Friday, January 27, 2006

Homeschooling in High School

When I was in middle school, many people asked me what I was going to do for high school. Most assumed that you couldn't continue to homeschool into the higher grades, because the material might become too complicated for the parents. However, like I said before, I started homeschooling myself from grade six (age 11), so that wasn't really an issue. The real issue was making it legal... this is where the Pennsylvania Homeschool Accredidation Agency (PHAA) was very useful. It is an accredidation agency that enables homeschoolers to receive actual high school diplomas, if they follow certain requirements for a certain # of credits and are evaluated each year. The requirements were pretty normal, and you could expand upon them and take extra credits if you wanted to get into a good college or similar.
The requirements are as follows:

3 years of Math
4 years of English
3 years of History/Social Science/Government, with at least 1 year of PA history, 1 year of American history, and 1 year of World History.
2 years of foreign language (recommended 3 years for the college bound)
1 year of art/music
2-3 years (can't remember which) of science
1 year of physical education

I can't remember if there were any others: the program basically followed the standard American liberal arts education. To complete the credit for a year of study, students could read 2/3 of a textbook, write a 2500-word research essay, document 180 days of study on the subject, or a certain # of hours (can't remember the exact #), or complete a high school course or college course if the school district approved. The English requirements were much more stringent. To get one credit of English, a student had to complete ALL of the following:

** Write a 2500-word research paper or a 2500-word work of fiction
** Write four short compositions
** Read 25 books, 10 of which had to be 'classics'
** Complete 1/4 of a grammer textbook

My parents were very good at making sure that my sister and I met our high school requirements, and tapped into the ever-growing homeschool community for specialists if they couldn't provide the necessary materials or expertise. I took 2 biology labs provided by homeschool moms/biology professors and a homeschool mom/veternarian, and furnished with all the necessary dissection materials. I also took a chemistry lab taught by a homeschool mom/chemistry professor. For literature, I continued to participate in book discussions, reading classics from the American, British, and World literary canons. For foreign language, I took Spanish classes through a homeschool educational co-op that were taught by a native of Chile.

I had such a great time in high school. For me, it was a blast!! :)

Currently Listening...

  • Pearl and the Beard
  • The Dodos
  • Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha
  • Anna Ternheim
  • NOFX
  • Fairiborz Lachini
  • The Clash
  • Rufus Wainwright: Rufus Does Judy
  • Radiohead: In Rainbows

Currently Watching...

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Mad Men
  • South Park
  • Zach Galifinakis

Currently Reading...

  • Bill Bryson: A History of Nearly Everything
  • Gabriel Garcia-Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • The House of Leaves
  • Robertson Davies: The Rebel Angels

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