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February 15, 2009


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Melissa R

I homeschool in another state so I am curious about that 108 hours law. What confuses me is that when homeschooling, typically, what you can learn in school in an hour is the same as what you can learn at home in 15 minutes. So how in the world do you take that into consideration? Should your child still have to sit and "do math" for an hour when he/she learned it in 15 minutes? Or do you keep learning more and more and more new stuff and thus end up doing college level math in 8th grade? If a child reads the "usual" high school English books all when he/she is 15 does that mean she's done? I just don't' really understand how the whole "time on task" laws can work in the reality of a homeschool setting. Any insight would be appreciated :)


Right there with you...considering, reading, mulling over, contemplating, documenting....with different challenges for my rhombus! :)


Right there with you, too! And Jennifer...reading, mulling,stressing... My oldest starts 9th grade next year! YIKES!! I'll be following your discoveries.


Melissa -- I think I'll probably mull this over a bit in a post, too, but I thought I would say a little bit about the confusion in how to count hours, because it has left me scratching my head, too. NY state requires 108 clock hours, but in many of the books I've been reading about homeschool high school, the authors count 120 hours as one credit, citing it as "standard". But in other books, I find that people talk about how the schools actually use 180 "fifty minute hours", which works out to 150 clock hours. One book I have actually adds homework in on top of 180 clock hours to arrive at 222 clock hours! That seems a little excessive to me, considering that homeschooling IS more efficient than a classroom.

All of this leads me to believe that it's a parent's call. I think there are some subjects that ought to be more content-based than time-based: math, for instance. If you finish the Algebra I book, no matter when you do it, you have 1 Agelbra I credit. Nothing else really makes sense in that instance. But in other subjects, like history or English, going beyond the "required" or "usual" texts -- or perhaps going into them more deeply -- for 108 or 120 or 150 hours or whatever might make more sense because those subjects are much more open-ended. I think that what will happen with us is that we end up with a lot of non-standard courses, like: "Archaeology of New York State", "Mycology", "Classic Science Fiction", etc., in addition to more standard fare.

As far as hours go, my own personal view is that 108 hours is too low (although just fine for junior high), but 180 clock hours is probably a bit much. 120-150 hours sounds about right to me for high school... but ask me again in a couple of years!


Take a deep breath, let it out, and continue on... Homeschooling high school isn't any different than any other grade, to be perfectly honest. It's just the next grade. Kind of like you approach going from 3rd to 4th, etc. Colleges want homeschoolers to look more traditional, but you can still hit the middle of that. My dd is a junior, well read, well mathed thanks to Math-U-See, and well scienced thanks to Apologia. There is a wealth of materials out there to make it easy. I struggle with the fact we have to look more traditional in high school, but that's life if they want to go to college. We pull in our trapezoid tendencies (love that expression!) in history, poetry/reading, and that sort of stuff. What I'd recommend is you go to a college's website and look at what they recommend for admission, and shoot for that. In NY, Houghton is a good place to start, since they're homeschooler friendly.

As for counting hours, Angel mentioned 120-150. That's correct. You want to count Carnegie units, and 120 hours is the magic number for non-academic subjects (electives), and 150 for the academic ones (Math, Science, Language Arts.)

The only drawback is that there is more weight put on the standardized tests (ACT, SAT) than for regular students, since that validates the transcript Mom put together.

As for Jr. High, in 7th, I wouldn't try to look too traditional yet. There's plenty of time for that. If you have one destined for hard science, and astrobiologist counts for that, you want him doing Physical Science and Algebra 1 by 8th grade. That leaves room senior year for ugliness like Calculus and advanced sciences. Oh, and be prepared for the books to get waaaaay more expensive! I budget up to $500 per school year for my junior alone. Sorry for the book and I hope this helps!


Good luck with the high school planning, it gets interesting! I'm in GA with a 15 y/o dd in 10th grade. We are lucky, we don't have to submit as much to the state as you seem to have to in NY. High school is great though, you really get to see them blossom...at least I have. :-)

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