I am writing quick updates as I go along to mark our journey and hopefully to show how much further along we will be when we go through this process with our subsequent children! (Poor little first child guinea pig!) You can see my previous thoughts in a back post about pondering homeschooling high school. I have been doing a little bit of research since then, and thought I would share a few things.
- One thing I did was pull curriculum from a wide variety of Waldorf High Schools to see what is taught when at different schools. I was particularly interested in where the curriculum differed or was adapted for a regional area.
- I read two small books by Lee Binz: “Setting the Records Straight: How to Craft Homeschool Transcripts and Course Descriptions for College Admission and Scholarships” and “How to Homeschool 9th and 10th Grade: Simple Steps for Starting Strong”.
- Based upon the suggestions in Lee’s book about crafting transcripts, I wrote a description of our high school and our eighth grader and I named it. Unlike many others, we have never had a “school name” before! Very exciting! Because we are focused on a holistic, artistic, interrelated curriculum and experiential style of learning with Waldorf Education, these were heavily considered in the description of our high school.
- We looked at the “requirements” of credit hours in order to apply for college. I looked at the requirements for the University system of our state, and then several colleges I handpicked in other neighboring states and one private school just to get a feel for requirements in our region. Most students applying to high school have 24 credits or so, but the actual state requirement for graduation is only 17 credits for four years of high school – 4 in English, 4 in Math, 4 in Natural Sciences, 3 in Social Studies, 2 in Foreign Languages. Some universities asked for specific things, such as “fine arts elective – 1 credit”; some asked for “American Economics and Government – 1 credit or “general electives – 2 credits”.
- Some universities want a brief description of the course the student has taken, required texts, sample of work, and HOW the course was graded – ie, the grade was comprised of 1/2 homework assignments, 1/2 quizzes and test, etc. Again, because of the experiential nature of our schooling, I am having to think about what part “experiences” will play in the grading of courses.
- I found out a general timeline for taking the PSAT, SAT, ACT and also how to access AP classes. This is more important for some universities than others – for example, if Georgia Tech was a goal, ninety-something percent of incoming freshman have taken AP Calculus or equivalent, and the average incoming student has taken 9 AP classes or more. Important things to know!
- I am still sorting through the science end of high school –>While the typical Waldorf High School still does science in blocks and has a multi-disciplinary focus in science all years (ie, ninth grade could contain anatomy and physiology, geology, physics and chemistry, for example), the credit hours don’t add up well until one has complete all four years as far as I can tell…ie, you may not have all the hours for “biology” until senior year of high school. And, most college applications want to see 1 credit biology with lab, 1 credit chemistry with lab, etc when students apply…So perhaps others out there can enlighten me how this normally works at home or if most Waldorf homeschoolers just decided to go a more traditional route for high school sciences in terms of biology one year, chemistry one year, etc?