Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Decently and In Order -- Day 2 Graduating a Homeschooler

"Let everything be done decently and in order."     1 Corinthians 14:40

To get us started on the right track to Graduating our firstborn homeschooler, I had to wade through and figure out exactly what courses Claire would need to take and what she would need on her transcript to be competitive in the college arena.  I knew that Claire had plans to attend college (she'd talked about being a veterinarian since she was in 4th grade and a musician after that!) so I started thinking about how to get the high school transcript right long before we ever even started thinking about high school courses.

Our first step was to check out the Department of Education website for the State of Mississippi and see what was required for students to graduate from the public school system.  I had no intentions of copying those requirements verbatim but wanted to have a starting place for customizing her education to fit her personality and interests.  AND I wanted to make sure that colleges would give her a fair shake when they saw her transcript.  I didn't want it to stand out as a red flag and hurt her chances at competitive scholarships and class selections.

I compared both standard and honors graduation requirements and learned about which courses students HAD to have (English, Mississippi History, American Government) and which ones were suggested for college prep coursework (a lab-based science, math).  We talked about what courses were "required" for Long Leaf Academy (Bible, preparing for marriage and family, service) and what things she was passionate about -- gifts that GOD had blessed her with like the talents of art and music.  From there we were ready to custom design a high school program that would prepare her for life outside of our home education environment.

One of my favorite resources for this was the book Senior High:  A Home Designed Form + U + La by Barb Shelton.  Through the pages of her book, Barb Shelton shares learning guides and transcript masters that helped me develop a GOD-honoring plan of education that would lead Claire to be well-rounded without me freaking out over what was coming.  Her conversational tone gently reminded me that GOD had called me to this homeschool journey and HE would see me through.  I needed that boost of confidence!

For the actual transcript, I purchased Inge Cannon's TranscriptPro and it has proven to be the easiest program for this mama to use.  {The single download gives me permission to make transcripts for all four of my children and I've gone ahead and set them all up!  Even my 5th grader!}  TranscriptPro figures the GPA and offers suggestions about credits needed and the results look professional.  There was even a place for extracurricular activities, awards and honors.  I simply typed in the information and printed a copy to accompany Claire's college applications.  All that was left for me to do was sign the transcript and have it notarized.  No questions asked!

Claire ends her high school career with 42 Carnegie Units.  She has had English classes in British Literature, American Literature, Grammar, Logic, Shakespeare and Speech; Foreign Language classes in Spanish and French; Math classes in Algebra, Consumer Math and Geometry; Social Science classes in American Government, American History, Civics, Economics, Geography, Multicultural Studies and 20th Century American History; Natural Science classes in A & P, Biology, Environmental Science and Physical Science; Fine Arts classes in Art, Music, Photography and Theatre; Business classes in Accounting, Computer Applications and Personal Finance; Physical Education classes in Health, Karate and Nutrition; and Religious Studies classes in Bible Doctrine, Discipleship, Marriage and Family and Old and New Testament Survey.

Some of these classes have been strictly "by the book" utilizing textbooks and online curriculum while others have been "outside the box" classes such as Personal Finance (Dave Ramsey course), Marriage and Family (a 4-year reading plan designed by me) and Multicultural Studies (after 3 mission trips out of the country).  Claire no longer wants to be a veterinarian, but GOD is using her fine art talents as she leads in worship in Wednesday night Bible study at church.  She has declared a major of Occupational Therapy specializing in Pediatrics on the Autism Spectrum and has begun shadowing local Occupational Therapists to prepare for application into OT school in 2 years after she completes the required basic coursework in college.  Through it all, we've purposed to do all things decently and in order -- bringing glory to GOD alone.

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  1. I've heard it before but...what are Carnegie units? My dd is finishing 9th grade and although she is indecisive about college, I think she will go ;) I've been looking at TranscriptPro a lot lately.

  2. Some states just call them "credits" but ours Carnegie Units and Credits are the same. To graduate you have to have so many credits/units in each subject matter. Roughly a semester is worth 1/2 credit or unit and a year is worth 1 whole unit or credit. Things like Driver's Ed and State History are 1/2 credits and things like Algebra and Biology are worth 1 credit.

  3. We have Barb Shelton's book, but I am still a bit overwhelmed with all of the possibilities for high school. And it is here already!

  4. Great information. In our public schools here....one semester is one credit. Students need 52 credits for graduation. ie: they need 8 credits in math, meaning 4 full years/8 semesters. I'm doing our credit system this way...seems easier. BUT, if it takes 3 semesters to go thru their algebra, they only get 2 credits because it should have been done in 2 semesters. Hope that makes sense.

    Thanks for sharing. My current 10th grader wanted to be a Vet assistant. Then wanted to be a missionary in S. Africa (until she saw a national geographic thing on bird spiders LOL) now she wants to be a Crime Scene Investigator. Now if we could only get her math more up to par LOL

    Looking forward to tomorrow's info.


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