When presented with a thematic series like this, I like to take the road less traveled and get away from the assumed path that the theme might suggest. I plan ahead for taking a creative and hopefully unique perspective on whatever theme is presented. This time, though, please allow me this one post that seems right up the alley for general homeschool parent tips. Please allow me to share my failure with you, so that you can learn from my experience. I beg you to plan ahead for high school, even if you are not usually a planner. Let me tell you what we’re dealing with right now.
Did you read my post about our Freshman Year Plans a couple of years ago? Well, in re-reading that myself, I almost wish I’d stuck with it. The only reason I didn’t was because in discussing the options with my son, he is the one who requested that he stay at home longer and beef up his transcript to reflect the honors student he is capable of being.
I will say this one time and one time only, and you will see that most of this article reflects the blame squarely where it belongs – right on my own shoulders. But this one thing: though he is extremely advanced academically, my son hasn’t been as motivated, diligent, or responsible in getting things done as he should. And I haven’t been those things in making sure he was. I honestly am not sure where that problem is, and I DO think it’s with me because I see it in his younger brothers as well, but now is not the time for that reflection nor is this the post for it.
What I want to say now is, since my plan was to have him take the GED, I didn’t specifically concern myself with filling out his transcript. I didn’t make a plan. I didn’t list the courses he’d need and then go through the materials I have to see what we likely can already cover and what we’ll need to review or purchase. I had no plan.
And when we came to the decision that staying home a couple of extra years (off the original plan, but more typical for age) was what he wanted to do, I didn’t make a big enough deal of what needed to happen. I did some planning in a spreadsheet. I did – I’ll even share it if you want me to. If you’d like to see that, please leave me a comment below.
But his feet dragged, and my own issues – having a job outside the home, then quitting that job and falling into financial distress and even depression – prevented us from making much headway in the past couple of years.
So, this year, when we examined what the state expects for an honors graduate (and thus what the colleges will expect), we found that he comes up short. Comparing what we wrote down for his accomplishments in previous years, combined with things he is working on now, the classes and credits he lacks for his graduation leave him with a heftier senior year than any year he has completed thus far.
Some of those things he will go ahead and start doing ASAP. He has a course or two that he has almost completed, and then he can begin the new thing. For instance – he needs two credits in a single foreign language. That’ll be hard to do in a single year. But, he’s almost finished with what should’ve been a short Greek course. He’ll finish that by the end of the month and go ahead and start Spanish I from Switched On Schoolhouse, which I already own. Hopefully, he’ll have time to get all the way through Spanish II before next May. He’ll have to work diligently.
Science is another area where he’s lacking. Some of that isn’t necessarily his fault or even mine; we’ve tried several things that didn’t work. He’s going to have to settle for a half credit of Chemistry and a half credit of Physics instead of the Integrated Physics and Chemistry kids are taking locally these days. Thank the Good Lord for Schoolhouse Teachers, because both of those courses are offered through them and we have enough supplements to make them each a half credit.
Thankful to Schoolhouse Teachers also because of their American History course. He’s a senior this fall and has never, not in his entire 10 years of homeschooling, not ever had a US History class. Bits and pieces here and there, more government than he needs, and his daddy is super interested in the subject so he gets it in conversation… but no formal education in this area. Yes, yes, I know – I truly failed in this area.
He’s behind on math, mostly because he hates doing it and isn’t motivated to actually open the math book every day. Once upon a time, he was a year or more ahead in this subject. Woe is me. The honors diploma expects 4 credits and he must be diligent to complete even that. He’s finishing up a rocky Geometry year now, and will need to take Algebra 2 as his senior credit. It is his request (after reading an article in TOS magazine, I’m pretty sure) that his 4th credit be Personal Finance. Thankfully, I have the Dave Ramsey materials so that can easily be arranged without the kid having to take two full-on math courses his senior year.
I apologize if this entire post just sounds like a venting, whining, lazy homeschool mom post. I really do. But I promise you that I have learned something from it. My second son will be an 8th grader this fall, and during the week of his 13th birthday this May, we will be sitting down and doing some basic planning for his high school years. He’s unmotivated. I don’t care. Some sort of plan is needed and I will not fail again.
My son, the one to graduate next year – he’ll be fine. He’ll have more than enough credits, do fantastically on his SAT, and honestly I’m sure he’ll blaze through their silly college entrance exams. I just know that his transcript could’ve been much better, more impressive. I worry that it will appear to the admissions people and to his professors that he is less than what he truly is. That because of MY lack of planning, that they will not see the potential in him that I know is there.
But I have an awesome kid, y’all. And he’ll do great no matter what they expect. I just wish, with all my heart and soul, that I had done better by him. Because I could have.
See what the other Crew participants suggest as their Tips for Homeschool Parents week continues.
Jennifer @ A Peace of Mind
Jennifer @ Faithful Homestead
Joelle @ homeschooling for His Glory
Joesette @ Learning Curve
Kari @ Random Acts of Boyhood
Katie @ Katie’s Daily Life
Kemi @ Homemaking Organized
Kim @ Homestead Acres
Kylie @ Our Worldwide Classroom