Saturday, June 7, 2014

The High School "Plan" - part 1

My 13-turning-14 year old will be beginning the high school years in our homeschool.  I wanted to share a bit about our plan for her, and the reasons behind them.  There is a lot of wiggle room, and some wait and see involved.  I can see this might be a long blog post, so I think this will be a series.

She is sort of 9th grade in the Fall.  I say "sort of" because Michigan law stated that a child would be eligible for kindergarten with a birthday cut off date of December 1st.  This meant that any child with a fall birthday would be 4-turning-5 at the start of kindergarten (and 5-turning-6 in 1st grade, 6-turning-7 in 2nd...you get the picture).  Michigan had one of the earliest start ages in the country.  I cannot tell you how much grief this gives a homeschool mom!  The mom of a homeschooled fall birthday child in Michigan is always having to balance maturity issues, academic readiness issues, and program specific age requirements.  For instance, every program we've been involved in has followed a different age requirement, all falling sometime in the fall.  American Heritage Girls?  Oct 30, except that our group decided to go with Oct 1.  Classical Conversations?  Sept 30th.  Can you understand my angst? (Note: Michigan is now changing their enrollment cut-off date, but for me, it's a little late!)

And then there is the time pressure.  If, according to Michigan law, she should be 9th grade this year, then we run into all kinds of tricky situations when our program age requirements do not allow her to participate in the 9th grade programs.  And the emotional pressure: how are we going to get all this done with excellence, and transcripts, when the public school kids are adding high school credits in 8th grade, and earning an associates degree.  ((Hyperventilation ensues)).

Time to chill.  Deep breath in, deep breath out.

First, if I look at this particular child, I can see this trend emerge.  I could probably make a pie chart or a lovely graph to make it visual.  She has her own time scale.  She wakes up in the morning and leisurely stretches, and takes forever in the bathroom changing her clothes, and slowly creeps downstairs.  She methodically plods through her schoolwork, in no hurry to get it done.  Since the age of infancy, she's leisurely taken her time to learn new things and gain new skills.  She shows all readiness signs for the new skill ahead, but no inclination toward attaining it.  I end up sitting back, biting my nails, waiting.  Eventually, everyone passes her by, and then she speeds up, soars ahead, and leisurely coasts downhill.

Would high school be any different?

We've always had this plan - before we had children - that our homeschooled children would graduate our homeschool with a bachelor's degree by age 18 (or, eh, 19 if we needed a smidge more time).  Now my "in no hurry" child is entering 9th grade and it's time to make it happen!  But no pressure!

I say all this to lay the groundwork for what's ahead.

We're enrolling her in Challenge A, through Classical Conversations.  The age range for this program is 12-14.  The cutoff date is 12 by Sept 30th.  The program goes like this:

Challenge A - 7th-9th grade (although in some places, the program is referred to as 7th-8th grade). Age requirement: 12 by Sept 30th.
Challenge B - 8th-9th grade Age requirement: 13 by Sept 30th
Challenge I - 9th-11th grade Age requirement: 14 by Sept 30th (she misses this cut off date)
Challenge II - 9th-12th grade
Challenge III - 10th-12th grade
Challenge IV - 11th-12th grade

If you look at how the Challenge program meets general transcript requirements (United States, not specific to Michigan), you'll see that transcript credits aren't technically earned until Challenge I.  Here is the 2-page PDF link to CC and College (transcript credits shown on Page 2)

So, how on earth can I enroll my 9th grade, turning 14 year old daughter way back in Challenge A, and still reach our goals for a bachelor's degree by age 18 or 19?  Stay tuned.

Missed a post in this series?
The High School Plan:
Part 1 Background & Our Plan for Next Year
Part 2 The Heart of Our Goals & Why CC Fits
Part 3 A (ongoing) List of High School Options, for everyone
Part 4 How We Might Count Some Credits with ChA & Looking Ahead (College Plus?)

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