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Welcome to Middle School Monday! We're into the final quarter of our school year, which means we will soon be finished with middle school grades in our homeschool. Looking ahead to ninth grade and planning the high school years is a little scary for many homeschool moms, but it's also exciting to think about the new adventures coming up! At least I think it's exciting - but then again, this isn't my first time planning for a high school student.
If you have an eighth grader, you've probably already looked ahead at a four-year high school plan, even if you haven't started filling it out. Most homeschool planners have forms like this included, and there are several places online where you can find free printable forms for planning high school. The HSLDA website and DonnaYoung.org have excellent free forms and information on planning high school, if you need a place to start.
These forms are meant to give a general road map for the high school years, helping you figure out how to cover the required courses for credit, and divvy up the workload a bit. Start with your state's requirements for graduation, and the requirements your oversight or umbrella group has (if applicable), and start penciling what you already know and general course titles for the things that you're not sure of yet. Use pencil, because things change! Or be prepared to make multiple copies, like I do.
Many kids can start earning high school credit during their eighth grade year, and many of the forms available reflect that. We chose a high school level Cultural Geography course for Kennady this year, but she wanted to focus on Europe, and we added other coursework as well, so our plan was to do about half of the book this year, and do the other half in ninth grade. This gives her a head start on her first high school credit. (I will not show the credit divided on her transcript, but will award the full credit in ninth grade. In general, if a single course is completed over two years, it's usually better to show the full credit when the course is completed rather than in halves.) We had originally planned to do her half credit Health course in eighth grade, but there just wasn't time in our schedule.
So here's what we've got penciled in (so far!) for year one of high school!
English (4 credits required) - We're not completely sure which one(s), but probably Lightning Lit & Comp, which covers literature, grammar, and composition elements. I've also been looking at Writing Fiction in High School by Sharon Watson, which I think would be a good fit for Kennady. I haven't purchased or made final decisions yet, but some combination of those is most likely. We also might be participating in a book discussion group for high schoolers - I'm still considering how that might work, and gauging interest. Down the road a bit, I'd like to do Miniatures and Morals (a Jane Austen literature study by Peter J. Leithart), but whether we do that in Grade 9 or later is still up for discussion. (I reviewed Miniatures and Morals on my book blog several years ago - you may read that on Just A Second.)
Math (3 credits required) - At this point, I think it's best to continue with Life of Fred, and I think I'll have her keep working on the Pre-Algebra books through the summer, so that hopefully she can get through Algebra I in Grade 9. VideoText Algebra is also a possibility, but no matter how we get it done, I am prepared for Algebra I to take longer since Math is the most challenging subject for Kennady.
History (3 credits required) - We know exactly what we're doing here! Kennady will finish Cultural Geography, and we might get a couple of the Simply Charlotte Mason guides to go along with it.
Science (2 credits required) - I have NO CLUE what Science Kennady will do next year, but I know it won't be Biology. I have a pretty good selection of science texts, so at some point this summer, we will look through what we already have and she can decide which branch of Science she'd be interested in for this year.
Bible (2 credits required) - At this time, I don't plan on having a Bible course for credit next year. The credit courses she will do are part of the Notgrass studies she will do in tenth and eleventh grades.
Phys.Ed. (1 credit required) - We plan on participating in our co-op gym class again next year, and that on its own is about a quarter credit, calculating by hours. Landon has had no trouble earning a half credit for Phys.Ed. each year because he participates in other sports events and all those hours add up quickly! We'll log the time Kennady spends in additional sports activities too, and see where we end up, but at least we know it's a quarter credit minimum.
Fine Arts (1 credit required) - Here's where Kennady will be able to load up on credits, because she loves music and art. Her participation in Childrens Chorus is one credit, and at this point we're also planning for another full year of piano and guitar lessons which will be another credit. She will likely also work on ARTistic Pursuits for yet another credit.
Technology (1 credit required) - As of now, we don't plan to do her technology coursework during Grade 9.
Health (1/2 credit required) - I picked up a nice high school level Health textbook recently, thanks to a homeschooling friend cleaning out her curriculum shelves. So that will be Kennady's text, and I'm pretty sure it is intended to be a half-credit course. If I look at it again and find it's a full credit course - bonus!!
Electives (3-1/2 credits required) - Looks like Kennady will be able to count on at least one elective credit this year because of the abundance of Fine Arts coursework she does!
Looks like we can count on 6-1/2 or 7 credits in Grade 9, if all goes according to plan! Algebra I is the one that is a little up-in-the-air, since we may wait until next year to award that credit, depending on how far she gets with it. We're also open to opportunities we might have through the Schoolhouse Review Crew to add to our line-up.
Have you started planning ahead for next year? Leave a comment and let me know!
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