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Now, as homeschoolers, we are experts at this, choosing curriculum stuff.... But there was one important factor that was different for us,if we are aiming towards college... We, of course, need to know about our teen's college admission requirements first. (To reach my chapter on college admission requirements, click "look inside".)
Choosing curriculum for high school was really just the same, with one important difference....now we also had college admission requirements to think about as well. Once we had our list of requirements in hand, we began to think about curriculum,.....one year at a time, of course....We found the whole process to be about the same as earlier years.
One thing that made it easier for us was that most of the requirements were quite similar, from college to college, but they were not the same.
Our Planning Process
We explored around, as usual, choosing the textbooks, living books, and/or online courses that seemed to be a good fit for our teen. We worked to meet our teen's interests and along with her college entrance requirements. And we found that it wasn't hard to do, by making good use of electives.
My Teen's Interests
My daughter loved film making, and political science. We made sure to center her electives around these interests. But we found out that, if she wanted to study either of these in college, the college entrance requirements would be the same. She needed to complete her requirements in the basic subjects (LA, social studies, math and science), for either path.
We still did not forget about her interests. They framed her electives. We did a course in Government for one of her social studies requirements, and did activities centering around this interest as well. And video making became more than one of her homemade electives.
So what did we do for Science? Math? English? and Social Studies?
First, I'd like to share two favorite resources that we have depended on each year.
- CURRICULUM DIRECTORY at Let's Homeschool High School
This curriculum directory for high school is the most complete one I have seen.
- THE CURRICULUM CHOICE
This wonderful site is full of curriculum reviews, written by a team of authors (I am happy to be one) who have actually used the curriculum. It includes reviews of such curriculum as Tapestry of Grace, IEW for literature and writing, a number of Charlotte Mason options, and tons of other reviews. This resource has a christian bent, but also includes some secular options as well.
And of course, there are also so many other resources available on the internet, with new ones coming out almost every day.
OUR CURRICULUM CHOICES
We decided to look for a structured course that included regular test-taking. Getting used to test-taking would help my daughter to prepared for later test-taking in college!
We chose Switched-On-Schoolhouse (SOS), as we wanted a computer based program, and my daughter wanted to work independently. SOS included regular test-taking, which we wanted, as it would help prepare her for the testing that she would encounter in her future college courses.
SOS also offered tutoring (from their high school science teachers), to be purchased by the half hour. Working some of the science problems out with a teacher really helped, when complex concepts came up. We also used Home Science Tools for our high school lab kits.
Other Science Options we considered:
Oak Meadow, Apologia, A Beka, Lifepacs, Apologia Science
Most of our college choices required Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2. (Or the series that Saxon offers, which is equivalent). Since my teen was not aiming towards a STEM major, she did not have to take PreCalculus.
We looked at LifePacs, Switch-On-Schoolhouse (SOS), Math-You-See,
A Beka, etc. We also considered Teaching Textbooks, but found that, for us, it did not provide enough depth for good retention. It's all about what fits for your student.
We found that SOS met our daughter's needs well, and it had the structured and depth to help my daughter retain what she had learned.
Others that we considered:
I recommend checking out The Curriculum Choice for a review of ALEKS, and also one on No-Nonsense Algebra.
We decided to go another way, and chose a ready made course. We chose Oak Meadow, which offered a variety of literature based courses, from 9th to 12th grade.
Click here for my review of Oak Meadow Literature and Composition II. We did this in 10th grade. This course focuses on literary analysis and essay writing. We wanted to be sure that my daughter got lots of writing practice, to help prepare for writing the college essay. Oak Meadow offers college prep level courses in all of their high school offerings.
Another popular choice for English is the Institute of Excellence in Writing, IEW, which offers a very well established, structured, step by step approach to composition. My gifted 2e daughter preferred a more flexible creative approach, but some kids love IEW.
Go here for Barb's review of it.
Excerpt from Barb's review: "These lessons have built from one paragraph summaries to three paragraph essays, to now a five paragraph essay with introduction, conclusion, and bibliography."
Other options we considered :
We also looked at such programs as Hewitt Homeschooling: Lightning Literature & Composition , Lifepacs, and SOS and found them all to be very strong.
We had a lot of flexibility for Social Studies, as our college choices wanted only a certain number of credits, and did not specify which courses we had to take. You may not have this same flexibility for social studies. Please be sure to check with your college choices. But as homeschoolers, we do not have to follow the public school graduation requirements.
Since our colleges were very flexible on their social studies requirements, we were able to choose from a wide variety of subjects, such as World History, US History, Geography, Economics, Psychology, etc.
We decided to use Oak Meadow's history courses, and also some geography from the Rainbow Resource catalog. Then senior year, we did a course in Government, from Northwest College. That led to my teen's developing interest in possibly going into politics as a future career.
Other options we considered:
We also checked out SOS, Lifepacs,, and Sonlight for social studies, all strong programs.
For new and updated tips on college from a homeschool perspective, I invite you to check out my book called
Homeschooling High School with College in Mind. It has my best information on tackling the college admissions process as homeschoolers.
I have even more information on our favorite high school curricula and more in my e-book below. Have you seen my book on high school and college yet?
Get my best tips on college from a homeschool perspective.
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College Prep @ $7.17.
Kindle is on Amazon or read for free on Prime.
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"Betsy's book is a terrific resource for homeschooling parents who are planning to send their teens to college. As a homeschool upperclassman advisor, I can attest that the information is spot on. Also the book is chock full of resources with links and lots of helpful forms. Be sure you are ready to take notes while you read!"
........Vicki Tillman, from www.7sisters.com
Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,
Betsy is mom to her 20 year old daughter whom she homeschooled from day one. She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early years, and high school & college. She offers free homeschool help and messaging at BJ's Consulting.
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