High School Planning

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I mentioned this a few days ago, but I can't believe that I am planning for high school now!  My oldest, Zach, will be in 9th grade next year!  Where did the time go?  It slipped by without me noticing it. Here are some things that I have been doing to get ready...

1. I looked up the graduation requirements for our state, Alaska. I was horrified (ok, maybe "horrified" is too strong of a word) to find out that my sons will need a semester of Alaska history in order to graduate.  Not that it is a big deal, but I think it will be somewhat a waste of time.  I would rather give him a foundation in government, economics, and American and World history. Finding out the basics of what he needs in order to graduate has helped me know what to look for in curriculum.

2. I started with the core subjects: English, Social Studies, Math and Science.  I am in the process of deciding which curricula to go with.  Science and Math are easy decisions.  We have done Math-u-See all through and will continue with that.  We are loving Apologia so we are going to stick with it.  My dilemmas have come with English and Social Studies.  We have done Biblioplan for several years successfully, but now that we are moving into high school I am not sure if I want to continue with it.  Here are some of the options that I am looking at for social studies: Beautiful Feet or Notgrass.

For English, I also am looking at lots of different options such as Lightning Literature, Institute for Excellence in Writing (which we have used for years and love), and Excellence in Literature.

3. I will eventually move onto the other subjects and electives. I have PE, health, and life skills to consider.  Then there are electives to decide upon (which Zach will help with this part of the decision making process). I do want to tailor some of his classes to his interests and start gearing him up towards what he wants to study in college or do as a career.

4. I will also get around to mapping out his four-year plan. Here are some forms that will help me organize my thoughts.

If you have any awesome curriculum ideas or maybe things that worked for your high schooler, please leave me a comment.  I would love to hear about it!


Hidden Jewel said...

My 10th grader is using Excellence in Literature American this year and I really like the setup. If you go with Notgrass, the literature will be included.

Another suggestion I have heard more than once is to have your students take the PSAT in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades. What I am gathering is that there is a lot of scholarship money tied to SAT/ACT scores as well as the possibility of National Merit Scholarship awards from the PSAT (11th grade). I saw a huge difference in my dd's confidence level when she took the PSAT this year over last year.

I am curious why you would feel it is a waste of time to learn about the the state that you live in? I can understand if Alaska is only a temporary stopping point. But if is home to your family, I would think it would be time well spent.

You might also want to check your local school district graduation requirements. I know that ours differ from the State ones.

Debbie said...

Thanks for the advice on the PSAT! Didn't know some of that!

I guess my bias against Alaska history (which really isn't a bias against our state at all) is that I think we now live in a society that moves a lot and so you never know where your kids will end up. I was an Army brat and it was real frustrating to have to study the history of a place for a semester or year when you knew that you might not be back. Obviously, that isn't the case with my son. But I look back on my childhood and remember that studying state history was frustrating to me. It used to be when I graduated from high school here that students needed a semester of econ. and gov't. I see those as more valuable. They aren't requiring those now. I am not saying that AK history doesn't have value just that I put more value on making sure he has a good basis in American and World history and econ. and gov't. In the long run it means he will end up with some extra history credits since I originally didn't have AK history in mind.

Hidden Jewel said...

I can definitely see how that would color state history for you.

A semester of US government is required for Alaska but not economics. So, for us, economics will fall as an elective. Did you see the requirements where 8.5 electives will be required starting in 2012 instead of the 7.5 which is currently in place?

Debbie said...

I didn't see the elective change....can you send me a link about the changes?

That is interesting, because according to our district I don't see gov't. as a requirement...I will have to go back and look.

Hidden Jewel said...

I just went back and looked and the elective change was for our school district. I thought that the State required Government and Alaska History in addition to US and World History, but I cannot find the link to the regulation right now.

Debbie said...

Thanks! Hey, do you have any tips on how to get ready for the PSAT or the SAT? What should we be covering? Are there free resources to help you get ready? I did a quick search, but I couldn't find anything right away. Thought you might already know of some good sites.

Hidden Jewel said...

Collegeboard.com has a SAT question of the day that dd has been doing the past year. Other than that we haven't done anything special. She will be doing more SAT vocal prep this year, the level depending on how she does on that section of the PSAT this year.