January 22, 2018

Homeschooling 11th Grade

Last month, I began a discussion outlining an ideal plan for high school and so far, we have discussed some things students should be doing as ninth and tenth graders.  This week, we’ll be talking about what a student should be focusing on in their junior year.  Homeschooling 11th grade will be a very busy year and we’re going to call it the “year of the test”. 


It’s a big year!

Students in eleventh grade should be in some of their most challenging courses thus far.  They will be in more advanced math and science courses, and should be doing a great deal more writing in their English and social science work.   In addition, they will need to be starting their foreign language courses if they haven’t done so already.   And… because colleges like to see academic electives, students will want to be adding in some additional English, math, science or social science courses this year.  As always, it is important that students pass their subjects with good grades – mastering the material, not just completing the credit. 

If you haven’t already done so, you will want to begin putting together your high school transcript.  This is a document that lists all of the high school courses your student has taken. Find more details on how to build your transcript in my post here. Don’t forget to keep good records of the materials you are using and regularly add samples of work to your portfolio. 

A college bound student will also want to be working diligently on college entrance exam scores.  I encouraged you to consider taking the PSAT/NMSQT in both ninth and tenth grades just for exposure to the test.  But, 11th grade is the year that really counts if a student wants to be considered for the National Merit Scholarship award.  Contact your local high school in September to take the test with them in October.  National Merit Scholars are taken from the very top scorers of the PSAT.  Study Point keeps a list of the latest qualifying scores by state.  Check them out to get an idea of where your student should aim.

In addition to the PSAT, students should be taking the SAT or ACT seriously this year.  Being in some of your most challenging coursework will go a long ways towards helping you do well on these tests.  But, you should also take the time to work through test preparation materials.  These are timed tests and they have certain patterns to them (one might even say ‘trick questions’).  Being familiar with the format and understanding what is being tested will help you improve your score. 

If you know what colleges you are interested in, take a look at their web page to see what this year’s incoming test scores were.  This will give you an idea of what to aim for.   And, in Florida, if you are wanting to qualify for Bright Futures, these are the qualifying test scores you will need. Remember that Bright Futures does not look at the writing score on the SAT. 

This is also the year that you want to start visiting colleges.  Most colleges have visitation days or you can simply contact their visitor’s center and schedule an appointment.  If you have a particular area of study that you are interested in, schedule an appointment with someone in that school as well so that you can discuss available programs.  This will help you as you make decisions next year about college applications.

Whew – it’s going to be a busy year.  But keep up the effort – it’s going to worth the hard work!

~to your success,


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