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hockeymom
04-01-2013, 02:48 PM
DS dropped the news recently that he will probably want to go to our local high school when the time comes (he's a planner). Since he will be in the 5th grade next year, but studying at generally higher levels, I've decided to treat next year like the first of 4 years of middle school. That way I can get in a full classical cycle of science and history before turning him over to the school system in grade 9, and generally use the opportunity to ramp up a little more than I might have each year. I figure that way he will either a)already know everything they can offer at the high school and want to come home, b) be able to step into the school system with reasonable confidence and do okay or c) be able to take some honors courses in his field(s) of interest and skill.

I'm wondering for those of you who record keep for middle school, what advice would you have for keeping some kind of transcripts of his studies so the transition into ps for high school can be as seamless as possible? I do know it's 4 years away and anything can change, but I'd like to start working with a plan next year. It isn't unreasonable to think that he will want to be placed in honors or advanced classes as a freshman, assuming he's ready for them, so I will need to be able to prove not only what he's covered, but at what depth and level.

Thanks!

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
04-01-2013, 03:18 PM
I don't have experience, obviously, but I wonder if you could speak with one of the high school's guidance counselors to ask what they need to place homeschooled kids. They normally use teacher recommendations for high school tracking, I think.

dbmamaz
04-01-2013, 03:23 PM
I agree, you have to contact the school district. around here, no amount of records will count for much, they are very bound by their red tape - you have to check the right boxes or there's no chance.

hockeymom
04-01-2013, 03:40 PM
I will check with the high school, but since he will technically only still be in elementary next year, I'm afraid they will just laugh. :) Also, I kind of don't want to officially put his name out there yet in case he changes his mind down the road, or in case we opt to go another route ( there is a math and science charter opening up nearby next year, for example).

I do keep a portfolio now and will continue to, I just thought maybe there might be essential information I might overlook, or more record keeping than I'm accustomed to that might be beneficial. Probably they won't care about next year anyway, but I wanted to start getting systems in place so it could be cohesive over the next few years.

dbmamaz
04-01-2013, 04:09 PM
no, not with name, just 'general information' for transferring in as a homeschooler. well, i guess if its a really small community?

my record keeping is really minimal - i basically write up a brief course description at the beginning of the year, and update it once or twice and at the end. you shouldnt have to provide much more than a school transcript. i dont do grades - some schools dont do grades either.

laundrycrisis
04-01-2013, 05:31 PM
I have not officially looked into this in our state, but I have heard rumors that they won't accept a kid for public 9th grade or above here unless they took some kind of proctored standardized tests in the spring of 8th grade - and if someone tries to transfer into public HS, with no scores to go by, they will make them start at 8th grade. So if I was looking into public HS, I would probably make 8th grade a year of enrollment in the virtual school (we are one of the few districts in our state to have one - it is through a charter, and those are very rare here) or part-time at the PS so he would be eligible to take the state standardized test (private and homeschooled students can take the national, but not the state test here), and not have to deal with that particular problem for 9th grade.

farrarwilliams
04-01-2013, 06:00 PM
I would call and ask and not worry about them knowing you were interested. Explain that he's advanced in certain subjects and you are looking at your options and want to have your eyes open. You might also call or email your statewide group if there is one. They may have the inside scoop, you know?

quabbin
04-01-2013, 07:06 PM
I'd keep course descriptions, list of books, work samples (especially writing), lists of extracurriculars (especially academic ones) and do the Iowa tests or some other nationally normed test annually if your state doesn't already require it.
They are unlikely to place a child in the wrong grade if s/he has the "right" birthday, but getting into honors courses is sometimes an issue. I would call the high school guidance counselor at the beginning of 8th grade--policies/procedures/staff could change between now and then.

hockeymom
04-02-2013, 04:32 PM
Thanks for all the great thoughts.

One thing I hadn't considered is perhaps having him start taking standardized tests sooner than later so he can get used to them before they really count, like to be eligible for certain classes. I suspect he will be a poor test taker (there are logical exceptions to every rule in his world, and he's unlikely to read test questions the way they are intended). Man, I loathe the idea of standardized tests. Do they rule the high school world the same as in elementary?

WhatEverWorks
04-02-2013, 09:30 PM
Here in NC the standard tests count as part of your semester grade. The kids take a standard state final in many classes and its up to luck if the teacher taught the right things. As far as honors, in our school district, parents can sign a waiver to get their child into an honors class even if they don't qualify the normal way.

I've been keeping records tied to our state objectives. So, whatever they ask, I can show a work sample meeting that objective. That only takes about half our time. I'm also logging all the extra material we go into. And, the biggie - we keep work samples of a wide variety of writing tasks.

Good luck getting in touch with a counselor. We've been trying for three months for my daughter to no avail. And, I work part time in her school!

Pawz4me
04-02-2013, 09:47 PM
As others have said, I would call and ask. I can tell you, though, that when I called our local high school I never did get a useful answer. So I went as thoroughly prepared as possible. But all that was looked at was my son's most recent achievement test scores. We're required to do a yearly achievement test here, and the guidance counselor quickly glanced at his most recent results and said "Well, obviously he can take anything he wants to." And that was it.

