Homeschooling High School
This blog is a compilation of information and articles written by Janice Nork. We pray this information blesses you and encourages you - Yes! You can homeschool high school!
Homeschooling High School Basics....
Set up an account and you can start receiving free practice questions via email. Doesn’t hurt to start preparing early! I purchased a book from My Father’s World called “The SAT & College Preparation Course” by James Stobaugh for my 9th grader to work on this year. There are lots of resources, so find one that fits for your child.
Start working on your official transcript from day 1. Be sure you plan out your high school years and cover all the courses/credits for high school graduation. If you do this early, there is no guessing and this will be a breeze! You need to keep track of all your courses and find corresponding ‘course codes’ on the broward county schoolboard website http://www.fldoe.org/policy/articulation/ccd/2019-2020-course-directory.stml
If you have a student who plans to play sports in college, you will also need to have a list of ALL courses taken, and the books used along with publishers, and ISBN codes of all books. You can find more details about this on the NCAA eligibility website, www.eligibilitycenter.org or the NAIA eligibility website www.playnaia.org
Another good thing to start at this time is an “Achievement Resume”. This includes activities the student participates in for sports, extra-curricular, community service, awards won, etc. I send this to each college we apply to along w/our official transcript. If you wait to do this later, it’s very likely you will forget or miss something. REMEMBER Bright futures scholarships require lots of community service hours, so you’ll need to start keeping track of this early! See http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD for all the information you need, but also remember these requirements could and usually do change YEARLY!
If your student is in 10th grade, you can take the PSAT at your local high school for free, contact your ‘zoned’ high school for information.
You can also register for the ACT or SAT in 10th grade, but most students wait until 11th grade. It’s completely up to you, in my opinion, the practice doesn’t hurt. So if you can afford to pay for it, go for it. My oldest did take it in 10th grade, however, she didn’t have enough math to do really well, but the practice was good for her. If you haven’t started your official transcript, DO THIS NOW! The book written by Sue Puchferran for homeschooling in high school is available at our monthly meetings and really does have everything you need to plan out your high school adventure and build a transcript.
If your student is in 11th grade, you should be registering for the SAT or ACT for this school year and doing practice tests and preparation. Also, start looking into college choices to see what their requirements are. This is also important if you are dual enrolling at Broward College. You want to be sure your credits will transfer to the college/university your child may want to attend. You can start applying and visiting colleges during the summer between jr. and sr. year! Be sure when you sign up for the SAT or ACT that you send your scores to as many colleges that they allow that you are highly interested in (this is why searching for colleges early is a good idea) you are allowed I think up to 6 scores sent for free… after that you have to pay for each one! And if you wait and do it later, you have to pay. This I know from experience! If you have an athlete, you will need to send your scores to the NCAA eligibility or NAIA eligibility center
If your student is in 12th grade, - TAKE A DEEP BREATH!! Haha, that’s me and I need to do that every day!! College applications and scholarship searching and applying is a daily activity around our house right now. Also, because I have an athlete on my hands, we are also filling out recruitment applications and NCAA eligibility requirements. If you do everything you need to do up to this point, this really should be a generally easy year. (Except for the fact that our child will be leaving the house in about 8 months…sigh…) There are a lot of deadlines to watch for especially for Florida financial aid. You can find all that on www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD
Of course the biggest decision of which college to choose is on the horizon, BUT with much PRAYER and discussion, finding the pros and cons for each possible school, God will make it clear and you will all agree on the final choice.
Preparing Your Child for the ACT/SAT
Are you worried about how well your children will do in high school? What about those foreign words called the SAT or ACT? One thing you can do during your children's high school years is prepare them for the SAT or ACT test, especially if they are geared toward attending a college or university. Scholarships are often given to homeschool children with good SAT or ACT test scores. Some of the resources below are as easy as one math problem a day or one new vocabulary word a day. So, start researching these websites now and your children will be well ahead of the game!
The Bible talks about testing, too, God tests our hearts for obedience.
"And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove (test) thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no." Deuteronomy 8:2
To register for the ACT exam www.actstudent.org
To register for the SAT exam http://sat.collegeboard.org
To register for the PSAT exam: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/reg.html
What Are Your Choices For Getting College Credit In High School?
While accelerated programs offer free college, you must first prayerfully consider whether this is a good option for your student and family. Is your child ready to be exposed to the “adult” college thoughts, practices, and required reading material? Is your child mentally ready to accelerate or should he have that extra time at home to mature?
If you decided that your child is ready for this step, there are a variety of opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school, that save time and money. Every college has their own individual qualifications, so be sure to confirm information with the college in which your child plans to enroll. Also, be familiar with Florida Law by visiting www.flhef.org
This is a unique opportunity for your juniors and seniors to enroll in college courses to receive high school and college credit simultaneously. A student must have completed 11 high school credits, have an unweighted cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, and appropriate SAT, ACT, or CPT scores for entering college. You must be in good standing with the school board of education to be approved. Classes can be taken online or at the college campus. A student may register for up to 11 credits per term. A dual enrolled student does not have to pay a registration fee or class matriculation. Homeschooled students are required to purchase textbooks. Public school students are able to loan textbooks, but homeschool students are not. You may be dual enrolled and still play sports for a private school.
