I floundered around more when my oldest child, Mallari entered high school in 2000 than I did when my youngest entered last year. There were things I wished I had done earlier in her home school career. Graduation was a repeat of lessons learned and wishes in hindsight. As much as I regretted not knowing these things for her sake, I gathered what I didn’t know, created a new plan and became better equipped to help the next three in line. By the time our fourth child, Jon entered the first grade I knew exactly how I wanted to create a plan that would prepare him for the last four years of school and beyond.
The first thing I had to do was decide what I want to give my children.
In our family we want to share the gospel, live a life of grace before them and prepare them academically. Once you have your overall targets settled in your mind you can break each one down into steps. Today we’re just going to talk about the academic part, specifically the part that gets you and them ready to enter their high school years.
5 ways to get your home school child ready for high school.
- Plan a course of action before 9th grade. Frequently changing curriculum can cause some children difficulty. Use the younger years to experiment with curriculum. Find a curriculum company or process for each subject that fits you and your child. There are tons of choices for every subject. Find a company that works for you and stick with it unless it stops working for some reason or another. Children like to see where they are and where they are going.
- Work in a transition year before high school, either the 8th grade year or add a year between the 8th and 9th. Experiment with some of the changes that will take place in 9th grade: tests, grading, firmer expectations, longer reading assignments. The list is yours to make. The idea is to prepare your child’s expectations ahead of time
- Take subject and achievement tests. Test taking is a useful skill whether college bound or not. It requires discipline and hard work to learn the material and then communicate it on a test.
- Develop your child’s passion and leave room for change. Our children go through lots of changes between 13 and 18. They are working out who they are and what they want. It’s normal to vacillate from one thing to the next. Often we as parents think this is a time to nail down an interest and perfect it. That works for some older kids, but not all.
- Create a transcript template. A transcript isn’t just a document for college bound kids. The transcript accomplishes at least 4 things.
- It makes it easier to discern when to say yes and no to the myriad of opportunities offered to the home school family.
- You and your child work very hard in your homeschool, therefore a transcript serves as a huge recognition of your accomplishment.
- Hiring managers will respect it.
- Colleges require it
I’ve included a copy of one of my children’s transcripts minus the personal material. I left the names of classes and extra curricular activities to give you an idea of what yours might look like. You can download it and adapt it to suite your needs. Creating your transcript template in Excel will be even better. It will do all the calculations for you!
How do you prepare your children for high school?