It is the time of year families are making decisions about next year’s course selection. These choices are important whether the student is in junior high or high school. By planning carefully, we can balance the load over multiple years and give our children time to enjoy life and live creatively, while at the same time stimulating them academically. Colleges want to see that students have taken a rigorous route through high school and that they have made the most of opportunities available to them. However, they aren’t looking for the impressive transcript that has robbed the student of a life.
Thus, we want to build slowly, planning carefully in junior high and up. More art than science, this schedule planning must be challenging without overwhelming. It must force our kids to learn to manage their time, while also leaving enough time to breathe. For the most selective colleges, our goal does not need to be six AP classes per year or a complete transfer to a local college for the last two years of high school. Rather, I have discovered that a mix of learning venues tends to be the most competitive. If a student homeschools, I recommend a mix of AP classes, a few college classes on campus (if available), some study with tutors, some self-study, some live high school classes, maybe some that are parent-taught. The true goal is to find the best teacher for each subject or the best modality in the way the student learns.
It is important not to compare our child’s schedule with others’ (particularly with others we only know online). Each life is unique and deserves to be lived in its own special way. We want to enrich our children’s world, not enslave them to a checklist.
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