Wednesday, June 17, 2015

High School Planning for Chronically Ill Children - Selecting Credits

Welcome to the second post in a series on planning high school for chronically ill children.  The previous post covered how I ended up with our definition of a credit hour and my subsequent panic over how Amber would actually be able to earn the needed credits each year. 

While our state has no laws on what is needed for homeschool students to be considered graduated, many homeschoolers use the public school as a guideline or place to start.  I also checked the admissions policies of several local universities.  If Amber were to meet the state's public school requirements for a "college preparatory" certificate in addition to the diploma requirements, she would have no trouble being admitted to any of the universities.

Unexpected Homeschool: High School Planning for Chronically Ill Children - Selecting Credits / Courses

But is admittance all we want? Knowing, at this point, that Amber intends to seek a degree in English, I also checked the recommendations from those specific departments and degree programs.  They had additional suggestions for high school courses that would be wise to have taken in advance of attending college.  This is the exact information we needed to create a better high school plan.

After tallying up all the requirements for a state issued diploma and college preparatory certificate, plus the recommendations from the universities, we had the following subject credits:
  • 4 credits of Science (at least one must be laboratory)
  • 4 credits of Mathematics
  • 4 credits of History (1 must be American history)
  • 1/2 credit of Government / Civics
  • 4 credits of Language Arts
  • 4-5 credits of Foreign Language
  • 1 credit of Fine Arts
  • 1/2 credit of Practical Arts
  • 1/2 credit of Personal Finance
  • 1/2 credit of Health
  • 1 credit of Physical Education
This is just a minimum too. Amber could potentially do more in the Language Arts area to put her further ahead.  She could also drop down to fewer credits of Foreign Language, but all the universities she is considering basically require a Foreign Language minor for the English degree.  She will be better prepared for that requirement with a full 6 years (7th - 12th) of German.

These numbers definitely caused me to panic just a little more. During the elementary and middle school years our core subject hour requirements were all lumped together and the division of hours didn't matter.  For high school Amber will need over 650 core hours a year dispersed very specifically among the subjects, which is where our problem lies. Remember our very skewed 7th grade hours? 

After calming down a bit, I realized we had yet another concern: exactly how do we pick topics to earn these credits. Yes, our state recommends some topics for a few of the subjects, but many others are subjective.  Mentally checking off the credits, I decided Fine arts will not be an issue because of Amber's music. Unfortunately, in my credit break down I've already taken the easy option provided by our state and put Personal Finance under Practical Arts, instead of in Social Sciences or as an elective.  Even with that inclusion, I have no clue what other Practical Arts she could possibly earn.  Not to mention Physical Education.  The child is exercise intolerant and on a specific regimen that may let her achieve an entire credit over 4 years.  Maybe. It really depends on how many sick days she has.

I seriously began considering that we might have to expect right from the start on Amber being a five year high school student.  It's alright if that happens due to her illnesses, but to know from the very beginning it's going to take five years would make Amber feel defeated. Still, how are we going to earn all the need hours in the myriad of subjects within four years?

The final post will talk about how we plan to help Amber graduate with all the needed courses by the end of her 12th grade year. 

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