer his credits (check with the four-year college of your teen's choice to make sure his community college credits will transfer). Because some freshman scholarships have limits on dual-enrollment credits, students should beware of accumulating too many credits and thus forfeiting their freshman status; check with the colleges administering the scholarships. However, if your student is going to transfer to a four-year college rather than apply as a freshman, his freshman status is not an issue.
Generally, a one-semester three-credit college course is equal to a year-long one-credit high school course. Again, since local policies may differ, it is best to check with a specific college or state to see how they treat dual enrollment courses.
For a more detailed explanation of Dual Enrollment see the Court Report article: Dual Enrollment: A Two-for-One Deal!
For teens, getting a driver's license is one of the most exciting rites of passage. It's exciting for parents, too, but in a different way—your anticipation is probably tempered with a strong dose of trepidation.
So how do homeschooled students take driver's ed? There are a number of options.
A good place to start is by asking those who have gone before you. For instance, what have people in your support group done for their children's driver's training?
Next, take a look at your state DMV website, which may provide a list of approved private driver's education services.
For a complete summary of the driver education laws in all 50 states, visit HighwaySafety.org.
Recent studies indicate that parental involvement is the most important factor in teaching teens safe driving behaviors. So check out home study courses. Some programs simply send you a curriculum, videos, and tapes providing systematic parent-taught driver education. Others require the student and parents to track their progress and accomplishments through each lesson. States vary in what portions of parent-taught driver's education your state will recognize for the purpose of your student qualifying for a driver's license, so be sure to verify that your home study course will count before you purchase it.
Find out what driver education discounts your insurance company offers and make sure that the program you choose will allow your teens to qualify.
- The Effectiveness of Home-Study Driver Education Compared to Classroom Instruction: The Impact of Student Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes
- Rules of the Road
- Interactive DVD to use as a supplement to Driver’s Ed curriculum
- Includes quizzes and a printable teacher’s guide
Determining the credits to be awarded for each high school course is not difficult. Many resources are available to provide details on how to determine credits, but we've provided a clear and simple procedure for you to consider as you evaluate coursework and assign credits for both academic and elective courses.
Evaluating your child's work in a subject area may be difficult for you, but grades are an important source of feedback for your child. Also, grades for high school subjects are normally included on the high school transcript. If grading is an area that you need help with, you may find these Grading Guidelines helpful.
Honor societies are a great way for students to develop leadership skills, impact their communities, demonstrate high academic achievement, and boost their chances of college admission and scholarship awards. Unfortunately, the most well-known of these societies, the National Honor Society, does not permit homeschoolers to join. However, the organizations listed below represent equally prestigious opportunities for your homeschooler.
- "Eta Sigma Alpha National Home School Honor Society"
The first national homeschool honor society.
- Mu Eta Sigma National Math Honor Society
- Science National Honor Society
- The National Society of High School Scholars
Founded by Claes Nobel, whose family established the Nobel Prizes, this organization allows homeschoolers to participate. To request an invitation, homeschoolers should go to the FAQ section of the website, print out an invitation request, attach GPA documentation, and submit. If accepted, they will receive an invitation by mail.
- The Homeschool Student and National Honor Societies by Erin McRee
The HSLDA Guide for Homeschooling through High School brochure provides a concise section to the records and documentation you may want to organize for your high schooler.
Record keeping and documentation are important during the high school years. Helpful tips and suggestions on recordkeeping may be found in the Court Report article, “Recordkeeping? Is It Worth the Trouble?” Briefly, you should maintain good records of the courses, textbooks used, credits, and short summaries of the content of the courses that your child completes during each year of high school. Taking the time to write down this information each year will be a benefit when your high schooler is a senior and you will be preparing a transcript for him. Whatever route your child takes after high school—employment, military, or college—accurate records of the course work completed in high school will serve him well when recapping for an employer his abilities, skills, and educational background or providing information to military recruitment offices or completing college applications. Also, be sure to check your state's high school requirements regarding any necessary records/paperwork that should be kept. (A thorough explanation of credits, transcripts, and the importance of records is detailed Preparing for College).
Some correspondence schools and large home school publishers also provide record keeping services:
There are also many record keeping companies to service you. A few of these are as follows:
Helpful books providing information on how to maintain your own home schooling records:
During high school, parents need to help their students refine their test-taking skills and be prepared for several key college entrance examinations. For descriptions of the tests your student should expect to take during high school, along with test sources and preparation resources, click here.
Colleges and other post-high school institutions generally require a transcript from your child in order to consider him for admission.
If your child's current post-high school plans do not include college, resist the urge to ignore recordkeeping for a transcript. Your child's interests and goals can change rapidly, and it is a very daunting task to try to recreate your child's high school years after the fact. With a minimum of effort during high school, you can be prepared with a transcript should the need arise.
The October, 2009 Homeschooling Thru High School email newsletter provides a detailed explanation of how you can compute a Grade Point Average (GPA).
- HSLDA Sample Transcripts
- Fast Transcripts—HSLDA’s High School Transcript Service