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[Book Excerpt] Your Goals This Year

~ A word from our founder, The HomeScholar Emeritus, Lee Binz ~

This is a chapter from my book, Your Goals This Year: A Year by Year Guide to Homeschooling High School. You can purchase a copy in print or Kindle version on Amazon.

Middle School 

Middle school—or junior high—is a great time for both homeschool parents and their students to get ready for high school! During seventh and eighth grades (or sixth, seventh, and eighth grades), parents should be spending time learning how to homeschool high school. Take classes on homeschooling high school at a convention (or online), read books on how to homeschool high school, and visit the College Board website to see their college prep plan. In addition, junior high is the time to practice your record-keeping skills. You can practice making your transcript and writing course descriptions. This will prevent you from panicking when you get to the high school years!

Junior high has purpose for students, too. The first purpose is to allow them to do remedial work where needed. If they are below grade level in math, for instance, junior high is the time for them to focus on math and get up to grade level. Children who are ahead of grade level can move straight into high school level work. A student might be remedial in some areas and advanced in others, so both of these situations might apply to the same student. The good news about junior high is that it's impossible for you to be behind. If your child is below grade level and they're in seventh or eighth grade, then the purpose of seventh or eighth grade is to get them up to grade level. You haven't done anything wrong, and you're exactly where you should be.

Another goal for middle school is to continue to cultivate your child's love of reading. Reading truly is the gateway to learning, and creating a passion and hunger for reading can cover a multitude of homeschooling sins. If your child is a voracious reader in middle school and high school, I guarantee you will be shocked about how much knowledge they have acquired by the time they graduate. In Appendix 1, I have compiled a great middle school reading list that you can take to the library, to help encourage your children to read good books. Don't forget to read aloud to ease their development as lovers of literature. It also has the added benefits of promoting family bonding and ensuring better comprehension as you discuss the books you are reading together.

Beyond the Basics 

If you're ready to go beyond the basics of junior high, you can start planning your high school courses. Get a rough draft started, including English, math, science, and social studies each year, and consider beginning to study a foreign language. This is also a great time to begin establishing excellent study skills in your kids, so they understand what will be required in high school.

Lastly, junior high is a good time to investigate college financing. Learn about the different investment plans available, try to start setting money aside now, and estimate the financial aid that your child might receive. Use the FAFSA® forecaster, which will help you estimate how much financial aid colleges might provide. Prepare now for high school, and the high school years will be so much easier!

Early High School Credits Earned in Middle School 

If you are sure your child is doing high school level work in an academic subject area such as math, science, or foreign language, put it on their transcript so they earn early high school credits!

Why? Because when it's honest and true it goes on the transcript. And because schools do this, too!

I stumbled upon the Frederick County Public Schools' website describing their policy:


The Maryland State Board of Education allows local boards of education to grant graduation credit to middle school students who take high school courses in middle school. These courses must have the same expectations, curriculum, and final exams as the equivalent courses taught in high school. The following FCPS middle school courses have been identified for high school credit:

Algebra 1
World Language levels 1 & 2 (Spanish 1, 2; Latin 1, 2; French 1, 2; etc.)

Students who pass these courses and the final exam will automatically be granted high school credit. These grades will be reflected on the student's high school transcript and included in cumulative GPA calculations.

According to an article in The Columbus Dispatch a couple of years ago, "Middle-schoolers get additional shots at taking high-school courses," in Hilliard, eighth graders are eligible to take classes for high school credit, including science, math, and foreign language.

Your Goals This Year is one of my Coffee Break Books. What are Coffee Break Books? These are books designed for YOU - a busy homeschool parent feeling frustrated by something, and needing information NOW - all put together in an easy-to-read, short, simple format. Coffee Break Books are perfect for overwhelmed, sleep-deprived moms with a baby on their hip. Simple, large font makes them easy to read even when distracted or pulled in a million directions. They are designed to help parents tackle just ONE issue of homeschooling during just ONE coffee break! Each book combines a practical and friendly approach with detailed, easy-to-digest information. Never overwhelming, always accessible and manageable, each book in the series will give you the tools you need to tackle the tasks of homeschooling high school, one warm sip at a time.

Learn more about Your Goals This Year in my video review below!

This is a chapter from my book Your Goals This Year: A Year by Year Guide to Homeschooling High School. You can purchase a copy in print or Kindle version on Amazon.

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Tuesday, 23 July 2024

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