high school courses

Planning High School Courses: Part Two

In this second half of planning high school courses for college preparation, we’ll consider what’s needed in the areas of Math, foreign language, PE, and electives.

Math is such a cornerstone for other subjects, careers, and college majors that I believe it’s important to have four years of math. Most colleges want at least 3 years, and many want 4 years of math. They like to see kids moving forward in their math studies, so just teach your student consistently at their level, and keep moving. As long as you “do the next thing,” working on math at your student’s level, you can’t lose.

Foreign Language
Many colleges require a foreign language for admission. Most colleges demand two or three years of a single language, so the student becomes reasonably fluent. Whatever curriculum you choose, do a little bit every day. A daily 15 minute study period is much more effective than once a week for an hour. Use a foreign language curriculum designed for homeschoolers, so you aren’t expected to already know the language. Find a good curriculum, let the student learn independently, and check on their progress now and then.

Physical Education
Some children find it very easy to get the required two credits of PE, while others balk at physical exercise. Some unique ways to obtain physical education credits include yoga or weight lifting (try the YMCA). Your kids could also take CPR classes or study health. Some kids who “hate” PE will love swing-dancing or computer games requiring movement. Any physical activity that breaks a sweat counts!

Electives are credits that don’t fit under the other categories and can include driver’s education, typing, logic, and technology. Electives may be things your student does for fun. One of my kids loved chess and studied it for hours each week. Other students I know specialized in ornithology, mycology, economics, and musicology. Specialization is one of the benefits of homeschooling, so seize this opportunity!

How can you do it?
Parents may wonder how to teach children upper level math or foreign language when they don’t know the subject themselves. Find resources, such as video tutorials, at a homeschool convention or curriculum fair, where you can compare choices side-by-side. Remember, one of our goals is to teach our students to learn the way adults do - by teaching themselves.

For more help in planning your child’s high school courses, check out Part One and see my Planning High School Courses online training!

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