If your child is a senior, you can choose the Early Admissions option. Your student can enroll full time in college and receive high school and college credit for the courses taken. Your child must complete two consecutive terms carrying 12 college-level credit hours each major term, and maintain a GPA of 2.0 in order to receive a high school diploma. Matriculation fees are waived for a maximum of 24 credit hours. As with dual enrollment, homeschool students are required to purchase textbooks, you must be in good standing with the school board of education, and you may still play sports for a private school.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
All Broward County public high schools offer AP courses for students in their junior or senior years. Home-educated students can access this opportunity through FLVS. To receive college credit after completing an AP course, your student must take a national examination in May. If your child is enrolled in an AP class in a public school, the examination fee is paid by the school. Each private school makes its own arrangement for the test-taking fee. The test is scored on a scale from one through five, five being the highest. If you score three or better on the test, college credit may be granted by most colleges and universities in and outside Florida.
CLEP (College Level Examination Program)
This is a way to earn college credit without actually taking the class, so it is a great opportunity to save time and money. If your child can show mastery of a subject evidenced by receiving a satisfactory score on a computer-based exam, he will receive college credit for that course just as if he had taken it. This is a great way to knock out some of the pre-requisite or beginning classes and accelerate through the first two years. There are 33 college courses in which you may take an exam for credit and the material covered is equivalent to what is taught in courses on campus. A CLEP exam is an hour and a half long and consists mostly of multiple-choice questions (some exams have fill-in-the-blank questions), except for English Composition with Essay and College Composition. The cost of taking a CLEP test is around $77, which is MUCH cheaper than the course matriculation fee. Study guides for the CLEP exams are available at popular bookstores or can be downloaded for $10 from www.collegeboard.org . Not all colleges accept CLEP scores, but there are 2,900 U.S. colleges and universities that do; you will need to check with your child’s college to see if the scores are accepted for credit or not.
Broward College offers a College Academy on their Central Campus where juniors and seniors can earn both, an Associate in Arts degree, and a college-ready high school diploma simultaneously at no cost. This is a full-time public school, so your child will no longer be considered home-educated. Interested applicants must apply in their sophomore year and have the qualifying test scores. For more information contact 754-321-6900.
Updates To Bright Futures for Homeschooled students….
If your high school student might attend a Florida College or University, you should plan to apply for the Bright Futures scholarship. A student who receives a Bright Futures award and attends an out-of-state postsecondary institution and then returns to Florida to complete his/her education may apply for and receive reinstatement funding within three years from the student’s high school graduation date. Bright Futures must be applied for during the last year of high school (after Dec.1 and before graduation). In order to be eligible as a home educated student, a student must provide verification of 11th and 12th grade county registration. Certification of county registration will occur online by the home education district contact. The submission of a FFAA as a home educated student will prompt the district to certify the registration online.
The requirements for this scholarship are constantly changing, so you should be sure to read up on this at the beginning of your senior year to see what changes have been made in the requirements and the awards given. The website is www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/ssfad/bf. The award amounts are per credit hour. They change yearly and are posted on the website.
Most importantly, the recent changes relate to the community service hours. During the 2011 legislative session new requirements were set on the number of community service hours for each scholarship level. The top scholarship (FAS) now requires 100 hours (used to be 75), the next level (FMS) is now 75 hours of community service (used to be 0) and the bottom level now requires 30 hours (also previously 0). The Florida Department of Education is required to approve home education community service hours for Bright Futures initial eligibility.
· Community service hours may not be hours that benefitted the student financially or materially, or be service to family members, defined as: parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and spouses, including all step relations.
· The agencies where the community service hours were earned must provide documentation of the number of hours and dates of service completed on agency letterhead.
· The hours must be submitted through the student’s district where he or she is registered as a home-educated student and approved by the FDOE for the Bright Futures community service requirement.
The GED and transcripts
Many homeschool parents are concerned that their student’s academic ability is invalid without outside validation. This uncalled for anxiety has motivated some parents to have their kids take the GED and use it instead of a homeschool high school transcript. This is a bad idea. While the GED does validate your students’ academic record, it makes them look like a dropout. This is because the GED is perceived as a last resort for students who can’t handle traditional high school studies.
The reality is that as a homeschool parent, you are absolutely qualified to validate your student’s academic record. You do this by creating your own transcript. If you think you can’t do this because you are not and ‘accredited institution’ think again. Most high schools are not evaluated by an accrediting body. And in fact, many high schools fail state evaluations and yet their students are still accepted into top universities. This is because admissions officials are more interested in the student’s individual performance than in a ‘school’s performance’ .
A transcript is just a simple one page document that lists a student’s courses, amount of credit, and grade for each course. Include the overall GPA at the bottom and list some extracurricular activities, and that’s really all you need. Don’t forget to sign and date it, it’s not a valid document unless you do.
When listing courses on your transcript use language that makes sense. Using the county website for course codes and titles would be the easiest. If your student takes an AP course or Honors course, list that in the title or put and asterisk next to the title and note it at the bottom that the course is Honors or advanced. CLEP tests are also a good idea because they provide some measure of outside validation that the students can handle college-level coursework. While this validation isn’t necessary, the student will stand out about their peers because they’ve proven themselves on the college level. Also, dual enrollment in the students’ 11th and 12th grade years is also a great opportunity to show college level ability.
It’s always a good idea to begin high school with the end in mind. Envision what your student’s transcript will look like even before they start high school. Figure out their passions, interests, and how to translate that into academic credit, if it isn’t already apparent. If your student is interested in computer programming, look into electives in this area. Also, if your student has an idea of colleges they would like to attend, make sure the transcript reflects courses that meet their requirements. Do this as early as possible in the student’s high school years.