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Set Your Priorities for Freshman and Sophomore Years

Set Your Priorities for Freshman and  Sophomore Years

Set Your Priorities for Freshman and Sophomore Years

Set your priorities for freshman and sophomore years. Consider what you have to do in order to be ready for college even if your child isn’t planning on it, just in case your child chooses to go.

Know your local homeschool laws and how they apply to homeschooling high school. When you look at homeschool laws, they are not usually the same laws that apply to public schools. In most states, the law will detail what applies to public schools, what applies to private schools, and what applies to homeschooling - all separately.

When you see in your local news that the high school requires 100 hours of community service and a technology class, it probably does not apply to you as a homeschooler. You may choose to cover these things, but it's probably not a homeschool requirement. Homeschool requirements are found in your state’s homeschool law. Don’t panic over the local high school graduation requirements - get acquainted with your local homeschool law.

As you start homeschooling 9th and 10th grade, you are learning how to homeschool high school. Take it one step at a time. Keep good records, right from the start. Everything you keep is part of your child’s official, lasting record.

Start looking ahead to college and understand that college preparation usually involves more than what is required for public high school graduation. By providing college prep to your child, you're exceeding public high school requirements. Looking ahead to college is going to give you a better-educated child.

Would you like to learn more about homeschooling 9th and 10th grades?

This article is Chapter 1 of my Coffee Break Book, How to Homeschool 9th and 10th Grades: Simple Steps for Starting Strong. Regular price is $2.99 on Kindle or $6.95 in paperback. Grab your copy here today!

Once you've read it, I would be so grateful if you left a quick review to let me know what you think. Thanks so much!

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What Grade is My High School Child?

What Grade is My High School Child?

There you are, homeschooling the normal and natural way, not worrying about grade levels. After all, when your child is younger, how can you really tell what grade they are in? Because they could be in 5th grade math, 8th grade spelling, and using a 7th grade history curriculum. But when you have a high school student, suddenly everyone wants to know.

What Grade is My High School Child?

The easiest way to determine grade level is to decide what year the child will be graduating from high school, and then count backward. In other words, if your child is graduating next spring, this is the senior year. If your child is graduating a year from next spring, then your child is a junior this year.

The only time grade level REALLY matters is when you take the PSAT for real. They will ask the child what grade they are, and only the 11th grade PSAT will count for the national merit scholarships. (You can take it in 10th for fun, but only the 11th grade level counts for scholarships.) Other than that, it's all about when will the child graduate.

The standard age and grade level for high school children may be helpful to know.

Freshman, grade 9, begins at age 14-15
Sophomore, grade 10, begins at age 15-16
Junior, grade 11, begins at age 16-17
Senior, grade 12, begins at age 17-18

But do standard age and grade levels matter? Not always - it depends on the child and the family. And sometimes it depends on the grade level of their friends, too.

When you are making the decision about graduation, keep in mind the magic number: 18. When children turn 18, they will usually want to become independent. This is a good thing, because we have worked our entire life to create independent, confident, capable young adults. The problem is that an independent, confident, capable young adult may not want to be homeschooled by Mommy. That can result in stress and difficulty at home, with even the most pleasant and compliant child. Without the agreement of the child, it may not be possible to homeschool a child over the age of 18 without some angst or drama at home.

I hope that helps! Remember, if you ever need some support, I'm happy to help! You can join the Gold Care Club, you can call me so we can discuss your worries or concerns.

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What does the PSAT score really mean?

What does the PSAT score really mean?
What does the PSAT score really mean?

For many children, it's just a way to see how they compare academically to other children.  But since sophomores and juniors take the test, your score may mean something different depending on your child's level.  A sophomore taking the SAT is being compared to college bound juniors a year older, with a year more of math and a year more of every other subject.

The college board provides a chart for high school guidance counselors that can help you determine what the PSAT score means when you compare sophomores to juniors.  It's a little complicated to read, but if you really enjoy numbers and statistics, you could really dig it!

PSAT/NMSQT Percentiles and Mean Scores can be used to compare students’ performance with that of juniors and sophomores.

So remember, if your child takes the test as a sophomore, and the score appears to be below average. it may actually be better than average!

Please rate my blog at Homeschool Top Sites! I'd really appreciate it!  Thanks
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No Freshman Fun!

No Freshman Fun!
Dear Lee,

I have a question about whether I should have my daughter take the PSAT this year. I am aware of the helpfulness of this test. (I benefitted from the "profit" aspect of the test myself when I was in high school.) My problem is that Catherine, my daughter, is a "freshmore" this year. She did not get enough credits last year to qualify her as a sophomore. (I taught high school before and only give the credits when she earns them. She was not very focused last year.) She will achieve sophomore standing mid year. Should I have her take the PSAT this year or wait until next year? At this point I am looking at a 2012 graduation for her, but she may kick into gear and do it sooner. She is very bright, but not always motivated.

Would you mind giving me your opinion on this?

Christina South

P.S. Catherine and I attended the Homeschool College Fair last year and plan to take a group of kids this year. We both loved it and found it very helpful. We attended two of your sessions. They were fabulous.

Dear Christina,
Thank you SO much for your feedback of the College Fair!

Freshmen don't take the PSAT, and the PSAT is only "for fun" as a sophomore, so I don't think I would recommend she take the official test this year.

With the PSAT, it's fairly easy to move kids up a grade level. So if she is a freshman this year, and a sophomore next year, you can suddenly make her a junior instead. Also, if she is a junior one year, you can suddenly graduate her a year early, and she will still qualify for the NMSQT. Since you can move them up a grade level easily, I think I would avoid giving her the PSAT this year.

If you feel that she is probably a candidate for the NMSQT, she can still study for the SAT at home during this school year. I would only study SAT if she has enough math, though, because you don't want her to be frustrated. If she studies for the SAT during this school year, then next year you can say she is a junior and she can take it "for profit" and score well. If she studies for the SAT this year, and you still believe she is a sophomore next year, then there is still no harm done, right?

Keep in mind that sometimes a lack of motivation can mean a child isn't challenged. Sometimes - that means that I certainly don't know if that's the case, I'm just throwing the suggestion out there. You might want to read over my Dig Deeper site on Gifted Teens, and see if anything will apply to your student:

I have an audio CD that we are currently working on, about Gifted Education. Unfortunately, it's not quite done (still having packaging issues.) Just make sure to keep her challenged, but not overwhelmed. Sometimes kids will avoid doing their work because it's not challenging them.

And who came up with grade levels, anyway??? That drove me nuts when I was homeschooling! Like you, my kids didn't fit into one particular grade at a time, and "choosing" a grade for the purpose of a test (of all things!) seemed a little ridiculous! Ultimately, choosing a grade level didn't really change our homeschool at all, though. I guess that's what matters, right?

I'm looking forward to seeing you at the College Fair!

Meet me at the Pacific Northwest Homeschool College Fair this year on October 25!  I will speaking on "College Preparation."  I hope to see you there!
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