January 22, 2018

Homeschooling Ninth Grade!

Let’s spend a little time talking about an ideal plan for each high school year.  Today I’ll deal with things you should be accomplishing in a student’s ninth grade year.  Please don’t hold to this exact schedule as each student is different, but let me at least give you an idea of things you should be striving to complete in ninth grade..

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To begin with, your student is now officially in high school, so ideally all of your course work is now at the high school level.  Of course, you could have started high school work prior to the ninth grade – or you may be working to remediate certain areas (especially if this is your first year homeschooling) but you should be serious about having your student using high school level curricula at this point.

You should be taking at least one course in the core subject areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics (ideally at least Algebra 1), Science and Social Studies.  This is the foundational year for high school, so be sure that you work on any weak areas in grammar, reading comprehension, writing basics and mathematics. 

You should also add a credit or two of fine arts, physical education or any electives you’d like to work on.

Now is also the time to start your high school portfolio – keeping a list of curricula used, the scope and sequence of each course (often found on your book publisher’s web site), your reading list and samples of work done in each subject.  Try and pull at least five examples of work done each quarter per subject and put them in a file or notebook.  You’ll want to be sure to grab some good samples of writing in the process and highlight any projects done this year.  You will be hanging on to this portfolio in the event a college admissions officer asks to see your student’s high school work – or asks questions about curriculum, course work, etc.

As for testing, it’s never too early to start working on those college entrance exams, but I would especially encourage students to take the PSAT this October.  In the 9th grade, it’s just a practice exam, but since it’s only offered once a year, you only get two practice opportunities, before it “counts”.  In a student’s 11th grade year, the PSAT score is used to determine qualifiers for the National Merit Scholarship. 

As a homeschooler, when you take the test, be sure to put your state’s homeschooling code in the school code box.  Find your state’s code here. This way, the test booklet is mailed back to you and you can use it to study for future exams.  Let your students know that they won’t be expected to know everything that is on this exam – after all, at this point they will have only been in high school for two months – but it’s the idea of getting used to the process.

This year you will also want to begin the process of logging community service hours as well as start applying for college scholarships.  And,  if you’re looking to play sports in college, start reviewing the NCAA eligibility requirements for homeschooled students early as you’ll need to track your core coursework carefully for them.

Best wishes for a successful year!

~to your success

Joanne

Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments

  1. Michelle Albritton says:

    There is some debate over whether volunteer hours “count” if completed during the summer before your ninth grade year starts. Can you provide some clarity on this issue?

    • Hi Michelle –

      That’s because each county is responsible for reporting a homeschooled student’s volunteer hours to Tallahassee, so they each have their own guidelines as to when the time starts. The Bright Futures requirements are that community service hours should be completed between 9th and 12th grades – so to be safe, start counting in Aug/Sept of the 9th grade year. If you have some from the summer prior, hang on to those as your county may count them.

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