Traditionally schooled students get to walk into a classroom and take a course for which someone has already done the hard work of planning it—but which has the drawback of being “one size fits all.” For homeschoolers, designing courses takes some work and ingenuity. However, with the proper knowledge and perspective, students and parents can work together to come up with a course of study that will be equivalent to (or better than) an honors level course at a traditional school—and that fits the student’s needs and abilities.
Three main steps will start you on your journey: Research Your Requirements, Optimize Your Options, and Customize Your Courses.
Senioritis. Though it may not be listed in your physician’s medical dictionary, it is a real malady that traditional students, parents, schoolteachers, and counselors recognize and even come to expect. In a classic case of senioritis, a student begins to lose focus, motivation, and “drive” for completing work with excellence as graduation approaches. In mild cases, students may simply feel a reduced motivation to finish their work—especially once college acceptances are in and the remainder of high school seems to consist of “going through the motions.” In extreme cases, however, students may actually receive D’s and F’s in their courses.
Whether homeschooled or traditionally schooled, high school students have one thing in common: their dread of college entrance exams. Homeschooling parents, too, may be intimidated. To begin with, our students generally take fewer standardized tests than do traditional students. Additionally, whether fair or not, colleges may place more emphasis on homeschoolers’ test scores and less on their transcripts. Thus, students may believe that they need good test scores to “prove” themselves to colleges.