Friday, March 17, 2017

My Teen Son's High School Plan

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My son is currently 14 years old. According to the public school system, he should be completing his freshman year of high school. Instead, he is completing his eighth grade year and is working on a few courses which will count for ninth grade. Dean needed tons of medical intervention and therapies when he was very young, so we didn't start homeschooling full force until he was a bit older. The result was that he was ready for eighth grade this year, but he desperately wanted to be in ninth grade like his public school friends. At the end of last year, I had my son professionally tested for various special education needs as well as extensive IQ test. He came out with a superior IQ and some very confusing, scattered test results that suggested a learning challenge and the need for further testing. Further testing showed that he has a significant pragmatic language disorder, scattered processing issues and depression. Armed with this information, we were advised to have him do a split year. We continued with eighth grade as originally planned and picked some courses that he could work through that would count for ninth grade.

This year he has been working on the following courses ~

8th Grade Courses
  • English 8 (8th grade) ~ mostly literature
  • Pre-Algebra (8th grade)
  • World History (8th grade 1/2 credit)
  • Life Skills (8th grade)
  • Physical Education (8th grade)
  • General Science (8th grade 1/2 credit)
9th Grade Courses
  • English I (9th grade) ~ mostly a writing course
  • Earth and Environmental Science (9th grade)
  • U.S. History I (9th grade)
  • Visual Arts I (9th grade)
  • String Instruments (9th grade)
Obviously, with 11 courses on his plate, he isn't going to complete all of them by the end of the year. He thought he would be able to tackle this much schooling at the beginning of the year, but his depression really got in the way. Instead, we are focusing on finishing all of eighth grade and being at the halfway mark in most of the ninth grade courses he worked on this year. This will mean that he could take on the rest of his ninth grade courses next year and perhaps two tenth grade courses as well. In the end, he hopes to somehow "catch up" and graduate at the same age that most of his peers would. This is all his own internal pressure. I would rather take the next four years to complete his high school credits. He has come a tremendous way from the huge challenges placed on him in infancy, but there is lots of work to still do. I wish he would relax and give himself time.

Below is part of his high school plan. I have studied all of the requirements of our county and state. We are focusing on a college track diploma, even though I think a two year college degree is the most likely scenario for our son and doesn't require foreign language and the harder sciences. However, we want him to be ready for a four year college if that is where he is led. We are not required to follow the local high school transcript, but I find it to be a good guide. I feel it will be helpful for future employers to have a familiar looking transcript (if he doesn't go to college at all).

His current plan ~ 

9th Grade
  1. English I
  2. Math I
  3. Earth Science
  4. American History I
  5. Physical Education (mostly dance) and Health
  6. Visual Arts I
  7. String Instruments I
10th Grade
  1. English II
  2. Algebra
  3. Biology
  4. American History II
  5. Career and Technology course

11th Grade
  1. English III
  2. Geometry
  3. Chemistry or Physics
  4. Spanish I

12th Grade
  1. English IV
  2. Personal Finance
  3. Government
  4. Spanish II

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We still have many electives empty, since I am still waiting to see what he truly needs to follow his passions. Our state requires a 4 year concentration for public school students. Dean's concentration will most likely be in the arts, which can be a combination of music, theater and visual arts.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. I'm so sorry your son has depression. My brother had it at around Deans age and it made everything so much harder for him. Pressure one puts on oneself is tricky to handle. I think once adulthood is reached age becomes insignificant and you are taken at face value more than age value.
    I will be praying for Deans depression to lift x

  2. It looks like a good plan. I am sorry he feels so much pressure to catch up. I am taking an opposite approach with my 16 year old 9th grader. We will be taking 8 years to finish high school, graduating when he is 21, with Quentin.

  3. My oldest daughter has not the same challenges, but the same results of her own challenges--namely that she feels pressure to catch up to her peers. It has been frustrating, but at 17 she seems to be settling into her own skin. I hope the same for your boy!! :)

    And I wish him success in achieving his dreams!

  4. Kids are such individuals! It looks like a solid plan, and nobody will know in 10 years what age he graduated - not that he'll accept that right now probably. ;) Sometimes it is the hardest thing to give ourselves grace. Praying he finds success and contentment along the way, however it works out.

  5. Hopefully he won't be too upset if he has to take his high school career at a slightly slower pace but we'll be rooting for him to "catch" up... who knows if it really is that important to him he might just be able to pull it off. I think that the beauty of homeschooling is the ability to go at a pace we're comfortable with but it's tough when the kiddos don't agree.

  6. Looks like a great plan, Dawn!

    My oldest took pre-algebra in 9th grade because he was behind in math. He went on to take Algebra 1 and Geometry and fulfilled the requirement to take 3 math courses in highschool and tested into college math. He went on to college and graduated from the diesel tech program with an Associates degree. So keep in mind that anything he does in "highschool" counts as highschool credit. :)

  7. Great plan. We had testing done too, but probably not quite as extensive, and it was one of the best things for us. It gave us more direction in our schooling and brought to light that she is similar in some respects to Dean. We have very particular education methods to use and the rest are expected to not be as successful.

    I'm really happy that Dean was able to find out what works best for him. You've done an excellent job in structuring a high school plan for him!