Benefits to Homeschooling High School: Junior Year

You'll see the benefits to homeschooling - and flexibility is the key - when your child starts 11th grade. Because this year your life is going to get VERY busy! It's time to get serious about preparing your student for life after high school, especially if college is part of the plan.

This year you'll continue with test preparation and scheduling, challenging math and science classes, attending meetings for all those clubs or organizations she has joined, and encourage community service and internships.

High School Junior Checklist

  • Sign your student up for the PSAT.

    The test is scheduled for October, but you'll need to find a testing location and register at the end of her 9th grade year. You must take the PSAT this year to qualify for the National Merit, National Achievement, and National Hispanic Scholarships.Check out my homeschool high school testing tips to learn how to prepare, plan, and register for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. Check the schedule for the test you want, then register at least 4-6 weeks before the test date.

TIP: Keep a calendar or homeschool planner specifically for important dates such as the deadlines to register for standardized tests, test days, college/junior preview days, and deadlines for admissions and financial aid for each college on your list.

  • Start working on a high school student resume.

    This is very similar to a job resume, where you list education, school and community organizations/activities, school honors and awards, community honors and awards, paid and unpaid work experience, and references. Colleges will realize the benefits to homeschooling when you submit a complete, well-contructed resume.

  • Continue the college search.

    • Get information from colleges or universities that your student is interested in. You can request catalogs and brochures online or at a local college fair.

    • Start to narrow your college choices. Check out their web sites to see if you can apply online or apply early.

    • One of the great benefits to homeschooling high school becomes evident this year. You and your junior can schedule college visits during the week at your convenience. Your family can meet with representatives from the admissions and financial aid offices, talk with students who are there, and take a family tour of the campus.

    • Attend financial aid seminars and college days/junior preview days. These are special events for potential students usually held in the fall or spring (or both). You can visit academic departments, speak with faculty, and attend academic, admissions, and financial aid sessions to learn more about the school and what it has to offer. You'll also have a guided tour and get a chance to talk to current students about their experiences on campus.

    TIP: Prepare a list of questions to ask before you go. It's difficult to get a lot of specific information with telephone calls and web sites. Take advantage of your one-on-one time with the people who can give you the answers you need.

    • Continue scheduling challenging courses. This year they could be Algebra II, Geometry, Chemistry, Physics or Advanced Biology. Continue foreign language. Some colleges now want students to have 3 or 4 years of high school foreign language.

    • Check with your top college choices. Make sure you're teaching the high school classes they require for admission. Be sure to check on the english, history, math, science, and foreign language requirements for their area of interest.

    • Continue academic enrichment programs. Try workshops or camps that focus on art, music, or science. Drama classes may also be an option for you. You may want to start a special portfolio to highlight special talents, such as art or photography.

    • Continue extracurricular activities. Encourage your child to join a club or organization such as Key Club, 4-H Club, or a Homeschool Honor Society. This year, really try to persuade him/her to become an officer or seek another leadership position. Colleges like to see well-rounded students with leadership experience.

    • Review your high school plan before summer begins. Remember, it's okay to change your plan. Just make sure she has all of the required courses before she graduates.

    • Update your portfolio.
      • Report cards
      • Awards/honors
      • Church and community activities
      • Volunteer and paid work
      • Include job descriptions and responsibilities

    • Sign up for summer activities. This could be volunteering, a paid job, an apprenticeship, or a summer camp (drama, art, music, equestrian). Once again you see that flexibility is one of many benefits to homeschooling that allows our children to take advantage of opportunities that enrich their lives and prepare them for life after high school.


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