Wednesday, June 24, 2015

High School Planning for Chronically Ill Children - Scheduling

This final post in High School Planning for Chronically Ill Children comes after discussing how to define a credit hour and then selecting which credits will be needed for your child.  After going through the process for our daughter, I realized it might possibly take her five years to complete what the average high school student can easily complete in four years.

After some thought and a lot of calming breaths, it dawned on me that Amber could be a five year high school student without tacking the fifth year onto the end. We could just begin early, which will allow Amber to still graduate with her friends. However, I've always wanted 8th grade to be Amber's last relaxing year. If we treat 8th grade as partial high school, which is allowed in our state, then Amber could start earning credits in courses that were technically high school level material while easing into the more rigorous aspects of high school.  This plan will hopefully give her the extra time needed.

Unexpected Homeschool: High School Planning for Chronically Ill Children - Scheduling Courses

Now that we had a better idea of how to achieve all the hours, the nitty gritty planning of courses still remained. In order to receive the full benefit of Amber's 8th grade year, we must map out the courses for each year of high school, instead of randomly throwing high school level studies her way.  Knowing the curriculum to be used isn't necessary at this point, but knowing what specific topics we need to complete per year is paramount to graduating by the end of 12th grade.

In our state a student may start earning high school credit in 7th grade, provided the class is of high school level. This caveat gave me a place to begin plotting out courses.  Looking back at Amber's 7th grade, she took Algebra 1 and completed half of German 1, which are both considered high school level content and thus qualifying for early high school credit.  I decided to use Algebra 1 as the math starting location.

Amber will need four credits of math, but additionally, if she can't test out of college level math she will also need to take at least one math class in college.  With her current level of brain fog, that could be disastrous. This leaves us with two math options. Firstly, we can count Algebra 1 as a credit and then accumulate the remaining three credits from Algebra 2, Geometry, and Trigonometry, which gives her five years to complete three math credits.  However, our ideal schedule would be option 2 where we add a Calculus class to give Amber a chance to AP or CLEP test out of college math.  Knowing that she has options for this most stressful of subjects gives us hope.

Amber enjoys science, but similarly to math finds it difficult during some of her more sickly days.  We had intended for her to reach an advanced science in 12th grade by starting Physical Science in 8th grade.  However, since Physical Science is considered high school level, we can use it for science credit number one.  Amber will then progress through Biology, Chemistry and Physics, all of which are considered laboratory classes.  This schedule sets her up to complete four credits of science in five years.  As a bonus, since all of the classes are considered laboratory science, we do have the option of exchanging Physics for a slightly less difficult course when the time comes.

Unexpected Homeschool: High School Planning for Chronically Ill Children - Scheduling Courses

The last of the tricky subjects is German. Amber will basically need a minor in a foreign language for an English degree in college.  She will also need a minimum of two foreign language credits for college admittance.  While it isn't necessary, we'd like to help her along with the university level minor by completing as many foreign language credits in high school as possible. It simply feels wrong to push everything off until her college years and hope for the best then.  We have a good start on Foreign Language, because Amber already earned a half credit of German in 7th grade. If she can earn another half credit in 8th grade, that leaves us four years to earn the required remaining one credit.  It also gives us four years to complete as much German as time allows.  Our goal will be five total credits, but we will be content with three.

The problem subjects of Physical Education and Practical Arts will most probably be achieved through four to five years of homeschool co-op classes, physical therapy and home exercises.  Amber takes enrichment classes through our co-op with the topics varying each semester. A single semester enrichment class will not be enough hours to earn her a half credit.  I've decided to not stress about this for now and assume we will cover Practical Arts through a mixture of co-op classes over the next five years. I expect the most difficult aspect of this plan to be documenting diverse classes taken over longer periods of time as one course.

The remaining subjects do not pose as much of a difficulty for Amber and will be evenly distributed across the last four high school years. Most likely, we will float some of the smaller credit needs, like Government and Personal Finance, around until it feels like a good semester or year. Perhaps even leaving them until the end of high school in the hopes that Amber will have already completed the majority of her math and science. However, if an opportunity arises to take one of those topics at the co-op, especially Personal Finance, we will probably utilize that class.

I've written out our tentative course schedule for Amber and even started filling in ideas for curriculum.  More importantly, I'm working on the scope of each course to ensure that whatever curriculum we select fits our needs and not the other way around.  I'm sure this will be an on going process and the scope of several classes may change as Amber changes.

Mostly though, I am fantastically relieved to now have a plan in place that makes it possible for my chronically ill girl to complete a college preparatory course in high school.  We had not intended to plan out Amber's high school years so far in advance, but our initial preparations made it clear a detailed plan would be necessary in order for her to stay on track. I most certainly did not plan my own high school years so carefully, yet still managed to attend and graduate from college.  However, life with a chronic illness changes all the rules.

1 comment:

  1. I think your plan is wonderful. It will all work out in the end.
    Blessings, Dawn