Welcome back to the 2nd in my mini-series on creating a Homeschool plan. If you have missed the first post in the series then you can hop over and read more on developing a plan and setting a course for your high school.
There are plenty of posts out there on homes educating in general and even more focusing on the younger years. But there are not many that help the home educating mum who is tackling the high school years, so I am hoping that these posts will be of some help to those who are navigating high school.
I live in England but we elected to follow the American SAT route to getting into our UK universities. I have to say that as an ex-South African homeschooling mum, I am very comfortable with having opted for this route rather than the traditional British A-Level route.
I understand it better, am able to better implement the requirements and better equipped to support our daughter in her quest to go to university. We were also able to continue our Charlotte Mason way of learning and as an added bonus, adopting this route gives my daughter access to both British and American universities/colleges – not that I wanted her tootling off to America, but should she choose to she has that option open to her.
In post 1- Developing your plan, I mentioned that my youngest home educated daughter had ambitions to go to university. This meant that we needed to work towards achieving the requirements necessary for her to go. At the time she was 17 and the plan was to have her graduate our homeschool and then attend university the year she turned 19. She had always had a few learning difficulties as she is very mildly dyslexic so an extra year at home was beneficial for her in the long run. This gave us 2 years to prepare for the American SAT exam although because we had always followed a Charlotte mason ethos and used American curriculum we were on track as far as being immersed and well versed in American resources.
1. Include your teen in your planning
We sat down together to discuss Year 1 of the 2-year plan (listed in #3 in post 1) and this is what we came up with:
- Core Subjects: Bible, English, Maths, History, Science
- Electives: Psychology (we chose an A-Level Cambridge course as our spine textbook), Dance (a practical interest can be included on your transcript if you log a certain amount of hours spent practicing that dicipline. Her dance teacher was happy to write a report to verify that).
- Enrichment: Home Ec, Composer Study and, Art Appreciation
* We agreed a reading list of the year based on the recommended reading list of classics of the Oxford University Writers Inspire Website. Some we will read and discuss together, others she will read on her own.
* We discussed some of the regular things that have been a part of our homeschool over the years. We determined that she would rather not do formal nature study any more but rather more cooking and baking as is her bent. (I have to say that I was a little sad at this BUT as she is the only one in our homeschool I feel that it is important to follow her interests and giftings. We will still go on nature walks but it just won’t be as ‘planned out and purposeful’ as it has been).
* We discussed the commitment that would be needed from her this year in order to ensure that she prepares as best she can for her SAT as well as the need to achieve at least a 3.0 GPA (this is a “B” average) in all her subjects.
Once we had this general meeting I was able to move forward with gathering the curriculum and setting the course.
Here’s what I’ve chosen and my reasoning behind it.
*Of course we always begin our day with sitting down together and reading the Word. Personal devotions are also encouraged.
*Apologia Biology.– You just cannot go wrong with Apologia Science. This year it will be Biology.
I know that writing is a skill that you simply cannot undervalue for college/university, in fact for life! This course teaches the student how to write.
How to plan their writing using keyword outlines and story sequencing charts. It teaches them how to write an excellent essay, to write in a wide range of forms and genres and how to take notes effectively. These are all skills that will be needed all through life.
Llatl has really done an excellent job in giving our girls a firm and solid foundation in grammar and literature. My eldest daughter wrote her English GCSE having only used this resource and passed.
If this American resource can equip my daughter to pass a British English exam then I know that it will more than meet the criteria for the SAT
*Maths-U-See – We used this maths curriculum right the way through our girls home education. If you have been using a U.S based maths program you should be fine when it comes to the maths questions in the SAT exam.
My daughter was seriously looking at studying English at uni so I felt that we needed to make sure that she has a good strong knowledge and love of classic literature. IEW resources are A-MAIZ-ING, so we used this course over her Junior and Senior years.
* Read Aloud – this much loved part of our homeschool will be utilised to it’s maximum benefit here. We will read classic literature together, include lots of discussions as well as keep a Common Place book for all our lit reading, whether done together or interdependently.
*Streams of Civilisation 1 and 2 worked over two years will give my daughter a great overview and understanding of history from pre-history to modern day. This will form our spine.
*Lots of living books will be added according to the time period to our studies.
*American History– this curriculum comes in three volumes covering American, World and British history. We will be using the American history volume only along with lots of lovely living books to ensure a thorough understanding of American history for our SAT. We will work through this course over 18 months.
After having spoken to my friend Tricia from Hodgepodge Mom I felt confident that by using all the excellent resources I have mentioned that my daughter would be, and indeed was,, adequately prepared for her SAT exam.
However I would definintly recommend using the Khan Academy Official SAT Practice tests and CollegeBoards SAT Practice and Prep tests daily.
3. Setting the Course
- Have an overview of all the courses that we want to cover over the next two years.
- Have a clear idea of what needs to happen in your teens junior and senior year with regards to standardized testing. My daughter sat the SAT for the first time in 2017, then again a few more times in 2018. This is one of the wonderful things about the SAT, you can sit it numerous times and only have to submit your teens top score to the university. Of course, if your teen does phenomenally well in their first test then no need to re-do it – but at least you will get a good idea of where your teen is academically and you will have a set of grades that can accompany any uni applications.
- Your teens penultimate home ed year (that’s their junior year) will be the year of choosing a uni and course of study. So expect to be attending various uni open days and making decisions, speaking personally to the department heads and admissions teams before working on your UCAS applications.
So there we have it, a plan of action. Now all you have to do is get in all the curriculum, stack the book shelves in readiness for September, and then switch off, relax and enjoy the summer hols.
If you have enjoyed this post you may enjoy:
- The American S.A.T an Alternative for British Home Educators
- Homeschooling Highschool Exam Tips for Taking the American S.A.T in the UK