MrsLOLcat
04-03-2013, 12:43 AM
Do they rule the high school world the same as in elementary?

They do here. Plus there are all the 'you have to pass these to get a driver's license and/or graduate' tests. They DID have a waiver that allowed any student who had gotten accepted into a four-year university to skip the grad tests, but they nixed that this week. *eyeroll* Even if you don't have him take actual tests beforehand, there are some old, sample ones you can print off and use.

This is an excellent thread. I hadn't really considered it, but my DS will be in 5th next year as well and waffles back and forth on high school (I doubt he'll actually go, but DD might).

dbmamaz
04-03-2013, 11:31 AM
in my district, you cant graduate high school unless you've passed a certain number of standardized subject tests. this is why its really hard to transfer in to high school - you havent taken the standards tests, you'll need to go minimum of three full years to take all the required tests to graduate.

kohlby
04-05-2013, 12:43 PM
Hi, I used to be a public middle and high school teacher. Not all schools do it the same way, but it's pretty standard to put the kids into their age-appropriate grade unless there is course work/testing available that proves they should be in a different grade. So, as long as your child is of the right traditional age for 9th grade, they should put him in 9th grade. Most schools have some sort of testing to help with level placement. If the child was coming from public 8th grade, then they often use the placement along with grades from 8th grade - since most middle schools are ability based. If they don't know where to put the child, then they often have a test the child can take. The only place I'd caution you to be very careful with is high-school credit classes taken as a middle schooler. Go to your local middle school's website and see what you can find about that. Where I taught, Alg I and English I were offered to 8th graders for high school credit. If you do Alg I homeschool, then they may make you jump through more hoops to get high school credit for it. So, keep that in mind. But otherwise, starting at 9th grade shouldn't be too hard.

It gets a LOT trickier if you're talking about transferring into high school. Some cause big fusses about what credits they will and will not accept. There are some homeschool organizations that operate under a private school label that can help you with this. I know someone who's daughter wasn't going to get any credit for her high school homeschool classes but then that organization stepped in and she got credit for every single class. (Can't remember the full name of that organization, but it had Liberty in the title). If you're thinking about doing just part of high school,then make sure to document every single thing. I am likely going to switch my oldest to a public school for 11th and 12th, but its' a school that only does 11th and 12th so they're used to accepting credits from other schools. (Plus, they're used to having some homeschoolers do that). I will still be making sure to document everything and keep great transcripts for when the time comes.

RachelC
04-05-2013, 12:53 PM
A few ppl mentioned trying to get in touch with a school counselor via phone and having no luck. If I really want to talk to someone, I go in person. Phone messages are easily ignored or forgotten. Showing up demonstrates that you are serious, and it is harder to ignore. Plus, a face-to-face conversation is more productive, and leaves less possibility for misunderstandings.

hockeymom
04-05-2013, 02:40 PM
Hi, I used to be a public middle and high school teacher. Not all schools do it the same way, but it's pretty standard to put the kids into their age-appropriate grade unless there is course work/testing available that proves they should be in a different grade. So, as long as your child is of the right traditional age for 9th grade, they should put him in 9th grade. Most schools have some sort of testing to help with level placement. If the child was coming from public 8th grade, then they often use the placement along with grades from 8th grade - since most middle schools are ability based. If they don't know where to put the child, then they often have a test the child can take. The only place I'd caution you to be very careful with is high-school credit classes taken as a middle schooler. Go to your local middle school's website and see what you can find about that. Where I taught, Alg I and English I were offered to 8th graders for high school credit. If you do Alg I homeschool, then they may make you jump through more hoops to get high school credit for it. So, keep that in mind. But otherwise, starting at 9th grade shouldn't be too hard.

It gets a LOT trickier if you're talking about transferring into high school. Some cause big fusses about what credits they will and will not accept. There are some homeschool organizations that operate under a private school label that can help you with this. I know someone who's daughter wasn't going to get any credit for her high school homeschool classes but then that organization stepped in and she got credit for every single class. (Can't remember the full name of that organization, but it had Liberty in the title). If you're thinking about doing just part of high school,then make sure to document every single thing. I am likely going to switch my oldest to a public school for 11th and 12th, but its' a school that only does 11th and 12th so they're used to accepting credits from other schools. (Plus, they're used to having some homeschoolers do that). I will still be making sure to document everything and keep great transcripts for when the time comes.

This is great info--thank you. I don't know for sure he'll go, just thinking ahead since he mentioned it recently. If so, we'll homeschool middle school and start him in hs as a freshman. He'll do algebra in grade 6 or 7, and I'll definitely keep all his work, as well as probably have him take standardized tests. I don't think there is any sense in him trying to skip grades, but it's likely he'll want higher level classes. Our hs does offer honors and AP courses for freshman if they qualify.

I hadn't considered that it would be easier to start as a freshman instead of transferring in at some other point. I'll keep that in mind.